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Growing painz
Mastamindz hatch Fiendish Plot

Matt Moreau and Don Seagrave bent over backwards to get their debut CD, Fiendish Plot, out this spring. They wrote and practiced, practiced and wrote. They spent long hours with inimitable producer Joe Moody over at Danger Studios, and sweat blood over the project in the process. The band, which also includes drummer Mike Toscani and bassist Steve Morrissey, also had to contend with the temporary departure of Moreau, who was called to duty in Iraq. Oddly enough, though, instead of pausing to appreciate their accomplishment, Mastamindz have already moved on to their next creation, even before they celebrate the release of the first.

"We’ve got three new songs for the CD release party," says Moreau, which seems odd given the fact that this is their first real gig since Moreau’s seven-month stint overseas. "We’re planning to go back into the studio by early fall."

Seagrave, Toscani, and Morrissey were dispatching beats to the Middle East so Moreau would have a taste of what to expect when he returned. You’d think that kind of sacrifice would warrant a little more commitment, a little more reverence. Not so. Apparently, you can’t slow inspiration down, you can only hope to contain it. "The CD itself made us realize what we have to do, what we did wrong, and how we can improve on what we’ve done," says Moreau.

This is the tale of two bands: the one that made the heavy-groovin’ rap-rock you hear on the new album, and the band they’re turning into. According to guitarist Seagrave, the changes are coming quicker than they can process them. "Now we’re more into sounds, like a hip-hop language with music, rather than just grooves. I think we need to be heard separately as well as together. I want it to be more laid-back, more experimental. The album is really brash."

"It’s about fighting and beatin’ people up," laughs Moreau. "But now that we have people’s attention, where are we going to take them? We want to take them somewhere special. We want to evolve."

Together since the tail end of 2000, Mastamindz have indeed evolved as recording artists and performers on a steep curve. "In the studio we matured and got tighter," says Moreau. "As musicians we’re more on the level where we want to be. I hate to say it, but I think we’re growing up now."

Mastamindz will be heralding the release of their debut album on Saturday, July 12 at Jarrod’s Place. Helping the party along will be the equally formidable Blackstone Valley Crew.

NOTHING LESS THAN JAKE’S. There’s a huge show at Jake’s on Saturday, July 12, and, like at all Saturday night rock’n’ roll parties, admission is free. This is not insignificant. Where else can you see some of the best bands in town — on a Saturday night, no less — without forking over a penny on cover? Jake’s is playing an ever-more important role in the local music scene, especially considering many venues in town are booking fewer original acts and having a hard time covering their expenses. Jackie over at Jake’s is a peach, and she has great taste in music, not to mention terrific intentions. Through thick and thin for three years, Jake’s has kept the free rock ’n’ roll going with an appreciation for both the music and the musicians. Artists tell me that just about anyone who has played there regularly is treated like family, a characteristic that brings to mind the old Living Room. You all owe it to yourself to stop by, say hi, and take in some awesome tunes.

This Saturday is a great time for a first visit, with a slew of sharp local music stuffed on the bill. You have Randy Pinto and the Galactic Boots, the Young Americans, Sasquatch and the Sick-a-Billys, Mark Cutler and the Dino Club, the Young Ones, and the Haymakers. The Wyld Card DJs will spin some dirty grooves between sets. And the Young Ones will be debuting their new guitarist, which happens to be none other than the Colonel, Mr. Johnny Maguire. Maguire steps in for Scott Lyons, a founding member who’s moving out west. Good luck to both Lyons and Maguire; we hope they both find the fit to be perfect.

Travelers Aid Benny. Routine 8, local rockers since 2001, have gone through some tough times in their short career, including the tragic loss of their bass player, Johnny Marius. In tribute to him, they’ve put together the Second Annual Travelers Aid Benefit. It’ll take place at Cats in Pawtucket. According to the press release for the organization, "Travelers Aid of Rhode Island is a private, non-profit agency established in Rhode Island in 1894 to assist stranded travelers, unescorted and runaway youth, and other disconnected persons." Today they are a multi-service organization providing assistance 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for a broad spectrum of Rhode Islanders" (www.travelersaidri.org).

They have a sweet roster of bands lined up for the night: Slugworth, Paris, Come September, Mr. Lincoln, Psycle, Hearsay, Premonition and, of course, Routine 8. So head to Cats, say hello to Mr. Big (aka Kevin), and have a frosty one. It’s for a good cause, and you’ll have some good music at your disposal, too.

BEINGGREEN. The Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce will present the Blackstone Valley Celtic Festival on Saturday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at King Farm (Central Turnpike and Uxbridge Road) in Sutton, Massachusetts, right off of Route 146. Promising something for fans of all kinds of Celtic music, this new event will feature traditional music and dance as well as some Celtic rock and a Scottish pipe band. Featured performers will be Aoife Clancy, the Laura Cortese Band, the Glengarry Boys, Skip Healy, the Robbie O’Connell Band, Pendragon with step dancers Kieran Jordan and Kevin Doyle, and the John Whelan Band. Also featured will be Celtic craft booths, Highland cattle, pony rides, sheep-herding demonstrations, Higgins Armory, great food, a beer tent, and more. Admission will be $12 adults ($10 in advance) and $8 for seniors; children under 12 are free. For tickets or further information, reach the Chamber at (508) 234-9090.

WANDERING EYE. On Friday, July 11, Chan’s Egg Roll, Jazz and Blues Concert Series presents the Boston Blues Explosion, featuring Jay Geils, Dave Maxwell, Jerry Portnoy and Darrell Nulisch for two shows at 8 and 10 p.m. on Main Street in Woonsocket. For more info or reservations, call 765-1900.

The North Star Jazz Ensemble will play a highly anticipated show at CAV on Saturday, July 12th. While they have a nice new record, titled Sax Across America, out just in time for the patriotic summer season, Bruce Abbott and company aren’t billing this gig as a record release party. Still, it’s worth seeing them, and if medium meaty jazz is your thing (not too light, not too heavy), a night at CAV with your main squeeze would be a great way to spend an evening. Go to www.northstarmusic.com for more.

E-mail me with your music news at big.daddy1@cox.net

Issue Date: July 11 - 17, 2003
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