Exploring Bristol and Discovering Family Heritage

Waking up in the UK for the second day in a row was wonderful today. After exploring the village of Oldbury yesterday, I went into the city to explore Bristol today. I discovered that it resembles my college town of Columbia, Mo so much. The vibe was so chilled out and laid back that I had to keep reminding myself that I’m actually still across the pond – not home yet.

Our first stop was the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This bridge is the iconic Bristol bridge that spans the Avon Gorge and connects Bristol to Clifton. It’s gorgeous on either side and wonderful to drive across and walk down. Basically, we started the day off on a nature binge and nothing makes me happier than nature so that was definitely the best start we could have gotten off on. 

To preface this next story: Over the last year, my father has been researching our family genealogy and finding out where we came from. He’s spent countless hours uncovering facts and searching for clues as to who we are and has even made a personalized journal of all of his findings for me. The journal chronicles my life and many of my ancestors dating back 75 generations. He made it special for me and titled it, “A History of Adventurers, Rebels and Royalty,” which fits me perfectly (I think he did that on purpose..). Anyway, my family coat of arms is located in Bristol Cathedral, so today I made it my mission to go find it. Arriving at the cathedral, I was overcome with excitement and couldn’t wait to fulfill my Dad’s research and get him a picture of something he’d uncovered in all of his hard work. I glanced over all of the arms that I saw at the beginning of the cathedral and walked around the front. I made my way along the sides of the church and then to the back and came around to the other side with no luck. I began to grow anxious and started to realize that I wasn’t going to find it.. I finally got to the back of the church and searched frantically for the arms but still no luck. I even went to the gift shop to talk to the workers and ask them for a guide or information on all the arms in the cathedral, but to no avail. I had searched the entirety of the cathedral and had absolutely no luck. To say I was bummed would be an understatement. I so wanted to find it and share it with my Dad but I guess I’ll just have to search another church the next time I come in to Bristol.. Because there’s actually a chance that it’s located in a separate church that I also tried to search but was closed today. So there’s still a chance I’ll find it one day!

Well, after getting bummed out about that, Gem and I strolled to the harbor and walked through all of the restaurants and clubs located there. The entire area is so laid back just like home, I loved it. Everyone (again) is so nice and it was a joy to just walk around and take in the hipster culture that lives within Bristol’s center. It was quite a quiet afternoon after the church search. After Gem showed me around all of her favorite areas, we decided to head out of town via the graffiti street so that I could see the art that decorates the city and represents its spirit.

Graffiti street was no let down. Plastered with spray paint and vivid colors, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the art that enveloped the area. There was even some Banksy art lining the road, such as a break dancing Jesus that spanned the entire height of one of the taller buildings. Needless to say, it was all gorgeous. 

 We finished off our day with a drive back into the quaintest village in England – Oldbury – to then go see an English castle. Thornbury Castle was everything I’d ever hoped an English castle would be. Granted it was small, but it was just like in the movies. Beautiful architecture, magnificent garden and even a vineyard out front. Visited by people ranging from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to David Beckham, I couldn’t help but count myself as royalty while walking the grounds. 

 The end of our day included afternoon tea and biscuits and Wimbledon.

Could it get any more British.. ?

Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

Switchfoot surfs through Columbia

The popular Christian rock band will stop by The Blue Note on Thursday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published April 20, 2012

Avid surfers, the Christian rock band Switchfoot got its name from a surfing technique: “Switchfoot” is when you change your feet on the board and place your left foot forward instead of your right. But instead of hanging 10, the San Diego, Calif. band hangs five with Jon and Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. Only two of them are actual brothers, but in Drew’s eyes, they all are.

“It’s a band that’s kind of rare,” Shirley says. “(It) started with brothers, but we really do kind of have this feel of kind of being brothers in a band. It’s kind of like a family band in a way because we all feel like brothers.”

Switchfoot is in the process of filming a documentary, and people will get to see behind the scenes of the band’s tours and even a few surfing tips from the California natives. While on tour, the five members will be writing the music to go along with it, and it will be released as their next CD, the soundtrack to the movie.

“We’re visiting a whole bunch of surf destinations around the world,” Shirley says. “It’s kind of a dream come true to make a surf film. It’s going to be a documentary, as well about the history of the band, what it’s like on tour, behind the scenes, how we write music, how we record music and all that.”

