Zeb Christensen: Screaming For Silence

Written by: Frank Iacono

zeb-christensen-header

Hard-hitting rock, heavy breakdowns, and an energetic live performance that never stops entertaining the crowd appropriately describes Zeb Christensen’s Omaha Nebraska-based band named Screaming For Silence. Over the last three years, they have toured nationally and played over four hundred live shows from coast to coast. With that, his band has continually captivated audiences across the nation, gaining new fans during each show at every stop.

During Screaming For Silence’s hectic 2013 touring schedule, they were rewarded with a sponsorship opportunity promoting PRS’s new line of S2 guitars. In 2014, they spent the year touring and recording their first full-length studio album. Their new material was recorded in North Hollywood, California at Grey Area Studios with producer Erik Ron, who has also worked with Motionless In White, We Came As Romans, and New Year’s Day.

With head banging guitar riffs, intense drums, and melodic hooks containing in your face lyrics the members of Screaming For Silence have created their own unique sound. The first single off their self-titled debut is aptly named “The King Is Crowned” garnered radio play across the country and peaked at #29 on Billboard’s Indicator chart. In May of 2015, they were selected by Ernie Ball as the Battle of the Bands for Rock On The Range winners. Having the right combination of talent, work ethic, and road experience they are poised to explode onto the rock scene in 2016.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zeb Christensen, the lead vocalist of Screaming For Silence, and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his upcoming tour schedule, and his band’s new album Screaming For Silence.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

I have always been into music. I’ll never forget the first rock concert I went to which was an outdoor festival. The sun was out and the music was loud I loved it! After seeing all of the energy and emotion that the bands were giving I told myself I wanted to do that! I’ve been inspired by so many musicians. Corey Taylor, Johnny Cash, and Eminem. I like everything; if it catches my ear I dig it.

5-25-2016 1-13-40 AM

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Zeb Christensen or Screaming For Silence, how would you describe your musical genre?

We are a five piece Hard Rock band from Omaha, NE. We have been touring nationally for about four years playing over 400 shows in that span. We released our first full length album in 2015 that is self-titled.

The Screaming For Silence band lineup consists of:

  • Zeb Christensen – Vocals
  • Danny Irwin – Guitar/Vocals
  • Casey Newsom – Guitar/Vocals
  • Matt Tatroe – Drums
  • Mike Friese – Bass Guitar

Screaming for Silence Band

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and how do you think they shaped you both as a singer/songwriter and performer?

Our musical influences are really all over the board and I think that really helped shape us as a band. We all are kind of into different genres and that gives us a little different flavor.

TCS: Take us behind the scenes in the making of your self-titled full length album entitled Screaming For Silence. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?

The whole experience was amazing. Getting to work with the guys and Erik Ron on the album was such a blast. My favorite part is getting to hear all the songs come to life from nothing and then all the way to the final product. It’s something we are very proud of and put a lot work and emotion into. I would say the most challenging part of the process is picking which songs go onto the album!

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of Screaming For Silence is the lead track called “The King Is Crowned,” so can you share with us the meaning behind it and the video concept?

We knew after finishing the album that this was going to be the first single. It just had all of the elements. We wanted to make a killer video for it so we thought it would be cool to get our hometown of Omaha involved and film it at the Joslyn Castle. Aaron Gum and Tyler Yager really made this video come to life! We thought it was very fitting to film in a castle. There was a huge storm that day and our crowd still showed up in full force to be a part of it. We had a great response from it and got a lot of radio behind it. It ended up peaking at #29 on the Billboard Indicator Chart and #14 on the Under The Radar Chart. We really owe it to all of our fans that helped spread the word and would call and request!


TCS: How thrilling was it to have “The King Is Crowned” selected as the winner of the 2016 NAIRMA Award for Outstanding Song?

It was the one of my favorite moments as a band. Getting to be there in LA for the whole experience was just awesome. Rubbing elbows with people in bands we look up to and the whole environment was great. When they called our name we were in a little bit of shock I think haha. It just makes you feel like you are doing something right when someone gives you recognition.


TCS: Can you describe for us the background to the 2012 hit single entitled “Helpless” that appeared on your debut EP Relentless?

The song is about people who just can’t do anything for themselves. They are always throwing themselves a pity party and not doing anything to help the situation. People like that are really tough to deal with.


TCS: What’s the most unusual place that you’ve played or made a recording? And, how did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

We have always had the mind set of we will play anywhere at any time. It makes for a lot of interesting shows! In the end it has also made us who we are. We are so lucky to be able to play music and perform as much as we do!

TCS: Is there a particular venue that you’ve always wanted to play? And, what other entertainer or entertainers would you most like to have play alongside you on that stage?

The only area of the country we haven’t hit is the Northwest. I can’t wait to get up there. I’d also really like to play The Machine Shop in Flint, MI. I feel like that venue has one of the best reputations in the country. I’d love to tour with Ke$ha.

TCS: Tell us about the Screaming For Silence song writing, recording, and video production process behind the song “Separate” which also appeared on the Relentless?

We actually worked with Justin Mccain of the band Through Fire from Omaha NE. He’s an amazing artist/songwriter and we were really young. He wanted to do a song together and I think we ended up doing the whole thing in a day. We hadn’t really done much recording at that time so it was awesome to get the experience with him and learn a lot.


TCS: In what ways do you market your appearances, sell merchandise, and stay connected to your fans?

We have our own website Screamingforsilence.com and you can also find us on almost every social media outlet (Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat etc.) Also all of our music is on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon and more!

TCS: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What’s one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

I always try to plug bands that are up and coming like us. We just did a lot of touring with some bands that are killer like Guns Out At Sundown, Poynte, Sleep Signals. Also a lot of our good friends just released new music or are about to like Blameshift, 3 Pill Morning, and Another Lost Year.

TCS: What does the short and long-term outlook look like for Screaming For Silence?

This summer we are doing just mostly festival stuff. Rocklahoma, Rock Fest (Cadott,WI). I’m really looking forward to Locofest in Algona, IA and headlining a new festival in our hometown called The New Generation Music Festival. You can find all of those dates on our website. Then we are heading back to the studio in August to make a new album!

Song List on House of Glass (2017)

  1. House of Glass
  2. Long Way Up
  3. Beetlejuice
  4. Buried Alive
  5. Worth Fighting For

Song List on Screaming For Silence (2015)

Screaming for Silence

  1. Disgrace
  2. The King Is Crowned
  3. Varsity Blues
  4. Hero to Zero
  5. Cutting Ties
  6. No Way Out
  7. Calling Your Bluff
  8. Infested
  9. Don’t Give In
  10. Fly Away

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

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Tony Trujillo: Beyond Today

Written by: Frank Iacono

Beyond-Today-Tony-Trujillo

Beyond Today, a hard rock band, started with Guy Johnston, Cory Burke, and Tony Trujillo in June of 2013 in the Lewiston, ID & Clarkston, WA valley areas. Within just a couple weeks of beginning the project, Beyond Today had already written a handful of songs that were ready to be recorded. They chose Amplified Wax Recording Studio in Spokane, WA as their production destination.

Beyond Today completed recording their debut EP in just 2 days. Once they finished the process, they added their forth band member, Vaughn Knoeppel, and started playing shows in Palouse, ID, one of which gathered over 2,000 attendees.

Beyond Today made a name for themselves in their hometown of Lewiston, ID with the early release of their song “Colors” on their local rock radio station Z-Rock 96.5 FM. The song was selected to be a part of the Z-ROCK KOZE Cage Match against big name acts. They won all 5 nights in a row securing their spot in the Z-Rock Hall of Fame. Once their debut EP was released in October of 2013, they started to pick up even more ground, with requests to have them play all over the Northwest. To that extent, they won 2nd Place at The Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands Finals in Spokane, WA.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony Trujillo, the bassist and backing vocalist of Beyond Today, and asking him a few questions about his musical influences, his songwriting and recording process, his upcoming tour schedule, and his new album The Artificial Heart.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: How did you come up with the band name Beyond Today?

Beyond Today started back in June of 2013 in the Lewiston, ID & Clarkston, WA valley. Guy Johnston (our lead vocalist) and I were in a previous project together. We had, at the time, booked studio time to record a handful of tracks with that project but we switched gears to lean more towards the rock side of things, wanting to get that energetic live show aspect going rather than the lighter “indie” stuff we were working on prior. With that studio time already booked, which was only a month out, we realized we needed to get some songs done quickly.

During a two week period of that short time before recording what would ultimately become the basis of our sound and identity, we buckled down and got to writing, fleshing out previous riffs, and wound up finishing seven songs for our initial EP. When it came time to record, which we only had three ten-hour days to complete, we still hadn’t come up with a band name yet, dozens were tossed around but we settled on Beyond Today because it was something that just grabbed us. It was also a kind of mantra for us, as in always looking beyond today to what’s next and to push ourselves to the best of our ability to be able to continue to grow as people, musicians, and a band to get there.

Beyond-Today-Performing

TCS: At what age did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician and whom or what would you say inspired you?

I’d have to say I first realized I wanted to be a musician after seeing a Saliva/Default show when I was about 10 or 11 years old in New England. Something about the atmosphere and the energy of their performances just got my total and complete attention, from their music, to the stage presence, and the lighting and effects of the show. I’ve been involved in music ever since.

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Tony Trujillo or the band Beyond Today, how would you describe your musical genre?

Hi, I’m Tony Trujillo of Beyond Today, in which I play bass and do the backing vocals for the band. Guy Johnston, is our main vocalist, and plays guitar and piano. Jeremy Wilcox is one of the main guitarists along with Paul Nims, and Tim Thornton is the man on the drum throne.

Beyond Today’s genre can be classified as Rock/ Alt. Rock/ Hard Rock/ Post-Grunge. We get compared a lot, with our similarities, to; Shinedown, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Killswitch Engage, Saint Asonia, Breaking Benjamin, and many others which I can’t quite recall off of the top of my head. Those ones we certainly hear more often than not though.

Beyond-Today-The-Band

TCS: What famous musical artists and/or bands were among your early influences and how do you think they shaped you both as a singer/songwriter and performer?

