Beau for the Win!

For the last couple weeks, we’ve been tracking demos of our new songs. It’s slow and meticulous work for us right now, but we’re making strides and are more than excited to get back on stage.

This past week, Beau dumped the tracks onto his computer, spent hours mixing every song we worked on last week (including our cover of Zombie by the Cranberries) and then emailed everything to everyone! We’re hoping that now that we have the technology figured out, time to listen to demos outside of Bunker hours will help us solidify our songs in a more timely manner.

Our ultimate focus is to begin recording these songs by the end of the year. Our main goal right now is to emerge from these sessions a better band, as musicians and dynamically as a group.  We’re all friends in this band.  Sometimes we go a little overboard with catching up and conversing every week.  We’re an awesome crew with a task to do.  That’s what we’re working with. We’ve always played songs at rehearsals and we’d only touch on some of the details involved in making a great song.  Some of that is my fault.  I write a lot of songs and I want to play all of them.  I’ve had to consciously slow down at practice and allow the song to open.  In these cold dark months, we’ve been giving ourselves the time to really focus on every element of our songs.  It’s a first.  We’re more outspoken at rehearsal.  We’re changing the culture of King Fish Crow.  When we hit the stage, we hope you dig it.

Last but not least, tonight I met Mike G. at the Bunker to run through one last rhythm guitar/bass night with some specially selected Galaxy Drive songs. We obviously need the work, but its sounding good and we’re looking forward to getting the original four back and making a little noise again.

“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope.  Be open to criticism and keep learning.  Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.”     – Tena Desae

The Bold North

It was quite a weekend here in the bold north. Minneapolis was the center of the sporting world on a Sunday evening.  I hear it was a good game.

In the Bunker, King Fish Crow has been recording rehearsals and focusing on our new material. Not glamourous at all.  We’ve taken it slowly and deliberately for most of the winter.  Now we’re looking to book some summer shows and bring a new set of songs to the stage.

Those new songs are our next album. We’re shooting for ten or eleven tracks and we just started looking into places to record.  A revered place has been presented as an option.  Is it that a sacred place has been divined?  Has the sky opened?  A river parted?  It’s too early to tell.  If we can somehow secure the logistical landscape it would certainly seem so.  But these are bridges to be crossed.

“Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful.  Your life is always moving toward something.”     – Ralph Marston

Busy Saturday

We had an event filled day on Saturday. A first year benefit ice fishing tournament and a show in the attic of the Auk’s Roost.

This past Saturday morning, Dave and I went out to Bald Eagle Lake and attended the first annual Austin Strong Ice Fishing Tournament to Freeze-Out Childhood Cancer. The Austin Strong Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to raise awareness, fund research and support those families affected by childhood cancer.  It was created in memory of the super strong, super loved Austin Smith of Monticello, Iowa who at only five years old was diagnosed with a rare, terminal form of brain cancer.  The foundation continues a fight for Austin and all childhood cancer warriors!  The foundation is close to our hearts.  And the Minneapolis chapter is run by Dave’s mom and sister.  It was great to get out on the ice and support the cause.  The treatment was five star with goodie bags (that included hand and foot warmers), hot cocoa and coffee, and sloppy joe’s for lunch.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  There were awards for largest and smallest fish.  I’ve only ice fished once or twice.  I’d have to put quotes around the fishing part and I’ve never been a part of a fishing tournament of any kind. I was missing out.  There were a lot of people there and they were all dressed for the weather and having a great time, some of them driving their trucks out onto the eighteen inches of ice.  The warming shelter gave a welcome opportunity to get out of the brisk wind.  To see the ice glow underneath you in a dark shelter is kind of a neat experience.  I didn’t catch a thing and Dave didn’t either, but that was definitely not the point.  It would have been a perk for sure, could have been a perch.  But alas, it was an honor to be a part of the inaugural event and we wish them many years of success with the tournament.

