The Moxy of Bobbi Rich

Bobbi Rich, photo by Fiona Pepe

Bobbi Rich, photo by Fiona Pepe

by Anna Mroczkowski

Ever heard the phrase, “figure out what you love doing, and then do that for the rest of your life?”

Then there’s the (in theory) more responsible (and funnier) cousin phrase of “figure out what you love doing and do that  for the rest of your life on nights and weekends.”

And the guy on the tv box last night, when talking about the audacity of a certain individual’s lofty ambition, he responded with, “It’s only hubris if I fail.”

What am I talking about and why do you care?  I’m talking about DREAMS!  I’m talking about the people who are out here right now being  dreamers and doers but also eaters and bill payers and also causally touching on the irritating societal status quo that our dreams are only valid once attained.

“Welcome to Hollywood!  What’s your dream!?”

Today’s story is about one of these dreamers and doers. One of her dreams and how you can support it.

Bobbi Rich 2

Bobbi Rich is an intelligent brunette hailing from all over.  The eldest sister.  The gal pal buddy that also happens to be a raging knockout.  The friend you call if you just got your heart stomped on.  The  friend you call when you need babes for your music video. The friend you call when you want to know what’s good tonight.  The friend you call when you’re looking for a rubber chicken, a shrunken head, a woven mat made of grass, crystals and a cup of sugar but only have the time to go to one place.  The colony of turquoise jewelry on her hands Hangin Tuff! look like Southwest brass knuckles.  She sits dripping in leather fringe, radiating warmth and softens the most when talking about her collective of talented females, the Easy Bake Coven.   There is a slight smokiness to her voice that is a lovely contrast to her wacky arm flailing storytelling.  If we’re playing the fun game of who would your identifiable parents be?  Her family tree would have branches in Pee-wee Herman, Pauly Shore, Ava Gardner and she just kind of looks like a hotter Kate Jackson circa Charlie’s Angels but not square.  Now let me enthusiastically caution you not to get it twisted!  She knows, like anyone who actually throws parties, (not just attends them) like anyone who produces and creates (instead of just consumes) that it takes huge follow through, tenacity, creative problem solving and chutzpah to be any good at it.  And Bobbi is very good at what she does.  

La Luz on the set of Hangin Tuff!

La Luz on the set of Hangin Tuff!

Her latest and greatest mission is a music variety show called Hangin Tuff!

Set aboard a hot tub boat floating around Lake Union, Bobbi and her friends set out to make up-and-coming musicians accessible and the process of discovering these bands fresh, funny and creatively entertaining.

Remember when MTV actually played music and interviewed bands? Remember when you could switch on your TV and instantly be apart of dance party? Dancing in your living room with the styling cats onSoul Train or those freaks on The Grind? Remember GOOD MUSIC? Remember watching shows like Muppet’s Tonight and seeing Alice Cooper being silly with a bunch of puppets? Remember Grace Jones showing up in a box on Peewee’s Playhouse? Or what about when Kurt Cobain wore a giant banana gown to MTVHeadbangers Ball? Man those days were fun. WELL BE EXCITED, for we are here to bring it all back in our own unique way. We’re Hangin Tuff with the best up and coming new artists… in a hot tub boat…” – Bobbi Rich

On Thursday Feb 6th, Hangin Tuff! will premiere the first season at Central Cinema with live performances from Half-Breed and Don’t Talk To The Cops! 

Hangin Tuff!

We are encouraged to dream but less attention is paid to how we get to our dreams than identifying what our dreams are, at least in my opinion.  It’s implied that all you have to do is know what you want and the rest will take care of itself.  But “the rest taking care of itself” really means, if you want it bad enough you will find a way to figure it out. Perseverance may well be the only thing all fulfilled dreams have in common.

We’re just out here.  All of us.  We’re balancing (and I use the term balance in the loosest sense of the word) our basic needs with our dreams, our aspirations with our responsibilities.  It’s exhausting.  Life, not just artist life either. That’s why they say that phrase.  If you’re going to be tired anyway, be tired doing something you love and never quit.  That’s what I love about Bobbi.  She’s not afraid to be different and not afraid to see her ideas through.

In junior high school,  at a dance that some High School kids were also going to be at  (to up the intensity), there was going to be a dance contest.  A young Bobbi Rich, determined to win first prize, went digging through her costumes.  She had quite a few.  Her parents ran a liquor/convenience store that was across the street from a thrift shop.  On Wednesdays you could fill a trash bag with anything in the store for a dollar.   And fill them she did.  She would come home with bags and bags, and built up quite the collection of random treasures and hide them around her house much to her Dad’s irritation.

The spandex disco outfit she put together was nothing less than spectacular, but it was super tight.  Being elbow deep in the grunge and punk phase now, Bobbi, usually one of the guys clad in baggy Dickies and huge flannels, spent the better part of the dance in the girl’s bathroom working up the nerve just to take her coat off.  She eventually got up the nerve and when the contest started she gave it her all. Gave it so much her all that at the end of the song the entire gymnasium was absolutely silent.  Cricket-chirping pin-dropping silence.   Bobbi was handed the Spice Girls cassette awarded to first place and quickly exited with her coveted major award as a champion.

