Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jesse James Early Morning Hammertime, From Vimeo

Jesse James hammering a Aluminum grill shell for the Circuit of the Americas Roadster on a 1930's Yoder Power hammer

Say Your Prayers For The Cosmic Commander

I hate getting phone calls and finding out about the news of a fellow rider going down. My heart goes out to everyone that knows the Cosmic Commander or have witnessed his amazing talents around a wrestling ring. After meeting him last summer at our Rock N' Rassle Apocalypse, he was nothing short of one great individual that I would have enjoyed getting to know better. His injuries are massive, so please keep him in your prayers. All hail the Cosmic Commander of Wrestling. To my fellow biker brethren, ride safe...

Check out the video below and go to 3:20 and listen to one of the great tirades by the Cosmic Commander


The Cosmic Commander, Shorty The Ref and Jeff Clayton of Antiseen - photo © Lance Dawes
Necro Butcher, John, Jeff Clayton, Cosmic Commander, Phil, Beastmaster Rick Link and Joe Young - photo © Lance Dawes
The Cosmic Commander, Shorty The Ref and Jeff Clayton of Antiseen - photo © Lance Dawes
The Cosmic Commander stalking the ring - photo © Lance Dawes
The Cosmic Commander talking trash and making the show - photo © Lance Dawes

Monday, July 29, 2013

Experiments In Speed and Pushing The Limits

"Experiments in speed. Inspired by those great men of the salt flats, those men that in the 60s pushed the Land Speed Record from the 300s up towards the 600mph mark in jet-propelled cars built in their sheds. We decided to do what we do: build a bicycle, but this time, in the spirit of those pioneers of speed, build it to see how fast we could go…"

donhoubicycles.com
spindleproductions.co.uk

Director | Greg Hackett
Editor | Tim Swaby
Production Company | Spindle Productions
Sound Recordist | Adam Williams
Camera Assistant | Greg Harris
Production Assistant | Dickon Ireland
Aerial Cameras | Ben Kenobe Ben Sturgess Chris Ridley
Photographer | Tristan Conor Holden
Composer | Daniel J. Harvey


Experiments in Speed from SpindleProductions on Vimeo.

Tesco Vee Of The Meatmen Announcing Antiseen Show

ANTiSEEN 30 YEAR ANTiVERSARY SHOW!

Tremont Music Hall - Charlotte, NC

ANTiSEEN, THE MEATMEN, THE HOOKERS Sat, October 5, 2013 Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Carolina Still - The Color of Rust, 12" Vinyl Record Has Arrived and Now Shipping

The Carolina Still vinyl records have finally arrived and they are being processed for orders. These are limited to 500 copies. Order your copy now: http://tinyurl.com/ny25ogy


Carolina Still - The Color of Rust - Album Cover Process Illustration from Rusty Knuckles on Vimeo.


Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in red, green and blue
Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in red
Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in blue
Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in green
Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in red, green and blue
Carolina Still - The Color of Rust on colored translucent vinyl in red, green and blue

Hal Lasko, The Pixel Painter

Time and time again, the human spirit shows itself to be a notion of beauty and humility. Reality TV creates so called stars out of thin air, with their inflated ego's and me, me, me attitudes. This leaves me as a viewer feeling, as if part of my life was just taken away. Real soul is found all around us, but you just have a look a bit harder. Watching this short film about Hal Lasko further instills the notion that the fire within, keeps us alive and healthy. 

Here is to you Hal, for such a strong spirit and making me feel damn inspired to go out and make more of each day.



The Pixel Painter from The Pixel Painter on Vimeo.

"Hal Lasko, better known as Grandpa, worked as a graphic artist back when everything was done by hand. His family introduced him to the computer and Microsoft Paint long after he retired.

Now, Grandpa spends ten hours a day moving pixels around his computer paintings. His work is a blend of pointillism and 8-Bit art.

Meet 97-year-old Hal Lasko, The Pixel Painter"

Director: Josh Bogdan (joshbogdan.com)
Director: Ryan Lasko
Editor/Writer: Josh Bogdan
Director of Photography: Topaz Adizes (topazadizes.com)
Original Music: Jarrod Pedone
Original Music: Tyler H. Brown (thbproductions.com)
hallasko.com

Death Is Not The Worst Of Evils...

Death is not the worst of evils... The phrase is the rest of New Hampshire's state motto, "Live Free or Die". Amazing illustration work by tattoo wizard Scott Bramble. Damn stoked to have finally met him up in PA and talked shop.

