Thursday, August 9, 2007

Interview with Rock Camp Teacher Paul Collins

A brief interview with Paul Collins about his tales with Beirut.

How did you meet Zach Condon?

Paul: I was doing a concert called the Get Awesome Fest with some friends and he played at it. He was just playing a trumpet with his laptop playing the beats and he was singing over it all by himself. I thought he was fantastic, so I told him I thought he was great and that I could introduce him to people and book shows for him. I ended up being kind of like his defacto-promoter, I guess you could say or manager, early on and that's how I met him.

When did you decide you wanted to play music together?

Paul: Basically Zach ended up getting a record deal because this guy heard his demo, who had sent it to a friend at a record label, he got signed to this little label and they wanted him to play this annual music festival called South by South West in Austin. So he needed to have a band essentially. He knew of one guy, who he worked at this ice cream shop with, but he didn't have a drummer or anything like that so I hooked him up with my friend Nick to play drums. And then I just kind of ended up being in the band.

What was the first instrument you played in Beirut?

Paul: Well the first thing that I played was the tambourine. Actually it was my first show with the band and I just showed up in a horse outfit.

What was it like touring?

Paul: It was awesome, but when we first started it was kind of primitive. We just got in the van and saw how it worked. And there was a lot of us, all with different types of personalities. There's one guy who can't sit down for more than five minutes without taking his shirt off, and he's really hairy. Some people are loud and some people are quiet, it's this crazy mixture of people.

How many people are in the band right now?

Paul: Right now there's seven or eight.... I think there's seven permanent members and then it gets up to around ten..eleven..twelve maybe. One time we had a huge horn section and there was like twenty people on stage.

What are all the instruments you play in Beirut?

Paul: (tambourine) Ukulele, keyboards, trumpet, electric bass, bouzouki (a big mandolin like instrument), and I'm sure there's other stuff.

What does the new CD (The Flying Cup Club) sound like?

Paul: The first album is really dark, mysterious, very grainy and what not. And this album is a lot more flamboyant, for lack of a better term. It's really French and based around what I see as a jazzy band set up with a lot of organs, accordions, and Zach's warbely vocals.

Does it sound anything like Gulag Orkestar?

Paul: Um, my dad thinks it does, but I think it's way different then the last album. Still, it gives off that same feeling of nostalgia when you listen to it though.

Were you on the EP (Lon Gisland)?

Paul: Yes, I played bass on the last track called Carousels. Which I'm very proud of, I love how it sounds, but I'm listed as playing stuff on the album that I don't actually play except when live.
Like I would never play electric bass live, so I didn't get listed as playing that.

What are your thoughts on the Rock n' Roll Camp?

Paul: I just hope everyone here has fun and I hope that everyone I meet here feels free to experiment more than I did when I was younger.

Interviews with Rockin' Teachers

After interviewing the bands it was obvious that the driving force for most of these young people was the teachers and the insight and experiences they could share. We had the opportunity to interview some of these teachers. Matt, Adam, Skylar, Randy, and Wilson.

How did you first get involved with music?

Middle school band with Mr. Payne.
Adam: My parents played a lot of music, my dad played the guitar and my mom the piano.
Skylar: I listened to Black Sabbath and really wanted to be a drummer but I lived in an apartment and couldn't play the drums because it was too loud so I got a guitar instead.
Randy: The Portland Public School System. You either had to take half a year of choir or a full year of band and choir was for sissies.

What instruments do you play?

I stick to percussion
Adam: Guitar, bass, trumpet, drums
Skylar: bass, drums, guitar, piano, keyboard, and more.
Randy: guitar, trumpet, trombone, and more.

Favorite Place to Play a show?

Matt: Floyd's Truck Stop, House 801
Adam: Small venues, one's that can hold 50 people comfortable, up to 80 and that's uncomfortably.
Skylar: GP and High Dive in Denver.

Do you have a "day job?"

I work at the cinema.
Adam: Well it's actually a night job. I drive a cab.
Skylar: I work at a recording studio.

