Amnesia Rockfest Brings Punkabilly Musician Lauren Spike with the Rocker Contest (concours rocker)

Rocker Contest (concours rocker) Amnesia Rockfest 2016

Rocker Contest (concours rocker) Amnesia Rockfest 2016

Back in March 2016, Amnesia Rockfest launched their 2016 Rocker Contest (concours rocker), an online voting contest to pick one band to play at their music festival.

Over 125 bands entered the Rocker Contest (concours rocker). The contest was simple; share the voting link and get your fans to vote for you once a day. The judges would then pick a winner from the top 10 most voted bands.

The voting contest lasted over 2.5 months. It was very exciting to see the top 10 bands shift throughout the Rocker Contest (concours rocker), though for the most part, it mostly stayed the same.

I am honoured to announce that they selected my band, Lauren Spike, from the top 10 to play. I was at #3 at the time of selection, so I guess I stuck out!

In reality, this isn’t just a win for me, it’s a win for punk, psychobilly and punkabilly music everywhere. For the musicians and fans, the music and scene we create IS important, and DOES have value. Maybe there’s a glimmer of hope for us yet. I’d also like to give a big shout out to everyone that voted for me in this contest. YOU made this happen!

Here are the show details for our set at Amnesia Rockfest 2016 in Montebello, QC, Canada:

Date: Thursday, June 23rd
Time slot: 5pm
Stage: Tony Sly 1

As much as online contests can be flawed. I would recommend this contest to any band. The fact that they pick a band from the top 10 really gives you a chance. “Real people” at the festival actually listen to your music and make a decision, so it’s not 100% automated. It takes about 20-30 people voting for you a day to get into the top 10. If you’re in a band with a strong fan base, you should not have a problem (<– please keep that in mind before posting negative comments about the contest. lol).

From a marketing perspective, the Rocker Contest (concours rocker) is great promotion for the festival. Driving hundreds of voters to their site daily and having bands share the festival website on all their social media channels. As someone who has taken university level marketing courses, I applaud Amnesia Rockfest for this unique approach.

I hope that the festival continues to combine marketing initiatives with opportunities to have new (independent) talent take the stage. As an independent musician, I know opportunities like these are few and far between, and you gotta take every opportunity you can.

Rocker Contest (concours rocker) Amnesia Rockfest 2016

Rocker Contest (concours rocker) Amnesia Rockfest 2016

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Shock Stock, Canada’s Horror and Exploitation Weekend Celebration

Shock Stock was held at Centennial Hall last weekend (May 27th-29th, 2016) in London, Ontario, Canada.

http://shock-stock.com/

This was my first time attending the Horror Convention dubbed Canada’s Horror and Exploitation Weekend Celebration.

The Shock Stock horror convention had many great guests including horror movie actors, directors (ex. Lloyd Kaufman), visual artists and so much more. They even had an “escape room” put on by Sinister Laboratories.

Shock Stock incorporated a variety of film screenings such as SCRAWL,  KILLER RACK, short films, FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS, NIGHT OF THE CUNTS 2 : VIOLENCE OF THE CLAMS,  YETI: A LOVE STORY 2 : LIFE ON THE STREETS, Getting SchooledPeelersDICKSHARK, GLIMPSE AWESOME,  Secret Santa and Terror Toons 3.

Shock Stock also included a 69 Hour Film Challenge where international filmmakers, both amateur and professional, were faced with the task of producing a short film in less than 3 days using the surprise elements assigned at the launch of the competition.

While attending, I got the chance to met horror icons, shop for unique horror items and collectables, listen to panel speakers and met some all around cool people.  One of my favourite Shock Stock’s guests this year was Doyle Von Frankenstein, (Former? that is TBD was the Misfits set out on some reuion shows this summer) guitar player for horror punk legends the Misfits. Doyle also has his own band called Doyle and was selling merch, taking photographs and signing autographs.