I followed a lot of the 90’s and 2000’s rock, hard rock, and metal bands growing up. Some of my favorites were Metallica, Ozzy, Papa Roach, Fuel, Chevelle, Korn, Disturbed, Crossfade, Linkin Park, 3 Doors Down, AFI, Cold, Theory of a Deadman, Default, Saliva, Filter, Big Wreck, Thornley, Deftones, Soundgarden, Thousand Foot Krutch, Pantera, Anberlin, Jerry Cantrell, Alice In Chains, and Three Days Grace, just to name a few. Music is almost all about listening, and I certainly learned a lot listening to those bands. A lot with phrasing, how notes move together to create the triads and chords used in constructing songs, and how syllabic rhythm played a role in vocal lines, melody, and lyrics.


TCS: Take us behind the scenes in the making of your new full length album entitled The Artificial Heart. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?

We started the writing process on the album back at the end of 2014, and started the recording process in March of 2015. This album was a lot of fun for us as a band. We wanted to feed off of the response we received from our EP namely with our song “Colors”. We wanted to build upon what we did with that and create some more high energy in your face kind of rock in our own way. We also re-recorded some of the older tunes to match the sound we were originally going for had we not been cut short on the recording time in the beginning of the band. That made the album full length with thirteen songs. It was quite the feat for us, but was always a goal we had, to get a full length out to really showcase all of the different songs we have.

My favorite part of the album recording process was the production of it. After the “scratch tracks” were recorded we really got to dive in and add things such as effects, harmonies, strings, and other interesting sounds that made the songs really stand out and become more and more personal to us. The challenging part was finding “that” sound with guitar tones and making them really punch. Luckily we came across the amps by the name of Kemper Profiling Amplifiers. Which allowed us to get the sounds we were after, making that larger than life guitar sound that we were after.

Beyond-Today-The -Artifical-Heart

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs off of The Artificial Heart is the title track called “The Artificial Heart,” so can you share with us the meaning behind it and the video concept

The concept behind the song “The Artificial Heart” was from the viewpoint of falling in love with someone but they didn’t feel that they were good enough for you, so you’d wait as long as you could because you knew that a relationship with them could really be something great if not wonderful, and trying your damnedest to help them see themselves in a better light as it were, but sometimes the ‘waiting’ can cause too much pain on both sides. The video that Jimmy did was kind of out of the blue, we already had some ideas for one that we would shoot, but he did one for our song “Starlight” that was pretty cool. He made the video for “The Artificial Heart” and we thought it was a pretty cool interpretation.


TCS: Can you describe for us the background to the hit single entitled “Stay” that also appears on The Artificial Heart?

“Stay” is another one about a snapshot in a relationship, in where you first meet the person, and just want to really stay with them and lose yourselves in each other. It’s about that moment. That first sight kind of aspect.


TCS: What’s the most unusual place that you’ve played or made a recording? And, how did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

One of the strangest places I’ve played personally was during a show at night outdoors, when a torrential rain storm struck and soaked just about every piece of gear, but the show went on, until it cut the power. It was pretty fun, except replacing the equipment afterwards.

TCS: Tell us about the Beyond Today song writing, recording, and video production process behind the song “Sunburnt Cradle”?

That one was just a song we wrote quickly that had a really good feel to it. The lyric video I made in after effects. I actually do all of the graphics and things in that nature for the band. Saves us a lot of money not having to hire out.


TCS: Is there a particular venue that you’ve always wanted to play? And, what other entertainer or entertainers would you most like to have play alongside you on that stage?

One venue that I’ve always wanted to play is the Whiskey a Go Go in West Hollywood, California. I’d love the opportunity to play with the likes of Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, or Stanley Clarke. They are some killer bass players.

TCS: In what ways do you market your appearances, sell merchandise, and stay connected to your fan base?

We try to look as professional as we possibly can. We make attention grabbing graphics and sell interesting one of a kind merchandise items, including dog tags, shot glasses, leather wrist bands, and other knick-knacks.

Beyond-Today-Merch

Additionally, we stay connected to our fans at shows and online media via the following:

TCS: Name a band or musician, past or present, who you flat-out LOVE and think more people should be listening to. What’s one of your all-time favorite recordings by this band/musician?

Definitely one band everyone should check out is a band out of Tennessee called Skytown Riot. We toured with those guys back in 2014, My favorite song by them would have to be “Runaway Princess” or “Soul or System”.


TCS: What does the short and long-term outlook look like for Beyond Today?

We’ve got some really cool shows planned for this summer. In June, we are headlining The Knitting Factory in Spokane, WA. Later this Summer/Early Fall we plan to go into the recording studio and do pre-production on the next album which will be out spring of next year. We also have some other very big things in the works that we’ll be announcing later on, as well as some music videos. You’ll just have to come check out what we got coming up.

Song List on The Artificial Heart (2016)

Beyond-Today

  1. Break Me
  2. Aftermath
  3. Where We Go
  4. Stay
  5. Colors
  6. Going Back
  7. StarlightT
  8. The Divide
  9. Silver Tongue
  10. Ghost
  11. Inside the Fire
  12. The Artificial Heart
  13. Blackbird

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono Photo

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Everything Falls: Modern Rock Band

Written by: Frank Iacono

Everything-falls-band

Everything Falls burst onto the Washington D.C. metro rock scene in early 2012, touring for their debut EP Fight From Within. Fast-forward to the summer of 2015, and Everything Falls is set to release their sophomore EP Through The Storm. The new album is a collection of songs that front man Aaron Linkous wrote while touring in 2012 and in the years after while the band was relocating from Washington D.C. to northern New Jersey.

Throughout 2011, Everything Falls was just getting things started. After bringing Mike Smith on board to play bass, the duo eventually ended up working with Producer Scott Robinson at his Sonic Sweets Recording studio in Beltsville, MD. What was born there would be the band’s debut release, Fight From Within. It was released in November of 2011 and included their first mainstream hit, “Sorry To Say.” The video for “Sorry To Say” was featured on national media outlets such as Blank TV, Pure Grain Audio, The Cool TV, and Renegade Radio. In addition, Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood, Gold’s Gym, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line chose to promote the single. The song was also used by nationally televised and British-based professional wrestling program, UK Wrestling Experience. Other notable hits off of the album were the singles “Come On” and “Everything That You Wanted.”

In late 2012, Everything Falls continued their promotional tour for the EP, and ultimately landed an interview with The Real Radio Show in Long Island, NY. As the band gained momentum, new opportunities presented themselves, and Linkous eventually made the difficult decision to relocate the band to the New York City metro area.

In 2013, rebuilding of the band started. Kenny Sheldon, the new lead guitarist who was discovered at one of the many auditions held in the summer of 2013, quickly found his niche within Aaron’s songs. Unfortunately, it would be another two years before the band would be fully completed, with the lineup changing several times over. In early 2015, two additional band members were brought on board just before heading into the world-renowned Barber Shop Studios with Producer Brody Greif.

Comprised of Aaron Linkous, Kenny Sheldon, Danny Rojo, and Matt Regan. Everything Falls is weathered, but not broken. “Everything Falls has accomplished a lot up to this point, but we still have so much room for growth,” said Linkous. “We’re hungry to break into the regional scene and to make our live show something that fans are lining up to see. I believe that our new EP was appropriately named. After everything that it’s taken to get back to this point, it definitely feels like we’ve been through a storm. Fortunately, that storm forged a new path for our sound and helped to solidify who we are as musicians. We’re extremely proud of our sophomore EP, and we believe the fans will agree that it was worth the wait.”

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aaron Linkous, Kenny Sheldon, Danny Rojo, and Matt Regan of Everything Falls and asking them a few questions about their musical influences, their songwriting and recording process, their upcoming tour schedule, and their new EP Through The Storm.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: How did you come up with the band name Everything Falls?

Aaron Linkous: My wife, Mandy, and I share a love for hiking to waterfalls. As Mike Smith, a bassist and the first person I got to join the band with me back in 2010, and myself were toying around with many names I started to think about all of the cool waterfall names I’ve heard and seen over the years. So, I naturally just started putting different words in front of “falls” and I ended up with Everything Falls. It sounded catchy, so it stuck as our band name ever since.

Everything-Falls-Logo

TCS: For the benefit of those who are not familiar with Everything Falls, how would you describe your musical genre?

AL: I would describe our sound as modern rock and maybe a bit of 90’s alternative. We’ve been compared to Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica, Breaking Benjamin, and a host of other bands, but we have a unique and fresh sound that sets us apart from all of those bands. The band originally started in Rockville, MD in 2010. We recorded our first EP Fight From Within throughout 2011 with producer Scott Robinson at his Sonic Sweets Studio in Beltsville, MD. We released that EP in December of 2011 and toured regionally throughout 2012.

TCS: Can you introduce us to the Everything Falls lineup and tell us what each person in the band does?

AL: The Everything Falls band lineup consists of the following (shown below left to right):

  • Matt Regan – Drummer
  • Kenny Sheldon – Lead Guitarist & Backing Vocals
  • Aaron Linkous – Lead Vocalist & Rhythm Guitarist
  • Danny Rojo – Bassist & Backing Vocals (former bassist Amriel Kissner is shown in pic)

Everything-falls-theband

TCS: How long has this current lineup of Everything Falls been playing together and how did you all get started?

AL: This current lineup is fairly new. Danny just came on board about a month ago. We went into the studio with a different bassist (Amriel Kissner), but Amriel was not interested in touring. Matt came on board in January of this year. He came in as we were prepping for our newest EP Through The Storm. He is a long time friend of Kenny and we had been talking about possibly having him out to a practice to see if he would be a good fit for the position. After the first practice I was certain that he was the man for the job. And, Kenny has been with me almost two years now. I landed him in the first round of auditions that I held in July of 2013.

