Contrail is the musical project of Erin Czech and friends. She feels deeply about the San Jose music scene. “For the most part, San Jose has a tight circle of folks who play music. We’re all in each others bands and we go to each others shows. It’s a pretty small gathering for a city of close to a million people. A lot of people who live in San Jose and play music choose to move 40 miles north to San Francisco or Oakland, but those who like a tighter knit music circle without the frills stay in SJ.” When we asked her how she came up with the name, this was her reply:
“My friend and ex-bandmate, Yvonne, worked at NASA studying the atmosphere. She was studying the effects of condensation trails (contrails) while we were figuring out what to call the band. I never knew that those white streaks behind planes were called contrails and I guess we both thought it was a cool word. I also thought it was a good image to go with the music we were playing at the time.”
Corpus Callosum is the musical talent of Stephanie Bailey, Avery Burke, Qarly Canant, Andrea Craver, Stevie Hryciw, Jason Samaha and Dax Tran-Caffee. Avery graciously explained the story behind CC:
“Corpus Callosum is a fibrous band of ganglia located at the center of the brain. It facilitates communication between the right and the left hemispheres. In very rare cases individuals who suffer from extreme epileptic seizures will undergo an operation called a callosotomy – a removal of the corpus callsoum. These individuals display a range of behavioral changes consequent to the surgery which calls into question their status altogether as individuals: When the right and left hemispheres no longer have accesses to the same neurological signals (when they are no longer in communication) it begins to look as though one head houses two brains with two separate personalities. This phenomena is known as split brain syndrome. Split brain syndrome should cause any curious person to take stock of their basic assumptions about what it means to be a single ego. One operation can render what you once thought of as your unified irreducible self into something alien.
Causing people to question very basic aspects of experience is part of Corpus Callosum’s mission: We use familiar object such as toys, suitcases, household tools and junk to create music which is still very rooted in folk traditions, but sometimes confusing to watch. During shows I alternate between singing sweet songs and thrashing and convulsing in the audience. We have stilt walkers and puppets. The best compliment I have ever received about our live shows was from a member of a rather popular band who said seeing us was “like being on drugs without the the drugs.
It is through the study of split brain patients that neurologists first began to describe hemisphere specialization and hemisphere optimization. Hemisphere specialization is the notion that one side of brain does something that the other side does not, and hemisphere optimization is the notion that, in general, the right side of the brain controls the left half of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right half of the body. So, a range of objects is placed on a table in front of a split brain patients. The patients are instructed to close their eyes while a neurologist places a key in the patient’s left hand. The patient is then asked to located an object on the table which best matches the object in his left hand. Because the language faculties are located in the left hemisphere (which is connected to the right hand), the patient will complain that nothing has been placed in his hand, while the left hand (which is connected to the right hemisphere) will begin to grope around on the table until it locates a lock. When the patient is asked to explain why his left hand grabbed the lock he finds himself at a loss. In a lot of these cases the right brain and left brain seem to demonstrate unique preferences (such as the case of the man whose left hand was hostile to his wife) and even, in two cases, separate beliefs. Besides being a cool name, Corpus Callosum is meant to reference all of this.”
The Roast Beef Curtains
The Roast Beef Curtains are a dub style trio that hail from Long Island, New York! The group consists of John on bass, Andrew on guitar and vocals and Mike on drums. Here is what Drew had to say about their name:
“The Roast Beef Curtains don’t have as crazy of a story as the name itself. Being that we are 3 wiseass, immature, suburban idiots we heard it from the lips of someone in high school and we found it funny. It really had a deep meaning at the time, but the more we lived with it, the more we have grown into it. The name has actually bothered some bookers enough to not book us, but as a trade-off, when we do get booked we have received fans just from the name alone! We play dub, but we kind of carry ourselves as punks ready to do a hardcore set when we hit the stage, so the name only adds to some sort of punk thing.
Every reggae band (white-boy reggae band) I’ve ever seen has tried to adopt some kind of hippy/rasta/one world approach to themselves and its reflected in some hippy/rasta/one world name. None of us are like that, we don’t write socially conscious “Bob Marley-ish” songs, we write authentic reggae and dub rhythms with lyrics about gross, silly, stupid, sometimes corny things that we find funny or somehow relevant to us at the time. If I tried to be a hippy for more than 10 minutes I might hurt myself or someone else. The best thing about the name, though, is most people don’t know what they are in for when they hear it, which is exactly where we like people to be right before we commence the dubbing. So come to our shows and become that “Roastie” freak you’ve always wanted to be and live in a heavy bass filled world of RBC pleasure!”
Sep 18 2009 Brickhouse Brewery – Patchogue, NY
Sep 25 2009 Local 269 Bar & Venue – New York, NY
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– Lottie Leymarie