She’s still that same girl, only now, she wants you to join her party.

For advance tickets to the premiere go here.

And you can help support her indiegogo campaign for Hangin Tuff! by going here.

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Spotlight on: Dawndra Budd

Buried in the Back Yard by Dawndra Budd

“Buried in the Back Yard” by Dawndra Budd

by Anna Mroczkowski

photos by Dawndra Budd

Dawndra Budd is a Seattle-based photographer.  She loves the dark, strange and unusual as much as she loves capturing the firefly spirited lights behind the eyes of children and animals.  Her photos often are deeply narrative, especially with a whiskey (broken heart,  shotgun, horse head or stuffed rooster in tow) to help ease your version of the story out of the dense back-lit fog of Dawndra’s raw creativity.  She has a real knack for creating beautiful harmonies out of misfit components.   Her propensity to tango with complicated or paradoxical themes especially with her female characters is compelling and only getting more potent.A

 

"If I could make a self portrait that wasn't of myself, this is how I feel today- with the help of "snow" by Jessica Monson"

“If I could make a self-portrait that wasn’t of myself, this is how I feel today.”

A

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Why do you take photographs?

I am constantly compelled to. I used to think of it as a diary of sorts. I love all kinds of photography, digital, iPone, film. It’s just fun!  I feel like it’s both an escape from reality and also a huge reality check. I would rather be taking photos than anything else.

When did you first get into photography?

skate 1

Not until I was in college at age 19. I took a class every quarter at Central, then switched over to Evergreen where there was an amazing photo program. I worked in the darkroom as a job and on my personal stuff. I taught a summer black and white class after I graduated, then worked in a darkroom in Aspen.
A
I did a lot of skateboarding photography and got published doing that more than anything I’ve done in the last few years. I never put the camera down after graduating, but I didn’t get really serious until the last 7 years.
A
I have taken 3 or 4 classes at PCNW on Capital hill, it’s a lovely school. Learning in photography is never-ending. I also love Creative Live, free online courses available for purchase if you miss it:)
I consider myself self-taught though in a way, because when digital came around, I had to slowly teach myself Photoshop and reshape myself into the digital world  before you tube and the amazing online availability for education there is today.
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What is it about photography that you connect with as an artistic medium?
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I like that I can document things in a real or a surreal way. I like that it can be used as an artistic outlet,  and also as a means to make people really happy. That is why I also enjoy family photos, and especially working with kids. They change so fast, so its really important to document.

kid

Then there are projects like Homeless in Seattle where photography is used as a tool to show people beauty and truly help people. 

Pappa Joey. His dog got stolen in the middle of the night right before we met him. And he had a stroke. He loves West Seattle. Loves playing guitar and singing even with his left hand not working as well after his stroke. Despite his hard times, he said to Melissa and I ....."People dont want to hear you bitch. Always leave a kind word."

Pappa Joey. His dog got stolen in the middle of the night right before we met him. And he had a stroke. He loves West Seattle. Loves playing guitar and singing even with his left hand not working as well after his stroke. Despite his hard times, he said to Melissa and I …..”People dont want to hear you bitch. Always leave a kind word.”

A
What’s your secret to being such a cool lady?!
A
Ha ha! I guess I just like people, so I’m easy to get along with.  And I have learned that I am who I am, so I’m not afraid to put myself out there with my art.  Well, in most cases 🙂 I like to have a good time. Try to fill every day with something cool. My dog is definitely cool.

Dawndra's dog Bruce

Dawndra’s dog Bruce is defintely cool

A
Last year you went through a difficult loss.  Did photography help you get through it?
A

Yes, loosing my cousin is extremely difficult still. I won’t know now.  I saw it quite a while later when I lost my mom. I could see it in my work.  I was in a class a few months after she passed away, (nobody in my class knew me or what had happened) and in a critique someone said, “I feel like these photos are all of your mother somehow. They are extremely sad.” I lost it.  One thing is for sure, it makes me more prolific somehow. I can’t just sit around and cry, I need an outlet.

A
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Lisa Coronado is one of your muses, what are some reasons why you like working with her so much?
A
I met Lisa Coronado around 10 years ago and we got a long right away. She had an adorable pregnant belly. She is incredibly easy to get along with, and she and I work great together and have fun while were doing it. She is always down to get creative. She is a doll. I would love to publish a book of just HER someday.
Little Sparrow