Randy: Wait tables
Wilson: I work at a record warehouse.

Do you have anyone you look up to?

People who strive to get somewhere.
Adam: Sincere people, helpful, exciting people.
Wilson: Skylar, and my older brother.

Skylar: Alan Singley, and myself, I wouldn't be where I am today without myself.
Randy: Alan Singley, and local moguls in Portland.

Do you have any pet peeves?

People saying "merch" and other unnecessary abbrevi
Pictures that are close ups of my face.
Unpunctual people. I hate how when you say 9 in Portland it means closer to 9:30 or 10

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?

Matt: Penguin or a koala.
Adam: A well behaved, big dog.
Horse or unicorn.
A helicopter, well, I guess that isn't an animal.

Talking with the teachers about things other than music camp was wonderful, we got to learn a lot about them like the fact that Skylar has a very activ
e imagination, he kept us laughing with tales of "Globulan" and "Trekitron."

Article by Jessica Moran and Colee Mayfield

Rock and Roll Camp: What The Bands Have to Say

Many teenagers dream about being in a rock band, to be famous and have everything they want, but the teens here at the Rock and Roll Camp have different reasons for showing their colors: Friends, new experiences and the undying urge to rock. Four different bands were interviewed, and each different group each had something different to say about Rock and Roll Camp.
The first band we interviewed didn't have a name yet, but its members were Jacki Penny and Jon Oravec. The unnamed band plays the "shoe gaze" music genre and has been compared to the band My Bloody Valentine. Are you hoping to see this dynamic duo at the show? You will.
"We'll be playing 'mos def'!" Says Jon Oravec, who in short is saying that they will be playing most definitely.
The next band we interviewed, named All Eyes Fixed, had many opinions. Edward Cullens on bass said his favorite thing about the Rock and Roll Camp was how everybody knows the music, and the musical style of All Eyes Fixed is classic Heavy Metal. You can plan on seeing All Eyes Fixed perform with many other bands at the Rock and Roll Camp Showcase.
The next band, quaintly nam
ed "Guitarded" by members Jessie Oravec and Lauren McCarthy, are breaking out of the mold by playing alternative style music, with Jessie on the keyboard and Lauren playing the violin. When it comes to their favorite part of the camp, Lauren jokingly says "Lunch" while Jessie says "Randy and Skylar". Guitarded will also be performing.
The last band we interviewed had many things to say about Rock and Roll Camp. Members Naomi Thompson and Evan Hilliard say that their favorite thing about camp are the people, Addison Schulberg enjoys the music the most, Molly Murry enjoys retrieving Addison's lost picks while Jesska Roesch enjoys Counselor Wilson the most. What's their view on the camp?
"Totally do it!
It's the most fun I've ever had!" Says Addison.
"It gives you new experiences." Adds Naomi. This also nameless band will also be performing in the Rock and Roll Showcase.
After hearing the opinions of the bands, we interviewed Elizabeth Scheeler.
"I think rock and roll camp is great, it's a blast seeing all the kids coming and seeing their hard work paying off during performances." She says. With this being the second year of Rock and Roll Camp, about 80% of last year's students have returned.
What has made Rock and Roll Camp so successful? It was the efforts of the bands and counselors and the never ending urge to rock.

This blog has been brought to you by Rock and Roll Camper "Tracey".

This Week on Interviewing the Bands...

One of the most unique and innovative aspects of Rock and/or Roll Camp is the opportunity it gives to the campers to form their own bands, write their own songs, and perform them in front of a live audience. There are not many places that give their youth this kind of opportunity as well as provide them with the assistance of professionals to help them achieve their goals. With all of these amazing chances being placed in front of them we have to ask what the band members think of Rock and/or Roll camp, of the teachers and of the opportunities that Peter Walters as well as Elizabeth Scheeler and all of the teachers have given them.

Because of Rock and/or Roll camp many local bands have been formed and I had the opportunity to talk with some of them about their experiences:

Jacki Penny and Jon Oravec form a two person group that has yet to be struck by a muse as to the name of their band. The music that they have begun to create this week has been compared to the band My Bloody Valentine as well as Shoegaze by counselors Wilson and Skylar.

