Monday, April 30, 2012

To Be or Not To Be...continued an opinion by Sean Stoltey

I have a general complaint about a lot of modern comics (I’m looking at you Walking Dead) where they need to be read in chunks, that not every issue can be read on its own.  If each issue isn’t necessarily satisfying on its own, why are people going to come back month in and month out?  In an era when younger people (the obvious market if we really are trying to get new readers) are so into singles and digital and a “get it to me now so I can be done with it now and move on to the next thing” attitude, this seems a poor choice at best.  The shorter attention spans mean that the idea of waiting six months or more for a complete story is extremely off putting to new readers.  There are many times that a single issue can be exciting, satisfying AND leave you wanting more and salivating for the next issue while being part of a larger story.  It’s interesting how things come back. 

It was decided at some point that comic readers wanted more complex and engaging stories.  Someone figured that meant longer story arcs and the trend went to (in general) six issue story arcs that could easily be collected in Trade Paperback form to cater to the growing bookstore market.  So began the “writing for the trade” era, which became the “waiting for the trade” era.  Stories became “decompressed”, which basically meant if Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did it in one issue back in the day, it would take AT LEAST six issues to tell that story today.  Some writers got good at building a cliffhanger, or even better a conclusion with a cliffhanger, on each issue so the reader became engaged enough to keep coming back.  However some (I’m sorry to pick on you Walking Dead, I do enjoy you but this is true) just cut off at the end of the issue.  It was insultingly obvious that the faithful, monthly reader who was keeping the industry going was being underserved.  It felt like, “We’ll take your money, but we’re not going to give you what you paid for”.  What we pay for is a story, not part of a story.  There are books that I love that I felt forced to “wait for the trade” because that was how they were written and reading them any other way was making me not like the book.  Some days it’s hard to justify buying the monthlies…but I gotta get my fix man!!

I noticed an interesting thing at Marvel.  With their Avengers Versus X-Men event they are going bi-weekly and running a twelve issue series in six months.  They also tend to ship more than once a month on some of their books.  Now I know a lot of people just see that as a “cash grab”, but come on, just because we treat comic books like scripture doesn’t mean they are not businesses.  Get over it folks, there is no sanctity here.  They have adjusted the way they approach ongoings and events to be more in tune with the realities of the market and the customer.  As the dust clears from the explosion of the “nu-52” at DC, Marvel seems to be moving back to the top of their industry.  Speaking of DC, or as I will be referring to them: nuDC, they’ve gone another way.  They gave themselves a huge opportunity for a fresh start, and claimed that digital was an integral part of this direction.  However, the short attention span of your average digital consumer seems to be furthest from their minds.

I love Scott Snyder’s Batman, but we are on issue eight and the first story is not only still going, it’s expanding into EVERY Batman related book for a month.  That’s twenty issues, and who knows if the story finishes there.  Green Lantern-New Guardians is getting better than it was, but it’s also still on the same initial story and the earlier issues felt like six pagers stretched out to a full book.  DC has announced a new initiative where they will be creating exclusively digital content, like the current Smallville Season 11, so let’s see if they can turn this around.  I know it seems as if I’m a bit of a Marvel Zombie, and at the moment maybe I am, but I dig any good material no matter where it comes from.  If you’ve read my recent reviews of indie books, you know that I am only a recent resident of the indie comics’ fandom.  I go where the quality is, and there’s a lot of it out there that in the past I’d cut myself off from.  I also understand, as a writer, that sometimes the story needs to be longer.  Often, they take you places you never planned on going.  Hell, this article has changed direction on me at least three times! 

Now here in the new, modern, birth of digital age the opportunity has arisen for a new kind of comic book creating and marketing.  You Indie and creator-owned types should pay attention here.  The way that the digital single has changed music, digital comics could be creating a big opportunity for everyone.  It costs too much to publish physically.  The big companies will ALWAYS get the counter/shelf space, you’ll be lucky to sit anywhere in a comic shop.  However, many bands have been built off the success of a good single that they carried around with them and put into people’s hands.  Maybe it’s time comic book creators took the same tactic.  Produce the best possible work you can in anywhere from 10-24 pages.  Make it available digitally and pimp the hell out of it.  Send it to online reviewers, sell it yourself or get a local store to place it in their digital storefront if they have one.  Go to conventions, when you meet other creators, or better yet: editors, e-mail them a free copy.  Hand them a disc or thumb drive, print a small run and hand it to folks as well.  Some people need something physical in their hands.  Get the word out and most importantly, don’t give up. 