Check out more of Scott Bramble's work

Scott Bramble illustration "Death Is Not The Worst of Evils"
 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

FIDLAR - Cocaine, Featuring Nick Offerman From Parks & Recreation

Can You Create A Hit Song In Under A Day?

Can lightning actually be trapped in a bottle? I guess that is just a matter of what you refer to as "lightning." In this case, lightning could be a song idea or a concept that needs to be brought to life through a positive charge of electrical energy. Years could be spent crafting just the right tempo and chord structure, then the eureka moment happens. Enjoy the read and listen on these well known songs that were all brought to fruition in less than a day.
 

David Bowie - Getty Images
"Bob Dylan once said "Tangled Up in Blue" took him ten years to live and two years to write. Sure, some singers pore laboriously over lyrics and melodies, but some plug out classic tunes in no time flat. Here's a tip of the cap to seven speed demon songwriters who whipped up some of their biggest hits in a matter of hours—if that.

1. Mott the Hoople, “All the Young Dudes”



Perennially underachieving Mott the Hoople almost called it quits in 1972 before David Bowie—probably assuming the messianic role of his glam rock alter ego, Ziggy Stardust—swooped in to save the band. He offered up “Suffragette City” if it meant the band would stave off breakup plans. Mott the Hoople’s bassist, Pete Overend Watts, turned it down.

Bowie called Watts two hours later, saying: “I’ve written a song for you since we talked, which could be great.” That song, penned by Bowie while sitting cross-legged on the floor of a room in Regent Street, London in front of Mott vocalist Ian Hunter, was “All the Young Dudes.”

2. The Rolling Stones, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”



Guitarist Keith Richards was passed out in the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida when he woke up, pulled out the tape recorder he carried with him, and recorded the riff to “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Richards recorded himself saying “Can’t get no satisfaction” before dropping his guitar pick and falling back asleep.

When he woke up and played back his tape, it was “two minutes of ‘Satisfaction’ and forty minutes of me snoring.” Richards worried that the inspiration for the riff drew from Martha and the Vandella’s “Dancing in the Street,” but the song (and guitar hook) stuck.

3. Blur, “Song 2”



Blur never settled on exactly how long they spent writing and recording “Song 2”—the track’s working title in the studio—but the bandmates agree they came up with the hit in all of its improvised “woo-hoo!” glory in ten minutes to half an hour.

Lead singer Damon Albarn dismissed the hit as “just headbanging,” but producer Stephen Street claims Albarn wrote the song’s nonsensical hook on the fly. Street recalls, “Damon went ‘woo hoo” because he had nothing else prepared.”

4. Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure”



The Thin White Duke proved his marathon songwriting chops once again when he and Queen spent “an extremely long night” (according to Queen guitar slinger Brian May) in a jam session at Queen’s Mountain Studios in Switzerland. Bowie took charge of the song’s lyrics while Freddie Mercury spearheaded the music songwriting.


Mercury’s improvised scat singing from early in the jam session made the official cut, a song Queen debuted live quickly, though Bowie and May didn’t love the song. When the song was recorded and mixed (nothing was written before the session), Bowie and Queen went for pizza, according to Roger Taylor.

5. R.E.M., “Losing My Religion”


Guitarist Peter Buck spent a classy evening drinking wine, watching the Nature Channel on mute, and learning how to play the mandolin when he “played ‘Losing My Religion all the way through, and then played really bad stuff for a while.”

Buck woke up with the song’s chords all but forgotten, relearning to play it by listening back to the tape. The impromptu late night recording captured the song’s main riff and chorus—not bad for an unseasoned mandolin player who was lucky to think to tape his laid-back practice session.

6. Tears For Fears, “Mad World”



Brooding Brit Curt Smith told the Boston Globe, “I remember it being written in an hour or two in Roland’s little flat above a pizza place.” Smith and Tears For Fears bassist Roland Orzabal penned it as the first single of the band’s 1982 album The Hurting. In the liner notes for the record’s 1999 rerelease, Orzabal confessed that his flat probably wasn’t the best place to pen a track called “Mad World": “That came when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the centre of the city. Not that Bath is very mad—I should have called it 'Bourgeois World.'"