Later that night, we met up at the Bunker and Dave, Corey, Shane and I caravanned over to the Auk’s Roost and carried our minimal gear up two tricky stair cases and loaded into the Attic. Shortly after our noisy ascent, the evening began with Rob the Bagman’s performance.  He sat on a stool in front of the unlit fireplace and delivered a rambling, melodic folk vocal reminiscent of another Minnesotan Robert.  He seemed to gain confidence as he sang his songs, as if the lyrics stirred some deep emotion.  When he finished he packed up and left, Liz arrived and Fletcher Magellan began setting up in a circle around the outside of the room while the people gathered cozily in the middle of the floor.  They dished out a fantastic set, with Cody in one corner singing, playing acoustic guitar and thuddin’ the suitcase kick drum.  They played old tunes and new tunes, including a new song of theirs that I can’t get out of my head.  Their musicianship is top notch and the songwriting is arguably the best in town.  Everyone was into the groove.  Libations were flowing.  And when Fletcher Magellan wrapped up, it was time for some King Fish Crow.  Beau showed up just in time.  It was the first time all six of us had played the Auk’s Roost together.  We settled in front of the fire place.  Corey sat on a chair with his keyboard on his lap.  Dave stood in front of Corey with his acoustic plugged into a seven inch orange amp.  Shane stood just to the right of Corey and Dave with his bass plugged into a small amp.  Liz sat on a stool to the right of Shane.  I was just to her left sitting on a cajon facing the room.  Beau was directly in front of me, facing me, his back to the people gathered.  He was playing a pizza box snare drum with brushes, a ride, and a suitcase kick drum.   We thought we’d play nine songs, maybe ten and we played eleven.  It’s not every day we pull the microphones away and play an acoustic set, but there’s something special about the Auk’s Roost.  And it was Saturday night.  We played some of our favorite songs off Hotdish Army and we pulled out some new tunes that are shaping up for our next recording session.  Everyone there was fantastic and sang along at the end of Hush.  And maybe we played it a little longer than we usually do, but it was working and it was, without a doubt, the highlight of my night.  After we wrapped up, the Sawed-Off String Band took to the space in front of the fireplace and rallied off some foot stomping goodness into the far corners of the attic.  If you like raw bluegrass and songs about whisky, this is the band for you.  Their banjo player may have been the show stealer for the night.  And even down a violinist, they didn’t miss a beat.  It was a more than fitting end to an acoustic and up close night of local Minnesota folk, rock and country.

“The real interesting stuff is in the cellar and the attic.”     – Sherman Alexie

Unplugged, Saturday

Hey everybody, we’re in for an exciting week. We’d love you to be a part of it.

Saturday night, King Fish Crow will be at the Auk’s Roost putting on a little acoustic in the round set. We’re looking forward to an intimate, unplugged evening. We’ll be sharing the attic with Rob the Bagman, Fletcher Magellan and the Sawed Off String Band.  It’s gonna be a hoot!

Saturday Morning is the first Annual Austin Strong Ice Fishing Tournament to “Freeze Out” Childhood Cancer. Now I’m not much for ice fishing or fishing at all for that matter, but I’m all for this cause.  It’s at Bald Eagle – Otter Lake Regional Park in White Bear Lake, MN and begins at 9 am.  Get registered here.  And we’ll see you on the ice.

“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.”     – Steven Wright

Truly Marvelous

Well, here in Minnesota, I think we’re still a little blown away by the unbelievable Vikings victory last night. When all hope seemed lost, we received the Minneapolis Miracle.  Wow!  What a play.  I don’t know if I’ve seen a more dramatic sports moment.  On to Philly!

What a time to be a Vikings fan!

Here in the Bunker, we’ve been putting the Tascam to good use. We’re recording every chance we get and we’re gearing up to play the Auk’s Roost next Saturday.  For more information regarding how to attend this show, go to our facebook page.  It’s gonna be a stripped down, casual affair.  You might not want to miss it.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to another member of the band. Meet the one and only, the marvelous, Liz Murphy.

 

Liz Murphy

Singin’

Aka: Zexy Demon

When did you start singing?

I’ve been singing ever since I can remember and there’s home video footage to prove it! I was definitely singing by age three.  My sisters and I used to make up songs constantly; I was rather dramatic in front of the camera.  Over the years, I’ve lost almost all the drama (laughs) but I still love singing.

Who are your favorite bands/musicians/artists?

This is not an easy question for me. I change up who I listen to rather regularly and since I really didn’t start to listen to music until I was in college, there really aren’t any bands I’ve been listening to for decades.  I think if there was one band from childhood I’ll always love, it would be Simon & Garfunkel.  Others that I love intensely and move me in all sorts of ways would be Ms Lauryn Hill, really the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.  I cannot get enough of that album.  Neutral Milk Hotel.  Since they had already broken up when I had started listening to them, I never dreamed I would get to see them live, but Jeff Mangum did a solo tour and then somehow they did a reunion tour and I think I cried when I bought the tickets and cried at the show (a very Liz move).  I will always love Damien Jurado; the man is a beast, he has a million albums and they are all hauntingly gorgeous.  The Veils. “Lavinia” will always be one of my favorite songs of all time.  Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  When I listen to music, it tends to be a bit more mellow since I mostly listen while I’m drawing, but this is one of my favorite bands to see live. They’re all wearing black and their leather jackets and they just ooze coolness.  I love them.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

I love listening to women led bands with all types of voices. But as anyone who has ever heard us knows, I don’t have a big voice.  So I take more inspiration from women who show their power in other ways.  I love sister bands!  Or bands with two or more female leads like Overcoats, Joseph, The Staves, The Secret Sisters, etc.

