Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Graphic Novels? Not Really. by Sean Stoltey

Graphic Novels.  I am getting so sick of this term.  Not because it is invalid, but because it has become misused and abused.  It all started with Hollywood, of course.  Some suit somewhere decided that the general public looks down on comic books, but graphic novels are acceptable.  So suddenly you hear every actor and director working on comic book adaptations referring to the “graphic novels”.  Sounds very tony, much more high class than the oh so pulpy “comic books”.  Unfortunately, it also sounds like bullshit because it doesn’t fit.  Graphic Novels are actually a very specific thing within the realm of Comic Books.

In the 1970’s the medium of comic books had been around for over thirty years.  The artists working within it were starting to feel constrained by it.  They wanted to experiment and really do things that were different.  Some of them wanted to do much more serious work.  Thus, the “Graphic Novel” was born.  Will Eisner’s A Contract With God is considered by many to be the first of them.  It had four short stories that all took place within a 1930’s Bronx tenement and it was inspired by Eisner’s own life experiences.  It was a finite work, designed to exist as one lone piece on the shelf.  It was not serialized.  One book, one statement.  Like a novel, but…you know…graphic.  Marvel started a line of graphic novels.  Two of their most notable, The Death of Captain Marvel and X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, did feature characters from their serialized comic books but were finite stories published in single volumes.  Dc did Which is the perfect description of a Graphic Novel: finite stories published as a single volume.

Comic books are serialized fiction.  They are published (generally speaking) on a monthly basis and while issues can stand alone, they are all part of one giant ongoing story.  That obviously says nothing about the quality of their content.  Nor does the finiteness of Graphic Novels say anything about their quality.  Somehow along the way, the term Graphic Novel became accepted as something more serious.  Something of consequence.  Which is all fine.  Most creators who set out to do a proper Graphic Novel are usually trying to say something a little more important.  Whether they are using original creations or pre-existing characters they are trying to set themselves apart from the rest of the books by creating a large story that can be read in one volume.  Because of the import of some past Graphic Novels, it is a an announcement of serious intent and a proclamation of quality or importance.

Quite a while back publishers started collecting their regular comic books into paperback collections.  Usually it was special, popular or “important” storylines.  These are referred to as Trade Paperbacks.  The practice has become so prevalent though, it is basically every book published these days.  When the book is special or important they might do a Hardcover Collection.  Although they are starting to do that more and more as well, and in the process are diluting the inherent importance brought by a hardcover.  Unfortunately, strapping a bunch of comic books together in one volume DOES NOT make them Graphic Novels.  If it was not originally published as a Graphic Novel, it is a comic book.  So what’s wrong with that?  Absolutely nothing.

In the day and age of “Let your Geek Flag fly.” and people who are constantly proclaiming that “Geeks rule the Earth.”  There is nothing wrong with saying that you love comic books.  At least there shouldn’t be.  So when I see comic book shop owners saying “Come in for the latest Graphic Novels!” it’s quite a bit disheartening.  You sell comic books, own that.  Be proud of it.  Comic books are one of the great American institutions.  They were invented here, they were perfected here.  Unlike Rock and Roll, we still do it, and always have done it, best.  So comic book fans and comic book sellers unite and embrace that thing which we love:  COMIC BOOKS!  Oh, and their fancy cousin, the Graphic Novel.

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

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Big News from HOHNER Music




The global networks of HOHNER websites have been completely overhauled. The new websites have an improved look and feel and offer many new features including; video work-shops and tutorials for harmonica service, a section dedicated entirely to harmonica customizing from the leading customizers in the world, artist videos, free harmonica lessons, Hohner news from around the world, interactive galleries and much more. “We’ve been planning this website upgrade for quite some time and I’m very proud of the way the project has turned out,” commented Scott Emmerman, Director of Marketing & Sales. “This new website gives us more tools and much greater capabilities with which to promote our brands,” he added.



