Interview: Friction Farm [Part I]

(l-r) Bassist Christine Stay and guitarist Aidan Quinn performing live at Echo Beach Studios in Jupiter, FL, February 18th, 2016

[Typist’s Notes: Acoustic duo Friction Farm moved away from Palm Beach a number of years ago but still manage to get back to Florida once or twice a year. Tonight, February 11, 2017 at 7:30 marks the final performance of this year’s winter tour, a bill shared with Jennings and Keller at the Labyrinth Cafe in Fort Lauderdale.

The following interview, a discussion of the group’s most recent release, “I Read Your Book”, was conducted on February 2, 2014 in Boca Raton, FL]


I. Album Cover

Type Writer: When I first saw this CD, the first thing I thought of was “Why are these people laughing”?

Christine Stay, Friction Farm bassist: I don’t know why we’re laughing, I don’t remember. Aidan’s brother took the picture, and we don’t have a lot of pictures of us laughing and smiling. But I think it’s who we are, so I thought we should use that.

TW: Okay.

Aidan Quinn, Friction Farm guitarist: I’m sure you said something ridiculous.

TW: [laughs]


I Saw Your CD

Aidan: We were out at some train yard in New York.

Christine: It was cold.

Aidan: We’d been there for an hour or so, wandering around different stuff around the train yard, we’d taken some funky shots…

TW: Yeah, you guys have used pictures from that shoot before, right?

Christine: Yes.

TW: Okay, I think I saw a picture that was a lot more formal, and not really, you know…

Christine: Exactly.

TW: [laughs]

Aidan: Yeah, there’s variety of shots that came from that session

Christine: It’s affordable that way [laughs]

[Sound of loud jet flying overhead]

Aidan: Incoming!

TW: [laughs]

II. “Normal”

TW: I was listening to the first track [of the album], “Normal”, and I had a question about the chords in the intro; I was wondering if they were almost meant to be a musical pun. The song’s called “Normal” and most of the chords in the main part of the song are major, whereas only in the beginning you have some minor chords that are almost dissonant.

Aidan: Well, that’s intentional.Christine being the main lyric-driving person, she talked to me about what the song was about, and I got this sort of dissonant, not kind of whimsical, somewhat awkward sound. And that one note, which is A-flat, I guess, that shows up a few times in the song — right at the end, right at the beginning,  and one other time — it was just enough to twist you a little sideways.

Christine [to Aidan] : I think it’s funny that when you talk about [the music], you’re performing the chord with your hands.

TW: Next time we’re gonna do a video interview. [laughs]

III. “Let It Rain”

TW: Also in terms of musical puns, in “Let It Rain”, with some lyrics about the faithful praying for rain, I noticed it had some gospel piano and some organ as well, two church instruments —

Christine: Yes, that was definitely intentional, also. One of the thoughts I had when we were writing this song, was that we had lived in Georgia during a  drought, and our Governor declared a state Day of Prayer, to pray for rain. Which is just so anti-religious for me, and ill-advised. [laughs]

IV. Books Into Songs

TW:In terms of the overall project, did you start off thinking you were gonna do an album of book-inspired songs?

Christine: Yes.

Aidan: Well, yes and no. We had talked about this as a concept, and actually we had talked to someone who had — they had done a painting, and they had an exercise where another group of people wrote poetry about it, then another group painted based on the poetry.

Christine: Then they did an exhibit.

Aidan: The translation of creativity, and imagery, and sensation and all that kind of stuff, we thought that was kind of interesting, sort of a neat thing to do. I wouldn’t say it was by accident, but it really became sort of by accident.

Christine: It was an intentional exercise. I don’t know that we thought it would turn into a CD, but we thought, we’re going to do this as a way to spark our creativity.

Christine Stay of Friction Farm

V. “Somewhere in the Nowhere”

TW: Wasn’t [this] song actually commissioned by an environmental group?

Christine: Yeah, it was.

Aidan: Go Outdoors USA.

TW: So when you wrote that song, that was before you knew you were going to do an album of book-inspired songs?

Christine: Yeah. [The head of the group] called up and told us this story and he had this whole thing that he wanted us to write. And I sat down and we wrote a couple iterations, and we just weren’t getting it. I mean, it was horrible, trite crap. [laughs] So we started actually doing research: we read “The Grizzly Maze” and “A Walk In The Woods.”  I thought “The Grizzly Maze” would be where we’d get inspiration, but we didn’t. Then we went to “A Walk In The Woods” and it was like, “There it is.” So it sparked a conversation which led to the song.