Initially, I thought that I was going to be able to pull things together rather quickly upon moving to New Jersey from Maryland. I’ve been in this situation a few times over my musical career with moves from Blountville to Nashville, TN; Nashville to Rockville, MD; and Rockville to Springfield, NJ, so I knew exactly what steps I needed to take in order to arrange everything. Unfortunately, after Kenny came on board things slowed down rather drastically. I had taken on a 3rd shift job and between it and needing sleep I just didn’t have the time necessary to run the band properly. That all changed after I decided to leave that job late last year and to make music my sole career. Since then the lineup has been finalized, we’ve recorded Through The Storm and shot a video for the lead off single “Let It Go (Enemy)”, and are now gearing up for regional touring in the very near future. It’s taken some time to pull everything back together, but I feel that we have a very solid lineup now.

Everything-falls-performing

TCS: Can you describe for us the song writing, studio recording, and video production process behind the lead single “Let It Go (Enemy)” from Through The Storm?

I began writing “Let It Go (Enemy)” in mid-2012. I wanted a song with a little more power to it. Something that would truly rile a live crowd up. In the studio we stuck to that live feel. We didn’t spend time tweaking every little strum on the guitar or on the drums. It was the feeling of the song that we were after and I believe we achieved that driving beat that just calls out to all of the head bangers out there. We recorded bass and drums simultaneously together. Followed with myself cranking out the rhythm tracks. We followed it up with lead guitar and vocals. It’s polished, but not overly polished and you can still sense that original energy that I imagined the song would have from the moment I started writing it. The making of the video was much the same. We planned out an excellent storyboard, but some things we did tweak on the fly. It was a rather large shoot as I think the whole video has around 15 separate actors or musicians in it. Not enormous or anything, but a rather large undertaking for an indie band that’s trying to keep to a budget. Ultimately, it turned out extremely well and I believe the audience will enjoy it upon its release. No date has been firmly picked just yet, but we’re shooting for around three weeks after the album hits the market.

 

TCS: From a song writing, studio recording, and accompanying music video perspective, can you share with us some of the background surrounding the second single from Through The Storm entitled “Daylight Takes The Dawn”?

I wrote “Daylight Takes The Dawn” (DTTD) back in 2012. It was always meant to be that song about an artist on the road missing his family. I pictured the cold weather and the long days of being away from the people that I love the most. Hopefully, most people will say that I sold that idea.

The recording of DTTD took place at Barbershop Studios in Hopatcong, New Jersey. You can find video of us actually tracking the song on our Facebook page. Quite a funny video! We had a blast though and tried to really sink our teeth into this song. It’s definitely a stand out track from our sophomore CD Through The Storm.

The video for DTTD was filmed, directed, and edited by the TV/Film department at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. The video was filmed on location at DeSales along with home scenes shot at mine and my wife’s current Townhouse in NJ. We simply stuck to the storyline conveyed in the song and tried our best to make it as realistic as possible for the audience. The weather even helped out nicely here in NJ by dropping some snow on the ground just in time for the filming. We had a wonderful team assigned to the project and we couldn’t be any prouder of this video. Everyone should check it out if they haven’t already! Also, share it like crazy on your social platforms!!! We truly need everyone’s support.

 

TCS: Aaron at what age did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?

AL: I always sang when I was younger. If I didn’t have the lyrics to a song, then I’d sit down with a piece of paper and listen to the song over and over until I had all the lyrics. It was a hobby of mine I guess, but it helped me later on when I started writing songs. I picked up the guitar at the age of 12. My best friend at the time played guitar. When I would go to his house he was always playing, so it became kind of boring just watching him play and I figured I should probably learn to play too. I played in a high school band. We played around my hometown at middle school dances, local festivals, we even played a wedding reception once. I was probably 18 though when I realized that music was something that I was very passionate about and that I wanted to pursue. From there I put myself through college at MTSU where I majored in the recording industry program. MTSU is one of the top recording programs in the country. I believe it was something like only 52 candidates made it into the program every semester. So, you started out with massive classes and by the time you were at the end of the program there might have been 15 people per class. I specifically put myself through that program because I wanted a career in music.


TCS: As a band what famous musicians do each of you admire and how have they influenced you both individually and collectively?

AL: I’m definitely a huge fan of 90’s music. The first rock band I really listened to was Live. From there I listened to Green Day, Bush, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Metallica and so many others that I’d be naming them all day. Once I was in high school I started listening to a lot of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I was actually nicknamed “Little Fogerty” because a lot of my fellow classmates thought I sounded just like John Fogerty. I was asked by teachers and students to sing in the middle of class and even in the middle of lunch one day. One of my football coaches was talking to another teacher about my singing and my coach said, “go ahead and sing for him.” I was a little hesitant, but did it anyways. The whole lunch room went silent and they just started listening to me sing. That was pretty cool and I think to this day that CCR and Fogerty has made my voice what it is. From there, I listened to bands like Lifehouse, Three Doors Down, Three Days Grace, Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman, Seether, Breaking Benjamin, Matchbox 20, and the list goes on. Every one of these bands taught me something about songwriting or writing lyrics with great imagery. I didn’t just listen to these albums I studied them.

Kenny Sheldon: When I first started playing guitar, I was heavily influenced by Live, and Metallica. Over the years my musical tastes have evolved, and I have Frank Zappa to thank (indirectly) for two of my essential developmental influences on guitar: Trey Anastasio (Phish), and John Petrucci (Dream Theater)…both of whom regard Zappa as a major influence of theirs.

Danny Rojo: Jaco Pastorius as he inspired me to play bass. I was playing guitar and clarinet, and the first moment I heard Pastorius playing bass, I decided the bass would be my signature instrument for the rest of my life, because of his sound, energy, and performance. Equally, I would say Eddie Van Halen because as a musician, I always admired innovation. I believe he’s the most innovative rock musician. He discovered sounds on the guitar that no one ever knew how to make before.

Matt Regan: For me, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), David Silveria (Korn), Chad Sexton (311), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden), Jeremy Taggart (Our Lady Peace), and Jose Pasillas (Incubus). I grew up playing along to all of these drummers and they’ve helped influence much of what I play today. Portnoy introduced me to drumming with a double bass drum pedal.

TCS: Can you describe for us the Everything Falls song writing, recording, and video production process behind the song “Sorry to Say” which appeared on the EP Fight From Within?

AL: I wrote the song “Sorry To Say” when I was 18. It’s a song that I’ve played and recorded with my band Linkous in Nashville and with Everything Falls. So, this song has been a standard song for me for almost 14 years now. I recorded the song with producer Scott Robinson at his Sonic Sweets Studio. On the track I played rhythm guitar, bass, and sang lead vocals and harmonies.

The video production was done by Taylor Morden and Joe Mach. They also did all of the set design. The storyline was created by my wife Mandy Linkous. We hired 3 individuals to be a part of the video. Nic Detorie played the lead actor along with our female lead Brittany Martz. Tara Brown was our second female actress. We shot the video over two days at a warehouse in Falls Church, VA. It was actually where Mike Smith and I worked. Our boss suggested and allowed us to use the space, which was a tremendous help. Taylor and Joe did an outstanding job with the production and I’ve been very proud to show that video to anybody and everybody that I can.


TCS: What types of guitars, drums, and other musical equipment does Everything Falls use?

AL: Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier through a Marshall 2 x12 cabinet. I have three guitars: White-Gibson SG, Black-Gibson Les Paul Studio, and a Red-PRS SE Singlecut.

KS: Guitars: PRS Custom 22 Artist Series, Jackson RR3 Rhoads V (mods: Seymour Duncan neck/bridge pickups), Epiphone Les Paul Standard (mods: Seymour Duncan neck/bridge pickups), Ibanez AF75 hollowbody. Amps: Hughes & Kettner (head), Marshall (head), Crate (cab), Orange (cab). Effects: MXR, BOSS, Ibanez, and BBE pedals.

DR: Custom-made Warwick Streamer Deluxe 5-string, a Fender Jazz vintage 1978 bass and a fretless Fender Precision 1976 bass. I use a Mark Bass head and cabinets (endorsed), EBS pedals (endorsed) and Audix microphones (endorsed).

MR: 5 piece Pearl Export Pro series with a Pearl Eliminator Demon Drive double bass pedal and Pearl Eliminator high hat. Cymbals are a mix of Sabian AAX Omni ride, O-Zone splash, and Omni crash. Sabian HHX china, crash, Paiste splash. Sabian high hats and a Sabian Portnoy Mini Max Stax splash and China kang.

TCS: Personally, one of my favorite songs originally off of the EP Fight From Within is the track called “Everything That You Wanted,” so can you share with us the meaning behind it?

AL: I wrote the song “Everything That You Wanted” around 2006 while living in Nashville. I was in college at the time and had been married for a little over a year to my wife. I think at that time I just felt like there was nothing that could stop me from accomplishing what I wanted in this world. So many times people had told me that it’s just a dream and that you’ll never be able to amount to anything in the industry. Or, that you’re crazy for even trying to do this. To be told that you’re not good enough or the many discouraging things people say. Even my own thoughts were sometimes the enemy because I would start to listen to what people had said. This was my answer back to all that negativity and I think it resonates with a lot of people.


TCS: What do you think separates Everything Falls from similar bands and keeps you guys motivated to continue as a group?

AL: From what most of our fans have said, it’s our songwriting. They have told us that they instantly realized this wasn’t just another garage band. The last EP sonically sounded amazing as well thanks to Scott Robinson. That has definitely catapulted us out there.

I’ve approached this band kind of like a solo artist and I’ve built this band around my songs and my voice. It was necessary for me to set things up that way because I have had to move several times and may still have to in the future due to my wife’s job. It’s been a blessing in disguise though because this design has allowed me to grow my sound and given me flexibility to maneuver the many pitfalls that you run into in this industry.

TCS: Can you describe for us the song writing and recording background with the song “Come On” which also appeared on the EP Fight From Within?

I wrote “Come On” in 2008 I believe. I wanted to get a bit of a party song going, so I started out with the riff you hear in the beginning of the song. I started mumbling some words and “Come On” just naturally fell into place. Once I had the chorus I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the verses, so I imagined a bit of a bar scene. When I finished it was basically a story about a woman every guy was trying to hit on, but she only had eyes for me. Producer Scott Robinson also recorded “Come On” at Sonic Sweets. It featured Mike Smith on bass, Evan Louis on lead guitar, and Jeff Miklaszewski on drums.