The new website allows users to filter news, artist’s bio, videos and other media by instrument, country, topic and year. It also introduces a brand new media database to which dealer and distributors can easily log in and download high-res product images, artist’s photos, videos, catalogs and more. Global social media activity has been integrated into the new site in order to help Hohner stay in closer contact with its customers and to keep them better informed.

For more information, go to





On October 3rd, 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts named Flaco Jimenez a National Heritage Fellow at The Lincoln Library in Washington, DC. He was also awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Hohner for his incredible achievements culminating in his receiving 5 Grammy awards for musical collaborations with some of the most prestigious artist in the world. Flaco has played a very important role in making Conjunto (Tex-Mex) music known all over the world and is recognized as the ambassador of Conjunto music.

"Hohner has been a part of my life and music from the very beginning. I'm talking about my grandfather, my father, and me, three generations. All of the many recordings throughout the years including 78s, LPs, 8 Tracks, Cassettes, 45s, and CDs have been music that was created with Hohner accordions.



HohnerLifetimeachievementawardandFlacoJimenezMy signature sound could not be possible without the Corona II (accordion). It is with great honor and humility to be recognized by Hohner with the Lifetime Achievement Award,” commented Flaco. “I also want to thank Hohner for supporting me and always being there throughout the years. As they continue to remind me: it's not about the product, but the music and the musicians. Because of this, I will forever be loyal to such a great organization that cares about what I think and feel. I love my Hohner accordions,” he added.


For more information, go to



Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sony Legacy is offering some great new collection of music by artists that have been immortalized by their talents and our appreciation for their unique sounds. These Boxed sets and multiple album library items are sure to be momentous in both sound and quality of recording. some tracks are so rare that any of these would soon be the crowning jewel of the most selective collector.

Take a moment to see what may be just the set you need to hear.


JOHNNY CASH – The Complete Albums Collection

Street Date: 12/04/12
63 CD set/Price: $329.98


BILL WITHERS – Complete Sussex and Columbia Album Masters

Street Date: 11/06/12
9 CD set/Price: $74.98


BLUE OYSTER CULT – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Street Date: 11/06/12
17 CD set/Price: $139.98


JUDAS PRIEST – The Complete Albums Collection

Street Date: 6/25/12
19 CD set/Price: $139.98


LOUIS ARMSTRONG – The Okeh Columbia & RCA Victor

Street Date: 11/06/12
10 CD set/Price: $79.98


DUKE ELLINGTON – The Columbia Studio Albums Collection 1951 - 1958

Street Date: 11/06/12
9 CD set/Price: $74.98


BESSIE SMITH – The Complete Columbia Recordings

Street Date: 11/06/12
10 CD /Price: $79.98


CHARLIE CHRISTIAN – The Genius of the Electric Guitar

Street Date: 11/27/12
4 CD /Price: $44.98


ETTA JAMES – The Complete Blues, Rock 'N' Soul, Private Music Albums Collection

Street Date: 8/28/12
7 CD /Price: $59.98
Private Music/Legacy


THE BRECKER BROTHERS – The Complete Arista Albums Collection

Street Date: 8/28/12
8 CD /Price: $69.98


SARAH VAUGHAN – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Street Date: 8/28/12
4 CD /Price: $34.98


CHARLES MINGUS – The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection

Street Date: 7/31/12
10 CD /Price: $69.98


THE THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET – The Complete Columbia Studio Albums Collection

Street Date: 7/31/12
6 CD /Price: $39.98


WEATHER REPORT – The Columbia Albums 1971-1975

Street Date: 7/31/12
7 CD /Price: $47.98


GEORGE DUKE – The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection

Street Date: 1/24/12
6 CD /Price: $44.98


STANLEY CLARKE – The Complete 1970s Epic Albums Collection

Street Date: 1/24/12
7 CD /Price: $54.98

We will be reviewing some of these great titles, so check back in a week for our reviewers opinions on what will surly be some great additions to your music library

Visit The Sony Legacy Home Page to see and learn more about these fantastic collections.