Sean Stoltey, writer, raconteur and retired rabble rouser, hails originally from California's Central Coast but currently resides in Southern California's BEAUTIFUL--San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter, Comic Book author, these are things he does because he's too poor to be a Producer or Publisher.

Sean has been reading comics, watching movies, reading books and selling his soul (or at least his hearing) to Rock'n'Roll for as long as he can remember. He has been discussing and arguing about these things for almost as long.
So now he has come here to throw his opinions in your face as well and hope that, even if you don't agree, hopefully you will enjoy them. For the record: Kirk was the greatest Enterprise Captain, Han was the only one that shot, Led Zeppelin was the greatest Rock band to walk the Earth and Keith Richards is the coolest undead person to walk the Earth. Coolest living people are my sons and my Mom and Dad. My Dad F---in' rocks, and my Mom can kick your ass. 

You can ask Sean anything at follow him via twitter @WWest3001 or boring old e-mail at

Monday, April 23, 2012

TOPPS Unveils John McCrea's MARS ATTACKS Trading Cards

Eisner Award-Winner to Illustrate Exclusive Subset & Hand-Drawn Sketch Cards

[Card #1]The Topps Company today has released a first look at a special subset of all-new trading cards by acclaimed comic book artist John McCrea, to be included in this summer's Mars Attacks Heritage card set.

McCrea, the Eisner Award-winning illustrator and co-creator of DC Comics' Hitman (with Garth Ennis), is the artist on IDW's Mars Attacks comic book series. Pulling double duty, McCrea has also created 15 brand new images for Topps, exclusive to Mars Attacks Heritage- four of which are unveiled today.

The 15 images, officially titled 'The New Universe Subset,' offer a glimpse into the new Mars Attacks, which build from IDW's upcoming comic book. In addition, the subset will include insight into the new series, through a narrative that unfolds on the back of each card.

"We wanted John to treat these cards like miniature comic book covers," said Adam Levine, Topps' Licensing Manager. "To weave the cards and comics together even further, we crafted a story that introduces fans to our reimagining of Mars Attacks, beginning years before the Martians invade and continuing into the future, perhaps even beyond what you'll see in IDW's series in 2012. If fans look closely, they may even spot a few hints at what lies ahead."


Along with providing art for 'The New Universe Subset,' John McCrea recently paid a visit to Topps in New York, and found time to contribute a limited number of original, hand-drawn sketch cards to be randomly inserted into packs of Mars Attacks Heritage.

"I'm very excited to be able to play in this world of aliens and robots and giant insects," said McCrea. "Mars Attacks is right up my alley; it's everything I love to draw. I'm thrilled to be a part of the creation of this new world and to be able to my own stamp on it."

Mars Attacks Heritage releases this July, while IDW's new comic book debuts in June. Both are currently available for order.

For more on Mars Attacks, including an ever growing gallery of sketch cards, follow on facebook:
For all the latest updates, follow on twitter @realmarsattacks

[Card #2][Card #3] [Card #4] image


A wealth of rarely-seen material by the late master returns this week!

[Frank Frazetta Funny Stuff Cover]

Frank Frazetta has been called “The Grand Master of Fantasy Art,” but did you know he did a glorious omnibus’ worth of funny sexy and funny cute stories in the Golden Age of comic books?! That’s right, hillbilly babes to hoppy bunnies were drawn with the Frazetta magic. And Eisner-winning editor Craig Yoe captures that magic in the new FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF large format, full-color, 256-page hardcover collection from Yoe Books. FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF debuts at the MoCCA Fest in New York City this weekend and will be in comic book shops this week.

Yoe says, "Besides the amazing art itself, Frazetta fans will be stoked by the sheer quantity in this big thick book. There are 27 comic book stories, well over 200 of The Master's delightful text illustrations, and tons of rare and unpublished original art, illustrations and photos carefully reproduced in the introduction."