7. David Bowie, “Life on Mars?”



Bowie quipped that writing “Life on Mars?” — a parody of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” cover — was “easy” in a 2008 article in the Mail on Sunday, and in true, flamboyant Bowie fashion, it was.
I took a walk to Beckenham High Street to catch a bus to Lewisham to buy shoes and shirts but couldn't get the riff out of my head. Jumped off two stops into the ride and more or less loped back to the house up on Southend Road. Workspace was a big empty room with a chaise lounge; a bargain-price art nouveau screen ('William Morris,' so I told anyone who asked); a huge overflowing freestanding ashtray and a grand piano. Little else. I started working it out on the piano and had the whole lyric and melody finished by late afternoon. Nice."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Buckeye Bash 2013 - Motorcycles, Bad Tattoos and Beers


Huge thanks to all who were part of the Buckeye Bash Run. Jack, Sue, Tyke, Brad, Kim and the Cline family really went out of their way for all of us and made the trip damn great. Also thanks to Fred Workman and Tom Reiser for letting us peruse their shops and delighting us with some great stories. Wrench's like these are getting more rare to come by and their hospitality was amazing. Justin from Fifth On The Floor rolled down to Tootle's in Circleville for a one off show and it was much appreciated. To all the fellas on the run and the good times that were had, can't wait to see yall on the Run What Ya Brung in the fall.

Music by Crank County Daredevil, in the video.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Make Your Own Tattoo Gun For Cheap

Roger Alan Wade sings a great line in one of his songs in which he says that "If your gonna be dumb, ya gotta be tough." This mantra can also be related to any of us that to choose to live on the fringes and on our own terms. I always saw this in any tattoo artist that I have met. They live from one drawing to the next and tend to be quite the free spirits. Their marks are permanent and each design is reflective of their skill set as the wearer of the ink will most likely have it forever, unless they go through the even more painful process of tattoo removal. Watching a quick video by Casey Neistat shows just how easy it can be to create your own tattoo gun and get busy leaving your mark.


scott campbell prison tattoo from Casey Neistat on Vimeo.

$25 Gun Created With Cheap 3D Printer Fires Nine Shots

3D printing is slowly making its way into the mass consumer market and of course with that type of proliferation, all types of new products will be made. Did you ever think guns would be part of those new products? Maybe not, but then again mankind has always been inventing weapons as long as technology continues to advance. I am huge into the concept of 3D printing and this article is a damn great read about a single file that was downloaded over a hundred thousand times for a 3D printed gun.

Check out original post on Forbes

The Lulz Liberator, a working handgun printed on a $1,725 LulzBot 3D printer w/ $25 in plastic. (Credit: Michael Guslick)

"When high tech gunsmith group Defense Distributed test-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed firearm earlier this month, some critics dismissed the demonstration as expensive and impractical, arguing it could only be done with a high-end industrial 3D printer and that the plastic weapon wouldn’t last more than a single shot. Now a couple of hobbyists have proven them wrong on both counts.

One evening late last week, a Wisconsin engineer who calls himself “Joe” test-fired a new version of that handgun printed on a $1,725 Lulzbot A0-101 consumer-grade 3D printer, far cheaper than the one used by Defense Distributed. Joe, who asked that I not reveal his full name, loaded the weapon with .380 caliber rounds and fired it nine times, using a string to pull its trigger for safety.
The weapon survived all nine shots over the course of an evening, as you can see in the YouTube video below. (The clip was filmed by Michael Guslick, a fellow Wisconsin engineer who helped Joe with his tests and who is known for printing one of the first working lower receivers for AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.)



Joe’s proof-of-concept could raise the stakes another notch in the growing controversy over 3D printed guns, an idea that threatens to circumvent gun control and let anyone download and create a lethal weapon in their garage as easily as they download and print a Word document. The first successfully fired 3D-printed gun that Defense Distributed revealed to Forbes earlier this month, dubbed the Liberator, was printed on an $8,000 secondhand Stratasys Dimension SST printer, a refrigerator-sized industrial machine. In testing, that prototype has generally only been fired once per printed barrel. The gun printed by Joe, which he’s nicknamed the “Lulz Liberator,” was printed over 48 hours with just $25 of plastic on a desktop machine affordable to many consumers, and was fired far more times. “People think this takes an $8,000 machine and that it blows up on the first shot. I want to dispel that,” says Joe. “This does work, and I want that to be known.”

Eight of Joe’s test-fires were performed using a single barrel before swapping it out for a new one on the ninth. After all those shots, the weapon’s main components remained intact–even the spiraled rifling inside of the barrel’s bore. “The only reason we stopped firing is because the sun went down,” he says.

Just how the Lulz Liberator survived those explosions isn’t exactly clear. Joe claims that the plastic he used, the generic Polylac PA-747 ABS fed into most consumer 3D printers, is actually stronger than the more expensive ABS plastic used in a Stratasys printer. In fact, before using a Lulzbot-printed barrel, he and Guslick tested one made on Guslick’s Stratasys printer. That barrel exploded on firing, though Joe blames the problem in part on its having been printed with a smaller chamber, the space at the back of the barrel into which the round is inserted.