Stay tuned for Part II of this interview, with more discussion of this song and other tracks from “I Read Your Book”…

Sunfest 2016: Salt N Pepa

Hip-Hop duo Salt N Pepa flanked by male dancers


This group from Queens, NY, first hit the charts a few years after the birth of hip-hop. So it was only fitting that early in their Sunfest performance, Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandra “Pepa” Denton would lead the crowd in “ol’ school” chants from rap classics such as “Rappers’ Delight.”


Backing the two vocalists was their longtime DJ Spinderella, and contributing to the upbeat atmosphere was the presence of two muscular and energetic male dancers, doing routines by themselves and also with Salt ‘n’ Pepa. Some of these dance routines took place on the catwalk jutting out into the audience, enabling the fans to get a good look at the group’s dance moves.



Overall, the vibe was very fun, with all three women smiling a lot, and Salt ’n’ Pepa chatting extensively with the audience.


Overlapping sets dragged us away from this show, but those who stayed were treated to such hits as “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and their signature tune “Push It.” Of  all the shows in what was a very good year for Sunfest, this was the performance I wish I could have watched till the end.

Shrimp Aid


Those mighty crustaceans are at it again. The Palm Beach School of Rock and Jumbo Shrimp Inc. will be part of a twelve-hour music marathon on Sat. October 22nd at CJ’s Island Grill in downtown Lake Worth  (606 Lake Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33460). The School of Rock takes the stage at 2:00 p.m., and its offshoot band fronted by Benny Rothschild will do so immediately afterwards at 3:00. Also check out the jazzy sounds of Sunnyside Swing starting at 5:00. All proceeds from this concert will go to Direct Relief to provide relief of the Haitian victims of Hurricane Matthew. So if you’re in the area today, stop on by (the Type Writer will)…


Sunfest 2016: Thick Paint, Hot Fashion

“No Tan Lines”, huh? Natalie Gardner modelling VIVRE Couture

[Typist’s Notes: In the months since her Sunfest residency, second-generation painter Sarah LaPierre has taken her thick-paint dresses and accessories up to New York for her Fashion Week debut in September, and is putting on a hometown launch party for her hand-painted fashion line at the Wine Scene in West Palm Beach on the evening of Friday, October 21, 2016]

It wasn’t enough for Sarah LaPierre to follow in the footsteps of her well-known father, the late Joseph LaPierre, emulating his “thick paint” style and equalling his selection as the official Sunfest poster artist. Now Sarah has ventured in a new direction, creating a unique hand-painted fashion line with designer Krysten Alyce. The duo founded VIVRE Couture in April of this year, so Sarah’s Sunfest debut of her line was pretty much hot off the presses. The Type Writer was lucky enough to tag along with a photo shoot on one of the Intracoastal pier just outside of the festival and got to take a few shots of Sarah’s lovely model Natalie Gardner.


Sarah’s distinctive painting style comes to life in the form of dresses, sunglasses, even shoes.

Back in April 2015, Sarah’s mom was quoted in the Palm Beach Post as saying “Sarah will always be doing something creative. Whether that will be painting or something else, I don’t know.” Now we know that that statement should have been “painting and something else.” Vive la VIVRE Couture!

This was the lead photo for the Island Stage article on Sunfest 2016



Sunfest 2016: Rick Springfield

Rick Springfield I

This veteran Australian rocker prefaced his performance with a video retrospective of his acting and musical career, mostly focusing on the first half of the ‘80s when he was both starring on the hit soap opera General Hospital and hitting the top of the charts as a recording artist.

Rick then moved from the past to the present, kicking off his show with the song “Party Up” from his new album Rocket Science.

Rick Springfield II

Even though he compared playing mid-afternoon to “f _ _ king under fluorescent light”, Rick’s performance in the hot South Florida sun delivered.

Rick Springfield III

Familiar smashes like “I’ve Done Everything For You” and “Affair of the Heart” were featured on a set-list that also included a massive medley of  songs such as “Bop Till You Drop”, ”Celebrate Youth”, ”Don’t Walk Away”, ”State of the Heart”, ”What Kind of Fool Am I”, ”Love Is All Right Tonight”,  even a bit of  his signature hit “Jessie’s Girl.”

Still Jessie's Girl


In addition to his well-known hits, Rick also highlighted some other songs from the new album. After playing “Miss Mayhem”, a track with a swampy feel and slide guitar, he pointed out appropriately enough a sky banner being pulled over the festival advertising a blues concert featuring Buddy Guy. Other songs from the new album included the tracks “That One” and “Down.”