Shock Stock with Doyle
Speaking of unique finds, check out this original (web) comic, Dissappointing Monsters created by Daniel Bradford and Owen Mackinder.
disappointing-monsters

One thing that really stood out for me at Shock Stock was the sense of community. It defiantly had more of a welcoming vide than comparable events in larger cities such as Toronto. People in the south-western Ontario horror community booked time off work, booked hotel rooms, attended after parties and pulled together to create a one-of-a-kind weekend not common to this area.

shock stock after party

Shock Stock Photo Reel


photos supplied by Louis Perzia

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Michale Graves (ex-lead singer of Horror Punk Legends, The Misfits) Concert Tour 2016

Michale Graves is currently on tour in support of this latest release “When Worlds Collide“.
The North American Tour is making a stop in Toronto on June 9th.

Ok, I’m probably dating myself but I grew up on the Michale Graves era Misfits. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Danzig and other eras too, but the Michale Graves era is what is nostalgic to me. I remember being in grade school and setting my VCR to record MuchMusic’s LOUD every Friday at midnight. LOUD was a television program on the music channel that featured music videos from “heavier” bands that were not played during the regular music video rotation. I remember recording the show was a “big deal” for me. I’d call and get my mom to do it if I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. I needed to have all the videos on VCR tape to watch them over and over again (FYI This is before YouTube lol) . As well, if I couldn’t watch it that night, it would be the first thing I did on Saturday morning.

One Saturday as I played the tape I saw the video for “Dig Up Her Bones” by the Misfits:

This was my first introduction to legendary Horror Punk band the Misfits. Michale Graves did lead vocals on two full-length Misfits Albums, American Psycho and Famous Monsters. He also did backup vocals on the 1999 single Monster Mash and Cuts from the Crypt.

By the time I was old enough to start attending concerts, Graves was out of the band and a new Misfits line-up was in. When Michale Graves comes to Toronto on June 9th, 2016 it will be my first time seeing Misfits songs off the albums American Psycho and Famous Monsters performed by him. You can buy tickets to the Toronto show at http://www.thehouseofhaunt.com/tickets/michale-graves-ticket

Michale Graves tickets

Michale Graves When Worlds Collide North American Tour

Here is a list of some of the upcoming tour dates:

Date Venue City
Apr 19 The Foundry Lakewood, Ohio
Apr 20 Annabelle’s Lounge  Akron, Ohio
Apr 22 Mother Pug’s Saloon Staten Island, New York
Apr 23 Maxwell’s Hoboken, New Jersey
Apr 28 Fuzebox Albany, New York
Apr 29 Dover Brickhouse Dover, New Hampshire
Apr 30 ONCE Ballroom Somerville, Massachusetts (Boston)
May 1 Firehouse 13 Providence, Rhode Island
May 3 Spirit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 4 Raw Ink Studio Gaithersburg, Maryland
May 5 Muncheez Bar and Grill Beckley, West Virginia
May 6 Billy’s Barn Salem, Virginia
May 7 Crossroads Garwood, New Jersey
Jun 9 The Rockpile Toronto, Ontario CAN
Jun 10 Mavericks Bar Ottawa, Ontario CAN

For more info on Tourdates please go to: http://www.michalegraves.net/

 

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Punk Guitar – Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic

Can a punk guitar be acoustic? Well I’m here to tell you YES it can because this signature acoustic guitar by Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong plays like an electric. The Tim Armstrong Hellcat guitar by Fender is a light guitar with low action. It does not feel like you are playing an acoustic. It is perfect for writing or jamming acoustic tunes if you are a punk musician who is used to playing an electric guitar. It features a built in tuner (Fishman® Isys III System with Active Onboard Preamp and Tuner) so you can really just pick and up an go. Great for jamming around a campfire.

Punk Guitar – Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic by Fender

Punk Guitar - Tim Armstrong Hellcat

I was fortunate enough to win this guitar via a social media contest that that Rancid’s instagram account hosted at the end of last year.

Punk Guitar Winnings

The contest incorporated two of my favourite things, music and graphic design. The contest was a poster design contest for their show on New Years Eve in L.A. You simply designed a poster for the show and posted it to your instagram account using #thebash. Rancid then took a screen shot of your design (using a mobile device) and reposted it to their instagram account. People would vote by liking the posts on the Rancid account. The 5 top designs with the most likes (by Dec. 15th, 2015) won a signature Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic guitar and guess passes to their show on NYE.