Switchfoot brings more than just music to a stage. They also bring a message.

“Our faith is a part of who we are,” Shirley says. “It affects the way we see the world, of course, because it’s who we are. When we play shows, we’re musicians and we’re expressing songs about what we think. So, what we hope comes across is honesty.”

Shirley feels that as a band, honesty is what grabs the audience the most and is the key ingredient to a great song.

“The best songs are the most honest songs, I believe,” Shirley says. “The way Jon writes songs connected to what he believes is very unique and very transparent. And so, we hope that people just catch a glimpse of the vision of the song and the honesty in the song and whatever it’s talking about.”

“Dark Horses” is one Shirley’s favorite songs to perform for audiences. Written about the homeless youth of San Diego, Shirley connects with this song because he sometimes feels like a dark horse himself in that he may not be as good as those around him. He feels that the song is easily relatable for many in the world.

“It’s a song about the underdog,” Shirley says. “When we’re playing that song, we’re helping the audiences feeling hope. We’re bringing hope to the hopeless.”

Switchfoot is impacting people throughout the world. Recently, the band met a soldier about to deploy to Afghanistan, and they decided to sit and talk and play some songs for the young soldier as a sendoff and thank you.

“We were walking to our bus and he asked to play us an acoustic song,” Shirley says. “So, we all just sat there and heard his story, and then Jon played a couple of acoustic songs out on the street right in front of our bus for him as a sort of sendoff.”

Switchfoot plays at The Blue Note with The Rocket Summer opening at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $22.

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Blacking out with Breathe Carolina

The Denver electronic band will play Wednesday at The Blue Note with The Ready Set.

Courtesy of MEENO

By Megan Suddarth

Published March 16, 2012

From shattering exit signs to launching champagne glasses off of hotel balconies, the guys in Breathe Carolina personify their lyrics completely. With three albums released and a new single, “Blackout,” that’s taking the pop charts by storm, Kyle Even and David Schmitt of Breathe Carolina are on tour rocking crowds with neon lights and smoke-filled stages.

The band’s sound is one that encourages getting up and dancing and losing yourself. “Blackout” does this to crowds all across the nation.

“It’s like a rave and a rock show,” Even says. “In that element it’s sort of dance-y, but it has that rock background, it’s where we come from. It’s got like this pop-electronic fusion with it.”

The name for the band came from a very unconventional source: a dream.

“It was kind of premeditated from when (David) was in ninth grade,” Even says. “He had this dream about this lady named Carolina. So when it was time for us to name our project he was like, ‘I’ve always wanted to name something Breathe Carolina,’ and that was kind of how it worked out.”

The music combines party melodies with abrupt screaming. The screaming talent on their tracks comes from Even, and success with something so straining doesn’t come quickly.

“It’s just trial and error,” Even says. “I’ve been doing it for about 10 years. After that long you just kind of figure out how to push it without straining.”

Touring is constant and spending so much time with the same group of people can be stressful on relationships, but not for this band.

“There’s so many of us, we tour with 12 people, so there’s a lot of things to do,” Even says. “We laugh a lot, we have a lot of fun. We’re gonna be on Warped Tour all summer on the main stage. It should be absolutely ridiculous.”

Breathe Carolina’s songs are heavily centered on parties and living life in the most crazy ways. Lyrical inspiration isn’t always autobiographical for artists – but for this group, it most certainly is. Even and Schmitt take their songs to a whole new level of real-life destruction.

Even recalls a time in which they were kicked out of a hotel room.

“We were just out in Palm Springs,” Even says. “We were getting all rowdy and we brought a bunch of people that were at the show up to our hotel room. For some reason, I grabbed this champagne glass and I looked at one of the kids that came up and I’m like, ‘Yo, you trying to throw this off this balcony or what?’ And I just hawked it. Right after that, D walked in the room, he didn’t even see me do it, and he goes up to this lamp and just shoves it into the wall. So (security) came up and they kicked us out of the room.”

His explanation?

“We hadn’t been in a hotel room in a while, so we felt destructive,” Even says. “It just happens sometimes.”

Not only do they break lamps, but they destroy signs, too. These guys are a dream come true for the classic rebel.