TCS: In what ways does Everything Falls market band appearances, sell merchandise, and stay connected to your fans?

Our email newsletters are our number one way to keep up with our fans. You can sign up by going to our ReverbNation page or through the widget on the home page of our website. There are monthly giveaways and sales that you will not hear about elsewhere. Additionally, we have an online store our fans can access through our website http://www.everythingfallsband.com.

To stay connected with Everything Falls, please visit the following:

TCS: Take us behind the scenes in the making of your sophomore EP entitled Through The Storm. What was your favorite part of its production and the most challenging from an artistic perspective?

AL: The tracking for the album was done in February of this year at the beautiful Barber Shop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ (Breaking Benjamin, Chad Smith, Warren Hayes, The Pretty Reckless, and a host of other greats have all recorded there). We spent three days there with producer Brody Greif. The studio was right on lake Hopatcong and at the time the lake was completely frozen over with snow all around it and it was a gorgeous view to take in every morning before we started tracking.

Honestly, I think everyone in the band has a different idea of what was the best part of production. Personally, my favorite is always tracking vocals. It’s that point when I get to hear everything finally coming together. One of the most challenging aspects that we had to deal with was maneuvering around the weather. I believe it snowed two out of three days that we were there. I think the second morning we showed up and the temperature was just above single digits. Not the best weather to load in a bunch of gear. Once we were at the studio we were working for 12-13 hours solid. In the end, everything turned out very well though and I strongly believe the fans are going to be thrilled with the new EP. The staff and interns were all very helpful and did an amazing job at Barber Shop. The studio manager Ryan Barber was a pleasure to work with as well.


TCS: Is there a particular venue that Everything Falls has always wanted to play? And, what other entertainer or entertainers would you most like to have play alongside you on that stage?

AL: Madison Square Garden in New York, but I’d also love to play at The Ryman Theatre and Riverfront Park in Nashville, TN. I would love to play alongside bands like Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Metallica, Three Doors Down, and Shinedown.

KS: In New York, I would love to perform at Radio City Music Hall or the Beacon Theatre. In Boston, I would love to play at the Orpheum Theatre or the House of Blues. However, the venue I would most like to play, which I consider to be the Holy Grail for all musicians who live, or have lived in Boston is Fenway Park. I’ve seen Paul McCartney, Phish, and Dave Matthews Band there. Every show there had an amazing vibe, and because I played baseball from T-Ball to high school, it had another intangible layer of sentimentality for me. So, I would most like to play a show at Fenway Park, opening (if not co-headlining) for The Dropkick Murphys. The energy in that place, for that band, in Boston…it must be absolutely bonkers! Out of control insanity that I would love for us to be a part of!

DR: For me, it would have to be either Wembley Stadium or Madison Square Garden. And, I would love to be up on that stage with Dave Grohl, Lzzy Hale, Eddie Van Halen, and Stevie Wonder.

MR: Alongside Rage Against The Machine at Woodstock.


TCS: What famous song do you wish you had been credited with writing and performing?

AL: That’s a tough question! I can think of a ton of great songs that I wish I had penned and performed. I would have to say “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers. That’s hands down one of the most beautiful songs ever written in my opinion.

KS: I find myself saying “Bohemian Rhapsody” whenever I’m asked this particular question. I mean, how can you not wish you wrote the greatest song in rock and roll history? As for performing it, even though Queen didn’t play the middle section, I’ve always wanted to perform the song in its entirety!

DR: Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil”.

MR: Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”.

TCS: What does the short and long-term outlook look like for Everything Falls?

AL: Short-term: We release our new EP. The leadoff single for the EP will be “Let It Go (Enemy)” and the video will be out shortly after the release of the album. We’re also in rehearsals right now to gear up for touring (no dates announced yet).

Long-Term: We hope to put out at least four singles from this EP all with their own video. We also intend to be back in the studio around the first of next year to start working on another EP.

Booking Everything Falls

For booking information, please contact Aaron Linkous via email at everythingfallsband@gmail.com.

Song List on Through the Storm (2015)

Everything-Falls-Through-The-Storm

  1. “Let It Go (Enemy)”
  2. “This Time”
  3. “Burn”
  4. “Breaking Free”
  5. “Daylight Takes the Dawn”

Song List on Fight From Within (2011)

Everything-Falls-Fight-From Within

  1. “Sorry To Say”
  2. “Come On”
  3. “Everything That You Wanted”
  4. “Understand”
  5. “Dying Day”

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Aandra Bohlen: Business Coach

Written by: Frank Iacono

Aandra-Bohlen-Header

Ever thought you’re not good enough, wondered if anyone would ever pay for what you offer, and are scared out of your mind to take big risks in your life? If you have then Aandra Bohlen is the right prescription for your state of mental health. Aandra will boost your confidence and clear your mindset so you’ll have what it takes to start and run a successful business.

Aandra is a 6-figure (soon-to-be 7-figures) Entrepreneur, Business Consultant, and Certified Empowerment Coach who’s not afraid to ask tough questions. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, nine to fiver, or seasoned entrepreneur, she helps business owners cultivate grit, clarify their ideas, set boundaries, and bust limiting beliefs so they can create, awaken, or maintain the business and lifestyle of their dreams.

Aandra is extremely passionate and highly energetic. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she helps clients create a balanced, healthy, passionate, and purposeful life. She finds creative ways for clients to share their passions and live the kind of lifestyle that doesn’t require them to give up freedom for money. She understands and respects that everything that her clients need is already within them. They just sometimes need the support of a consultant or coach to help draw it out.

So, if you’re prepared to go full-speed in your life and biz then you need to contact Aandra Bohlen today. Aandra provides telephone coaching services, holds classes and workshops, and offers entrepreneur tips, tricks, and other information through her website and social media avenues such as Facebook and Periscope.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aandra Bohlen and asking her questions about her career, her Biz B.A.B.E community, her Craft Camp, and her upcoming speaking engagements.

Q&A Session

The Creative Spotlight: For the benefit of those who may not be too familiar with you or your work, please describe for us your overall career at a glance?

Aandra Bohlen: I’ve worked with aspiring and new entrepreneurs for the last 8 years working with them on the basic fundamentals to launching a business but mostly incorporate my coaching into the sessions by working with my clients to remove the resistance, cultivate confidence, and bust limiting beliefs that are standing in the way of launching their business.

Aandra-Bohlen-Gritty

TCS: What would you say are the major similarities and differences between working with individuals and/or companies as a consultant and a coach?

AB: I actually don’t work with companies. I work with solo and soulful entrepreneurs who are ready to own their power and activate their gifts within to be of service to the world through their business.


TCS: What personal qualities do you feel that you bring to the individuals and/or companies that you work with that helps them develop into successful entrepreneurs?

AB: The greatest gift I bring to my clients is the intuitive ability to help them clear the blocks that are holding them back from launching their business. In reality, many aspiring entrepreneurs lack the skills, but that can be taught. What really holds them back is the WILL to see themselves as the entrepreneurs they aspire to be which is where I come into play. I am gifted in helping them build while breaking down and break through to their own gifts within.

Aandra-Bohlen-Freedom

TCS: Tell us about what you mean when you say it all starts with grit?

AB: GRIT is the success trait that is going to distinguish and develop the mental toughness required to be a successful entrepreneur. To be “gritty” means that you are willing to see your goals through LONG TERM, that your spirit can not be shaken in spite of the fears, obstacles, or setbacks. It essentially is saying that you have a GROWTH mindset vs. a FIXED mindset. I love talking about grit because in my experience it is the ONE indicator that is shared by some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there. From Oprah Winfrey to Gary Vaynerchuk they possess GRIT; courage, passion, delayed gratification, resilience, and guts.

To find out how gritty you are you can download the FREE guide to grit and take the test at http://aandrabohlen.com

Aandra-Bohlen-Grit

TCS: Please describe how aspiring entrepreneurs typically get tripped up in stop-start cycles.

AB: This is a cycle that I myself have found myself in. It’s not just exclusive to new entrepreneurs. Even the most successful entrepreneurs can find themselves feeling stuck or spinning but they quickly remember and move themselves through any fear, resistance, or confusion. Let’s face it, to own a business requires a hell of a lot more than intellect. It requires courage and confidence. Yet so many doubt themselves, lack the confidence, and struggle with discovering how they really want to show up in their business. This is where they start, then stop, then start, then stop again… They get in their own way. I specifically coach clients on how to stop the vicious cycle by first TELLING THE TRUTH about what it really is that is creating the “stop” in their journey to becoming a business owner. And let’s face it, this is NOT for everyone. Right now, it’s alluring. Everyone wants to be their own boss, but very few have what it takes. By working with me, I focus on helping clients develop and strengthen the characteristics that will need to be in place in order to own a business.


TCS: Provide us with some details concerning your four week group coaching Craft Camp that takes participants from refining to shining?

AB: This camp was created in response to many Periscope viewers saying they had no clue what their business point of view was and couldn’t clearly articulate WHO they serve and how to serve them. This is a group coaching program where I take the clients through identifying their core message, gaining clarity on who they truly want to serve, and developing their first of offer and how to present this offer to the marketplace. This essentially is helping them develop the foundation of their business. I’ve decided to beta-test this with the first wave of students which began on July 16, 2015 and the next wave began on July 30, 2015.

To stay connected with me and discover any future opportunities to take this course, please join my Biz BABE Facebook Mastermind group at http://aandrabohlen.com/joinbizbabes.

Aandra-Bohlen-Social-Media

TCS: Can you please provide us with specific details about your Biz B.A.B.E community?

AB: Biz B.A.B.E.S is a private FREE non-spammy mastermind community I’ve created on Facebook to bring bold, ambitious, beautiful entrepreneurs together who are ready to soar. Think of this group as a band of like-minded souls who want to position themselves where they are emotionally and spiritually walking their authentic, passionate, and profitable entrepreneurial path alongside other BABES. I’ve made it my mission to provide expert business advice, mindset support, peer support and exclusive mentorship from me, a six-figure business owner who has made it my mission to help other entrepreneurs achieve high levels of success. For now, this is a free group. However, because of the value that is given and the time I spend interacting with the group, it may at some point be even more exclusively available through a membership based entrance fee. So if you want to come on… come now!