Who are your favorite local bands?

Caroline Smith. Although she doesn’t live here anymore, her roots are here. Polica, Jeremy Messersmith, and Abby Wolf to name a few.

What is your favorite piece of gear?

Since I sing, I don’t really have any “gear”.

What genre is King Fish Crow?

I always tell people it’s Indie Folk Rock, whatever that means. (laughs)

How cool is the Bunker?

It’s a pretty neat space. (laughs) It really has everything you could ever want or need, including a comfy couch that will swallow you!

What has been the most memorable King Fish Crow show for you?

Oh boy, there have been a ton of fun shows. For some reason, this one show years ago at Big V’s always comes to mind.  This bar is an absolute dump.  Nothings about this venue is nice really, but that night there was a lineup of really cool bands and everyone who was there to see us was up in front dancing and I just filled up with joy, I will never forget it.  This for me is why I do this, because I love to sing and I love to make music with people who love making music, for people who love music.  And that’s all that matters. 

What is your favorite King Fish Crow song to play live?

Hmm, right now, Is Free

What is your favorite color?

Eek, I’m an artist, I truly do not have a favorite color. If I had to choose, it would be in the blue/green spectrum (although it used to be purple).

Hot Sauce?

Nope. I’m working on that though.  It’s a process right. 

What city do you live in?

Currently, Burnsville

What is your hometown?

I was born in Minneapolis, grew up in the lovely northern suburb of Brooklyn Center and moved to Burnsville in middle school.

What do you do during the day?

I watch my nephew, Malachi, three days a week. The remaining days I am working on growing my very small business called Eli & Ink, where I sell prints of drawings and paintings.  Check me out www.eliandink.com (Always self-promoting).

What is your favorite movie?

Oh boy, since I’m going to say Christmas below, I’ll say White Christmas. It’s definitely my favorite Christmas movie and it’s good all year round!

What is your favorite Holiday?

Christmas

What would you bring for your Desert Island playlist? (5 Albums)

  • The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  • In the Airplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Waltz for Koop – Koop (because this would be perfect for a desert island)
  • Riot On an Empty Street – Kings of Convenience
  • Lonerism – Tame Impala (because it’s deserted, right?)

What is your favorite hobby/pastime?

Well, I’m an artist, which is officially no longer just a hobby for me, but I like trying new things within other areas of art. I just got materials for block printing and wood burning, so I’m super excited to try those out. 

Do you have any pets?

Negative. But I love drawing animals.  Let me draw your pet!   

What is your favorite beer?

I love all beers. Really.  I’ve been rather partial to sours and anything with a fruit blend lately.

What is your preferred method of travel?

I think the idea of traveling long distances on a train seems really appealing. I love road trips, but they get hard because you start to feel so confined.  It would be nice to be able to stand up and stretch while still watching the lands go by.  But planes are quick and relatively easy, so you gotta love them.  

What is the most important thing to know about you?

First impressions can be deceiving.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I may be a member of the local grammar police.

Playing live or recording in the studio? Which do you prefer?

Playing live! That’s why I do this.

If King Fish Crow booked a show on the moon that was to be broadcast to Earth and the entire galaxy, would you make the proper preparations and ultimate voyage?

If it’s all expenses paid, yes!

“We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” – Henry James from The Middle Years

A New Age

Here in the Bunker, King Fish Crow is starting the year off right. Our Press Kit is finished.  We’ve got our Tascam DP-24 hooked up and we’re recording rehearsals from now until the end of time.  The audio quality is better than any scratch Bunker recordings we’ve done in the past.  It’s a New Age!  A glorious evolution!

I’ve been in the Bunker for ten years, this year. In 2008, Galaxy Drive, my first band, released an album called A Remnant Remains.  We rented a room, the room we affectionately call the Bunker, when there were no walls even erected for the space yet, just the crude framework of what the space would become.  So this year is something of a milestone.  It’s the ten year watermark.  And the occasion has brought about a Bunker Reunion show (Early April) and the reunion of Galaxy Drive.  Time is a trip.

Last night, Mike Strobel and I met at the Bunker and we began to remember how to play songs we haven’t attempted playing in nearly a decade. It was great to scrape some of the barnacles off and I’m excited to get the original guys back together and play some songs that seem to stand up to that old test of time.  Stay tuned for more details.

