The stage/nickname “The Squirrel Murphey” explains a lot about Illinois native and Montana Folk Legend, Matt Ward (not to be confused with M. Ward, a different folk legend). It comes from the name of a character in the 80’s ski romp “Hot Dog – The Movie!” that exemplifies the hardcore party lifestyle of shredding the pow by day and chasing ski bunnies while putting away the sauce at night.
“He’s been on the world ski tour for four years, made $392, and been laid twice” is how The Squirrel Murphey is described in the movie. Matt Ward has managed to blur the line between art and life by picking up where the role left off and the rest is soon to be internet history. Read more
Symbols of the West are a dream pop duo in the deepest sense of the term. While their synth driven sound is at home along side dream pop acts like Beach House or XX, SOTW evoke a deeper, more psychedelic vibe that taps into the world of the collective unconscious where information and time are molded together with existential truths, experience, and emotion that allow humanity to communicate with itself in the most basic way. In other words, they sound something akin to Joseph Campbell if he were writing lyrics for a modern synth pop band. Read more
Hell’s Belles – The Reigning AC/DC Tribute Band
Being in a cover band is a hard gig for a musician. You don’t always get a lot of respect from other people in original bands. People think your job is to be a live version of a jukebox and your worth as a band is determined by the bar sales for the night and possibly by how well you connected with the audience. Timid bar owners want to bet on the sure thing and many take the view that their customers will only dance to music that they already know and if the patrons ain’t dancing, then they ain’t buying drinks. As a result, original bands get pushed out to into the few venues that will pay them from the door sales based on their own drawing power. Most of the guaranteed money gets split amongst the cover bands and the competition for gigs is tough due to the over-saturation of the market, coming from both the professionals and part timers.
As the market became crowded the more industrious bands took it upon themselves to start specializing their material in order to stand out. Some played top 40 hits, while others only played rockabilly and so on. People were getting more specific in the range of songs their band would play. Inevitably this led to playing only the music of a single band, thus paying tribute to their greatness and the concept of the tribute band was born. Read more
There are people who are content to work a job, come home and watch TV every night. Then there are people who work a job, create works of art, produce their own radio shows, prepare amazing food, screen print shirts and accessories, and become active members of their communities. And by people I mean a guy who goes by the name of “Big Rob” Parker.
Rob’s family lived in Montana when he was a kid and after graduating he move back to The Treasure State and it was in Bozeman that he discovered the joys of being a radio DJ at KGLT and the trials of being a bartender at the legendary Zebra Above. Those who know him refer to him as “Hardcorps (pronounced hardcore) Rob” due to his love of hardcore and metal music, which he displayed in his radio show “Hard Corps 101” on KGLT, the local college station. He was active in booking metal and hardcore shows and always seemed to be booked to cater various events in the Gallatin Valley. The guy was in demand. Read more