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Sonny Smith of Sonny & the Sunsets Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, November 11, 2009 01:57pm | Post a Comment
San Francisco's own Sonny & the Sunsets are releasing an album of confident, cool rock songs that have an easy, loose vibe to them called Tomorrow is Alright on Secret Seven/Soft Abuse Records! [Secret Seven is the same label that put out (with Empty Cellar) The Two Sides of Tim Cohen, and is soon to release The Sandwitches 12"...] It comes out November 17th as a vinyl only, limited release of 500 copies and will be available at Amoeba. The album features a wallop of guest appearances by San Francisco stalwarts Kelley Stoltz, Tim Cohen from The Fresh and Onlys, Tahlia Harbour of The Dry Spells and Heidi Alexander from The Sandwitches, among others. Sonny, whose musical endeavors have taken him through the years from piano bar gigs in Colorado to Marin's Headlands for an artist's retreat, chatted with me about his past, present and future.



MIss Ess: So you grew up here in San Francisco? How did you start playing music? Who helped you get going and what a
rtists influenced you as a kid?

Sonny Smith: I learned when I was a kid. I was given a guitar. Van Halen.

ME: Eventually you moved to Colorado. Whose music were you playing at your piano gigs out there?

SS: I met a woman that played Jackson Browne songs and Eagles songs and stuff like that on flute at a bar for pay. She gave me her gig. That was my first gig. Playing piano instead of her.

ME: What sparked the first song you ever wrote?

SS: I don't know. Lust, probably. Loneliness. One of those, probably.

ME: Was there anything in particular you were aiming to capture with the recording of the
record?


SS: I can't relax.

ME: How was your artist's residency in The Headlands? What was it like to have nothing to do but create? Was it freeing? Paralyzing?

SS: Well, it's a very amazing place. Very inspiring. Can you imagine living like that all the time?

ME: I would love to live like that! The Headlands have been an extremely special place to me since I was very, very small. Sounds like this album has been cooking for a while, and even though it has just been released, have you already written more new songs for your next album?

SS: Yes, lots of stuff being made all the time. Only some of it gets heard by others.

ME: Who makes up your band currently when you play gigs?

SS: Ryan Browne, Tahlia Harbour, Kelley Stoltz and me.

ME: What musician inspires you the most?

SS: The minute I hear something good I am kinda inspired.

ME: How do you feel about the music scene in the Bay Area currently? Any particular favorite local band, aside from your own?

SS: I don't know about the music scene. I'm out of it. I stay in. I only go out to play. It looks good from where I'm standing. What do I know? I don't know anything. The Sandwitches are good.

ME: What have you been listening to lately?

SS: I was liking Donovan Quinn and the 13th Month lately. I had it in my car for a while.

ME: What is your most treasured piece of musical gear?

SS: My guitar.

ME: What's next for you? Tour?

SS: I am in Alaska on tour doing this e-mail from a internet cafe. $2 per 15 minutes. Thank you.

ME: Thanks for your (apparently expensive!) time.

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3rd Annual Amoeba Art Show & Factory Party

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, February 24, 2009 02:57pm | Post a Comment
If you could time travel, where would you go?

warhol's factory

Well, like most kids who grew up watching Quantum Leap, I've given it a lot of thought. I'd want to hit the vevet underground and nicohip and happening hotspots of the past 2,500 years or so. First, I'd cruise down to Athens circa fourth-century B.C.E. where I'd walk along the agora to hear some great oration and maybe catch an Aristophanes play or two. The next stop would definitely be the salons of Central Europe in the 19th century to watch Franz Liszt play his own compositions, and maybe swing by Gustav Klimt's studio just a few decades later. I'm sure I could get in a visit to Kafka's Prague and some early New York vaudeville shows before I had to get the time machine back to the shop for a tune-up. After that, I suppose I'd have the ol' time machine drop me by Andy Warhol's Factory in early 60's New York and leave me there.
nico and lou reed
Sure, we can watch I Shot Andy Warhol or Factory Girl, but to actually be there at the cultural ground zero…to watch it all unfold around Andy, The Velvet Underground, and Edie Sedgwick! Now that would be something! Sound good to you too? Well look no further… 

On March 6th, Amoeba Music is going to offer YOU the time travel opportunity of a life time… to travel in time to the world of Andy Warhol and his original 1960's New York City Factory!

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