Joe’s printed gun contains a few more pieces of metal hardware than the original Liberator. Rather than print plastic pins to hold the hammer in the body, for instance, he used hardware store screws. Like Defense Distributed’s gun, the Lulz Liberator also uses a metal nail for a firing pin, and includes a chunk of non-functional steel designed to make it detectable with a metal detector so that it complies with the Undetectable Firearms Act. The rifling that Joe added to the barrel is designed to skirt the National Firearms Act, which regulates improvised weapons and those with smooth-bored barrels.

Still, Joe’s cheap homemade gun isn’t without its bugs. Over the course of its test firing, Joe and Guslick say it misfired several times, and some of its screws and its firing pin had to be replaced. After each firing, the ammo cartridges expanded enough that they had to be pounded out with a hammer. “Other than that, it’s pretty much confirming that yes, Defense Distributed is correct that this functions,” says Guslick. “And it’s possible to make one on a much lower cost printer.”

The Lulz Liberator's barrel after eight shots.
It’s not yet clear if or when Joe or Guslick plans to release their modified blueprint for the Liberator online. That kind of publication may be legally tricky: When Defense Distributed put its CAD files online earlier this month the State Department responded with a letter demanding that it take the files down until they could be reviewed for export control violations. But that didn’t stop the Liberator files from being downloaded 100,000 times in their first two days online and then spreading further on filesharing websites like the Pirate Bay.

When Defense Distributed founder and anarchist Cody Wilson set out to create the world’s first 3D-printed gun last year, he told me at the time that his focus was on making guns as widely accessible as possible via the Internet, a move he believed would demonstrate governments’ inability to control digital objects. He planned to eventually adapt his model to be printable on a sub-$1,000 printer known as a RepRap. “Anywhere there’s a computer and an Internet connection, there would be the promise of a gun,” Wilson said at the time.

Joe’s experiment brings that idea of a universally-available gun with uncensorable online blueprints one step closer to reality. “I’m trying to do the same thing Cody wants to do. I’m not an anarchist, but I don’t like the idea that the government is telling us ‘You can’t have that,’” he says. “I agree with Cody’s idea that this is a perfect fusion of the first and second amendments.”

Of course, there’s a certain thrill of pioneering a new gun design, too, Joe admits. “I may be the first person in the history of mankind to fire a bullet through a plastic rifled barrel. It’s an interesting feeling,” he says. “I feel like Samuel Colt.”

On May 3, high tech gunsmithing group Defense Distributed gave Forbes a first look at the world's first fully 3D-printed gun, what it called the "Liberator."
These are the gun's sixteen pieces, including plastic spiral springs used in its hammer mechanism and its one non-printed part, a common hardware store nail used as the firing pin.
The CAD file for the gun's body shown on the screen of a Defense Distributed volunteer.
The Stratasys printhead lays down fine layers of ABS plastic to create components like the trigger spring being printed here.



1942 Civillianized Harley Davidson WLA, True Original Barn Find

"You are looking at a 1942 Harley Davidson WLA barn find. . . It has been civillianized as you can see, not all parts are for a 1942, but most everything is original Harley Davidson parts. I was going to get it unstuck, make it run & ride it as is, but unfortunately i have to part with it. It comes to the new owner with a clean title, & unaltered VIN pad, which matches the title as a 1942 Harley WLA.

Look closely at the pictures, it has the original Goodyear super eagle tires (poor condition) that hold air, it rolls nicely, the throttle works, the spark advance is movable, but needs cleaned/greased. The front brake works, has big twin rockers & brake assembly, the rear brake is free & works as well. Has 16" KH wheels, inline springer fork, correct M88 Linkert

Tanks look to be in good usable condition with the usual cleaning. Did not get to play with the motor or trans. The transmission fill plug is wired to the handlebar, as i received it. I was going to pull & rebuild the motor & trans & ride it as is because it is only original Harley once! Forced to part with it, but now you have a chance to build your dreams. I can be reached at slim42wl @ gmail for more pics or direct questions. Sorry, no off site deals or negotiating!"