RS Guitar

Rick also played a couple of surprising covers. After saying he was going to play a “girl’s song” but he was going to make it more rockish, Rick launched into a cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar.” Some of the concertgoers I talked to afterwards wondered why he would cover such a song but I thought he probably did so as a way to be relevant to younger music fans. I later heard from my friend Gail, a prominent member of the local contingent of Rick’s Chicks, that he also covered Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

RS Guitar & Vox

Last but certainly not least, Rick’s biggest smash,  “Jessie’s Girl”,  a song that had been teased earlier in the medley he played,  was played in full as the final song of his show, as has been his tradition for thirty-five years. It’s nice to see that some things never change.


RS Wave

Gonna Rock at the Bonnarock

Hey kids, let’s put the show on right in the streets!

Didn’t get to Bonnaroo this summer? How about Bonnarock instead? After all, if you’re a Palm Beach music fan, Downtown Abacoa is a lot closer than rural Tennessee. This weekend the Jupiter community will host a 2-day outdoor music festival put on by the Palm Beach School of Rock, the local franchise of the national after-school music program. Since its Palm Beach kick-off in 2008,  this performance-oriented school has put on shows at venues all around the county, including multiple appearances at the area’s premier music festival, West Palm Beach’s Sunfest.

Fresh from a summer tour that took School of Rock “house bands” to the Northern locales of Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Woodstock and Toronto, this weekend’s art and music festival will feature 150 performers from the school’s two Palm Beach locations in Palm Beach Gardens and Lake Worth. Included amongst this number are three musicians who qualified for the national School of Rook AllStars program: 18-year-old bassist Angel Leiser, 16-year-old guitarist J.C. Hannon, and 17-year-old guitarist/vocalist/trumpeter Ben Rothschild. Angel and Ben are also bandmates in the group Jumbo Shrimp.The three local AllStars just returned from performances at the MoPop festival in Detroit and at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Rock School Scholarship fund. Total playing time will be 16 hours over the course of two days (Saturday, August 20th from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sunday the 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.).  So this weekend there’ll be plenty of time to rock…

Sunfest 2016: Watch The Duck, Bastille

With a duck that large, it’s hard not to watch

[Typist’s Notes: While the Type Writer was taking advantage of the easygoing photo policy for the Joy Formidable show, his press partner Empress K of Reggae Reflection was busy taking pictures of dance group Watch The Duck. Later, while the Type Writer was watching Death Cab for Cutie, Empress K was shooting pictures of the indie-pop band Bastille. So all of the pictures in this post and most of the words are hers, along with a paragraph on Bastille by Yours Truly.]



Watch The Duck

As the band name suggests, there is indeed a duck figure in the band and on guitar at that.  Based in Atlanta, GA, Watch the Duck (WTD) features lead vocalist Jesse Rankins, Dj Eddie Smith III, and guitarist Oscar White aka The Duck.

Guitarist Oscar White (The Duck) with lead vocalist Jesse Rankins

While the WTD trio has only been around since 2012, they have already made a big impact in the EDM / Trapstep world with powerful collaborations featuring the likes of  TI, Dj E Feezy, Pharrell and Steve Aoki.

DJ Eddie Smith III

WTD brought a party like atmosphere to Sunfest and had the EDM crowd groovin to their Soul / Funk meets Dubstep unique style of sound.


  Jesse Rankins and The Duck took full advantage of the main stage catwalk or should I say duckwalk to keep the party vibes ‘Poppin Off’ as they performed numerous selections from their two EP releases:  2012 debut  “Anatiadaephobia“ (the title referring to a fictional phobia made up by Gary Larson of Farside fame that describes the irrational yet humorous  fear that somehow, somewhere you are being watched by a duck), and 2015 “Trojan Horse” ( Epic  & Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records Release.)


There’s much more to come from WTD including their recent song “Stretch 2-3-4” in a current Propel Electrolyte drink commercial, as they gear up to release their first full length album.  There’s no word on the name yet, however I am sure it will be another fun and clever title.


“Everyone sees the Duck traveling smoothly on top of the water, but no one sees how hard he’s kicking under it to stay afloat.” — Watch the Duck,  describing how the band was named.




Bastille front-man Dan Smith in mid-jump

This British band was playing at the same time as alt-rock group Death Cab For Cutie, in what seems like a classic Sunfest “split the vote” move, since there was surely an overlap of fans between the two acts. The quartet, best known for the hit single “Pompeii” from its 2013 album Bad Blood, played tracks from its upcoming release Wild World, due in September.


Dan Smith doing double-duty on vocals and percussion
T-Shirt commemorating the group’s “Hangin'” single