Connect with us

Music

Class of 2017: Pink Owl

Interviews with the likes of Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, or the Edge rarely take the time to refer to their subjects as Jimmy Osterberg, Robert Zimmerman, and (believe it or not) David Evans. It’s not that those icons’ lives before the stage were any less interesting, nor that the story hasn’t already been told, it’s [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

Published

on

Interviews with the likes of Iggy Pop, Bob Dylan, or the Edge rarely take the time to refer to their subjects as Jimmy Osterberg, Robert Zimmerman, and (believe it or not) David Evans. It’s not that those icons’ lives before the stage were any less interesting, nor that the story hasn’t already been told, it’s just that once they transformed, there was never any reason to call them anything else.

One gets the same kind of vibe with Columbus’ Pink Owl.

His mild-mannered alter ego of former art student/substitute teacher begets the persona he’s been cultivating since he was a teen in Belpre, Ohio. Across the river, his Parkersburg, West Virginia location has left a definite holler in his drawl, the shell of country radio in his subconscious, and a particular wanderlust searching for primal truths in his songwriting. The “crummy apartment” where the Pink Owl was born in bedroom-acoustic recordings on a hand-held tape recorder, remains a remnant in his music—a starting point for his gypsy time-warp to launch.

I’ll readily admit to knowing the man for years, but never knowing him as anything other than the Pink Owl. He’s enjoyed that anonymity throughout his gnarly bildungsroman, a story that is better told outside the realm of social media. His tenure at Ohio University is when the Pink Owl found rock and roll to be “tangible,” dancing a fool, soaking up the touring garage bands (“before garage became whatever it is now”), and getting an alternate education at the Union.

But as the singer in the now-defunct Red Feathers, the Pink Owl was encouraged to put on a tint of artifice and bravado—lipstick and feather boas—and engage audiences entirely unscripted. It fit the slash and burn punk and psych of that band almost to a destructive fault. Think of the Stooges infiltrated by a quartet of outlaw Appalachians.

Perhaps too much Jimmy Osterberg and not enough Pink Owl?

“At a certain point, I really had to front the band,” says the Pink Owl. “It allowed me a complete lack of inhibition. I got lost in it. More than anything it was fun. It was oppositional, hopefully. I wanted some excitement. When you’re wearing women’s pants, that becomes a major part of it.”

A move to Ann Arbor in the name of love delineated a definite dissolution for Red Feathers, and a break for the Pink Owl and his music. That said, the Pink Owl’s true love remained in his songs. The opportunity to see them grow with a new circle of friends, the Supernatural Fears—consisting of Aaron Troyer of Day Creeper on bass, Blake Pfister on drums, and Steve Shurtz on lead guitar—is what quickly brought him back to Columbus. Knowing the prolific freakiness of the Pink Owl, Superdreamer Records owner, Spencer Morgan instantly asked the group to record an album for the label.

“There was a point where I was wholly committed to these songs and doing what I wanted to do with the Pink Owl. When Spencer asked for a record, I knew I had to accept that challenge.”

Fully Delusional, the second full album by the Pink Owl (but first credited to himself and the Supernatural Fears) was created last summer and finds the character reeling back the confrontation and androgyny of old. It’s no longer about “the show.” The record allows the Pink Owl’s junk drawer of influence to shine through. There is honky-tonk, glammed-up pop, itchy Cramps snarls, Aftermath-era Stones, the loosely dirigible jams of T. Rex, and bedroom experiments converted into Technicolored cosmic wanderings. And he dresses the part, preferring a trucker hat, handkerchief, and high-strung acoustic guitar to spit, stale beer, and Cinemax antics. It’s not that the Pink Owl has never been serious or sincere about his work, his art, but hearing his skewed folk in the context of this weirdo caravan feels like a new level—the next step in his evolution.

“I love it because it still feels spontaneous. I’m a generative machine, so I’m always having to invent in the moment.”

Even if it all fell apart tomorrow, the Pink Owl could survive as a lone nomad—a Zappa or Ariel Pink type figure who could create within his own bubble. With the next phase, he’s committed to making a concerted push for whatever the big time consists of in modern times.

“Why do you think I’m a substitute teacher?”

For more information on The Pink Owl and his Supernatural Fears, visit superdreamerrecords.com.

Continue Reading

Music

Local rocker Angela Perley shines on solo debut

Mike Thomas

Published

on

This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of (614) Magazine.

Folk, alt-country, or indie rock—however you choose to categorize her sound, Angela Perley remains a pillar of the Columbus music community—and highly in-demand as a national touring act, to boot.

(614) caught up with Perley to discuss her new album, life on the road, and what it takes to make it as a musician in the Capital City.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

(614): YOUR NEW RELEASE, 4:30, IS YOUR FIRST AS A SOLO ACT. WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE?

AP: Since 2009 until last year, I had the Howlin’ Moons. It’s always been myself, Chris Connor on lead guitar, and then we had bassist Billy Zehnal in the band up until last year. We’ve had a rotating extended family of drummers. Billy’s not in the band anymore, and we were also on Vital Companies, which is a studio/label in Columbus that did our previous albums.

https://open.spotify.com/album/04pKByd2ygDHXdvl1TcdWP?si=6njCmRpfR5GRWe5kLNghVw

So this one—it’s a solo one, it’s my first independent release. There’s no label involved, I own the masters to the songs. It’s hard to keep a band together, so Chris, who’s been in the band since the beginning, and I, we’re kind of the only members, and we have an extended family of really great and talented people who have other projects they’re in. It just works a lot better with what I want to do.