A small lineup of bands who have shared the Bunker with us will soon be revealed. Because the Bunker is not a large space, this event will be invite only.  If you are interested in attending please send us an email (kingfishcrow@gmail.com).

Catch King Fish Crow Saturday, January 27th, at the Auk’s Roost for an intimate, acoustic set.  We’ll be sitting in a circle shoulder to shoulder with everyone who piles into Jake’s cozy attic.  It’s going to be a snuggly kind of evening in the icy middle west.

Remember to take your shoes off at the door.

“Every parting is a form of death, as every reunion is a type of heaven.”     – Tryon Edwards

Happy New Year

King Fish Crow accomplished a lot in 2017. We released our album, Hotdish Army, at the very end of 2016.  In 2017, King Fish Crow put an album on iTunes and Spotify, both firsts for the band.  We also released two music videos supporting the album: Sweet Desperation and Train Song.  We are thrilled with how these videos turned out and we couldn’t have done it without the expertise and creativity of both Tyler and Josh respectively.

In 2018, King Fish Crow is looking to push forward. We have so much we want to accomplish.  We want to continue to play shows in the Twin Cities and we’re aiming to set up our first “mini” tours around the Midwest.  We’re also shooting for some spins on college radio.  Anything that we can do to help build our audience is a priority this year.  And as we’ve alluded recently, we’re looking to get back into the studio at some point this year as well.

A Thought for the New Year

I have a tendency to be a perfectionist. When I begin something, it can consume me.  I can pour myself into projects and methodically plot and hammer out every detail.  If in the midst of the task, something goes sideways (and things go sideways from time to time).  It can become a monumental obstacle for me, a frustration that has the potential to derail my intention.

I believe perfection is a journey, not an end product. It’s somewhat of an eastern thought (something far away from capitalism).  At the end of the day, perfection is an action, a verb.  In the doing, the living of life, on the journey the end outcome changes from product to passion, to love.

One of my most prized possessions is a “Ball Park,” a wooden baseball field with a spot for a bat and a baseball and two pegs for hats to hang from. My grandpa made it for me when I was much younger than I am now and I’ve held onto it for years.  It’s not a perfect work of carpentry or design.  But, that matters very little to me.  It’s about who made it and what was behind the making of it.  I cherish the sanded and stained wood.

If I do anything in this New Year or in New Years to come, may what I do be filled with passion, may I embrace the journey, and the love of life. And I hope to share a deeper connection with all of you.  What I am doing here in my life, what King Fish Crow is striving for is not a commodity.  It’s our hearts on our sleeves and we will always give you heat from our fire.

Thank you so much for the support and friendship. It is truly a blessing and we are genuinely grateful.

“May those who love us love us,

and those who don’t love us,

may God turn their hearts.

And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,

may he turn their ankles

so we’ll know them by their limping.”

– An Irish Blessing

Happy Holiday, Everybody!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope your holiday is a joyous one.  Remember: Adult Eggnog always goes a long way.  The members of King Fish Crow will be spending time with family, continuing traditions.  We’ll celebrate and hardly miss a beat and be back at it.

We had a great rehearsal Thursday. Quirky and timely, you could say.  We’re amping up for a recording of some kind in 2018.  The anticipation is growing.

As Next Monday is Christmas day, there will be no blog post. Again, we wish you all the happiest Holiday.  Travel safely.

May your days be merry and bright.

“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”     – Fred Rogers

An Interview with J.P.

Thanks for tuning into the Fuzz this week. The Bunker is calm and headed out into open water.  We’ve been really getting into a few new songs lately and we’re quite excited to share them with you when we reach port.

This week, we’d like to introduce another member of the band. Check out the interview with our very own, J.P. Murphy.

J.P. Murphy

Singin’ & Strummin’

Aka: Super Intendant God Botherer

When did you start singing or playing an instrument?

I started playing the trumpet in the St. Bridget’s elementary school band. I had a few years of recorder here and there and in high school I was in choir class for two years singing the tenor parts.  My first guitar was a Christmas gift when I was seventeen, a Samick acoustic.  I started writing poetry when I was twelve.  The guitar gave me another avenue to explore. 

Who are your favorite bands, musicians or artists?

Hmm…Wolf Parade, Spoon, Goodspeed You Black Emperor!, Beck, Sponge, Leonard Cohen, Lead Belly, Erik Satie, Aaron Copland, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Wilco, Modest Mouse, Pavement and Weezer.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Bob Dylan for getting me into the acoustic guitar in the first place. My mom who was always playing piano and guitar when I was growing up.  And Langston Hughes for making words musical. 