Aandra-Bohlen-Biz-BABES

TCS: Tell us about the most exciting personal leadership productivity keynote speaker event that you’ve participated in? And, are there any upcoming keynote speaker engagements we should know about?

AB: The most powerful personal leadership group I participated in was with John C Maxwell on the 21 Laws of Irrefutable leadership. I am currently opening myself up to begin speaking with my first engagement set for October 17, 2015, in Tempe Arizona and the Spirit of Business Conference at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

For more information or event registration, please contact me 480-944-9244.

TCS: In what ways do you market your business, speaking engagements, and stay connected to your audience?

AB: I market my business, upcoming speaking engagements, and stay connected with my audience via the following vehicles:

Aandra-Bohlen-Straddling

TCS: As a Business Consultant and Certified Empowerment Coach, what has been the toughest challenge you’ve faced to date, and do you think it made you stronger as instructor and mentor?

AB: The greatest challenge I’ve faced to date was in re-identifying who I really wanted to serve. Just as I coach many entrepreneurs to claim who they serve, I found myself serving aspiring entrepreneurs who were eating up my help and support but weren’t taking the opportunity to grow themselves, thus their business seriously enough to actually invest in themselves through my courses and private coaching offerings. As a result, I recognized that my ideal client profile will evolve as I continue to evolve, thus I need to follow my own advice and continue to refine this as I’m clarifying who the best fit is for me. So while I still work with entrepreneurs I now will work with any entrepreneur whether they are new, aspiring or slightly seasoned who recognizes that they are stuck, stalling, or spinning in the gap and need me to help them up level and push themselves through the knothole, thus the gap to get to the other side of it.

TCS: Can you share with us a time when the training or coaching you delivered resulted in significant bottom line results for an individual and/or company?

AB: Because most of my coaching is mindset there are a ton of victories I can share when my clients are stuck in a space of inactivity and spinning. The bottom line for them is STARTING and that in itself is a success! Most recently one of my clients who was playing small in their business, as a result of our time together with my coaching/consulting they increased their prices and are now set to push through the first level of six-figures this year!

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Jack Morey: Morey’s Piers

Written by: Frank Iacono

jack-morey

For many generations, “Wildwood by the Sea”, famous for its free, wide, white, sandy beaches, and world class boardwalk, has long been considered the number one fun-filled family vacation destination. The Wildwoods’ award-winning boardwalk stretches along the beach for more than a mile and a half and features 38 blocks packed end-to-end with stores, shops, eateries, casino arcades, and, most notably three world-class amusement piers collectively known as Morey’s Piers.

Morey’s Piers, recognized as a premier regional entertainment destination, has been family owned and operated since 1969 and is currently run by brothers Will and Jack Morey. Will, President & CEO, and Jack, the Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, are second-generation partners in Morey’s Piers, an amusement business that got its start when their father, Will Morey and uncle Bill Morey, debuted a giant slide between 25th and 26th avenues in North Wildwood. Since then the Morey name has become synonymous with the Wildwoods. Morey’s Piers, designed in a carnival-like atmosphere, features over 100 rides and attractions, well-known eateries, as well as two beachfront waterparks.

Jack currently serves on the board of Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority as the chair of the strategic planning committee and the International Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Hall of Fame committee. He has served on numerous boards including, the Greater Wildwoods Chamber of Commerce, Boardwalk Special Improvement District, and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Morey and asking him a few questions about his life as Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Morey’s Piers, his love of the amusement business, his inspiration for opening fine dining experiences on the Wildwood boardwalk, his plans for a brand new big roller coaster project, and his book Fab-o-rama.

Q&A Session

TCS: In 1969, with the introduction of the famous giant slide called “The Wipe Out”, your father Will Morey Sr. and your uncle Bill got into the amusement business so how do you think the business and Morey’s Piers have both evolved over the years?

Jack Morey: The very essence of the entertainment product has not really changed. In our view amusement type entertainment is now and has always been about creating environment for the masses. While this requires a good understanding of popular culture it also requires a bit of a crystal ball or perhaps a belief that you can invite things that guests will like (my favorite!!!). For a brief period, we strayed to try to be and compete with the traditional theme park that attracts a high percentage of teenagers with extraordinarily expensive roller coasters, but learned the hard way that we could and should not do that. The Wildwoods are special first and foremost as a great family vacation place because of the “beach” and no theme park, not even Disney has that.

In the late 90’s we stumbled upon a gentleman, designer and social engineer named Steve Izenour from a world renowned architectural firm called Venturi Scott Brown. What he has contributed can be summarized in a memo he sent to me stating the following:

  • You can’t and shouldn’t try to make Wildwood into something it isn’t, a Disney, a theme park, etc.
  • Rather, your strategy should be to make the most of what you have. What Wildwood is, is one of the last real down and dirty, TACKY with a capital T, beach resorts. What you need to do is take Tacky to the new heights.
  • First, use your specialist, entertainment designers to help with the programming, getting the right mix of rides, food etc., but don’t let them design a whole pier. Instead, find some old fashion sign guys, painters, sculptors, etc. and you orchestrate with people who appreciate tacky.
  • Mix and match designers. And when you’re done, which you never are, you will have the biggest, gaudiest, brightest, tackiest piers in the world.

 

TCS: This summer, Morey’s Piers welcomed back Kong, a gorilla-themed amusement ride once a boardwalk landmark in the 1970s, as the new centerpiece of Surfside Pier. With that, can you tell us about the background story in bringing Kong back after 35 years?

JM: it is just as important for an amusement park to be about the past as it is the future. While a park that is fully built on nostalgia would likely be a disaster, tapping into certain elements of remembrance is important to the intangible qualities of a place. The origination of Morey’s Piers was based in no small part about custom one off attractions of which Kong was a big one. Our recent Ghost Ship haunted walk thru was another that was routed in the past, but one need not have lived in the past to appreciate it today. “Relevance is relative”. Once we decided on the ride element we focused on a method to do what my dad used to say,”Wildwoodize it”. This generally meant to make it unique to Wildwood and try not to go broke in the process. We decided to send our initial design concepts out to our guests for feedback and to our surprise we received over 6,000 comments (ouch, they didn’t love it!). The general consensus was that the look was not specific enough to Wildwood. So, off came the I heart NJ t-shirt and the Statue of Liberty and on went the I heart Wildwood and the famous tram car.

 

TCS: How thrilled were you to find out that your Water parks, Raging Waters Water Park and Ocean Oasis Water Park + Beach Club, were named #2 out of the country’s top 40 water parks, according to Foursquare?

JM: Like most of Morey’s Piers our water parks have evolved significantly over time. In the late 70’s they were limited to 3 simple water slides that guests would rent by the 1/2 hour. They were clearly front runners in the whole water park invention years. They became full-fledged water parks in the mid 80’s and then in the late 90’s we needed to take the 80’s out of the park (note the 80’s were the low point in American architecture). Like most things we do we attempt to lead the market as opposed to react to trends that others create. This is very risky business, but when the rankings come in we are reminded and grateful of what we do and why we do it.

 

TCS: How would you describe your target audience and how many visitors does Morey’s Piers attract on an annual basis?

JM: Our primary audience is families on vacation with young children. While we would not turn down older teenagers, we do not specifically build attractions for them and will continue for the foreseeable future to leave that to the Six Flags of the world. More recently we have made significant investments to also attract the parents of young children via the introduction of better foods and occasional spirits. Best we can calculate (we have not gate) is that our attendance is about 3.5 million people.

 

TCS: Can you share with us some of the weekday specials offered throughout the summer at Morey’s Piers? And, can you tell us about Morey’s Brunch Bunch and Morey’s Kids Kamp?

JM: Morey’s Piers offers our customers various weekday specials. For an updated listing of all of our specials, please visit: https://www.moreyspiers.com/tickets/specials

Brunch Bunch is a cartoon character breakfast on the upper deck at Joe’s restaurant that involves the whole family. Characters are the popular ones from Frozen, Cinderella, Spiderman and of course our very own Sunny the Seagull and Curley the French Fry. The brunch concludes with admission to the water parks.

Kids Kamp is a week long program for kids. They get to spend 1/2 a day doing various educational arts and crafts in addition to admission to the water parks. For the super value conscious we offer drastically reduced admission to the piers on Tuesdays.

moreys-kids-kamp-morey-brunch

TCS: Tell us how your father came up with the idea of having Breakfast in the Sky on the Giant Ferris Wheel on Morey’s Mariner’s Landing Pier while visiting California?

JM: I remember this vividly as it was during the last round of golf I ever got to play with my mom and dad. It was in Palm Springs at a beautiful golf course immersed in the natural surroundings. We were discussing how we could better integrate our own Jersey Shore natural resources into our product offerings. Since the beach is the number one natural resource that attracts our guests he came up with the idea of giving people an eye in the sky view of the shoreline. A number of years later we added the elegance and quirkiness of white table clothes and gourmet dining options.

 

TCS: In addition to Breakfast in the Sky, Morey’s Piers offers guests a wide variety of dining experiences, could you highlight some of them?

JM: Man cannot live on sweets alone so we have been heavily investing in experiences that are more varied and more elegant, but still unique and always a little quirky. Part of this effort was to hire our very own executive chef, Wally Jursuz. Joe’s FISH Co. is simply about fresh fish and the opposite of things you might expect on the boardwalk. Jumbos is a great place for large party’s and large quantities of food. Taco Joint has the best tacos this side of the border. And perhaps my favorite…Stubborn Brothers. Named after the yin and yangness of my brother Will and I, it celebrates the sibling rivalries in all families. It is one darn good beach bar with superb food (by Chef Betsy), superb drinks (join me most days at 5:30pm with my dog for a rum runner), and a superb up front and personal view of the beach and ocean. Add live music and you might just spend the entire day.

