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Class of 2016: Fizzed

Christian Pierce has an old soul. Though his band Fizzed is a fuzzy panacea formed for the here and now, it was conceived with traditional rituals of the way things were done at the end of the last century. Humble, yet noisy, four-track recordings slowly gestate into full-band spectacles. The adjective "analog" gets tossed around [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Christian Pierce has an old soul. Though his band Fizzed is a fuzzy panacea formed for the here and now, it was conceived with traditional rituals of the way things were done at the end of the last century. Humble, yet noisy, four-track recordings slowly gestate into full-band spectacles. The adjective “analog” gets tossed around above all else. Cassettes get made, not because they are a hip millennial fetish, but because they are necessary and stir up the nostalgia of making mixtapes for someone special. Listening to a song like “Show Some Love” is bound to link one to the past. Those reverberations offer a rewind through a dusty record collection full of Byrds and Blue Cheer albums, without looking over one’s shoulder. For Pierce, Fizzed is a new start.

Having been a prominent drummer in the Columbus scene for over a decade (most notably with the Tough and Lovely and lately the Urns) Pierce is a veteran and a journeyman, but lately he has found himself not particularly “satisfied musically.” A lot of the bands failed, or stopped putting in the time, or simply ran out of ideas, and before long Pierce became frustrated with playing drums on someone else’s concepts.

“All of the bands I’ve ever been in, I played the drums,” says Pierce. “So out of the gate it’s completely different because as a drummer you can’t really influence a song. Don’t get me wrong, you can shape a song on the drums, input ideas, help make arrangements, but you’re not ever writing the song.”

Fizzed began as a way to fill that void. At his former home in Orient, Pierce used the detachment and isolation from the city to start sketching out songs. Having never really written as himself before, home recording provided an organic way to progress. Eventually he knew the songs needed a larger scope—more heft and more heads. Pierce recruited fellow Urns bandmates Mike Nosan and Jim Calder to play drums and bass respectively. To flesh out the increasingly gnarled tones, Darren Latanick was soon added as a second guitarist to counter Pierce. The band instantly gelled behind Pierce’s leadership—a garage band that is determined to buck the trend of garage bands.

“Garage is such a broad term,” says Pierce with a chuckle. “I think we’re more fluid and experimental than a lot of so-called garage bands. Usually there’s just a verse, chorus, verse, and then some ripping guitar solo, it’s pretty primitive. We have songs that are primitive, but I think we have tenderness and sentimentality in our music. We aren’t just playing three chords.”

Indeed, the tracks that make up Fizzed’s debut are built upon loose jams and some improvisation, seeing what sticks as opposed to forcing out a pop song. That approach has truly set Fizzed apart from the standard-issue Columbus fuzz bands. This is fuzz for the faithful, those who know how to follow along. –Kevin J. Elliott

Fizzed play Cafe Bourbon Street on Friday, June 24. For music and more information visit fizzed.bandcamp.com. 

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Music industry designates Blackout Tuesday as time of pause

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To honor the memory of George Floyd and fix the injustices surrounding his death, the music industry has designated Tuesday as a time of pause to collaborate on ways to better support the black community.

Businesses and organizations within the music industry have been asked to pause regular work to reflect on how they can better serve the black community, according to a report from Variety. In general, businesses and organizations across the board have been asked to use Tuesday as a way to focus on the effort.

The message that circulated around social media quickly on Monday stated that “Blackout Tuesday” is being used as “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” and “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”

The movement has been gaining momentum under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Major labels such as Capitol Music Group and Warner Music Group announced their alignment with the “Blackout Tuesday” cause. 

Companies have also announced practices such as pausing social media activity throughout the whole day.

Spotify and ViacomCBS have already announced an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence for Tuesday. The time reflects how long the Minnesota police officer dug his knee into the kneck of Floyd.

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need

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Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here: https://sendaconcert.herokuapp.com/request

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b45abaa22a4fb6-curbside

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?

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A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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