DVD Concerts, Episode One — Justin Rowe and Johnny Modelo, aka Rowe/Modelo, perform 5 songs (Dry Land, Fishing For Feels, Flame and Gasoline, Cut ‘Em Off, Clever and Cool) and interview on Dan Victor Does. Watch the full performance of the debut show for the new acoustic series.
Justin and Modelo are Brooklyn musicians that have known each other for a number of years, playing in various bands together. This project came together in January 2018 when Justin sent some original songs to Johnny that blew his mind. So Johnny learned them and when they got together, to Justin’s surprise, played them back to him with ideas of his own. Since then, they have written over 20 songs together. After coming together on this acoustic incarnation, they decided to feature their vocal harmonies, which is admittedly infectious. It is very noticeable upon first hearing Rowe/Modelo perform.
They talk about the challenge of practicing in the era of Covid or Corona Virus, whichever is PC, according to Johnny, he is not overly concerned with what people think. They have a nice guy image with a punk-rock attitude, even though their music is definitely power pop. It is apparent the two of them have excellent chemistry whether they are harmonizing together or cracking jokes, which they do plenty of. You can often find them laughing or smiling during the interview, even while playing their songs.
It was a true pleasure having Rowe/Modelo on the first episode of DVD Concerts. They represent the best of what I admire in artists… talent, personality, awareness and genuinely fun to be around. Watch their live performance and speak, in their own words, about their process. Follow Rowe/Modelo on Instagram.
New York City based thrash-punk band Superdeaf recently released their new EP, Mass Hysteria. It dropped on August 10th, 2020 with their label Maximum Collabo. The title is an eerily accurate description of our times. The album is four songs of pure adrenaline. As soon as the first track kicks in, I am gripped by the need to bang my head, grind my teeth and blindly throw myself into the pit. I’m immediately picking up a unique blend of metal and hardcore, that brings me back to my youth.
The musicians have international origins, before coming together in NYC to form a super-band with members from Escarioka, Outernational and Chango. The band is comprised of Cristøbal Miranda (drums/vocals) from Chile, Leo Minimum Tek (guitar/vocals) from Seattle, and Javier Barquet (bass/vocals/fx) from Mexico.
They have political, pro-rights lyrics with out leaving the joy of life. In your face kinda attitude. Fast riffs fast songs with that latin rhythmic section influence. Spanglish is their language. They stand strong amongst everybody’s rights. No racism, no fascist USA. No one is illegal.
TRUMP SUPPORTER DISORDER (TSD)
I was lucky enough to catch up with Javier Barquet, the bass player of Superdeaf, for an exclusive interview. He’s a very friendly, laid back guy, that was super gracious with his time.
Dan: Could you talk about your origins? How did the band start out?
Javier:Superdeaf started as a studio band, right? These guys got free studio time and they just record an album. So they made an album before they had a band. After they record four songs, they’re like oh shit! It sounds cool, we should get a band. Right? So I got auditioned as bass player. They called me in and I nail the job, now I’m the bass player. We used to have a singer originally. Cass, he was a wrestler, but he couldn’t handle his shit, so he ended up getting fired and we split the vocals between the three of us. We decided to keep it a power-trio and, just like the Beastie Boys, everybody sings a little bit, because none of us are really singers. Kept it simple so we could travel.
D: Do you play a lot of shows?
J: We don’t really play shows in New York. We do, but we’re tired, we all come from different bands that been around the scene forever. So we’re just tired of these fucking New York gigs. If it’s a cool show, of course we’ll take it, but no weekend bullshit. We prefer to work than take off a Saturday night.
D: Yeah, playing for like 15 people?
J: Yeah, we’re tired of that shit. But we produce a lot of songs. We just released a new album Mass Hysteria. I don’t know if you listened to the first EP? It’s a totally different sound.
D: I haven’t. what’s it called?