Frazetta’s "Fire and Ice" collaborator Ralph Bakshi provides a compelling freeform, stream of consciousness introduction that you have to read to believe. Dig the beatnik beats of this hep cat sharing his story of working with THE MAN. Only Craig Yoe can conjure up such wild and unexpected material!



[Frazetta Interior Page #1]“The team at Yoe Books put countless hours in restoring these charming strips to ensure a proper vintage reading experience,” said IDW Senior Book Editor, Justin Eisinger. “Like each and every Yoe Book, FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF is a lovingly created artifact that itself is a piece of art.”


But don’t just take our word for the glory of this vintage Frazetta. Here’s what some fine, respectable folks have to say about the man and his funny work.


[Frazetta Interior Page #2]“Frank Frazetta... his comic book output was unforgettable!” —Harvey Kurtzman

“You don’t have a full picture of Frank Frazetta until you’ve seen his funny stuff. It was his own favorite work, as it captured an important aspect of Frank that his sword and sorcery paintings did not—his warm sense of humor.” —William Stout

Why stop there?! Even the great talent himself was known to claim that the funny side was the real Frazetta.
“I do reveal that dark side in some of my work. I am known for my violent stuff. But the funny stuff is the real me.” —Frank Frazetta


[Frazetta Interior Page #3]Pappy's Golden Age Blogzine says that FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF is “a long overdue compilation! The book is beautifully produced. I love the over-sized pages, and especially the enlarged spot illustrations. As always, Craig's books are impeccably designed and printed. Permanent binding, thick quality paper to ensure the best reproduction possible. You will never go wrong buying a book with the Yoe Books imprint.”

Keep an eye out for the limited edition as well. A hot ticket item at 100 copies, it features a bookplate signed by Yoe as well as a variant cover featuring a rare drawing of one of Frazetta’s much-lauded sexy gals!



Craig Yoe is available for convention appearances and interviews with the press in regards to this and his other books.

Yoe Books' website is

FRAZETTA—FUNNY STUFF ($49.99, 256 pages, hard cover, full color) will be available Wednesday, April 25, 2012. ISBN 978-1-61377-167-9.

Visit to learn more about the company and its top-selling books. IDW can also be found at!/idwpublishing and and on Twitter at @idwpublishing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Comic Book Review: The Manhattan Projects #'s 1 and 2 by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, Published by Image Comics

Reviewed by Sean Stoltey

Hickman (n): from an ancient forgotten tongue actually created in the far flung future, meaning “Holy crap that’s great writing”.  In case that wasn’t obvious enough, I’m a Hickman fan.  Admittedly, I can’t claim to have been so before he got to the mainstream.  Or more accurately, the mainstream caught up to him.  I first heard of him from his work on Fantastic Four.  When I finally sat down and read through his run on the book, I was hooked and have made FF and the re-launched Fantastic Four appointment reading every month when they come out.  I then was handed his book Pax Romana and I still have the LSD-like flashbacks from trying to wrap my brain around that book.  That’s a compliment by the way.  Then his recent Ultimates run had me ready to put The Manhattan Projects in a syringe and spike it into my vein.  Turns out you can’t inject books.  My bad.  Hickman’s high concept sci-fi has been crack for me and with this book he throws in another happy pill for me.  History.  More specifically, an alternate history about The Manhattan Project.  For those who don’t know, the people involved are the ones who created the Atom Bomb.  He takes the history of the Manhattan Project, makes it plural and sets about brewing a history/sci-fi stew that is quite a mental meal.

