Olympic Mountain Thunder: Verellen Amplifiers- By Bernie Romanowski Of Cable

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October 21, 2010

I don’t vote. Never have, and probably never will. I don’t do politics, and yet I consider myself a very political person. I don’t buy food from large supermarkets. I don’t eat at chain restaurants. I buy bicycles from independent companies and buy record albums from small record labels. These are my politics. My money is my vote. We all work too hard in life to just piss away our money to companies that don’t care about our well-being. Trust me, Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse don’t care if you live or die (in fact, I could make an argument that they’re trying to kill you). It’s important to me that farmers can stay in business and that small record labels can release my music.  Independent businesses are the heart and soul of our world.  These businesses foster vibrancy and creativity in an otherwise robotic world of Wal-Mart soccer moms.  Homogenization is the enemy. 

And then there are guitar amplifiers… From the wild, wet, and scary land of the Pacific Northwest comes Verellen Amplifiers. The land of big bears, big timber and big beards.  A land where rivers flow thick with fallen lumber and those fish that dare come to the surface of the water are often met with quick deaths at the claws of the Olympic Black Bear.   A land where guitar amplifiers are being made by real men with very large forearms. 

Ben Verellen makes amplifiers and he is proud enough to bestow upon them his surname. So proud, in fact, he has literally burned said surname into the grainy fibers of their wooden enclosures. He does not use circuit boards. He does not use plastics or tolex. He does not use mass-production to maximize his profits. But these details are less important than what Ben Verellen DOES do: Small-batch amplifier production that is informed by his vast knowledge of electronics and his love of loudness. Amplifiers producing sounds and tones that don’t “move” air, but rather amplifiers that face-rape the air with a hug on the back-side.  Amplifiers that are hand-built to maximize overall awesomeness with high face-melting capabilities.  Amplifiers that combine tried and true technology with a lumberjack’s sensibility. 

Making amplifiers that are sturdy, loud, unique, and hand-built is not a smart or cheap endeavor. In fact, beside starting a search engine to compete with Google, starting an amplifier company might be the second most risky business ventures a man can embark upon.  Ben is not a rich man, but he is a passionate, talented and intelligent one.  He is educated about nerdy electronics and he has a long history of making and playing music that destroys humans.  We live in a world flooded with Guitar Center’s mass-produced, generic amplifiers. This is also a world where vintage amplifiers are readily available to any doom/sludge hipster fanboy with access to mommy’s Paypal account and her Ebay password. Somehow, some way, Verellen Amplifiers is emerging as one of the newest and more-successful boutique amplifier companies in America.  And I mean “boutique” in a good way. 

One year ago, I sold all my guitar amplifiers and purchased a Verellen Loucks amp. It has changed and simplified my philosophies on guitar amplification. I spent my money with someone who is a musical peer and a talented (and handsome) gentleman. I feel good about that decision. I sleep well at night. Please support small American companies.  The United States might suck at the money, car and war businesses but at least we can build some quality goddamn amplifiers.

Ladies and gentlemen: Benjamin Verellen speaks with the Indie Spiritualist.

The Ben Verellen Interview (more…)
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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.

10 Things With Comedian Demetri Martin – Q&A Via The World Wide Web

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October 20, 2010

Demetri Martin has been one busy man since his first appearance on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend in 2001. He has writtne for Late Night with Conan O’Brien and had his own Comedy Central Presents special. He was a correspondent on The Daily Show with John Stewart, has released a CD/DVD titled These Are Jokes and appeared onthe  HBO series Flight Of The Conchords. Most recently he starred in Ang Lee’s film Taking Woodstock and currently has his own show on Comedy Central called Important Things With Demetri Martin. Demetri was kind enough to take some time away from a movie he’s currently filming and do a little Q&A with The Indie Spiritualist.

 

10 Things With Demetri Martin (more…)
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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.

How To Make Josh Carlson Of Redscroll Records Pull His Hair Out- An Interview

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October 20, 2010

If you’ve ever been to a show at Cherry St Station, or any of the other Wallingford, CT area venues (and I use that term loosely), chances are you’ve found your way over to Redscroll Records. If you were trying to find an album from Bloodlet, The Jazz June or Rorschach, and didn’t feel like waiting for it in the mail, chances are you’ve been to Redscroll Records. Or if you live in CT and give a shit about independent music, then you’ve been to Redscroll Records.Josh Carlson has been dedicated to providing hard to find releases to the residents of CT since he was 15 years old, running a distro out of his SUV. He personifies the word dedication, as he now owns and successfully runs Redscroll Records, CT’s definitive independent record store. 

 

An Interview With Josh Carlson Of Redscroll Records (more…)

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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.

We Are Scientists Interview

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October 10, 2010

Saturday, Oct 9th, 2010, 7pm. I sit on the corner of Daniel St, in Milford, CT at a quaint, hipster sort of coffee shop, called Café Atlantique. Tonight is the first night in the We Are Scientists month and a half Behold The American Barbarians Tour, which has the scientists covering the east coast, mid-west, and UK.  

I have approximately an hour to kill before my interview, so I begin reviewing my pre-interview notes. After a few moments, I look up and coincidentally see the scientists come in (those hipsters). I briefly consider playing the star struck fan, making a huge scene, but I then look back down at the piece of chocolate cake I’d been working on, and get back down to business.  I finish my notes, and cake (not necessarily in that order), and contact their tour manager Brandon to get things rolling.

The following was conducted at a back table of Café Atlantique. The interview begins with guitarist/vocalist Keith Murray and myself, shortly after which, we were joined by bass player/vocalist Chris Cain. Keith and Chris are easily the most enjoyable guy’s I’ve had the privilege of interviewing to date. Read on and see why…

The We Are Scientists Interview (more…)
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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.

Horror Q&A With Randy Larsen Of Cable

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October 9, 2010

If I were to make a horror movie, based on someone from a band as the vengeful killer, it would definitely be Randy Larsen. If you know him, you know he’s a hell of a nice guy. He’s sincere and very dedicated to his passion of music, but if you’ve ever seen him perform with Cable, you know he’s a force to be reckoned with. Put him in a ring with Jason Vorhees and I honestly don’t know who’s going down first (unless it’s Jason from the new Friday remake, in which case the answer is obvious). The following is a perfect example of how to have fun with an interview!

The Randy Larsen Interview  (more…)
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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.