Honky tonk star Stacie Collins lives the dream

The band will perform Feb. 18 at The Snorty Horse Saloon.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Feb. 22, 2011

The Stacie Collins Band livens up the classic rock and country combination. “Our music is like Little Walter meets Joan Jett and Tammy Wynett, in a nutshell,” Collins said. “I really got excited about becoming a singer when I discovered Patsy Cline. Music has always been a passion of mine so when I heard Patsy Cline, I decided that I wanted to try and learn how to sing.”

Starting a band and touring the world is something many musicians dream of. Collins is no different. With a hard-core, honky tonk band to back up her exciting vocals, she’s living her dream.

“I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan for the first time in concert when I was about 13 and from that point on I said, ‘That’s what I want to do, I want to be in a band’,” Collins said. “I’m in a band with my husband and he was a musician and I wasn’t, but I wanted to be one. You become who you hang around, I wanted to be in a band and I got tired of being left at home and not being out on the road.”

Their latest album Sometimes Ya Gotta came out in November and contains just as much energy and rhythm as previous albums.

“This album isn’t a lot different from the second,” Collins said. “Between this record and the second we’ve had a hundred more gigs. The difference is just time and a lot of song writing. I’m singing better, the songs are better, and it’s just better.”

The opportunity to meet all of her fans is this proclaimed hell cat’s favorite part about touring.

“Getting to meet all of the people and see the way our music affects people is amazing,” Collins said. “I love the fact that with this short time on earth I can give back and leave a little better than when I got here. When people forget how bad their life may be and connect with us on that level, there’s a lot of emotion there.”

With such a vibrant and passionate band, there’s hardly ever any time to slow down and relax.

“We eat, breathe and sleep the music,” Collins said. “I’m usually always working on putting something together, I’m never not involved. But when I do actually have time to myself, I like to spend time with my man. We like to get out and connect with nature.”

It’s hard to tell what exactly will come in the future for Collins, but her success is certainly rising.

“I see a lot of success,” Collins said. “Lots and lots of travelling, a new record. Everything changes so much. We’re busier and better than we’ve ever been. I don’t even limit what can happen.”


Tommy & The High Pilots reach new heights

The band will perform at Mojo’s on Wednesday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 30, 2010

With an ever-growing fan base, Tommy & The High Pilots are touring the country promoting their EP, American Riviera. Lead singer Tom Cantillon formed Tommy & The High Pilots after the crumble of his previous band, Holden.

“We’ve gone through a lot of different trials and tribulations,” Cantillon said. “The thing that I learned from Holden was what didn’t work and what did work. I think that whole morale of this gang is a lot more positive.”

The members of Tommy & The High Pilots have a close past. Three out of four of them grew up together in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“My little brother’s in the band,” Cantillon said. “It was pretty easy to get him involved —- I’ve known him for a while. Steve, our bass player, I’ve known him since I was like in sixth grade and we played in different bands together.

Another member of the band is Matt Palermo, formerly of the St. Louis band Ludo.

“I was in a band way back and we used to tour around with Ludo,” Cantillon said. “I stayed in contact with him and we wound up kidnapping him for a little bit.”

Together, the High Pilots take on a new, collective form when performing.

“We take on the Tommy & The High Pilots form when we’re on stage,” Cantillon said. “We’re not just Tommy, Mike, Steve and Matt. There’s a whole different energy and something else going on and we just ride with it.”

The stage is the ultimate playground for the High Pilots to express themselves.

“I always tell the other guys to take caution because I don’t know if I’m going to swing around,” Cantillon said. “If you come up on stage while I’m in the middle of a song I might accidentally kill you with my guitar because once I get up there I’m possessed.”

For the band, the interaction with an anticipating crowd is the most pleasing aspect to performing.

“(Performing) is the best representation of our band,” Cantillon said. “There is so much energy and we love trading energy with the crowd. You always want to leave them at the edge of their seat, but you can’t plan what’s going to happen.”