 

TCS: Can you describe for us the Haunted Ghost Ship attraction, better known as Ignis Fatuus, which launched on Mariner’s Pier in 2010?

JM: The Ghost Ship is a 10,000 square foot haunted walk thru attraction that pays a bit of homage to the great haunted houses of the boardwalk past. The actors are professionally trained to prey on the weak. The attraction is quite beautiful and a real boardwalk classic.

 

TCS: Can you share with us the inspiration behind opening Morey’s Fears: Terror on the Boardwalk Halloween Event and how it has evolved since it debuted in the fall of 2011?

JM: Unfortunately we have discontinued Morey’s Fears. It was truly a great performance, but in the end we are first and foremost a summer place and the distance to the major population areas was just too far to be successful.

 

TCS: Can you tell us about the [artBOX] which debuted as a new attraction on Morey’s Piers Adventure Pier in 2013?

JM: [artBOX] is a work in progress museum in the making. After being inspired by the creative and adaptive re-uses of shipping containers we decided to create a pier that was an alternative to the two other more classically themed piers. The [artBOX] is a studio and gallery of 11 shipping containers that has attracted local artist. The artist have helped to create a personality for the rest of the pier via creatively re-using old rides from our boneyard and converting them into works of public art for things like benches. Adventure Pier is all about extreme rides, live music, and of course art.

 

TCS: Share with us the background behind the book Fab-o-rama! A Wild Ride: The Story Of Morey’s Piers, Planet Earth’s Greatest Seaside Amusement Park?

JM: When our 40th anniversary snuck up on us we decided it was time to publish our first book. Having seen too many coffee book dust collectors we searched for a better way to tell our story without sticking to a purely chronologic method. The credit goes to Jack Wright of Exit Zero publishing whom appreciates tacky, quirky and history. A purposeful pun about the book is that it actually has two covers. One is Faborama (for my brother Will) and the other is Wild Ride (for me). Same exact interior ingredient, two completely opposite exteriors…get it? A video of the book launch is attached which is none other than a man being launched out of a cannon holding two books. That was a great day.

 

TCS: Over the last few years, we’ve heard about plans for the construction of a brand new big roller coaster project. With that, can you share with us some specific details about the ride, how much of a financial investment are you making, and how does it compare to other coasters across the country?

JM: Due to concerns for sufficient public parking we needed to place the proposed coaster on the back burner. The coaster would have been the most expensive attraction ever built in the Wildwoods by a factor of two and the risks were just too high without the proper governmental support for strategic long term parking concerns for the entire boardwalk entertainment district.

Go-Wild

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Kim Kalman: Singer and Songwriter

Written by: Frank Iacono
Kim-Kalman-Guitar

If music is a gift, then Kim Kalman, the Kill Devil Hills North Carolina-based singer and songwriter, received a major inheritance from her grandfather, George Kindler, who was a band leader with a hot swing band and had his own radio show in the 1940’s. Mr. Kindler was well-known for his killer riffs on a mean sax, he played it his way.

As Kim grew up and rocked her cradle to the big band sounds of her mother’s favorite golden oldies radio station in New Jersey, it became apparent that George Kindler’s granddaughter had inherited his passion for music.

Kim, a highly skilled acoustic guitarist, has a truly beautiful tone and sincerity to her voice. Her song selection and interpretation echoes her spirituality as she alternately lifts you, rocks you, soothes you, and seduces you in her own special way, much like her grandfather. Moonlight, Kim’s CD of original material, includes songs that have awarded her the honor of being named one of the top ten songwriters at the Kerrville Music Festival and Honorable Mention in the Billboard Song Contest.

It isn’t often that a gifted songwriter is also a gifted performer. Kim’s true passion for music is revealed in her performance… from fundraisers, special events, restaurants, and festivals to appearing as featured artist at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and Harrah’s Casinos in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe. In her unassuming way, Kim transforms a large auditorium into an intimate gathering of friends. One walks away from the earthy honesty of Kim’s performance feeling really good about him or herself.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Kalman, the Outer Banks busiest musician, and asking her a few questions about her musical influences, her passion for music, her career, and her new contemporary Christian CD release entitled At The Foot Of The Cross.

Q&A Session

TCS: At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a musician?

I started singing to the radio like most folks at an early age. I tried out for school choir as a 4th grader but didn’t get in! However, I did get into the band on flute though. The following year there was a new choir director and I was accepted. But, I didn’t really want to be a “musician” ─ I just wanted to sing in the choir at that point.

Kim-Kalman-Guitar-Dogs

TCS: What was the first genre of music you loved and who were among some of your early musical influences? And, why?

I don’t know that there was a specific “genre” I first loved at the time, just what was on the radio in the 60’s and 70’s such as singers/songwriters such as Dan Fogelberg, The Carpenters, Bread, James Taylor, Janice Ian, Joan Baez…and this list goes on. At the same time, my Mom especially listened to a radio station, WNEW out of New York City, playing Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Judy Garland ─ today we call them “the standards.” I loved good lyrics and melodic melodies ─ still do.

TCS: Take us back to when you first started playing guitar and fell in love with the instrument? And, what was the first tune you learned to play?

Our choir director in 5th and 6th grade, Mrs. Cheryl Elmeger, played guitar so that’s when I decided I wanted to play the guitar instead of the flute much to my Dad’s dismay as he had just signed the school contract and paid the annual rental fee for the instrument.

I was 10 years old and very much an introvert so the playing guitar was a form of expression. The first tune I learned was probably out of a Mel Bay Guitar Book i.e. “Sidewalks of New York.” I took lessons for a year with an instructor who was trying to teach me “Flamingo” so I learned/played A LOT of arpeggios. At some point I broke my finger playing baseball on the school playground and had to stop lessons for 3-4 months. I picked it up with a different instructor at some point but wasn’t happy with his technique so I taught myself from there on playing at school functions, Girl Scouts, and church throughout high school.

Kim-Kalman-Guitar-Playing

TCS: How do you think graduating from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a business management degree has helped you launch, manage, and market your musical career?

Well if nothing else it gave me the confidence and tools to work other jobs before going with music full-time. It also gave me some great contacts in the Williamsburg and Tidwater Virginia area to start booking venues. It’s also where I did music ministry (Campus Catholic Student Association) and got my first hotel management job which lead to developing a lounge I sang in and learned country tunes per requests. Williamsburg was the place I was supposed to be. William & Mary College was a great experience personally and academically.

TCS: With regard to your musical career, what did you do after graduating from the College of William and Mary?

I graduated William & Mary in May 1982 with a degree in business management thinking I was going to go back to banking or Bell Labs (I had done both in part time positions previously). The summer prior to graduation my voice teacher, who was very connected in the community, (I had taken voice as an elective on a dare from some music buds) got me an audition with a local hotel which lead to a balladeering position in their restaurant where I would stroll from table to table offering a song (this was very big in the colonial section of Williamsburg so I was in 18th century attire doing mostly 18th century style material ─ not my favorite but it was a great opportunity).

Kim-Kalman-Recording

Before graduating, during the winter months, they were kind enough to give me a position in the office with a VP in sales as my mentor. With her help and the help the hotel and restaurant managers, we opened a lounge on the property in an unused banquet room. I would sing in the restaurant early evening and manage the lounge late night.

In addition to that, I had been offered a youth ministry position with a local church (their first youth minister). Part time ministry positions never stay part time in hours (but do financially). Needless to say I was burning the candle at both ends AND in the middle! But don’t all college grads work 60-80 hours/week when they are climbing the “ladder”? Eventually the lounge job disappeared but I continued singing there and at several other venues in the Williamsburg, Richmond, and Norfolk Virginia area ─ wherever I could drive to within a reasonable distance. I built a good repeat business booking myself, developed a following, started a mailing list, and released my first recording. I also continued the ministry position for 3 years. When my grandmother died suddenly, life put on the brakes and I had an epiphany to do music full-time. I was singing 7 nights/week, sometime 2-3 gigs before that decision so it was not a difficult one to make. I was also in graduate school for a Master’s in Education with 3 classes to go so opted out of that ─ it was night school program and in direct conflict w/singing at venues.

In 1988, I decided to move to Los Angeles, California to continue working on my music. I took some writing courses, started playing venues and was back up to speed performing 7 nights/week in no time. I recorded most of the tunes on what is now The Early Years in LA with the prodding of music buds. I also recorded a Christmas CD entitled A Christmas To Remember (which is no longer in print) as a fund raiser for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The project, backed by local businesses and musicians, went on to raise $13,000 for the cause.

TCS: Share with us your work as a soloist and song leader at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina?

When I landed in the Outer Banks, I had no interest in getting involved in music ministry. I owned a restaurant which was 24/7 consuming and was singing at other venues as well as my own. I got drafted by a “friend” at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in 2004 who I had done ministry with in Virginia.

What I do at Holy Redeemer, is choose music that is within the vocabulary of the faith community to compliment the liturgy and lead them in song, which for me and hopefully for them, is a form of prayer. What I did was answer the call that had been put on my heart in my very early years ─ when I realized what Jesus had done for me. In return, this gift is what I have to give back. I love leading song at mass ─ it is an incredible experience for me and I hope that translates to the community.

TCS: Describe to us your performance set when you play at some of the Outer Banks places such as the Jockey’s Ridge Crossing, Sea Ranch Resort Beachside Bistro, Avenue Grill & Events, and the Christian Music Summer Concert Series? And, do you perform around the country as well?

My restaurant gigs are usually between 2-4 45 minute sets and are a mix of cover tunes and originals and material from my CDs (mostly secular).

The material at the Christian Music Summer Concert Series is material from my Christian CDs. The event benefits our Beach Food Pantry and Interfaith Community Outreach (ICO). The musicians donate their time and talent, our audience is asked to consider donating their treasure to our causes by way of our love offering baskets.

Yes, I try to travel outside of the area September through mid-June. From mid-June through Labor Day I try to stay booked 7 nights/week in the Outer Banks at venues along with weddings.

TCS: How special was it being named one of the top ten songwriters at the Kerrville Music Festival and Honorable Mention in the Billboard Song Contest?