“I was running around this hotel with my buddy Danny Cooper from Drop Dead Gorgeous and we were just running and jumping and just punching the exit signs,” Even says. “Finally, we’d broke them completely off so we went in the stairwell and we were trying to see how far we could drop them from the stairs. It was fun.”

A word of advice for amateurs:

“Only be destructive if you’re not gonna get caught,” Even says with a chuckle.

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Leveling with Tommy and the High Pilots

The band will play at Mojo’s on Monday.

By Megan Suddarth

Tommy and the High Pilots are returning to Columbia to perform with band Langhorne Slim.

Even with a whirlwind full of new music, touring and a new music video, Tommy and the High Pilots’ lead singer, Tom Cantillon, takes time to discuss food, fashion, movies, personality types of his fellow band mates, Mike Cantillon (electrics, acoustics and keyboard), Steve Libby (bass) and Matt Palermo (drums) and the future for their band.

The band just released the new video for their song “Lonely Place” from their Sawhorse Sessions EP a couple weeks ago.

“We’d been throwing around the idea of doing a video for ‘Lonely Place,’” Lead singer, Tom Cantillon says. “I just thought it’d be kind of cool if we had different apparatuses and girls hanging on stuff. The song is really mellow and kind of artsy so that went with it.”

Touring certainly is stressful on a diet, especially when touring takes place during the majority of the year. Meals packed with Seven Eleven munchies and fast food joints can take a toll. So, The High Pilots try to stock up on healthier options on the road.

“We really strive to have fruit,” Cantillon says. “We’re big on chips and salsa and tons and tons of water.”

“And coffee,” Cantillon adds. “We’re addicts.”

Clothing attire is always something that seems to stick with audiences.  Suspenders, red blazers and denim are usually the options for The High Pilots.

“The High Pilots are usually in collars,” Cantillon says. “Mikey likes his denim jacket for sure – the little country boy in him. I’ve been wearing my black jeans like every day.”

Clothing options usually make a statement to the audience.

“I feel like there’s something of a sense of fashion that ties into music,” Cantillon says. “If it’s a bar, we always want to represent ourselves and the band. Wherever we are, in whatever setting, we want people to turn heads. One night I had a collared shirt on with suspenders and I tucked it in and one of the guys in the band that was opening was like, ‘Hey man, going to work?’”

Band members have their own specific personality that shines through. A successful group is comprised of different character traits in each member. A leader, a baby, a tough guy and a sweetheart make up the men of The High Pilots.

“Mikey’s the baby by default, but he’s also the funny guy,” Cantillon says. “Mikey’s got a personality; we call it ‘The Mikey-ness.’ Whenever he’s being interviewed or talking on stage, you get a little bit of ‘The Mikey-ness.’ I like to think I’m tough but I have to give it to Steve; he’s ‘The Rock’ for sure. Matt is the thoughtful one, very sincere. We all have all these traits but if I had to categorize those three, that’s where I’d put them.”

Every band needs a leader and for this band, Cantillon takes the lead.

“[I’d say I’m] Captain. Every band has a leader and I think by default I am the leader. Everyone has input in this band and everyone gets equal say but I start that process.”

The High Pilots take time to have fun and fool around and be normal but they get down to business, too. The band has been working hard and hitting the studio lately and plan to release a new record by the end of the year.

“We recorded about 20 new demos,” Cantillon says. “I’m really pumped about our new music. I feel like all this new stuff is way better than the old stuff – you realize what works and what doesn’t work.”

As tour dates pass and new material is released, The High Pilots are learning every step of the way.

“I think as we get older,” Cantillon says. “We get better at what we do.”

Flying high: Catching up with Tommy of The High Pilots

The Santa Barbara quartet will stop by Mojo’s on Monday.

By Megan Suddarth

Published March 16, 2012

Open roads, microphones and loyal fans pretty much fill the life of Tom Cantillon, lead singer of Tommy and the High Pilots. For this California boy, life is crazy in so many ways. Touring the country all year, meeting new people, writing songs and, most importantly, bringing a certain charisma that would impress even Lennon to each and every stage he climbs, describes the life of this whole-hearted musician.

Relationships that last a lifetime

Hailing from Santa Barbara, Calif., Tom grew up with his four brothers, all of whom he’s close to. A tight group of boys from when they were little to even today, Tom and his brothers often found their own ways to have fun with what they had growing up. Referred to once as “a pack of hyenas,” the brothers were always trying to outdo each other for attention — understandable coming from such a large group of boys. From activities such as filming their own movies to skateboarding to basketball, their relationships have only grown stronger with the years.