And no matter where the High Pilots are, the songs continue to flow from the pen, whether on the East Coast or the West. But Santa Barbara has the band’s heart -— and its lyrics.

“’Where to Start’ was written in New York and was based on what I experienced there,” Cantillon said. “Going from one place to the next brings inspiration. But most of our songs are based in Santa Barbara. We grew up there and it’s a huge part of who we are. It’s a very special place to us.”

Fans of Tommy & The High Pilots can expect much more from this up-and-coming band.

“We’re on the road through Christmas,” Cantillon said. “We’re always writing, all the time. As soon as it makes sense, we’ll be in the studio again. Then, right after the New Year, we’re going to try to get right back out on the road.”

Choir, orchestra combine forces

The ensemble will perform together Nov. 18 in Jesse Auditorium

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 16, 2010

Every year, the Choral Union, University Singers and University Philharmonic Orchestra combine forces. This week it will happen yet again.

Performing in Jesse Auditorium, these two organizations will meet on stage to perform “The Fauré Requiem” by Gabriel Fauré and “Chichester Psalms” by Leonard Bernstein.

“They are two very contrasting pieces,” Director of Choral Activities Paul Crabb said. “That makes for good programming. If you have something that’s lyrical and is rather intimate, it makes sense to balance it with something that is more outgoing and more vivacious.”

The concert will feature a piece that will represent something bigger than music.

“We’re fortunate to have an eighth grade boy soloist,” Crabb said. “Bernstein wrote the part specifically for a boy’s voice and we’re fortunate to have an excellent singer available. “Chichester Psalms” ends then with all the parts, all the choir, playing and singing the same note. In essence, Bernstein symbolizes his desire for the world to live together in unity by having the choir sing the same words on the same note at the same time. It represents his idea for unity and peace in the world.”

The “Fauré Requiem” in the concert is dedicated to the late Harry Morrison who taught voice at MU School of Music and Stephens College.

“I hope that people will look at this as an honor for an important member of our communicty,” Crabb said. “The requiem is a traditional text for the dead. It’s a liturgical service from the Catholic Church and this particular setting, musically, is very positive and optimistic — Harry was an optimistic, positive person.”

Sophomore Caitlin Lukin is a cellist in the orchestra. Concert preparation has been hectic, she said.

“We’ve been practicing like crazy,” Lukin said. “We have around eight hours of practice every week usually and this week we have dress rehearsals every night.”

Senior choral member Kaitlin Foley said this concert is a little different than others she’s done before.

“The music is different, of course,” Foley said. “And this year is the first that we’ve done Hebrew in this kind of setting with the community choir and the orchestra. It’s been fun learning and trying to say the Hebrew really fast.”

Foley’s passion for singing is obvious in her everyday life.

“I love the Bernstein music so much that I listen to it in my house,” Foley said. “I really like choral singing because it always feels like super triumphant when you are in a big group of people but you’re all singing in the same way, as one massive body of sound.”

The concert series will continue next spring with another pairing of the choir and orchestra.

To Foley, the unity of the two groups is powerful.

“There’s just something about a big force of people singing altogether,” Foley said. “It’s just super moving.”

An ongoing tribute to Sublime

The band will play Nov. 16 at The Blue Note.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Nov. 12, 2010

For most people, the name Badfish kind of puts the thought of smelly salmon in your mind. Not for Sublime’s loyal fans. Instead, Badfish brings to mind the awesome talent and original sound of Sublime.

Badfish, a Sublime cover band, came together in 2001 when a group of students from the University of Rhode Island expressed their love for music to one another.

“We were just students together at the University of Rhode Island,” Badfish’s drummer, Scott Begin, said. “We’d get together and just jam. We were in classes together, and we knew each other’s interest in music so we got together and we jammed and the idea just sort of came about, ‘Let’s try to do a Sublime tribute show and just see how it goes.’ It went really well when we did that show, so we decided to keep at it.”

The name of the band originated from a not-so-popular song on the Sublime album 40 Oz. to Freedom.