1942 Harley Davidson WLA ready for a new home
1942 Harley Davidson WLA from the right side
1942 Harley Davidson WLA Flathead needing some TLC
1942 Harley Davidson Flathead motor ready for to be torn down and fixed up
1942 Harley Davidson WLA with original transmission
1942 Harley Davidson WLA Needs some parts but most of the pieces are there
1942 Harley Davidson WLA top view

The Story of Musicol Recording Studio, From Pitchfork

Link to original post on Pitchfork

"Those famed music-making locales, and others like them, are long gone. But every weekday between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., you'll find a Musicol employee pressing vinyl in the basement on two manual, steam-heated Finebilt record presses-- emphasis on manual. Vinyl collectors like to think of records as handmade treasures-- the earthiest, most tactile music format-- and at Musicol they're exactly that. Whereas larger pressing plants use an automated process to crank out records by the thousands, at Musicol a sweaty dude pours the PVC pellets from a coffee can into a hopper that funnels them into an extruder, which heats the pellets into a blobby substance and oozes it out like toothpaste from a tube. He makes the blob into a patty, affixes a label, and presses it like a pancake with a nickel stamper, carefully trimming off the dross around the edges and inspecting the final product. A run of 500 takes about eight hours. Musicol has turned out a few million records this way, doing runs of 100, 300, 500, or 1,000, all pressed by hand one at a time. (Eat your heart out, Etsy.)

J.R. Ferguson pressing records at Musicol

These days, the basement pressing operation brings in more business than the studio. Local label Columbus Discount Records, run by Musicol house engineer Adam Smith, presses all of its records here, including releases by Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit, Ron House, Cheater Slicks, and other Ohio lo-fi luminaries. Chicago's famed jazz/blues label Delmark Records (Junior Wells, Magic Sam) has pressed many of its records at Musicol since the early 90s. And Musicol presses records from all over the world-- Europe, Russia, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. Even with overseas shipping, it's cheaper to press at Musicol.

The two recording suites still bring in business. Times New Viking recorded to 2" tape on Studio A's 16-track machine for their 2011 full-length, Dancer Equired, and the Black Swans recorded their 2012 album Occasion for Song at Musicol, as well. These Columbus bands are following in the footsteps of thousands who came before them, recording garage, soul, gospel, folk, country, and pretty much every other genre at Musicol since the 60s. Even Chicago's Numero Group, arguably the most respected archival label in operation, has noticed: The label is in the early stages of compiling music recorded at Musicol for a future release.
 
So how did Musicol do it? In the age of Pro Tools, home studios, and laptop recordings, why is this analog dinosaur not just surviving but thriving when the vast majority of its peers closed up shop decades ago? Sure, the oft-referenced "vinyl resurgence" has played a major role; sales of and interest in vinyl releases continue to rise annually. And even Clear Channel rockers are singing the praises of analog: Dave Grohl recently made a documentary about California's Sound City Studios after purchasing the famed studio's Neve 8028 recording console. But there's more to this survival story than the recent fetishization of a format, and it all starts with Musicol mastermind John Hull.

John Hull mastering a record at Musicol

"On a rainy afternoon in December, 84-year-old John Hull stands over his 1944 Scully lathe in Musicol's lower level mastering suite, cutting grooves into an aluminum disc coated in lacquer for the London, Ontario, band Disleksick. The lacquer will be used to make the shiny nickel stamper that gets loaded into the press. This particular 7" is a brutal, punishing onslaught of sound. (The group requested Hull inscribe the words "West Coast Noisecore" into the record's innermost ring.) Some tracks on Side A last less than 10 seconds. Most octogenarians wouldn't stay in the same room as this music for even that long, but Hull-- a mild-mannered, Baptist Midwesterner prone to grandfatherly chuckles and plaid button-downs-- just grins, tweaks some levels, and watches as the Westrex cutting head transfers sound from electrical impulses to the motion of the heated stylus, which makes grooves in the spinning lacquer. It's the 491st side he's mastered in 2012, meaning Hull is on track to break Musicol's previous single-year record of 504.

"John is an expert mastering engineer," says Dante Carfagna, Numero Group's man in the field and an archivist with Columbus roots. "I went in there one day and he was in the mastering den downstairs, sitting there with an oscilloscope trying to figure out a basically inaudible signal from some experimental metal guy-- some 50 billihertz tone that he was trying to get right so it would show up on the LP. He's really, really good at figuring out what those things need to sound like when they get pressed to records. It's not often you get a guy, particularly of John's age, that would even have the tolerance for some harsh noise CD."

It's not exaggeration to say Hull has been perfecting this process for nearly 70 years. The latter half of World War II coincided with Hull's high school years in his hometown of Fort Recovery, Ohio, a literal stone's throw from the Indiana border. Settled by Catholic immigrants from northern Germany who refused to convert to Lutheranism, fewer than 1,000 people lived in Fort Recovery in the 40s. Among them, though, was a science teacher who encouraged Hull to pursue his interest in electronics and sound recording. Emboldened by the support, Hull and his brother started a pirate radio station, broadcasting music and high school football games for almost two years until the FCC shut it down.
Jim Cushman: "Say We're in Love"
 
Hull didn't have any way to record music, though, and that bothered him. Because of the war, metal was hard to come by, so Hull took parts from junked radios and other discarded electronics gear and built a lathe that would record onto discs. "I still have some recordings I made back in '45," he says.