Punk guitar winners

As a fan, it made me feel so “special” to have the Rancid instagram account share my poster design.  I loved watching the likes go up during the contest and viewing all the other submissions. I spent hours on my phone keeping track of the #thebash hashtag and looking at all the new designs. There were SO many great designs. Honestly there were a lot better designs than mine. Especially the ones that where illustrations. I took graphic design in college and I do have an advanced diploma in it, but I am mostly just an admirer of that art form. As for work these days I mostly focus on producing websites.  Online contests are mostly just a popularity contest…Speaking of which, Please vote for me to play at Amnesia Rockfest. Go to  http://www.vote4spike.com. Scroll down to “Lauren Spike” and click “Vote for This Band”. You can vote once a day! Thanks!

Rockfest Poster - Lauren Spike

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Psychobilly Meeting 2015

Psychobilly Meeting 2015

The Psychobilly Meeting has been one of Europe’s biggest psychobilly festivals for over 20 years!

Psychobilly Meeting Banner

Last year I attended the 23rd annual Psychobilly Meeting in Pineda de Mar, Spain. Pineda de Mar is a beach town located right outside of Barcelona.

Psychobilly Meeting 2015

Last year I got the chance to see some amazing bands live such as Demented Are Go, Astro Zombies and Mad Sin.

Psychobilly Meeting - Demented Are Go

I had the chance to discover some bands too such as Stressor and Sick Sick Sinners. They also had a shopping area to pick up some merch.

Psychobilly Meeting Merch

Accommodations

I stayed at the Aqua de promenade / Aqua Hotel. This was a nice and clean hotel with a pool and gym if you desired. It is accross the street from the beach.

Psychobilly Meeting - View from my Hotel Room

Here was the view from my Hotel Room

I would have to say the best part of this hotel was the buffet. They have a breakfast buffet that is included with your room (Though you do have to wake up for it). Lunch and Dinner buffets can be added for 4 euros each a day. I opted to have the Dinner buffet added, so I literally ate for 4 euros a day the whole time I was there. My schedule during the festival was: wake up for breakfast around 9am, go back to sleep from 11-2pm. Go see the bands play on the beach from 2-5pm. Come back to the Hotel for dinner. Then get ready and go to the main festival shows at night.

The hotel was also a few minutes from the festival’s free shuttle service that would take you to concerts stops throughout the day.

Atmosphere

Coming from an experience of only going to music festivals in Toronto. I was shocked as to how well the organizers treated concert goers. Here (in Toronto), when we have a festival, it’s like “Welcome to our giant overpriced mud pit. Have fun getting here and leaving. We don’t care. Oh, there’s a pile of porta-potties in the corner if you have to go.”

The fact that they had a clean, comfortable, and safe shuttle bus service for the festival attendees was amazing. I found some of the best times of the Psychobilly Meeting was actually spent meeting people on/waiting for the bus.
Psychobilly Meeting - Meeting PeoplePsychobilly Meeting - Meeting People

This festival is really set up like a “Meeting” where there is a lot of chances to meet and sit and talk to people. Outside of the main concert hall there are picnic tables to sit and rest on. (that’s something I’ve never seen at a music festival here)

Psychobilly Meeting - outside sitting area

This is my travel buddy Jeanine and I 🙂

As well, NO porta-potties. Nice REAL toilets. Omg.

The Atmosphere of having bands on the beach during the day at Santi’s Beach Bar was great as well.

Psychobilly Meeting - Psychobilly music on the beach.

Psychobilly music on the beach. What a vacation!

This year…

This year I won’t be able to make it, but they have another great line up including psychobilly legends Batmobile, Members of Zombie Ghost Train, and Mad Sin. They even have a “Psycho Boat Party” this year!

Psychobilly Meeting 2016 Line-Up

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Where to Buy Punk Fashion – Southwestern Ontario

Where do I buy my Punk Fashion? I get asked that all the time. The truth is that I do most of my shopping online. I find when online punk fashion brands send out email blasts with coupon codes, I can get some great deals. As someone who has worked in the e-commerce web industry, I have no problem supporting the online market. I live in Toronto and the price of everything here seems to skyrocket. Sometimes, I might go shopping in Kensington Market in the Summer. I have found some unique, well priced items there. But other than Kensington Market, and maybe some independent “pop-ups” (Like the Bazaar of the Bizarre) the only place I shop for clothes in person (real life lol) is at my favourite punk retail store London Rock, located at 202 Dundas St. In Downtown London, Ontario.