YOU USED KICKSTARTER TO HELP FUND THE ALBUM. WHAT WAS THE CROWDFUNDING EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Before, with Vital, they had a studio and video production, and they took care of all of our recording in-house. We didn’t realize how expensive everything was. We had paid for studio time [for 4:30] through show money, but to look at all of the other expenses of making a record happen and trying to get it out there, it’s pretty intense! There have been a lot of independent artists that we know that will do Kickstarters, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I was really nervous doing it. But it was a success, and I actually just finished sending out all of the preorder vinyl that people ordered.

YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS ANYTHING FROM AMERICANA, TO ALT-COUNTRY, TO PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITHIN THOSE TRADITIONS IN 2019?

You kind of have to make your own path, because although there is a resurgence of rock ‘n’ roll, everything’s been done before. It has those roots, but we’re not breaking the mold or anything. You just have to be true to yourself and to the music, and just go from there. Everyone’s voice is important as an artist, so that’s important to remember.

YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TOURING QUITE A BIT. DO YOU STILL KEEP TRACK OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COLUMBUS MUSIC SCENE?

Columbus is definitely growing, and moving toward doing things independently. I’ve seen a lot of bands touring, which is good. It’s an affordable place to tour out of, and there’s a community here for sure. Whenever I have a chance, we go out to the shows. We love The Cordial Sins, and we’re having them as our special guests for our album release. The High Definitions, Souther—there are just so many good bands.

When I go to other cities and I realize that there’s not really much of a scene going on, it is kind of cool to see that in Columbus, people are very aware and supportive of musicians. Even the businesses around here, everyone’s trying to work with musicians in some way. There are so many gigs, be it at breweries, at restaurants, or little festivals that pop up. There’s work for musicians here. And some other cities, there’s really not.

IN THE PAST, YOU’VE PLAYED SOMETHING LIKE 150 SHOWS A YEAR. ARE YOU KEEPING UP THE SAME PACE THESE DAYS?

I’m glad that we played that many shows at that time. We were playing anywhere and everywhere, and a lot of that was pressure financially. If that’s the way you’re making a living, you’ve got to take every gig. We’ve spread out the shows since, especially since we have been doing it for this long. We’re kind of gearing more towards quality shows. I will say, playing that many shows—I needed that. We needed the experience, and just the repetition. Every venue is different, every environment, every crowd. You cut your teeth and it makes you stronger.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LOCAL ARTISTS HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC?

It’s tough, because for each person it’s so different. Getting out there and working hard, playing as many shows as possible—that's all really great experience. But also focus on the music itself. If you’re going to make a music video or a recording, take your time—don’t half-ass it. Wait until you know what you’re doing. Although, you kind of have to learn from your mistakes, too.

Catch Angela Perley with special guests The Cordial Sins on September 6 at Skully’s Music-Diner for the release show of her new album, titled 4:30.

Continue Reading

(614) Sessions

614 Sessions: Doc Robinson

Mike Thomas

Published

on

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4QdxpbrZgg&feature=youtu.be

Doc Robinson, the collaboration of Columbus music stalwarts Jon Elliott and Nick D’Andrea, joined us for this session in the 614 offices to share their unique brand of "Backyard BBQ Breakup music."

While here, the duo played stripped-down acoustic versions of their songs "Wilderness" and "Wild Beauty."

To hear more from Doc Robinson, follow them on your streaming platform of choice, or visit https://www.docrobinsonofficial.com/

Be sure to catch the group at Woodlands Tavern on Saturday, September 21, when they'll be joined by Hebdo, Parker Louis, Honey and Blue and many more for their Family Jamboree.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5O0efDEpkqEmWbXD2zpkjz

Apple Music:
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/doc-robinson/1116027164
———
Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper, Mike Thomas
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley
Video Editing: Mike Thomas
Contact: [email protected]
Website: 614now.com

Continue Reading

(614) Sessions

(614) Sessions: The Turbos

Mike Thomas

Published

on

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThYK1D0000

The Turbos’ high-octane heroics have earned the group a fierce following in the Columbus rock scene and beyond. Combining shredding guitar virtuosity with soaring, anthemic vocals, co-frontmen Alex D. and Lucas Esterline lead the group in a sound that combines the best of the old and the new. Rounded out by the multi-talented Cameron Reck on bass and mononymous local music veteran Jahrie behind the kit, the Turbos are leading the charge for a new generation of rockers.

For the first of what we hope will be many in a new music series we're calling The (614) Sessions, The Turbos joined us in our offices for a stripped-down acoustic set. Despite leaving the electrics at home, the power of their performance was still enough to garner multiple noise complaints (sorry, neighbors).

For show dates and more, be sure to follow The Turbos on Facebook. Big thanks to the group for sharing their music as our first-ever guests in this new endeavor!

———

Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Mike Thomas, Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video
Editing: Mitch Hooper
Contact: [email protected]

Continue Reading

No mo’ FOMO

Missing out sucks. That's why our daily email is so important. You'll be up-to-date on the latest happenings and things to do in Cbus + be the first to snag our daily giveaways

Shop Now!

The Magazines

X