After spending three years studying electrical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, Hull transferred to Ohio State University in Columbus to get his degree in engineering physics. He also enrolled in Ohio State's ROTC program and went on active duty in the Signal Corps in 1956, providing communications for tests on the atomic cannon in the swamps of Louisiana. He was discharged in 1958 and soon after went to work for North American Aviation (later becoming part of Rockwell International and now Boeing) developing antennas for airplanes.

Watch a mini-documentary about Musicol Recording Studio: 



"I had been out of the recording side of things for some time," Hull says. "But some of the people at North American found out I had done recording in the past, and they started a concert band. A couple of the guys who were in the group said, 'Do you think you can get some equipment together and record it?' That was enough to light the fire. I recorded the first concert of the North American Aviation Concert Band in 1960."

Everything snowballed from there. Through a mutual friend, Hull found a like-minded business partner in Boyd Niederlander, and they began recording high school bands and choral groups. At first it was mostly field recordings, but Hull also did studio work in his family's suburban homes through 1965. As studio work escalated, the partners moved to the current location on Oakland Park Avenue in the North Linden neighborhood, incorporating Musicol (often written "Mus-I-Col" in the early days) in 1966. They were savvy businessmen from the get-go, able to run the enterprise out of a residence because the property originally housed the offices and model home for the builder of the surrounding neighborhood, so the lots were incongruously zoned commercial.
 
Hull's engineering acumen quickly earned him a reputation in the community. Gary Hedden, Musicol's first employee and longtime engineer, was recruited when he was just a high school freshman. He remembers an existing company doing most of the field recordings before Musicol came along, but Hull convinced the high schools and bands to hire him, too, and then choose the recording that sounded better. It was a shootout. "Every time we went up against this existing guy, we won," Hedden says.

"Almost every person who ever started a studio in the 20th century comes from an electrical background," Numero Group's Carfagna says. "They were tinkerers. They would build their own circuit boards. [Hull] is in a long line that, for the most part, is gone."

Vintage Musicol ads

At Musicol, if you can build it, you do build it. One of the original consoles Hull built in the 60s is still in use today. When the record presses were put in the basement in the 70s, Hull couldn't get consistent quality, so he built control systems to regulate temperature and other variables.

"The term DIY gets thrown around a lot, but John actually did do all this stuff himself," says Musicol engineer Adam Smith. "The stuff he built around here is bananas. All the control systems, boxes that I still use, the bits and bobs that make a studio work-- he built all of it."
There was very little ego or showmanship that accompanied Hull's extensive know-how. As impressive a room as Musicol's high-ceilinged Studio A is, the place was and remains down-to-earth and unassuming. If some studios are sterile spaceships, Musicol is a dusty living room. "It's never bought into the glamorous side of studio recording equipment," Hedden says. "The quality of the product [at Musicol] has always been good even though the d├ęcor was never fancy."

Musicol's Studio B

Hull and Niederlander were frugal, always on the lookout for bargains on good equipment. Hull picked up RCA ribbon mics and Neumann tube mics on the cheap from radio stations and concert halls that grew tired of the maintenance required to keep them functional. (Hull could fix any of them, and those microphones are worth thousands today.) Even Musicol's trippy carpet was salvaged from the Cincinnati Convention Center in the 70s. You can still flip over boxes at Musicol and see "Army Signal Corps." "He doesn't sell anything," Smith says. "There's attics full of gear."

Unlike some of Musicol's contemporaries, Hull never aimed to run a studio that doubled as a label cranking out genre-specific hit records. Musicol is a custom studio providing a service. There were brief attempts at label imprints-- Hull Records in the early years, Ironbeat for garage, Now for gospel, Mus-I-Col for various genres-- but artists released their music however they desired, Musicol imprint or otherwise. Some recorded there but pressed elsewhere, others recorded elsewhere but pressed at Musicol. Sifting through the music made at Musicol would take years (and a lot of patience for white gospel, choral groups, and Ohio State Fair recordings).