A got a moment alone with Jacki later on in the day and had the opportunity to bring up a point I had been wanting to since camp started. Many people do not have the same opportunity that we are getting right now, and it is all thanks to Peter Walters, so what does Jacki think of Peter Walters and the chance he has given us?
"Peter is a true revolutionary." Jacki says, "He had a dream to bring music to Pendleton and he's doing it."

Jacki and Jon are planning on playing this Friday at the concert on Main Street, Jon was quoted as saying "Mos' def" (or most definitely).

All Eyes Fixed is another band that has formed here this week, from listening their music consists of loud drum beats and fast guitar and bass riffs, much like you would find in a punk rock band. Bassist Edward Collins says that the best thing about Rock and/or Roll camp is that everyone knows about music that they all know the bands and appreciate the music. All band members seem to be in agreement that you can learn something from everyone at rock camp, teachers and campers a like.

One of the best experiences of Rock and/or Roll camp is the chance to create a name for your band that not only shows what your band is about but also is unique and channels to the audience your personality as a band. I had the pleasure of being in the room as Jessie Oravec and Lauren McCarthy discovered their name.
"Squid." Jessie says, referring to what they should be called.
"No, let's be Guitarded Punks." says Lauren.
"How about just Guitarded." Jessie replies, and so a new band is born.
Jessie and Lauren say that they are planning on playing at the concert on Friday and that their music style is alternative. When asked what their favorite part of Rock and Roll Camp was Jessie stated right away that is was Randy. "He's very good looking and has beautiful eyes." She then added Skylar to her list of favorite things at Rock and Roll Camp.

The art center is a large place but there are so many students participating that even when you walk outside you can see bands practicing on the sidewalk. One such band is made up of Addison Schulberg, Naomi Thompson, Molly Murry, Jesska Roesch, and Even Hilliard. But as you could guess there are some hazards with practicing outdoors. As a stood there Addison accidentally dropped is guitar pick and it fell down the cracks of the grating they were standing over one of the rooms of the art center. Molly Murry promptly stood up and ran down to the room to grab it, while she was gone Addison made the comment that he had been losing many picks like that and that he only had one left. When Molly had returned I asked the band members what their favorite part of Rock and Roll camp had been, and while some had very defined answers "Wilson!" says Jesska Roesch or Molly Murry's favorite past time of retrieving guitar picks for Addison they all seemed to share the broad favorites of meeting new people, and the shared love of music.

All members of the band are returning from last year except for new comer Naomi. I asked Naomi what she thought of the camp and replied that it was awsome, she also stated that it was a wonderful experience for her as she was a violin player and doesn't usually get to rock. They are also planning to play Friday Night at the concert.

From Left: Jesska Roesch, Addison Schulberg, Naomi Thompson, Molly Murry, and Evan Hilliard, members of the band plan to play Friday and the performance is sure to be phenomenal.

After having a chance to talk with the bands I stopped in by Elizabeth Scheeler's office and asked her what she thought of the camp. "Rock camp is great." she says, "It's a real blast." She also told me that probably 80% of campers that came last year returned this year as well as a lot of new comers. So when thinking about coming to Rock and Roll camp next year, just listen to what the campers have to say:
"It's the most fun I've ever had." -Addison
"Totally do it!"-Naomi
"It's a great time! You'll never forget it!"

Article by Colee Mayfield

Conversation between two Rock and Rollers

And now, the Rock Journalism workshop presents, A Conversation With Two Rock and Rollers. We find Colee Mayfield and Jessica Moran (or Jeck) having a conversation about the Rock and Roll Camp 2(007).

Colee Signed on at 1: 32

Jeck Signed on at 1:34

Colee: Hey Jessica! So what do you think of Rock camp?

Jeck: Well, I'm pretty much having the time of my life. I get to play the drums (not very well mind you.) and get to hang out with a bunch of cool people. It's pretty much awesome. What about you?