The first issue deals with Robert Oppenheimer and his induction into the Project(s).  While introducing us to what the Manhattan Projects (and the incredibly entertaining “man in charge” General Groves) is going to be, we also get a biography of Oppenheimer and his twin brother Joseph.  They couldn’t be more different of course, but at the same time they really are the same.  It’s a classic trope, the old flip sides of the same coin, but it’s done quite well here.  The art by Nick Pitarra is somewhat reminiscent of Frank Quitely.  A lot of the pages that are the “now” portion of the story are laid out in a way that makes the panels seem like shots from a widescreen movie.  As far as size and shape go.  When the action hits, and boy does it, he does take full advantage of his page.  What I really enjoyed though, was the page layouts in the biographical sections.  They take FULL advantage of the uniqueness of comics, presenting the life stories of the twin Oppenheimer boys in all their similarity and disparate difference.  The panels are equal size in double page spread, with Robert’s life running along the top of the page and tinted blue, while Joseph’s runs along the bottom of the page tinted red.  Red is an incredibly appropriate color, I’ll assume you can guess why.  Joseph is definitely the scarred side of this coin, if you’ll allow me the reference.  Their back story and the “now” story culminate into an ending that had me cursing out loud (in the best way possible) and wanting the next issue very badly.

And this is why I waited until the second issue came out to start this book.  I had a feeling it was going to be enjoyable for me and Hickman knows how to leave you wanting more.  Also, I know it is poor grammar to start a sentence with and.  I’ve allowed myself to do it here because it seemed right for the point I was making.  After the holy s#!+ ending of issue one I dove right into issue two.  The point made at the end of the first issue is reference at one point in the book but is not the main story, and that’s okay.  Because once again we are off and running into the wild and crazy alternate history of the Manhattan Projects.  Einstein made a brief appearance in the first issue and there’s quite a bit more of him here.  Which means this is a comic I am going to try to share with my Dad.  A rare occurrence, believe me.  In issue two we are introduced to the other scientists that are part of the Manhattan Projects.  At least one of which needs to have his back story become a future issue.  You’ll see what I mean.  The main plot in this issue is centered on whether or not the members of the Project are okay with recruiting Nazi scientists to their cause now that World War II is winding down.  Richard Feynman is sent to Europe to accompany the U.S. Army as it takes the Nazi stronghold housing said scientists.  As usual I’ve been vague with details because I am adamantly opposed to spoiling a book.  Let’s just say you should never trust a Nazi scientist with a robotic arm.  More threads are sewn for future plots and I for one am quite excited to see where this all goes.  Since there’s pretty much one story going on this issue, no flashback biography, Pitarra takes a bit more advantage of his pages.  The layouts take more advantage of the page than before.  That’s not a complaint about the first issue.  The layout styles employed there serviced that story perfectly.  That’s one of the highest compliments I think, the art perfectly serves the story it’s telling.  So many times panels seem to be static shots in some comics.  Not so here.  The panels serve the pace of the story and the story itself quite well.  The line work reminds me very much of Quitely and Darrow without seeming like Pitarra is apeing anyone.

Jonathan Hickman - Ideas so large, he needs two computers
All in all, there's some great storytelling going on here in both story and art.  As usual with something of this type, the devil is in the details so pay attention while reading.  Another thing I feel I may not have really put across is how fun the book is.  There’s a lot of concept and science and history being thrown around, but don’t let that scare you off.  It’s a really fun book, whether you know any of the history or not.  Hickman tells you what you need to know to enjoy the hell out of this book.  I cannot recommend it enough. Both issues are available now, go and get them!

About the Article Author: Sean Stoltey

Sean Stoltey, writer, raconteur and retired rabble rouser, hails originally from California's Central Coast but currently resides in Southern California's BEAUTIFUL--San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter, Comic Book author, these are things he does because he's too poor to be a Producer or Publisher. 

Sean has been reading comics, watching movies, reading books and selling his soul (or at least his hearing) to Rock'n'Roll for as long as he can remember. He has been discussing and arguing about these things for almost as long. 

So now he has come here to throw his opinions in your face as well and hope that, even if you don't agree, hopefully you will enjoy them. For the record: Kirk was the greatest Enterprise Captain, Han was the only one that shot, Led Zeppelin was the greatest Rock band to walk the Earth and Keith Richards is the coolest undead person to walk the Earth. Coolest living people are my sons and my Mom and Dad. My Dad F---in' rocks, and my Mom can kick your ass.