Punk Fashion - London Rock

They also have an online store too, located at http://rocklondon.ca/. Though I would recommend paying them a visit if you are ever in the area to view all of their inventory. At London Rock you never know what you will find. Whether you are looking for punk fashion, punkabilly clothing, or psycobilly fashion, this store has some great finds for you. I have seen everything from Batmobile t-shirts to this cool Social Distortion sweatshirt.
punk fashion - Social Distortion Sweatshirt
Heck, even if you are not in area, even if you spent $50 on gas getting there, you would still save yourself money with the well-priced merchandise they have AND find very unique items.

Here is their discount $5 rack. D.Y.I ALERT: If you’re in a band. This is a great rack to get some unique items that you can put your band logo on and resell at shows!
Punk Fashion- London Rock Discount Rack

Forget HotTopic – which is basically the “Walmart” of the punk fashion world. London Rock has been independently owned and operated since the early 90’s (yes, over 20 years!). You can get bargains and not support large corporations. 🙂
(Though, I’m not going to lie, I have totally shopped at HotTopic in the Eaton Centre before, mostly because I’m weak.)

London Rock is the ultimate Punk Fashion retail store to go to. Trust me.

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Horror Punk Fashion – The Cleaver Clutch Bag by Kreepsville 666

Like Horror Punk Fashion? The best place for “original scare wear” is http://store.kreepsville666.com/. They have the some of the best items for Punk Fashion. Sometimes while I am on their website, I have a very “what came first/the chicken or egg?” type experience as many of their original designs are mimicked elsewhere. For example, a bought a Cleaver purse that I found on eBay back in 2013. I thought it was so cute and unique, but when I got it there was clearly something “off”. I later found out it was a rip off of a Kreepsville design!

(or view on Youtube)

The copyright for the Cleaver Clutch Bag is owned by Kreepsville. The original was designed by Kreepsville designer/owner Ash Ghoulmore.

Horror Punk Fashion Cleaver Clutch Bag by Kreepsville 66

Horror Punk Cleaver Clutch Bag by Kreepsville 666

This Kreepsville 666 vinyl Cleaver Clutch Bag, has a red satin style kreepsville 666 lining, with zip coin pocket and card pocket, zip closure, and is approx 37cm(w) x 18cm(h) x 3cm(d).

Like music, it is always better to buy from the original source. When independent designers first start out, it is very similar to musicians, or any other type of art, where they are working for little/no money. I see many independent designers struggle at first. If you want great art to be created, then you need to support the artists.
After discovering the http://store.kreepsville666.com/ site I have purchased many things from hair accessories, to purses and clothing.

horror punk fashion kreepsville accessories

Their spooky accessories add a bit of flare to any outfit

My favourite product is their comfy t-shirt dresses. They are one of my favourite things to wear in the summer because they are comfortable and cool. They even have an official Elvira line. Their products are a unique take on the horror punk look. Perfect for any Punkabilly/Psychobilly lover. Here is a Pinterest board of some of my favs:

Online Horror Punk Fashion

Follow Lauren Spike’s board Kreepsville on Pinterest.

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Punkabilly Bands to Check Out

Psychobilly is rockabilly with another set of influences like punk, ska, surf, or a different attitude. Essentially Punkabilly IS Psychobilly, but more towards the punk spectrum rather than towards the rockabilly/surf, or maybe a Psychobilly band with political lyrics. Punkabilly is a term to describe a Psychobilly band, not necessarily another genre, though some people think that Punkabilly done right, can be considered another genre of it’s own. Can it? Well take a listen to some of the bands on this page and you can decide.

Here in Canada, the big Psychobilly names are The Brains, The Creepshow and the Gutterdemons. Probably the most well-known Punkabilly band overall is The Living End from Australia. Other well-known Punkabilly bands include the Koffin Kats and The Silver Shine.

Follow Lauren Spike’s board Punkabilly Bands/Songs on Pinterest.

I posted on social media asking for suggestions for Punkabilly bands. I made a Pinterest board with the bands that had links that were sent. (Sorry Facebook doesn’t allow Pinterest pins, so if you were linked to a Facebook band page and then that page had no order links you might not be on the board.)