J:Contraband. We made a video for each song, it was the first EP. We are doing the same for this album. Now we working with a singer in Las Vegas. We just took our voices off the songs, but we left the choruses, he’s going to translate everything into Spanish. So every song we’re going to feature someone else. The first one is from Spain, Estragos Trifulka, he was in a huge band from the 80’s. He’s going to sing in Spanish. So for each song we are going to feature a different super star.
D: Very cool to do the songs in Spanish.
J: We are going back to the studio in November or October to record 2 new songs. The two songs we just made, they are fucking awesome.
D: Are you going to add it on this EP to make a full length?
J: No, it’s going to be all new.
D: So the EP just got released, have you been releasing singles before?
J: Yes. We did four singles. Every three weeks, I believe, we released a song. We just got played in Toronto on the radio, which is really cool. We just got played in Mexico, on the radio. Really cool.
D: Talk a little bit about your background. You’re from Mexico, right?
J: Yes. And the drummer is from Chile and the guitarist is a Polish dude from Seattle.
D: So you all come from different musical backgrounds?
J: Yeah, these fuckers play Salsa and Merengue. Cristo is a metal-head. They’re musicians for a living. You know?
D: Right. I was a metal-head in my youth.
J: They have different bands and projects, [Cristo] plays congos and bongos. They make money. He plays in a jazz band on the street. They make a shitload of money. Leo is the same thing. He plays Salas and Bachata.
D: How about you?
J: I’m a punker. I’ve played punk my whole life. I’m a metal-head, I love metal. I became a busker when I first came to New York. I made an electronic project, so I spent a lot of time in the underground playing music. I met a lot of people and made a lot of money and did a bunch of networking. Made a couple videos that went viral.
D: It has a very fresh sound. When you finish each song, what do you say?
J: “Superdeaf”. Someone has to say it.
D: All three of you?
J: One of us has to say it. There’s one song we all did it. When we’re recording, everyone has to be in the cabin, so we all say it. “Superdeaf”. Then whoever says it best. Live it’s cool. What’s the name of the band? Superdeaf. Superdeaf. Superdeaf. When you’re listen to the band, it’s fucking cool. Right?
Definitely! It was a pleasure to speak with Javier and learn about the rich history of these metal veterans. Look out for more music and videos from this powerful band that will literally melt your face. Say it with me while I scream… Superdeaf!
June is the season I was introduced to Guided by Voices. In my mind, they are really more of a live band, with Bob Pollard doing karate kicks, swinging the mic around in one hand and a bottle of Budweiser in the other. I first saw GBV play at Irving Plaza in New York City when I was 19, right around my birthday, June 20th. I never heard of them, but went because my friend dragged me out. I was blown away. Tobin Sprout was still playing guitar, right before Alien Lanes came out. The song that captures me was Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox. I remember the feeling of melting into the crowd when he says “and if you do, I’ll come back and marry you.” After that I was hooked.
Within a week, I bought the Vampire on Titus / Propeller dual album. Then I digested the Lo-fi sound, which was a characteristic that somehow highlighted the emotional sensitivity of Bob’s songwriting. Making it accessible and relatable to the Tascam Porta One cassette 4-track I started out recording with.
I would also spend my 21st birthday seeing them at the Trocadero in Philly. Actually a couple days before, which kept me from drinking at the bar. So my friend and I chugged some 40’s of St. Ides in the alley before the show.
Summer was the season that I realized my dream to rock on stage and expose myself in my recordings, more like a diary than an album. I am 45 this year and so grateful Robert Pollard & Guided By Voices have been in my life.
Making music is such a massive part of who I am. In a way, it is my religion, and performing on stage is a spiritual experience. I always thought it was because my father was a musician and it might have been a way to relate because he was often not around. I wanted a language we could both communicate in. But in this moment I realize it was Bob, with the same name as my father, that guided me to the life of songwriting and performing that I cultivated.
This is the season I dust off the GBV catalog (now in my iTunes… always wanted the original box set on vinyl) and celebrate over 25 years of rocking out with this influential band. The club is fucking open.