Colee: Hah, that's cool. I'm playing keyboard in a band with Mel and Beth. Also, not very good, but that's okay hah, I'm getting better I think. It is indeed awesome! I was telling Mel the other day that if school was more like this I would try and flunk just so that I can come back again the next year! I really love being able to hang out with the teachers, I couldn't believe how WONDERFUL they are at what they do!

Jeck: I know! I love how informal this whole thing is. It's alot more comfortable being able to go and just talk to the 'teachers' and not feel like a total idiot. So, what has been the most memorable part of the whole week?

Colee: I really think being able to create a band, songs, and know that I have the chance to perform in front of a live audience is amazing, I mean how many kids have that chance? And I just know that I will remember performing for the rest of my life.

Jeck: I know what you mean. I came last year and I loved preforming infront of everyone!! I have to admitt, it was pretty nerve racking having ALL of those people watching you, but well worth it.

Colee: Wow! That's pretty amazing! Especially since you are an actress! I wouldn't think that would scare you so much! I wonder how many people will be there? Especially since it's on Main Street! I might just pass out!

Jeck: I guess being an actress does help with stage fright. Although, for those who get scared by crowds, a word to the wise. DON'T picture the audience in their underwear!! I started laughing when I first tried that.

Colee: Haha! That's hilarious! I can just see you on stage "To!" Except, you know, you're not a man so you couldn't really play Hamlet.

Jeck: Yes. Sadly I could not play Hamlet. BUT! Happily, I can play the drums! In fact, I'm going to be at the Rock Camp consert on Friday. Are you going to be there?

Colee: Of course! I can't wait! Actually I think I might be playing! Will you be?

Jeck: HECK YES! I'm so excited! And don't forget, it starts at 6pm and we are going to be playing on Main Street at the Farmer's Market.

Colee: Awsome! I cannot wait for it! All the bands are going to rock! Well I better go practice! See you there fellow Rocker!

Jeck: Adios! 'And for those of you about to rock...I salute you.'

Colee Signed off at 1:43

Jeck Signed off at 1:44

And so ends the Conversation With Two Rock and Rollers. Good Night.


What I like most about Morrissey is how cute

he is. He is also a brilliant lyricist and has a great voice.

He's cute because of the way his mouth looks. I like when he sings because he sings with emotion. I also feel bad for him because most of his songs are sad.

I saw Morrissey in concert about 2 and a half months ago in Seattle, Washington. It was the best day ever. Morrissey is my favorite artist ever. He is also my God. Instead of praying to Jesus I pray to Morrissey.

During the concert, Morrissey laid on the stage, completely still, for about ten minutes. That was weird. Cute, though. Cute.

After the show, I waited for an hour, with about 50 other people, for Morrissey to come out of the building to get into his van. When he finally did come out, people rushed over to him. There was a little fence up and about four security guards. I got elbowed in the face a couple times. But it was worth it. You know why? Because I was in the front of the crowd and I almost touched Morrissey. I was like this close. He shook everyone's hand but mine, because I was the shortest person there. He didn't even see me. But just to be in the PRESENCE of Morrissey, was amazing. It was the best day of my life.

"I love rock camp THIS much!" -Zane Baltzor

Rock Campers Evan Hilliard, Addison Schulberg, Molly Murry, Naomi Thompson, Jesska Roesch, Hannah Haberstroh have fun learning how to stencil and promote during a morning workshop.

Camper Jesska Roesch says her favorite part of Rock Camp "Is Randy being here." Most of the female campers agree.

Creator Peter Walters helps one of many students string a guitar.

While teaching songwriting, counselor Skylar also gives students a lesson in rocker fashion. Being a true rock star does not require spikes, chains, or really big pants-Skylar only needs to wear sunglasses indoors.

Counselor Andy replied that his favorite thing about Rock and Roll Camp was that it was his first time teaching music to others.

"Rock Journalism." Says Casey, "that's all of your favorite thing!"

Article by Colee Mayfield and Jessica Moran.