Follow Lauren Spike’s board Punkabilly Bands – Social Media Submitted on Pinterest.

Some Punkabilly Bands that stood out to me from the ones submitted were:

1. Robin from Japan

2. 1916 from Rochester NY

3. The Graveyard Johnnys

4. The Sewer Rats

5. And Bonkers

As well, even though I have heard The HellFreaks before, their music really stood out to me this time as some good Punkabilly tunes.

Punkabilly band - The Hellfreaks

Punkabilly band – The Hellfreaks

I guess I am just used to that Boogie man video that seems to come up on Youtube whenever you listen to something similar. Here are some other good tunes by them:

Here is a YouTube Playlist of some cool Punkabilly tunes:

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Punk Hairstyles – Spiked Punk Mohawk Tutorial

Looking for punk hairstyles? The liberty spiked mohawk has been around since the punk movement started in the early/mid 1970’s. My take on the punk mohawk is that I add pompadour bangs to make it a true punkabilly look.

Punk Hairstyles - Punk Mohawk. Get the Ultimate Punk Hair


Punk Hairstyles – Punk Mohawk

You asked how I do my Punk Hair and here it is! I could probably do a whole other video on “What people say to people with a Punk Mohawk” but maybe later. I’m not sure if it is clear in the video, but near the end when I am doing my bangs, I roll my bangs around a bobby pin and then twist and stick the bobby pin forward into the teased part of my bangs. Anyways, enjoy!

Here is the Punkabilly Mohawk Video Tutorial:

What you’ll need:

HairSpray

Hair Spray

Optional stuff you’ll need (nice to have)

  • Cloth or Hand towel
  • Coloured Hairspray
  • Hair Gel

 

 

Here is the Video I Shot After Filming the Tutorial

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Punkabilly Show – Gutter Demons and The House of Haunt

Gutter Demons Psychobilly Poster


Psychobilly show, Gutter Demons and The House of Haunt

It was a cold night for a Psychobilly show in Toronto. Saturday,  February 13th, was one of the coldest days that Toronto has seen in two years. As we sat around the venue waiting for doors to open, I joked with the Gutter Demons that they had brought the cold with them from Montreal.

 Here is where I should also add that I can not really do a show “review” on that night because as you may already know, I play upright bass in the opening band, The House of Haunt.  I guess I could write one on how awesome we are :P, but that wouldn’’t be cool. I also have no idea what it is like to watch our band from an audience perspective. (Also special thanks to our buddies The Filthy Radicals, for opening up the night.)

What I can tell you about though, is the Gutter Demons. The Gutter Demons originally formed in 2001. They released 3 albums and then took a 6 year hiatus reforming in 2014. Their latest album Unfinished Business was recorded by The Brains front-man René De La Muerte at Emery Studio and released on Falsetto Records.

The Gutter Demons are, in my opinion, one of the best psychobilly bands going today. The lead singer Töxik has a grit in his voice like no other.  Matched with the upright bass stylings of Flipper and latest addition to the band R-1 on drums, they are a match made in Punkabilly heaven. As a bass player I admire Flipper’’s technique of adding runs when they are appropriate to the mix and dialing it back when it is needed.  There is something to be said about a band that can play as a cohesive unit, complimenting each other to produce the best overall sound possible. This is definitely what the Gutter Demons have achieved.  Watching them play live gives you the same crisp sound as listening to a CD/recording.

As well, not only are they continuing to produce some of the best tunes that the psychobilly genre has to offer, but they do not carry egos to go along with it. It is always refreshing to met nice, genuine, down to earth musicians in the scene.

Even though it was cold out, Torontonians made it out to the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto to show the Gutter Demons boys that we can support a Canadian psychobilly show. With sweat pouring, and hearts pounding, there was a mosh pit at the front of the stage from the time the Gutter Demons went on, until the time they ended. They played crowd favourites such as House By The Cemetery and Playground Horror Peepshow from their first albums, and some new tunes. Long-time and new fans alike were grateful that the Gutter Demons made the drive down from Montreal. If you are a live music or a psychobilly/punkabilly fan, The Gutter Demons should be on your must see list.

Here are some tracks off the Album their new album, Unfinished Business:

Here are some shots from the night from Pitcher Pourfect:

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