Saturday night’s event at Area 31 was a night full of friends, music and Frederick history. I happened to be one of the few young people in the room and maybe the only one realizing the substantial impact those in attendance had on Frederick’s art/music development.
Don Ramirez began the night by delivering an honest testimony about his experiences in the area playing with bands/opening the first ever art gallery downtown in the 90’s with Calvin Edward Ramsburg. Ramirez emphasized the “underground music strike” Frederick had in the 80’s/90’s and declared it time for a second coming. He ended his passionate rant insisting that “Frederick Underground” will give a “collective voice of empowerment to arts in the area.” He also thanked Area 31 for hosting the event /being an incredible independent arts environment.
Many questions about “Frederick Underground” as an entity were answered. Essentially the main goal of the organization is to preserve local art/music history through creating an archive and digitizing pieces so that nothing is lost and can also be accessed by many generations to come. Personally, I’m beyond excited to hear recordings from some Frederick bands I’ve only seen the names of.
Next up, Don Ramirez introduced Jimmy Swope for a discussion before his musical performance. Swope noted as he sat down behind the microphone that he felt like he was at an NPR fundraiser. Live interviews, podcasts and other events of this sort can be quite interesting as you never know how a live crowd will influence things. For this event it meant a lot of walk-in audience members who came in from seeing the sign on the street were left a little puzzled and seemingly walked out or conversated loudly in the back. – This didn’t impact those of us who were crowded around the front listening intently though.
Swope discussed his upbringings in music, especially his time playing with The Left – He elaborated on how the band’s music got to Kim Kane of the Slickee Boys who then passed it on and allowed The Left to garner more fans, even internationally. The Left had an album called “Last Town to Hagerstown” which Swope joked was a blatant Monkees ripoff in every sense. The actual record was held up by Don Ramirez as they discussed it. It was cool to see these records that will end up in the archive.
Although Swope is local, he doesn’t play in the area much so this was a great treat for the audience.
Jimmy Swope – An edgier/punky blend of folk and country that maintains coolness and integrity – driven by grainy pent up vocals and the most aggressively played acoustic guitars I’ve ever heard in a small space.
After Swope’s musical performance it was time for a sit-down with Patrick Faville before his performance with Cafe De Los Muertos.
Faville was interviewed by “Frederick Underground” organizer Heidi Frucella Stossel. Stossel asked about Faville’s beginnings in music which led to an amusing and relatable story about how Faville’s life was changed the first time he heard Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” while he was at the mall shopping with his mother.
Craig Stang from Killers From Space described Faville with humorous anecdotes about the “cool, crazy, maybe scary guy dressed in all black” and his fondest memories that usually occured “2 AM at Denny’s.”
Faville seemingly has an inclination to surround himself with “weird” and make the lifestyle and everything that surrounds it (music, art, clothing, etc.) contagious.
The night was a hopeful one full of positive energy for the very necessary and important task of documenting/preserving the Frederick arts/music scene.
Some of Faville’s last words before taking the stage seemed to have the most effect over the audience; Faville quipped, “Frederick famous is a thing. It’s like Kentucky fried.” Indeed, Faville… Indeed.
Cafe De Los Muertos (Listen)- Retro psychedelic rock with influences from many directions – definite 60’s summer vibes. Melodic guitar chords and playful leads/solos, dynamic bass and simple drumming in a Rolling Stones/L7 hitting style that’s slightly offbeat but fits the groove just right – The light airyness/haziness of Faville’s voice and drummer Andrew Roff’s often gets buried in the reverb of the spacey guitars.