You can ask Sean anything at contact him via twitter @WWest3001 or boring old e-mail at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Graphic Novel Review: Saucer Country #1 on Vertigo Press

Saucer Country #1
imageBy Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly
Reviewed by Sean Stoltey
First, a little background. In general I’ve avoided “indie” titles in the past. I know, I know, I’m a horrible person who trades creativity for familiarity or some other similar BS. I have unapologetically enjoyed my Big Two superhero comics my entire life. Over the last couple of years I have really had my eyes opened by a few things: Criminal, 100 Bullets, Walking Dead (comic book, NOT the show, don’t get me started!), Invincible, Irredeemable and a few others. It’s forced me to broaden my scope and try things that I may not have considered before. This ideal is what led me to Saucer Country by Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly.
Maybe it’s because I’ve recently been watching the early seasons of X-Files that I missed back in the day, but I got a definite X-Files vibe from the cover. So with that in mind I sat down and started reading. Right off the bat I found my expectations were wrong. By the way, that’s a good thing. I’ve been reading comics for over 30 years and being surprised is a nice treat. The opening seemed to play into the X-Files expectation, classic images of aliens, two people awaking in a car with lost time and unexplained wounds. Then we find out that our main character is Governor Arcadia Alvarado and we are plunged into a few pages that are pure politics. Nothing ideologically specific, Cornell is smart enough not to make it “political” and alienate (pun intended) any potential readers. However Arcadia is a politician so we have to experience that world with her. Which is fine with me, I love a good political setting. West Wing was one of my favorite shows, and Cornell does a good job setting up how the political world is going to work its way into the plot and supporting characters. Then page nine comes at you and we’re introduced to a whole new and interesting bit of crazy.
Here we meet Professor Joshua Kidd, under scrutiny from the Harvard University Administrative Board about the book he wrote on UFO sightings. On this page we meet Professor Kidd’s…friends, and we realize this is going to be a little more than the usual alien abduction story. The Professor only gets one more page of screen time later in the book, but these teaser pages of his story are more than enough to intrigue this reader and leave me wanting more. Which is what a first issue should do, and this one does it in spades. In the opening scenes, Arcadia was found with her ex-husband, Cornell shows his bitterness over coming up with Arcadia and then being left behind when her career took off. I am a fan of coming into a good story without too much foreknowledge, so I don’t want to get too specifically into the rest of the story. I do want to say though, that Cornell has really hit a homerun in my estimation. Maybe because he is British and is able to take his influences and outsiders view of America and mash them together he comes to a mash up I would never have dreamed up and cannot wait to read. The good old sci-fi trope of Aliens, and the current political fodder of illegal aliens. There is a bit of a twist/revelation at the end that as a reader you see coming from a mile away. Its impact on the characters is what makes it work though. This one final page with two lines of dialogue, sets up ramifications for the three characters featured that I for one am excited to read.
I haven’t mentioned Ryan Kelly’s art yet, don’t take that as a knock on him. As I said before, I haven’t been reading a lot of indie/creator owned work, which is why I hadn’t really heard of him before. I think he lays out a page that is at once interesting and very easy to read. His storytelling is very effective. Something that is usually a pet peeve of mine, but he nails it as well as the expressions of his characters. That being said, there were a couple of panels that confused me a bit as far as the characters expressions until I realized that there may be something going on there that we don’t realize yet. This took me from not liking the panels, to being intrigued by them. I may be reading too much into it, but that’s something that sold me on the book. It sets up a lot and leaves you wanting more. So in the end it is very much like X-Files in that regard. A great bit of mystery is set up and in case I haven’t said it enough: I can’t wait to see where these guys are going with it.
About Article Author: Sean Stoltey
Photo_07Sean Stoltey, writer, raconteur and retired rabble rouser, hails originally from California's Central Coast but currently resides in Southern California's BEAUTIFUL--San Fernando Valley. Screenwriter, Comic Book author, these are things he does because he's too poor to be a Producer or Publisher.
Sean has been reading comics, watching movies, reading books and selling his soul (or at least his hearing) to Rock'n'Roll for as long as he can remember. He has been discussing and arguing about these things for almost as long.
So now he has come here to throw his opinions in your face as well and hope that, even if you don't agree, hopefully you will enjoy them. For the record: Kirk was the greatest Enterprise Captain, Han was the only one that shot, Led Zeppelin was the greatest Rock band to walk the Earth and Keith Richards is the coolest undead person to walk the Earth. Coolest living people are my sons and my Mom and Dad. My Dad F---in' rocks, and my Mom can kick your ass.
You can ask Sean anything at contact him via twitter @WWest3001 or boring old e-mail at