Who are your favorite local bands?

The Replacements, Semisonic, 12 Rods, Night Moves, Charlie Parr, and of course all of our buddies, Wailing Loons, Anarchists Are Better Lovers, Loons in the Attic, Fletcher Magellan, One Ukulele, The Mumblin’ Owls, Vs Hair Vs Hair, and the Broke Bikes (Broken Bicycles).

What is your favorite piece of gear?

I’d have to say my 1965 Gibson J-45. My mom played piano growing up and when she went to college she couldn’t bring her piano.  So her dad bought her this guitar to take to her dorm.  It’s a passed-down, family guitar and I love playing it. 

What genre is King Fish Crow?

Alternative

How cool is the Bunker?

(laughs) It’s a great location and the vibes are good. We are quickly approaching the ten year mark for occupancy.  A bunch of bands have come through.  Is that amazing? I’m not sure.  But the space has absorbed a lot of sound. 

What has been your most memorable King Fish Crow show?

Both Wild Springs Festivals were great. It’s growing every year and playing outside, in that setting, is kind of a treat.  I also really enjoyed playing at Reverie for our Album release.  It was cool to be on a bill with great bands we had never played with before.  And other than breaking a string, I think we played real well that night. 

What is your favorite King Fish crow song to play live?

People love Train Song, so I love playing it for them. But I’d have to say my favorite song is always our newest song. 

What is your favorite color?

Blue.

Hot Sauce?

Yes…but how hot are we talking? Do I need a gallon of milk?

What city do you live in?

Circle Pines

What is your hometown?

Dinkytown/Brooklyn Center

What do you do during the day?

I work with adults with special needs. Once a week, I lead a music group that is open to all of the clients of the Non Profit I work for.  So that is always a highlight of my workweek. 

What is your favorite movie?

I’ll give you three. Cool Hand Luke, Memphis Belle, The Untouchables.

What is your favorite Holiday?

Thanksgiving. I love the fall and the idea of a cornucopia.  It’s good to see family too. 

What would you bring for your desert island playlist?

  1. Lonesome Crowded West – Modest Mouse
  2. Doolittle – The Pixies
  3. Funeral – Arcade Fire
  4. The Soft Bulletin – The Flaming Lips
  5. Struttin’ – The Meters

Those are my picks, but that is harder than it looks.

What is your favorite pastime or hobby?

I love camping, canoeing and hiking and generally getting outside and exploring. Ventures with Tami and Rayna are always the best, I suppose watching T.V. shows with those two isn’t so bad either.

Do you have any pets?

Yes. Two orange tabby cats.  Bentley is our big boy and he’s typically a lazy cat.  Wrigley is feisty and lovable. 

What is your favorite beer?

Any Lagunitas is great. But Two Hearted is a good go to. 

What is your preferred method of travel?

I love road trips. I grew up driving to Florida and back with three sisters and a brother, all to see family down there. I really like watching the landscape change on a long road trip.

What is the most important thing to know about you?

Persistent. Definitely more tortoise than hare.  Also, I’m a Taurus, so I’m stubborn. 

What is your biggest pet peeve?

People just talking/no follow through…and maybe Facebook. (laughs)  

Playing live or recording in a studio? Which do you prefer?

I like the both for different reasons. In the studio, we’re looking for archetypes, album versions.  We’re trying to lay down what we do in the best way we know how, at the time.  Maybe we let some out of town guy track saxophone, but that’s what we’re thinking about for a recording and it’s a different mindset because it isn’t going to go down like that at every show.  And playing live is feeling your bandmates and the crowd and delivering the goods in the moment.  And it’s fantastic to be in that moment.

If King Fish Crow booked a show on the moon that was to be broadcast to Earth and the entire galaxy, would you make the proper preparations and ultimate voyage?

Of Course, though I imagine we’d have to play in some sort of bubble, which we’d probably call, MoonBunker1.

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”     – William Blake

Welcome to Winter

KFCSnowLogoYesterday began a warm and balmy 56 degrees. In the early evening, it began to rain and by 10:30 the temperature dropped and the rain changed to snow.  This morning, with the wind chill, it felt like 3 degrees outside.  Welcome to winter.  And for us hardy Minnesotans, a 53 degree difference from day to day is something we take pride in.

We spent last evening beginning to craft a press kit. Writing a bio is trickier than it sounds.  I think we have the beginnings of something different than we have used in the past.

Travel safely out there.

 

“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.”     – John Burroughs