GeorgeBensonHotRodDeluxe112EnclosureSignature amp and cab especially fine-tuned for jazz guitarist George Benson

It is with great pride that Fender announces the release of the GB Hot Rod Deluxe combo and GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure – two elegant performance machines designed in close collaboration with Grammy Award-winning jazz guitar virtuoso George Benson.

“When I plug my guitar through this amplifier, it gives me everything I’m looking for: punch, power and tonality,” said Benson. “The fact that Fender allowed me to design the covering and the amplifier’s looks is outstanding.”

Meticulously engineered, the GB Hot Rod Deluxe is a striking 40-watt 1x12 combo outfitted in a gray-black vinyl covering, silver-strand grille cloth and a classy GB logo badge. It has the full bottom-end characteristic of 6L6 tubes, and a versatile all-tube preamp including a 12AT7 up front for cleaner tone, especially with humbucking pickups. A 100-watt Jensen® C12K speaker handles the immediacy of Benson’s singing soloing style with clarity and range, and the solid-pine cabinet increases tonal resonance while reducing weight.

GeorgeBensonHotRodDeluxe112Enclosure_2       GeorgeBensonHotRodDeluxeIII_2      GeorgeBensonHotRodDeluxeIII_1

The GB Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure mates perfectly with the GB Hot Rod Deluxe combo, and adds fullness bass response and wider stage coverage. It is a closed-back cab neatly dressed in gray-black vinyl covering and silver-strand grille cloth with a GB logo badge, and is equipped with a Jensen C12K 100-watt speaker and solid pine construction for lighter weight.

“Just to have my name on these is enough prestige for a guitar player from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” Benson quipped.

For more information, and to locate a dealer near you, go to



Vibro-King anniversary model reigns supreme with new and improved features

Fender introduced the Vibro-King in 1993 to great acclaim, marking a return to a great hand-wired amp tradition while including a previously unavailable selection of sought-after features.

In the two decades since, guitarists and amp aficionados everywhere have prized the enduringly classic Vibro-King as one of the most touch-sensitive amps ever, with sparkling-clean shimmer at lower volumes and powerfully thick overdrive when cranked up. Fender now commemorates those two decades of pristine tone with the release of the Vibro-King 20th Anniversary Edition amplifier.

Available in black, blonde, and brown coverings with silver, oxblood, and wheat grill cloths, respectively, the Vibro-King 20th anniversary model features all-tube hand-wired circuitry, custom Schumacher® transformers, three new proprietary Fender Special Design Alnico P10R-F speakers by Jensen® for warmer tone, and much more. The Brown/Wheat version also has a solid pine cabinet for increased resonance.

Visit for more information.

Paiste and Slipknot’s Joey Jordison team up to launch Black Alpha «Hyper» Cymbals



Paiste honors Joey Jordison’s passion for eccentric and unique cymbal designs with a special edition in its Alpha series which are both a visually and sonically close fit to Joey’s current Slipknot touring set.



These new cymbals should be available in local stores as of October/November 2012.

Big Sounds for a Big Series

New Formula 602 models re-launched in co-operation with Vinnie Colaiuta – 15” Medium Hats, 24” Medium Ride, 22” Thin Crash.

Raw Energy

Three new RUDE models developed in close collaboration with Joey Jordison – 16”/18”/20” RUDE Wild Chinas.

Dominating Bell in Black

Aquiles Priester’s Inspiration – The 18" 2002 Giga Bell Ride «Psychoctopus». Links:

Black Alpha «Hyper» Cymbals -

Formula 602 Additions -

Aquiles Priester’s Inspiration Ride -

RUDE Wild Chinas -

Matchbox Twenty Teams With Dean Markley for Facebook Promotion

Dean Markley announces giveaway with Matchbox Twenty to celebrate the release of their new CD release, NORTH. Winners will receive the new CD as well as autographed sets of guitar and bass strings, just like the ones uses in studio and on tour. Fans can enter to win at the Dean Markley Facebook page or by following this link.