There's no wall of fame at Musicol, but recognizable names did come through from time to time, usually to do voiceover work in Studio B: Lou Rawls, Dom DeLuise, Phyllis Diller, Pete Rose. Many early recordings weren't well-known at the time, but plenty of diamonds in the rough exist. Columbus soul legend Bill Moss recorded at Musicol before launching his own Capsoul label, which Numero Group chose for its first compilation. (Hull remembers Moss doing 180 takes before nailing a bass line.) A psych-rock outfit called Owen-B recorded a fantastic, but mostly forgotten, self-titled album and some singles at Musicol. (They payed it off by helping with the construction of Studio B.) Quite a few gems from 60s garage bands-- Ric Ocasek's little-known pre-Cars combo Id Nirvana, for example-- never saw release, but a punky 45 by the Myrchents titled "Indefinite Inhibition" remains a coveted collector's item. And J.C. Davis, who played sax with James Brown and Etta James, recorded the song "A New Day (Is Here at Last)" that was later reissued by Carfagna and his pal Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow) on The Complete Mus-I-Col Recordings of J.C. Davis and subsequently sampled by Will.i.am on Justin Timberlake's "Damn Girl".
 
Many of Ohio's underground greats passed through Musicol, too. Twisted psychobilly outfit the Gibson Bros. and Ron House's post-punk band Great Plains made albums for Homestead Records there, as did countless Columbus rockers who were poised to break nationally but never quite did. Rappers came through from time to time, and still do; Bizzy Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony once got angry during a recording session and punched a hole in the wall.

Like so many aspects of Musicol that remain unchanged, the hole is still there.

Warren Hull searching through old masters in a Musicol attic

After meeting Musicol's five staffers-- Hull, his son Warren, grandson Jonathan, engineer Adam Smith, and press operator/plumber/boiler repairman J.R. Ferguson-- you'd probably guess the Honda Gold Wing out front pairs with Ferguson, a 50-year-old jeans and sleeveless T-shirt kind of guy who's worked here since 1985. But the touring motorcycle actually belongs to Warren, a graying, doughy 51-year-old with a kind face and incisive eyes. You'll find him in slacks and a polo most days, reading glasses hanging around his neck. He's taller than his father and similarly amiable, though not as jolly. Warren keeps Musicol's wheels turning. He answers the phones, manages the record and CD orders-- billing, shipping, scheduling. He cuts the grass, blows the leaves.

This morning Warren sips from a coffee mug courtesy of No Idea Records ("Black coffee colored vinyl," it reads), then pauses to take a call from a Jose in Puerto Rico, who is checking on a test pressing. Afterward, he laughs while recounting the early days running around his dad's home studio poking holes in the speakers. He talks about the hard times, too, particularly the 90s. His dad doesn't remember the presses ever stopping, but it seems to be selective memory; during the down period, Warren says they were silent "for months at a time." Through the 70s and most of the 80s, the records pressed each year fill pages upon pages in Musicol's handwritten logs. Flip to the 90s, though, and each year gets just a few spiral notebook pages. Records were dying off. The CD was king, and CD duplication was not initially profitable. Warren remembers 63-minute blank CD-Rs going for $25 apiece. Cassette duplication still brought in some business, and people still used the studios occasionally, but times were tough. Niederlander, a founding partner, bowed out in 1990. John had to pump his own money into Musicol to keep it afloat. Then Bela Koe-Krompecher's Anyway Records came along.

Start listing the "important" bands to come out of Columbus in the 90s, and chances are they had a vinyl release on Anyway: Gaunt, New Bomb Turks, V-3, Bassholes, Jenny Mae, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, not to mention Dayton's Guided by Voices and Cincinnati's Ass Ponys.

"Many of the early [Anyway] releases had inserts that were sort of a catalog that promoted Musicol," says Koe-Krompecher. "This wasn't an agreement we had with them. I just thought it was the right thing to do, to plug a local operation. At the time, there was only a few places that pressed vinyl-- Dixie in Tennessee and Erika in California-- but both had higher prices and you had to pay for shipping. Plus, Warren always gave me a break, and I love Musicol."

"Bela is the one who resurrected the records coming back," Warren says. "He was one of our biggest customers-- he actually was on the beginning edge of the resurgence of vinyl. It has probably picked up 10 to 15 percent every year since '95."

Record pressing is the mainstay of Musicol's business today. In fact, Warren says if it weren't for record pressing, "we probably wouldn't be here." Every weekday, Ferguson starts pressing around 8 a.m. Smith follows him around noon, and Jonathan works the 5 to 10 p.m. shift. Only about a dozen pressing plants remain in the U.S., and Musicol is one of a handful that can do small runs.


Diversification has served Musicol well over the years; if one part of the business was down, another picked up the slack. Even outside Musicol, John Hull stayed involved in other ventures. He helped launch a Christian radio station. He started and sold a medical company and a communications business-- hence Musicol's cell tower, which he still owns. He even worked full-time jobs in addition to Musicol through 1994.