I was totally surprised by both and obviously very excited. The Kerrville Music Festival was in Napa, California which was a beautiful area to sing ─ big outside stage, on a gorgeous Fall day.

The Billboard Contest was very cool. I’m not into contests but that was one of those things I thought I’d try. I was living in LA at the time so there was a lot of support from my musician buds to take these chances ─ hence I did.

TCS: How excited are you about the release of your new CD entitled At The Foot Of The Cross?

This is a wonderful CD and I feel it’s very “me”, very real for where I am currently in my journey. I pick the material so the songs are obviously ones that spoke to me and I hope they speak to the listener.

At The Foot Of The Cross is available along with my other Christian CD releases after the Masses that I minister at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Additionally, the CDs can be purchased through my website or by mail via PO Box 1993, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948.

TCS: “Sweet Redeemer” from your first contemporary Christian CD release entitled I’m Not Alone is one of my favorite songs so can you tell us about the arrangement and the musicians who joined you on that track?

This CD was recorded with my long time award winning producer Kenny Royster at Direct Image in Nashville (as are all of my CDs).

The musicians are also folks I’ve been recording with since I lived in Nashville and first recorded with Kenny (early 1990s). Jon Conley on electric guitar, Dave Francis on bass, Dennis Holt on percussion, Pat McGrath on acoustic guitar, Dennis Wage on keyboard – all have a slew of credits to their music and are awesome players and musicians in their own rite – great guys – we always have a lot of fun being creative!

The backup vocals are Vicki Hampton, Robert Bailey and Kim Fleming: folks who sing with Wynonna Judd, Garth Brooks, and Martina McBride to name a few – awesome talents and beautiful hearts!

TCS: Describe the last time you wrote a song highlighting how it came about and describe how it turned out?

We’re going back a few years – I haven’t written any “songs” since the 80’s-90’s and they are on 2 CDs: Moonlight and The Early Years. Some are solo writings and some are collaborations. One I remember writing from Moonlight: “Strong & Tall” – I was driving to VA from Nashville, it was raining lightly, I was absorbing the scenery, my Mom was battling cancer and my folks were gonna be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. I kinda put myself in their shoes writing the lyric. I’m happy to say, my Mom’s in remission and they’ll be celebrating their 56th in November.

Kim-Kalman-Performing

TCS: What’s the most unusual venue that you’ve ever played a show or made a recording? How did the qualities of that place affect the show/recording?

I don’t remember any unusual venues although I’m sure there have been some – maybe awkward is a better word – like the bachelor party I got pulled into one night while singing at Tony Roma’s on 57th in New York City. I think that was the first & last for that kind of “venue” for me but the show must go on so I did my best.

TCS: Does the size of the venue and/or audience affect your performance?

I’d like to say no but I know it does from a comfort level…I feel more comfortable in smaller intimate settings.

TCS: What type of events do you typically perform at?

Restaurants, weddings: beach or church, masses or services, workshops/retreats, funerals, Living Room Concerts ─ yes I do fund raisers depending on the organization…and I just got my first song placed in a television movie: LA Dirt which has not been released yet. Look for it on Country Music Television (CMT) in the Fall.

TCS: How do you market your songs, albums, merchandise, and appearances?

Because I’m an indie musician, all funds come from my pockets so merchandise is marketed on my Kim Kalman Website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, CD Baby and at performances.

In the past, I have had my Christmas CD, A Christmas to Remember, in retail stores here in the Outer Banks because I was donating part of the sales to Feline Hope Cat rescue and Feeding America.

TCS: On your website, tell us what fans of you and your music can do or learn about Kim Kalman?

You can head over to KimKalman.com now and do the following:

  • Sign Kim’s guestbook
  • Listen to Kim’s CD’s
  • Read Kim’s Blog
  • Learn More About Kim
  • Discover Kim’s Performance Schedule
  • Sign Up For Living Room Concerts
  • Schedule a Signing Telegram
  • Schedule Your Wedding Celebration
  • Book Kim For Your Event
  • Read Articles and Reviews
  • See Photo Gallery
  • Sign Up For Kim’s Email Updates
  • Contact Kim
  • Join me on Facebook
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Watch Kim’s Videos On YouTube

TCS: Tell us how one can go about booking a Kim Kalman concert right in their own living room?

I love doing Living Room Concerts! Usually 10-30 folks and some kind of food event: a reception (i.e., wine and cheese, desserts and coffee) or a pot luck dinner. I sing and share stories about my music for about 50-60 minutes: just me and my guitar. CDs are available for purchase. It’s a fun, intimate evening – I get to know the listeners and they get to know a little bit of me.

TCS: Additionally, I noticed on your website that visitors can order an in-person singing telegram anywhere in the Outer Banks so can you tell us a little about that?

Singing telegrams started for Valentine’s Day one year. WAVY TV Channel 10 came down from VA Beach & filmed me presenting a surprise song to Liz from her then boyfriend Stevie. It was great for all involved and the TV audience got to share the surprise and love. I have since done a few at restaurants, homes, offices, the boatyard, and even one via Skype!

If someone is interested in booking me for their event, there is an inquiry form on my Kim Kalman website/ that can be filled out or you can send me an email: kim@kimkalman.com.

TCS: What do you feel is the best and worst part of being a musician?

If it is truly your passion, as with any other thing one is passionate about, the best and the worst is how you answer the call. In my case, I am the product (artist) and the booking agent – sometimes hard to wear both hats. Since it is also how I make my living, it can be challenging at times – but what occupation isn’t?

In your opinion, what would life be like without music?

For me without music, my life would be pretty dull and boring.

TCS: What specific advice do you have for female artists wanting to become singers, songwriters, and/or performers?

Education is everything: music and business….and in the words of St Francis de Sales: “Be who you are and be that well!” Believe in yourself. Work with people you like and respect. Say yes to opportunity. Step out of the box and answer the call! Listen to your heart.

Song List on At The Foot Of The Cross (2013)

Kim-kalman-at-the-foot-of-the-cross

1. At The Foot Of The Cross
2. How Great Is Our God
3. Callin’ My Name
4. Mary Did You Know
5. Given For The World
6. Our God Is Here
7. I Will Follow
8. Heart Of My God
9. Till I Turn To You
10. On The Way

Song List on I Look to You (2010)

Kim Kalman I Look To You

1. Come To Jesus
2. Where I Belong
3. Just a Closer Walk With Thee
4. I Look to You
5. Standing On the Promises
6. Amazing Grace
7. I Rejoice
8. Be Thou Near to Me
9. Only in God
10. Footprints in the Sand
11. Testify to Love
12. How Great Thou Art

Song List on Let the Door Swing Wide (2008)

Kim Kalman Let The Door Swing Wide

1. Make Me A Channel
2. You Raise Me Up
3. Daughter Of God
4. Be With Me Lord
5. Still
6. So We Will Worship
7. Wonderful, Merciful Savior
8. Door Swing Wide
9. Who Am I
10. In Your Hands

Song List on I’m Not Alone (2007)

Kin Kalman I'm Not Alone

1. Surely
2. Take This Offering
3. Let Me
4. This Is The Day
5. God With Us
6. Sweet Redeemer
7. I’m Not Alone
8. Indescribable
9. Holy Is His Name
10. Carry Me

Song List on A Christmas to Remember (2007)

kim kalman A Christmas To Remember

1. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
2. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
3. I Heard the Bells
4. Cool Yule
5. Silent Night
6. A Christmas to Remember
7. Christmas Can’t Be Very Far Away
8. Joy to the World
9. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
10. Christmas Again

Song List on At Last (2005)

Kim Kalman At Last

1. I Only Have Eyes for You
2. Fly Me to the Moon
3. Crazy
4. Almost Like Being in Love
5. Since I Feel for You
6. My Buddy
7. On a Slow Boat to China
8. Unforgettable
9. All of Me
10. At Last

Song List on Moonlight

kim Kalman Moonlight

1. Move Me With Your Heart
2. We Could Teach Cupid
3. Kiss Of Til Then
4. Blame It On The Moonlight
5. Strong And Tall
6. Only Old Lovers Know
7. Ain’t That Love
8. Roses In December
9. Til Angels Sleep
10. Life’s Too Short

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.

Jeremiah A. Iannacci: The Artful Runner

Written by: Frank Iacono

Jerry-Iannacci

Allow me to introduce you to The Artful Runner, Jeremiah (Jerry) A. Iannacci. Jerry is an artist and Art Teacher from Eddystone, Pennsylvania. He has been producing drawings and paintings focusing on his primary interests — distance running, baseball, scenes from American life, and the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen (since February 2012) for the past seven years. The Artful Runner marks the first time that all of the various images he created will be displayed and available for purchase online at http://theartfulrunner.vpweb.com.

Jerry grew up in Eddystone, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his parents, two brothers and sister. At different times in his life, his small row home included extended family consisting of his maternal grandparents and his paternal grandmother. Eddystone is a working class town along the banks of the Delaware River. The industries that line the river’s edge and the small town life the borough provided has distinctly influenced his art to this day. In fact, many of his works, feature references to family, friends and places that played key roles in his life.

The Artful Runner was first formed as Facebook Fan Page in 2011, after Jerry came up with the name by combining two of his favorite subjects: Art and Running. In the future, the goal is to open an Artful Runner Gallery and Cafe in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Specific locations are still being considered.

Part of The Artful Runner philosophy is to help others. In that regard, Jerry set up a scholarship fund in memory of his brother, Thom (an accomplished jewelry designer) and his mother, Anna M. (a fan of all things creative) at Ridley High School. The Iannacci Family Scholarship for the Arts will be awarded annually to student(s) in the visual and performing arts. For more information on how to donate to the fund, please contact him or leave a message in his Guest Book.

In this edition of The Creative Spotlight, I had the pleasure of interviewing artist Jeremiah A. Iannacci, the creator of The Way of The Boss — Art Inspired by The Lyrics of Bruce Springsteen, a series of water-color, acrylic, oil paintings, prints and drawings that illustrate specific lyrics from his song extensive list.