Jimmy Cantillon, one of Tom’s brothers, refers to their relationships as best friends.

“Growing up together was really fun,” Jimmy says. “It has honestly become more fun since we’ve all been old enough to hang out as adults and go to bars together. Our age differences were obviously more noticeable when we were kids.”

Kevin Cantillon, another brother, is the closest to Tom in age.

“We have a lot of the same friends and like a lot of the same things,” Kevin says. “We talk almost daily on the phone, and he’ll run new songs by me to see what I think. He’s on the road a lot, so it’s nice when we get to hang out away from venues or shows.”

Memories underlie each and every relationship, and these brothers have some pretty spectacular ones — Jimmy and Tom once lied to get into a Jimmy Eat World concert in Texas while on tour.

“Word got back to the band somehow, and after the show they walked up to our school bus (tour bus) and asked if they could come in and check it out,” Jimmy says. “They all signed the inside of the bus for us and then talked to us about how lucky we were. After we argued about them being the lucky ones, they explained that they don’t get to see the country and meet people like we do. They are flown from show to show or in a tour bus where they don’t see out the windows. They told us to cherish every minute of it, and I think that ever since then we definitely have. It was pretty inspiring.”

Making another memory in the process, Kevin and Tom once snuck out of the house, escaping the clutches of a babysitter while their parents were out of town.

“Me and Tom took our bikes and rode down the street to the main road, where our parents would never let us go without them,” Kevin says. “We rode our bikes up and down the main street for about 20 minutes, feeling both scared and excited. It was our first experience of being out in the world on our own. When Tom’s out on the road, I often think of that day, and how he’s turned his bike in for a tour van, and the main street in for the open road.”

A lifetime of love

Tom found a passion for music at a young age. With parents who promoted concerts, he grew up in a home filled with musical inspirations like Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Cobain, Van Morrison, David Byrne and John Lennon, and his passion inevitably grew with time.

By fifth grade, Tom had formed his very first band — though it didn’t last long. By middle school, Tom was already writing songs and belting out that unforgettable voice.

“I didn’t play anything, but I sang and wrote the lyrics,” Tom says. “We disbanded due to freeing up recess time.”

Tom can play six different instruments, including the guitar and piano. He taught himself to play guitar as a teen, before his mother decided to put him into lessons.

“I decided to pick up guitar when I was 15,” Tom says. “Haven’t put it down since.”

During high school, Tom even convinced his parents to sign him up for independent studies, so he could get out of classes and do his work while on tour with his band.

Described by Jimmy as a “rare breed,” Tom’s passion and excitement for music shines through his entire life. It takes a lot to make it in the music industry, and it seems Tom has the talent, drive and zeal required.

“Anyone can join a band,” Jimmy says. “A smaller amount of those people can stick with it for a few years and actually take a chance with it. Then there is a very small number of people that you meet who you can tell are not going to accept anything less than a lifelong career in it. Tommy is that guy.”

Kevin shares the same opinion.

“Music is his life,” Kevin says. “It’s what he does all day, and it’s what drives him. Music is his connection with the rest of the world.”


Tommy and the High Pilots formed after Tom moved back to Santa Barbara after a year in New York.

“I had the itch to get a band back together,” Tom says. “Started as a cover band called Mr. Handsome. Moved forward from there.”

Their songs range from romantic lovey-doveys to fast-paced songs detailing subways and the Big Apple, and the inspirations come from all across the board.

“Some are autobiographical, some are just stories made up in my crazy head,” Tom says.

The High Pilots have been touring the country nonstop for the past two years and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. During the couple days they had off this year, they recorded some new demos and hope to release a new record by the end of this year.

“I’m really pumped about our new music,” Tom says. “I feel like all this new stuff is way better than the old stuff. You realize what works and what doesn’t work.”

In addition to hitting the studio and working on new music, The High Pilots also released their video for “Lonely Place” from their Sawhorse Sessions EP a few weeks ago.

Sometimes the trials and tribulations that accompany pursuing dreams can get a bit heavy, but The High Pilots try to keep their heads up. And with an ever-growing fan base, they count themselves happy.