Blunderbuss- Jack White III - Solo Début Hits it on the Head


Asura Diviva for Xombiewoof.Com


Picture Credits -NPR Interview All Songs Considered ( 2012)

Jack White is not known for being subtle, gentle or quiet about his music or expressions within.  To his credit over 15 years of presence in the music industry boldly going where everyone wants to go. Legends like Jimmy Page to Loretta Lynn call him friend and collaborator.  A few Grammys, Oscar nods doesn’t stop him from pursuing his quest for full independence. He launched Third Man Records LLC 3 years ago and never looked back.

So, why now a solo album?  We can only imagine it’s about time.  In the recent past his superhuman strength had him juggling at least 50 projects a year (so it seems). After The White Stripes he took off running with multiple projects including The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, In 2008, he was featured in It Might Get Loud his appearance solidified his status. He may have been playing with legends but so were they.

On April 16 2012, Jack White gave fans a rare generous gift via iTunes to experience all of Jack White is putting out there for the world to taste. Blunderbuss (Third Man Records 2012) proves no one category can hold him; Americana, country, rock n roll, alternative, blues and a sexy rocker all appear in this album.


Cover Blunderbuss (Thirdman Records 2012)

Jack ushers in the return of prominent keyboard sounds of the 60s and 70s R&B and “ol’ time piana” sounds. To be turned upside down. Great drum and bass presence punctuates his points and give a full spectrum experience.

Tracks are well seasoned with eclectic originality both delicious and slightly strange. We follow his journey of love, pain, introspection and more. Jack takes command of his project with the seasoned wisdom of an old conductor from some old world place that produces music the world longs to hear. This young man with old soul combines frenzy and creativity into a cohesive experience.


Missing Pieces opens the album with an R&B flavor. This being first cut is his statement of where he is now. But never one to disappoint his fans, the familiar sounds of Sixteen Saltines ( prerelease with pre- order) gives up smashing guitar with gritty lyrics to reminds us why we loved the White Stripes for so long. R&B influences flow thru Love Interrupted with a tingle of anger and haunting vocals by Ruby Amanfu

Weep Themselves to Sleep, On and On and On and Freedom at 21. Keep you invited to stay around with orchestrations that are familiar and yet somehow new making one wonder what’s next. I’m Shakin harks back to a good old fashioned sexy song in the spirit of Bo Diddly and anyone who remembers the roots of Rock a Billy. Trash Talking Tongue maybe an angry rant but the groove and blues influence make you get up to move. Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy is a cold hearted lashing at someone unfortunate to endure his command of sarcasm with music to accentuate his feelings.

I can’t help but review like a devout fan, because I am. I am so glad the days of single minded albums are done. Blunderbuss puts forth the notion that one man, with many visions, armed with a fantastic backing band, does not mean one genre. His roots are rock n roll but those roots go far and deep.

All I can say Jack, is Take Me with You wherever you go.

Contact the author - @AsuraDiviva –twitter

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sincere Music


clip_image002The world welcomes a new beautiful gift of music... She began writing lyrics and singing to herself as a little girl. Now this Black Rose has blossomed.

Sincere was born and raised in the church, in Venice Beach, CA.

At an early age she auditioned for a talent shows and made an appearance on Power 88.1 (Las Vegas) demonstrating her talents as a young inspiring signer.

It is a privilege to introduce to the R&B market/scene the outstanding talents of the new G. R&B artist Sincere.

This young beautiful artist is influenced by Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Jasmine Sullivan, Chris Brown and James Brown.

Her Gospel influences are from the sounds of John Pree, Clark Fisher, and Heyikian Walker.

Listening to artists of the 40’s- 60’s has given her the edge over singers because artists such as Lena Horne and Cab Calloway broke grounds and paved the way for other unique musicians to give a new sound to the industry like Sincere.