Q&A Session

CS: When did you first discover your creative talents?

I have been drawing and painting since I was a kid. In grade school, at St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone, Pennsylvania I was always the class artist. Teachers and other students would ask me to draw things for class. In high school, I was fortunate to transfer to Ridley and meet Mrs. Joan Costello . Mrs. Cos, as she was known, made sure I used my talents wisely and pursued improvement constantly. My dad would always draw when I was a kid and my grandfather was a master sculptor and stone mason.

CS: Who would you say influenced you the most for becoming an artist?

I would have to list a whole group of people who influenced my desire to pursue art as a career. But, the person who most influenced me most was my mom. She encouraged me to go to art school at Kutztown University, even after I tried to go in a completely different direction.

CS: Who is ultimately your favorite artist (please explain why)?

My favorite artist is a complicated question. The artists of the Italian Renaissance are the greatest artists of all time. They created the language all other artists use to this day. Rembrandt is also a master of the art of painting. However, the artists I like the most are the Ash Can School.

It is a distinctly American style and captured the essence of early to mid-20th Century ordinary life.

If I had to choose one artist, it would be Edward Hopper. Hopper created the iconic image, Nighthawks that made an immediate impression on me as a teenager.

CS: Do you feel that you’ve developed a unique identifiable style through your artwork? If so, please describe that style and why you selected it?

I’m not sure that my style is fully evolved yet. It has been described by most as semi-realism.

CS: Please share with us what inspired the following works:

Most of the images (all except for Playing Catch, Winter Running Group, and I Don’t Run For Medals) are inspired by specific lyrics from Bruce Springsteen songs. They are part of a project I began a year or so ago.

Roll Down the Window and Let the Wind Blow Back Your Hair – is inspired from Thunder Road, a classic road trip song and my favorite song ever recorded.
Running Barefoot on the Beach – is inspired from Seaside Bar Song, a lesser known Springsteen song about summer nights at the beach.
Change Your Shirt, Tonight We Got Style – is inspired from Meeting Across the River, a song requested by oldest brother, Mike. It has been his favorite as long as I can remember.

artful-runner-images

When I See You Walking with Him– is a line inspired from a song called I Wish I Were Blind. The song is about a break up and the guy seeing his ex with her new man.
Looking for that Million Dollar Sound – is a line inspired from the song The Promise from the period between the success of Born To Run and the release of Darkness on the Edge of Town. It is a full to disc set of unreleased songs from that period. The Promise was long thought to be one of the greatest song ever penned by Springsteen, despite never actually appearing on any album. The song chronicles the life paths of a group of friends. It is brilliant.
I’ll Do the Work that God Provides – is inspired from Jack of All Trades from the Wrecking Ball cd, it chronicles a guy desperate for the work that will provide for his family. It is a theme throughout the songs on the cd that addresses the current state of American life, rich get richer and everyone else struggles to live their American Dream.

The artful runner

Church Doors Flung OpenMy City of Ruins is a song written about the demise of Asbury Park, NJ; but, in the aftermath of 9-11 it became a hymn of revival and redemption. It is now part of the live show when Springsteen recalls the lost members of the E Street Band. The image depicts a church in a desolate part of town, where the preacher still preaches, but the congregation is gone. The sky above suggests a heavenly presence despite the bleak foreground scene.
Wearing the Cross of my Calling – was inspired by the song The Rising and was suggested by long time friend and Chicago city fire fighter, John Joyce. While the obvious scene shows a fire truck with a firefighter leaping from the rig, the right side of the image shows a chaplain with rosary beads in hand. He offers prayers for those fighting the fire and the possible victims inside the burning building. The chaplain symbolically represents Father Mychal Judge, the first casualty of 9-11 on the ground in NYC.
She Stares Alone into the Night – is taken from Racing in the Street, a song about racing cars and relationships with girls, youthful exuberance and the loss of it…I read a quote where Steve Van Zandt (E. Street Band guitarist) commented about the two original versions of the song. In the other, the car racing guys were without female companionship. Little Steven, as he is known, told Springsteen “there has to be a girl, there is always a girl”.

The artful runner

As mentioned, the other three works were influenced and inspired by my other favorite things to do – run and play baseball.

Playing CatchPlaying Catch could be a father and a son or brothers, depending on the viewer. It is one of the simple joys in life, two gloves and a ball on a baseball field or in the yard.
Winter Running Group – shows a group of intrepid runners meeting on what is obviously a cold and dreary day. The inscription across the top is borrowed from the old Postman’s Creed.
I Don’t Run For Medals – is more personal and a statement of my beliefs. My running medals never meant much to me, I’ve always run for other reasons.

Jerry-Iannacci-the-artful-runner

CS: Which of your artwork pieces is your favorite and why?

Having a favorite drawing or painting is sort of akin to having a favorite child for a parent. I am happy with the results of most of the work I’ve done, but see more problems with them than most other people. I like the image I created for the song Factory a lot. It depicts a guy entering the gate of a factory. The guard-house at the entrance is stone and symbolizes my paternal grandfather and the guard inside is based on my maternal grandfather. I really like the image for Walk Like a Man. It is specific to the song, yet universal to the experience of fathers and sons on the beach. I’ve done some drawings for a book that I’ve written called, Winter On The Pond, about kids playing pond hockey. I really like some of those drawings too.

Jerry-Iannacci-artful-runner

CS: If you had to describe yourself in 5 words what would they be?

5 words – Son, Brother, Uncle, Step Dad, Artful Runner…I know, that is 6.

CS: What types of art do you most prefer (please explain why)?

I prefer realistic or semi-realism in painting, drawing and printmaking. I like to be able to see recognizable things and interpret the meaning of the work.

CS: Where have you displayed your artwork in the past?

I have shown work at the Community Art Center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania; a now defunct gallery in Olde City Philadelphia, and at Kutztown University.

CS: How did you come up with idea behind the name The Artful Runner?

The Artful Runner combines my love of running with my creative side and is a play on the Artful Dodger of Dickens’ fame.

The Artful Runner

CS: Can you tell us about the concepts for Art in a Pub Night I and II, the featured art work and ultimately the benefactors?

The idea of Art Nights in a Pub, Tap Room or other non-traditional art venue is an attempt to bring art to places where it can be seen by people who don’t go to galleries and museums. The gallery world is not my world. The idea of taking art to the people is something that just came to me one day while running. I pitched the idea to my cousin, Dave Magrogan – owner of Kildare’s Irish Pubs, and thought it would be great. Bars are just the first venue I am exploring, I hope to do home parties or events at youth organizations to help the, raise money to defray the costs for families who want their kids to participate in athletics. In fact, Artful Runner work will be used at two other fundraiser events on April 6th, Nall AC beef & beer at Tom & Jerry’s Sports Bar and Ridley Ice Hockey Alumni Day.

The Art Night format begins with a video presentation that chronicles The Way of The Boss (TWOTB) project from its beginning in February 2012 until now. It continues with a presentation of a selection of other works in a narrated slide presentation. That is followed by a Q&A about the work. There is always a raffle of posters with Artful Runner images on them with proceeds dispersed to charities selected for each event. At the first night, all of the images were from the TWOTB collection, as the event was the debut of that work. The second event raffle will include other The Artful Runner images.

The Artful Runner

When I came up with the idea of the Artful Runner, part of what I wanted to do was to use my work to help others. That could mean creating a drawing or painting for a child or adult suffering from illness or as a fundraising tool for worthy causes.

The money raised at Kildare’s was split between three groups – MANNA, NICK SMILES ON THE FINE ARTS FOUNDATION, and The IANNACCI SCHOLARSHIP FOR THE ARTS at Ridley HS.

The 2nd Art Night will benefit The IANNACCI SCHOLARSHIP and RIDLEY BABE RUTH BABSEBALL.

Art-In-A-Pub Night

CS: How much do you charge for your artwork?

I try to keep my work affordable to working class people like my parents always were. It is disappointing to me that fine art is the privilege of the wealthy in this country. Art galleries charge ridiculous commissions for work and look down upon people of lesser means when they walk through the door. That is not what art should be about. My digital prints range from $5 – $20, posters are $20-$45, original water colors $25-$100, and larger acrylic or oils range from $200 on up. Digital prints are always buy 2, get one half price and I offer a 10 prints for $100 special as well.

CS: How do you bridge the gap of the business side of designing your art work?

The business side of Art is frustrating, to be honest. But, I try to make my work available to as many people as possible by creating images that can be made into digital copies and offered at a reasonable price point.

CS: What’s the best and worst thing about being an artist?

The best thing about being an artist is having the ability to create things that don’t actually exist or recreate moments that have passed. The worst thing, not sure there is a worst thing. I guess it would be the business side of the work.

CS: From a purely artistic perspective, where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?

My goal for 5-10 years from now would be to have a gallery/cafe called The Artful Runner to display and sell art work and show other artists’ work as well. It would be a breakfast & lunch spot with an eclectic menu of sandwiches, inspired by my dad’s love of sandwiches. We would sponsor a team of runners to complete in road and trail races and continue our Art Nights as well.

CS: Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?

To young aspiring artists, I say this; simply…follow your dream. Even if you are side-tracked by the real world and finding an actual job to support yourself, continue to find time to create. Use social media to promote your work to friends, family, others. You never know where that may lead. A year ago, I was teaching elementary school art and my students and colleagues encouraged me to get my work out there for all to see. In the words of a Springsteen song, “it takes a leap of faith to get things going…”

About Frank Iacono

Frank Iacono - The Creative Spotlight

Frank Iacono is a highly skilled results-oriented Strategic Marketing Professional with proven critical thinking, problem solving, and project management skills, developed through more than 20 years of experience concentrated in integrated marketing strategies. Frank brings a thorough, hands-on understanding of marketing strategies and technological platforms as related to applications available for web design, content development, email marketing, site and campaign analytics, search marketing and optimization, service and product marketing, lead and demand generation, social media, and customer retention.

Frank has a BA degree in English/Communications and Marketing from Cabrini College, and he received his Webmaster Certification from Penn State Great Valley.