Building and fixing your own equipment, resourcefulness, an eye for bargains-- they all factor into Musicol's survival. But there's another, rather obvious component: John Hull is still here. Most other studios of Musicol's vintage aren't around anymore because the founders aren't around anymore. And Hull isn't Owner Emeritus. When healthy, he's at Musicol every weekday afternoon mastering records.

Owen-B: "Mississippi Mama"
 
Much of the studio's strengths are a direct result of Hull's skills. Musicol isn't a top-flight digital studio because Hull isn't a digital guy. (There's a Pro Tools rig, but it's about 10 years old; when your studio's founder loves to talk about the studio's aircraft-quality Teflon wiring, Pro Tools projects will probably never be your bread and butter.) He's not an analog snob, mind you. He doesn't revel in Musicol's vintage-ness or wax poetic about recording to tape. He doesn't romanticize vinyl; he presses it. This is what he knows, what he was trained to do.

While Warren will likely inherit the business from his father, he admits he knows little about the recording side of things. Smith, 33, is John Hull's ideological heir. Very few modern engineers know anything about electronics, but Smith believes in the old-school ethic enough that after getting a degree in graphic design from the Columbus College of Art & Design, he went back to school at Columbus State for two years (at Hull's prompting) to learn electrical engineering. The technical, hands-on approach comes naturally to Smith, who describes his parents as "back-to-the-land hippies."

Engineer Adam Smith

"We built our own house, had a farm," he says. "I've always worked on my own stuff. That's why I like working here. [Musicol] is a pretty similar setup to what my mom and dad's house was like." John brought Smith on as an engineer about four years ago, when a previous engineer left. "It's not an easy thing to jump into," Smith says. "At this point, there's 100,000 tricks of the trade. For the first several sessions I was just terrified."

Smith picked up his shift pressing records about a year and a half ago. Now, mastering is the final frontier. John has always done the mastering, but last fall he went under the knife for quadruple bypass surgery. Orders had to be sent down to Nashville while he was laid up, and outsourcing did not sit well with Hull. He began training Smith to cut lacquers in December.
 
Smith's involvement at Musicol has given the recording side of the business a boost in recent years. There have been times when Smith says Studio A stayed locked up for months, and though it may be too early to call it a Renaissance, younger Columbus bands are returning.

"I believe in the vibe and history of rooms, not just the gear and engineers," says singer Jerry DeCicca of the Black Swans. "I wanted to record within the same walls where some of my favorite records from my own community were made. And once Adam stepped into the fold there, I knew we'd be comfortable."

Times New Viking inside Musicol's Studio A. Photo by Jo McCaughey.

Musicol was Times New Viking's first studio experience after doing mostly four-track recordings. "We liked the history of it," says TNV singer/drummer Adam Elliott. "And we've always been sticklers for analog. Adam had re-done these mics, and we could record on 2" tape. And the carpet-- we were going to make our album cover that pattern."

"It's pretty amazing that Musicol kept going," Elliott says. "The world wasn't looking, but it was still going. And it's still here.""

Monday, July 22, 2013

Moonrunners 2014 Music Festival Lineup Announced

"Why, yes, we are only three months out of our inaugural festival, but, if you recall, the end of July 2012 was the exact time we announced the lineup for the 2013 Festivities. We prefer to announce it early as possible, for the fact that many of the fans will be traveling from out of state, and will need to make flight and hotel reservations. Plus, we are a bit excited!

Because the first Festival was so amazing and well attended, we here at MoonRunners decided to expand the festival to two days in 2014.

It will once again take place at the VERY intimate and great venue, Reggie's in Chicago, IL. We recieved a few offers from larger venues in the area, but the hospitality and kindness that Reggie's showed us this year made it an obvious choice for 2014. Everything went so well. Every member on the Reggie's staff was top notch and made sure that everyone had a great experience.

MoonRunners Music Festival II will take place over two nights, on April 25th and 26th, 2014. Tickets will be $80 for a two day pass. That is a steal if you know the size of the venue, and take into consideration this years lineup. We will have hotel options once again, and tickets will go on sale on November 1st through Ticketfly.com.

Again, 2014 will sell out QUICK! This year, many folks were left out and traveled many miles in hopes of getting a ticket outside the door. It did not work! Get your tickets ASAP. So, with no further delay.... Here is the INITIAL lineup for MoonRunners Music Festival 2014.... One more headliner will be announced before tickets go on sale!

We are so proud to bring a country music legend, and original Outlaw to MoonRunners Music Festival 2014, as the headlining act will be....."