Her Gothic and Rocker side comes from the likes of Aerosmith, Pink and Led Zeppelin and among others in this area. A quiet contrast from her church roots, Sincere says “ Growing up with a family involved in music was an easy choice.”


Blink Show

Follow us on her journey to welcome the new artist “Sincere”

BlinkShow TV

Blink Productions Media Group, LLC

Perfect Balance by Jojo Mayer!

SONOR is proud to announce the result of an inspired collaboration between Jojo Mayer and SONOR, The Perfect Balance Bass Drum Pedal.

photo-1 photo-2 photo-3

The philosophy behind this pedal is to achieve perfect harmony and interplay between the pedal’s moving parts and the drummer’s foot. Due to careful design and perfectly balanced linear action, any non-vital adjustments are obsolete and omitted. Other than the pedal’s unique folding and mounting mechanism, all adjustments such as spring tension, footboard height and beater angle reflect classic industry standards.

Jojo Mayer states “The Perfect Balance Pedal is a carefully calibrated system that optimizes the linear translation of your foot movements. Essentially, it could be described as the soul and feel of a vintage pedal reincarnated in the technology of a 21st century body. The most important feature of this pedal is that it will not put any obstacles in your way to develop a level of speed, control and power that can not be obtained with most pedals." 



“We at SONOR USA are thrilled that we are able to provide drummers with such an inspiring and unique musical instrument”, said Product Manager Larry Nelson.

Some of the many features of the pedal include:

  • LOW MASS DRIVE SYSTEM -The drive cam and beater hub are streamlined into a single unit for low mass and carefully calibrated for perfectly balanced strokes. The round cam design creates linear acceleration, which is a major advantage for many hybrid drumming techniques.
  • BALLISTIC FIBER STRAP - Ballistic fiber strap minimizes inertia of the drive system and offers a quicker and smoother response than chain or solid drives.
  • ELONGATED BOARD - Elongated and smooth footboard adds more leverage to the stroke and allows extended range of movement for heel toe and sliding techniques.
  • FOLDING MECHANISM - Folds the pedal into compact size for easy transportation with the push of a button. For extended lifespan, the spring can be dislocated and secured with a magnet when folded.
  • SELF-MOUNTING CLAMP - Quick mounts the pedal with a single motion. Clamp adjusts to all hoop thicknesses.

Each pedal comes with a carrying bag.

More information: - -

For more information check out the new SONOR literature and the SONOR homepage: to see the latest gear for 2012!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Coachella Music and Media Streaming Now

Coachella weekend is upon us and, with thousands of music fans descending on the desert, Rdio provides the perfect soundtrack for your weekend coverage with day-by-day playlists created by Goldenvoice Concerts. Whether readers are looking to listen to their favorites in anticipation of the festival or check out must-see new discoveries, Goldenvoice has put together highlights from artists playing each day including headliners the Black Keys, Radiohead and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Links and embed codes included below:

Coachella Artists – Friday:


Coachella Artists – Saturday:


Coachella Artists – Sunday:


About Rdio

With more than 15 million tracks available on Rdio, the new Rdio fuels music discovery in a way no computer an algorithm can ever mimic – through the power of people. Easy drag and drop sharing and enhanced social indicators seamlessly intertwined into the music catalog create an environment where subscribers can lean on official influencers like Spin, Picthfork and The Fader, other music artists and friends to discover new music like never before. With a seemingly endless amount of music to discover, Rdio’s on-demand music model is positioned to free music lovers everywhere from the confines of buying music one track or one album at a time.

Follow Rdio and join the community on Rdio, Facebook, Twitter and the Rdioblog.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Perfectly Preserved Moment in Music History


BBHC - Carousel - Cover (22)-300xCD Review: Bear’s Sonic Journals Presents: Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin- Live at the Carousel Ballroom 1968

Columbia / Legacy Records - 1st Public Release: 2012

Today, on the southwest corner of Market and Van Ness, at 10 South Van Ness Ave and 1545 Market Street in San Francisco, resides a car dealership. Standing in front of the building, one would never know the history of the Music Scene of this area in the late 1960’s, or the historic event that took place within building. In 1968 this building was the famed Carousel Ballroom, a concert hall that had seen the performances of many of the popular acts and was birthplace to many more. One such 60’s super group was Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring the versatile, bluesy and completely unique Janis Joplin. The Carousel Ballroom was originally known as the El Patio Ballroom and it was located on the upper floor of a car dealership on the southwest corner of the building, and from this lofty psychedelic playground the sounds of a cultural and social revolution were heard.