For 14 days, one winner will be randomly selected daily. To enter for a chance to win; visit this unique Dean Markley Facebook page, give the page a “like” and complete a short entry form. Winners will be contacted and announced on Facebook.

NORTH, the acclaimed new album from Emblem/Atlantic recording group Matchbox Twenty, has made a stunning chart debut, coming in at #1 on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 after its first week in release. Fueled by critical acclaim – as well as the current hit single, “She’s So Mean”– the album’s unprecedented popularity marks the multi-platinum rock band’s first-ever chart-topper and #1 debut. “To be a band that put out our first album in 1996, and have our first #1 in 2012 feels like we are doing something right,” said Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas.

To enter the contest, please visit

For more information on Dean Markley strings, please visit
For more information on Matchbox Twenty, please visit

About Dean Markley USA
Established in 1972, Dean Markley USA is recognized as an innovator and leader in the world of musical instrument strings. Over the years, the company has expanded its product line to include pickups and accessories. Celebrated by retailers for their sales performance and endorsed by an elite caliber of musicians, Dean Markley USA products are the smart choice.

A LIFE ONCE LOST and Post Second Exclusive In-Studio Video Update

A LIFE ONCE LOST and Post Second Exclusive In-Studio Video Update

On Tour with REVOCATION and KEN MODE this Fall


Pre-Order ‘Ecstatic Trance’ Now – In Stores in North America on October 22 and Internationally on November 16 via Season of Mist

A LIFE ONCE LOST and have released a second exclusive in-studio video update today, which highlights the recording of guitars, drums, organs and more. The video was taken during A LIFE ONCE LOST’s time in the studio recording their new album, Ecstatic Trance, due out in North America on its new release date of October 22nd and internationally on November 16th via Season of Mist.

Pre-orders for Ecstatic Trance are available now! The album is available for pre-order in four different versions: jewel case, CD Digipack (EU version), LP, translucent orange LP, and grey mixed LP. Each LP version comes with a poster and dropcard. To take a look at all versions and any other merch items, head to

A LIFE ONCE LOST recently announced a full U.S. tour with Revocation, visiting a venue near you this October and November. Support will come from KEN mode. The tour kicks off on October 18th in Trenton, NJ and comes to a close in Allston, MA on November 13th with another A LIFE ONCE LOST only date capping on November 18th in Amityville, NY.

A LIFE ONCE LOST w/ Revocation, KEN mode

10/18 – Trenton, NJ @ The Backstage at Championship Bar (No KEN mode)

10/19 – Montreal, QC @ Katacombes

10/20 – Toronto, ON @ Wreck Room

10/21 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar

10/22 – Chicago, IL @ Cobra Lounge

10/23 – St. Paul, MN @ Station 4

10/24 – Winnipeg, MB @ Osborne Village Inn

10/26 – Calgary, AB @ Vern’s

10/27 – Edmonton, AB @ Pawn Shop

10/29 – Tacoma, WA @ The Loch’s

10/30 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon – Lounge

10/31 – Portland, OR @ Rotture

11/1 – San Francisco, CA @ The Sub Mission

11/2 – Fullerton, CA @ Slidebar

11/3 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Chaser’s

11/4 – El Paso, TX @ House of Rock

11/5 – San Antonio, TX @ Korova

11/6 – Austin, TX @ Red 7

11/7 - Little Rock, AR @ Downtown Music (ALOL only)

11/8 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade

11/9 – Charlotte, NC @ The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall

11/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

11/11 – Albany, NY @ Bogies

11/12 – New York, NY @ The Studio At Webster Hall

11/13 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott

11/18 - Amityville, NY @ Ollie's Point (ALOL only)