“It was just one of those things,” Begin said. “The song had a catchy sort of name. It was kind of a cool name for a band, I guess. It was just one of those Sublime songs, it might not have been one of their biggest hits or anything like that, but it was just a song that we sort of felt like it embodied the whole spirit of Sublime and their music.”

For fans that were never able to see the original ska-punk band perform live before the death of lead singer Bradley Nowell, Badfish provides a good alternative with its tribute to Sublime. For Badfish, being able to give fans that opportunity is tremendous.

“Oh, it’s great,” Begin said. “You know, any time you get to play music on stage in front of people is great in itself. But to play music that people really love and really respond to makes it that much better. Clearly, anyone coming to see our show knows what they’re in store for. They obviously know at least a few of the songs, if not all of the songs.”

The members of Badfish present their talents in more than one band. Scotty Don’t is an opening band for most of the Badfish shows, and it allows the members to show off their own originality.

“That’s really a fun part of it, too — that we have the same guys, just an alter ego,” Begin said. “It’s been an interesting sort of experience to do this for the past few years that we’ve had Scotty Don’t. It’s been our own band and our own entity.”

It seem as though anyone can pick up an instrument and play a show as a tribute to anything. But it takes time, dedication, passion and talent to make a show of it, all of which Badfish possesses.

Preparing for a taste of Ludo

The St. Louis band will play Oct. 16 at The Blue Note.

By Megan Suddarth

Published Oct. 15, 2010

The constant sound of bustling leaves, skateboard wheels and chatty students fill the town of Columbia every day. This weekend, however, the familiar sounds of electric guitars, harmonic moog keys and fanatical lyrics will also pack the streets with the return of the crazed alternative band Ludo to The Blue Note.

Ludo is no stranger to the stage of The Blue Note. It’s been playing at the venue for years.

“We’ve been lucky enough to be able to do stuff on our own,” Ludo’s moog player Tim Convy said. “Columbia was our first show, and about seven people showed up. That really mattered to us that those seven showed up and then next time brought their friends.That’s how our band got started, so even now with bigger crowds we still appreciate every fan that comes out.”

The band’s new album, Prepare the Preparations, came out Sept. 7. The album covers all genres of songs from melodic love songs to the spooky click-clack of marching skeletons to upbeat sounds of runaway robbers.

“The new album covers a lot of the same ground as our other albums, and there’s also a lot of new things that we’ve never done before,” Convy said. “We weren’t afraid to be Ludo and weren’t intimidated like maybe we were on our first major label album.”

Ludo’s new single, “Whipped Cream,” has a very similar vibe to its previous song, “Go-Getter Greg” from the group’s last album, You’re Awful, I Love You. The song has the same sort of creeper-in-the-corner type feel, which is what most Ludo fans crave from its mastermind songwriter, Andrew Volpe. Volpe also puts a slight twist in this album with more romantic love songs, such as “Manta Rays” and “I’ll Never Be Lonely Again.”

“‘Whipped Cream’ and ‘Go-Getter Greg’ are one in the same about the same type of obnoxious guy that we all hate,” Convy said. “We like to mock the creepy guys. With the love songs, Andrew tends to build a story around real emotions. So the stories and the characters may not be real, but the sentiment behind them definitely is.”

The band toured extensively in support of its last record. Convy said the band needed a break from each other at the end.

“We really got sick of each other,” Convy said. “It was crazy on the last record. Afterwards, we took time off to ourselves for a year and spread out across the country. We played in different bands and worked on different projects and it made us refreshed and ready for the new album and tour.”

What’s up next for the men of Ludo?

“(We’re) just going to get through the tour and support the album,” Convy said. “(Then) we’ll take time off and figure out what’s next. We’re looking forward to The Blue Note. It’s the second to last show on the tour, and this tour has been awesome.”

So this weekend, let the skeletons come out and roam the streets of Columbia. That is, the song “Skeletons on Parade” — a fun, Halloween-type thriller that’s perfect for this time of year.