“We measure our success by how many people are coming out to the shows, and that number keeps growing,” Tom says. “Little things, like MTV and song placements in TV shows are also little rays of light that keep us excited to move forward.”

As The High Pilots grow bigger and develop a larger following, those close to Tom can’t help but feel a sense of pride. All of his hard work is paying off, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by those in his life.

“We’re all very proud of him and know that the best is yet to come,” Jimmy says. “Everyone from our parents to all of us brothers, to our grandparents and his friends and girlfriend. We see the hunger in him to do this as a career. So it excites all of us to see how the High Pilots are growing.”

Kevin is also a part of Tom’s support system.

“Tom has always had people rooting for him to succeed,” Kevin says. “When he leaves for tour, they’re all rooting him on and awaiting his arrival home.”

Tommy and the High Pilots are opening for Langhorne Slim at Mojo’s on Monday. Tickets are $10.

For more MOVE Magazine content, click here.

Music of My Life

The current project I chose for J2150 centers around The Blue Note in downtown Columbia. I’m incredibly excited about this project because music consumes a large part of my life. I love all kinds of music ranging from 80’s to Christian contemporary. So, let’s get started.

When I was young, I remember riding with my dad in his truck while he listened to bands like Metallica and Van Halen. I loved those times I spent with my dad just driving around and listening to cool music. Being older now, those times influenced my taste in music. Listening to those types of bands brings back good memories accompanied with well, cool music.

Lately, the majority of my listening preferences have included everything on K-LOVE. This radio station is so incredibly uplifting and positive and I can’t help but have a great day when I listen to them. I love David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, Sanctus Real, Kutless and Matt Hammitt. Everything about these artists and their songs puts a smile on my face that stays for the remainder of the day.

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Tech N9ne visits Columbia, ready for strange therapy

Kansas City rapper, Aaron Yates AKA Tech N9ne, finds time on a cold Monday afternoon to joke around about vampires, talk about his love for psychiatry and plan his future.

In between freestyle raps and jokes, Tech N9ne opens up about his past, his future and what’s going on in his life right now. He has a personality that matches his music perfectly, which makes for interesting conversation, to say the least.

“What, they didn’t tell you I’m abnormal?” Tech N9ne said. “I’m a vampire, I vant to suck your blood.”

Just coming off tour, Tech N9ne finds time to unwind and relax.

“I’m kicking it like a donkey, you know?” Tech N9ne said. “I’m at the Strange Music headquarters right now and I’m in the room where we eat. Everybody’s working and I didn’t want to mess everybody up with my laugh because I know I laugh really loud.”

He mimics a loud, signature Tech N9ne laugh.

With so many hits and a new album out, Tech N9ne is about to shoot a video for another hit song off of his album All 6’s and 7’s called “Am I A Psycho?”

“I’m about to leave now,” Tech N9ne said. “We’re going to Atlanta, Georgia. I do the video on Wednesday, then I fly back Thursday afternoon and I have to drive all the way down from KCI Airport straight down to Columbia and do my meet-and-greet and then it’s on.”

His fast beats and catchy lyrics have been popular for a while now and his fan base is expanding to both the younger and much older crowd as well.

“I just turned 40 and they keep getting younger and younger!” Tech N9ne said. “My whole front row is 10 years old! It’s changing, I’m starting to see 80-year-olds, too.”

Tech N9ne is ready to come back to The Blue Note and its enduring fans.

“I come there all the time,” Tech N9ne said. “I love The Blue Note. We sell it out within hours. It’s going to be massive. The last couple of shows I did there, it was all women. I thought I was like Justin Bieber or something.”

Though music consumes his life, psychiatry is something that Tech N9ne has always been interested in. His music conveys his desire to understand the human brain quite clearly.

“I wanted to major in psychiatry,” Tech N9ne said. “I was always interested in why people do what they do and think what they think. Now that I chose rap and hip/hop, I noticed that a lot of people come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for the music, it really got me through.’ It’s very therapeutic, it’s like I’m my fans’ psychiatrist.”

Though he loves making music and adores his fans, the future approaches and Tech N9ne has an idea of where he wants to be in the next couple years.

“In five years, I’m going to own an island somewhere and I’m going to be on it with my children,” Tech N9ne said. “Eating and drinking coconut stuff. Maybe 151, Malibu rum and pineapple juice.”