Owsley Stanley, also known as “Bear”, was an essential and transitional personality in the development of the San Francisco Bay counter-culture and the Music Scene as a whole. His early activities spanned the Beat-era years of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, but he played an equally important role during the explosion of 1960's Psychedelic culture. As a brilliant and eclectic sound engineer, he became best known simply as 'Bear' –a magician-like figure able to use his keen sense of audio technologies to record what would be known as the best quality recordings, even by today’s standards. "Bear", was internationally celebrated, becoming an iconic figure (producer, engineer & artist) to psychedelic rock bands of the era. It was in San Francisco that he would work with the great acts of the day, and through his genius, their music became notorious.

Big Brother and The Holding Company had already been a very popular group, but when Janis Joplin joined in 1966 and began recording with them on their 2 albums – Big Brother & the Holding Company and Cheap Thrills, which were instant hits, one would say “the party really started”. Janis sang from the heart, as a woman from a small Texas town, with a troubled youth and hopes and dreams, Janis was able to find in the San Francisco Music scene what some would think impossible, a real chance to tell her story, and a chance to reach out to the youth of America and help them find their dreams as well.

It would be a weekend set on June 22nd and 23rd, at the Carousel Ballroom in 1968, Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin would play both nights, the tickets for Saturday night was 2.50, for Sunday it was 2.00, but the resulting recordings would be priceless, and now after his unfortunate passing, the estate of Owsley “Bear” Stanley and Columbia / Legacy Records present to you this magical musical event, in an audio soundscape that truly makes it possible you to feel like you are there. Bear’s Sonic Journals Presents: Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin- Live at the Carousel Ballroom, recorded in a pseudo stereo, since stereo recording equipment really did not have a live performance element at the time, “Bear” was able to create what could be considered the first “Surround Sound” experience.

Bear’s Sonic Journals Presents: Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin- Live at the Carousel Ballroom has live renditions of songs that were sung as only Janis Joplin could, with the bluesy true to life emotion that she was to be remembered for. Normally, I don’t list all the songs on an album, but for this momentous release, I feel you should know what’s in store for the listener:



1. Combination of The Two                              7. Jam-I’m Mad (Mad Man Blues)     

2. I Need A Man To Love                                  8. Piece Of My Heart

3. Flower In The Sun                                         9. Coo Coo                

4. Light Is Faster Than Sound                        10. Ball & Chain

5. Summertime                                                11. Down On Me

6. Catch Me Daddy                                        12. Bonus Track: Call on Me


You may recognize many of the now famous and legendary tracks, but some have only now been heard as they were first played live, some were changed or produced differently in the studio, so you actually have a connection to the past in its original, raw and emotionally charged state. Some of these songs were only available in 45rpm and never made the full albums. I will again touch upon the quality and style in which the tracks were recorded, the quality of sound in not only extraordinary due to the clarity, no buzz or overladen hum, the instruments and vocals are completely “legible” and can be told apart. In addition, if you experiment with the balance from left to right, you can hear just music, or mostly vocals and highs – to truly get the right sound, you have to move all your speakers into a “wall of sound”, speakers side by side and adjust volumes so it sounds like the music is coming right out of the amplifiers, like the band is in your room, this is the best way to get the full range of sound from your system.

carousel ballroom 1

Bear’s Sonic Journals Presents: Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin- Live at the Carousel Ballroom is more than live concert material, but a “Way-Back Time Machine” (thank you Mr. Peabody) that will bring you back to the energy filled streets of San Francisco, and directly into the forge of the peace & love movement, social change and the search for enlightenment though the open exchange of ideas though true freedom.

From the initial performance hall title, Carousel Ballroom, to The Fillmore West, to other names, to other businesses, to a vacant space above a car dealership, to now a car parts room, the physical existence has changed and changed, but if you close your eyes, and listen closely, you can hear them still playing, and still hear Janis belting out the blues.