Little Sparrow

How do you use editing tools to shape your art?
A
I love working in Photoshop. Lighting a few candles, and listening to music. I couldn’t be happier. I usually have the idea in my head before the shoot, but anything can change during it. A few months back, I had an actress in my chair for a head shot. I had just bought this little antique chair that was inspiring me. So I asked her if she wanted to go off the road for a few photos. She was super excited.
And this,
Lauryn Hochberg 1
became this.
Lauryn Hochberg 3
Lauryn Hochberg 2
Very off the cuff. ha ha. Thanks Lauryn Hochberg!
A
How would you describe your style of photography?
I guess I describe my style as dark and maybe surreal. I always make up a little story in my head about what is happening or has happened to my subject. I think most people have some beauty and some darkness, some toughness inside them, and I aim to find it.  I love that combination.
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tough beauty
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Do you have any favorite photographers?
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Rex Hohlbein! Homeless in Seattle! His personal work (besides the very amazing homeless in Seattle) is beautiful!
I love the classics, Diane Arbus is amazing! She kills me! Looking at the books next to my now, Imogen Cunningham, WeeGee, Annie Leibovitz, Loretta Lux, Nowadays there are a trillion great artists! I am loving Alain Laboile lately, Jennifer Hudson, Brook Shaden, Joey L. I could go on and on!
A
What’s your dream job?
A
Follow a circus to photograph all of the animals and people as well as all of the little towns and things I see along the way. But in the 40s.
A

Who is your dream subject to shoot?

I just keep picturing Ryan Gosling. Go back to that question. Ha ha.

Any upcoming shows?

I’ll be hanging at Circa in West Seattle in February

We ask everyone:  Looking back at your younger self, what piece of advice would you give her?
A
To my younger self I would say, PICK UP THIS AWESOME CAMERA girl!
A

AFA has been fortunate enough to rope Dawndra into a few of our projects.  These are some highlights over the last couple years.  For more info on how to collaborate with Dawndra or book a session, or to view more photographs, head over to her website or  Facebook.

 

 

UGM Benefit Next Thursday: Hollis, DJs Vitamin D & WD4D

A few of my favorite things

by Janine Beaman

Today in Seattle, the sky is clear; the sun is making a cameo; and dry, cold December air whips right through to the bones. I’m sitting in my usual spot downtown on my lunch break, affectionately called “The Bricks.” I’ve been coming here for 2 years. In the summertime, I can sit at The Bricks on any given day and find someone to chat with while I eat.  Some of my lunch buddies have become friends. We look for each other, smile big, split a sandwich, and tell tales of lives past.

My friends from The Bricks are all just a little younger than my mother and father. They found themselves in Seattle one way or another, chasing dreams or love or running away from circumstance.  And all of them have at sometime or another, stumbled on one or two of those hurdles that life tends to throw in our paths. None of them believed they’d find themselves among the city’s “chronically homeless,” spending their days surviving, and their nights resting on benches or in doorways. 

Union Gospel Mission

As the temperature dips, I’m saying an extra prayer for my friends from The Bricks, that they find warm meals and beds tonight. Shelter for our homeless population is limited. There are an estimated 8,800 homeless men, women and children living in King County and only 6,200 beds in shelters. Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) is the one place where everyone I’ve met at The Bricks has said they can go for a meal or to sleep. UGM opened its doors to offer food to hungry people during the Great Depression over 80 years ago and today they provide emergency food, shelter, education programs, and recovery services to those among us most in need.

Beyond food and shelter, UGM also provides a healthy dose of hope. When it gets cold like this, my meetings with my lunchtime friends become infrequent and irregular. I worry about them. I lean on faith in God’s mercy, say prayers for safekeeping and feel a little better knowing that we all have places like the Mission if ever we need them.

A couple weeks back, my friend Jack tapped on the window of the Metro bus I was riding as it slowly rolled away from a stop in Pioneer Square. We grinned at each other through the glass. “You’re OK. I’m OK.” Hope.

Next Thursday the 19th, I’m honored to host A Few of My Favorite Things, a night for friends, music, dancing, revelry and most importantly giving to an organization that works to give so much others, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

It’s only getting colder out there. Please warm your heart up and join me for an intimate performance from the brilliantly talented Hollis and groove all night with two of Seattle’s favorite DJs, Vitamin D and WD4D. I look forward to seeing you all there. – Janine

One Spirit Many Lives Kicks off at Midnight Tomorrow!

new one spirit background final

by Anna Mroczkowski

Artists for Artists is excited to announce our recent community partnership with local multi-art venue and craft cocktail lounge, LUCID on the Ave in the U District.

Like many of our favorite spots around town, LUCID is not just a lounge, it’s a community.  A small venue that provides a truly intimate experience for audiences and artists of all walks of life.  The artistic diversity and passion intrigued me and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know this little family in recent weeks.   Owner David Pierre-Louis has been working hard with his team getting ready for the One Spirit Many Lives mural party tomorrow from midnight to midnight. 24 straight hours of live art, music, film, amazing food and craft cocktails. There is a lot going on and every single element was crafted with a sort of artisanship that I’m beginning to understand is just how David lives.  From creating really interesting drink recipes to probably how he chooses his socks, his approach is creative, open, but carefully thought out.

 One Spirit Many Lives

10 Muralists 1 Mural, 24 Hours

What is One Spirit, Many Lives?

One Spirit Many Lives is my  tag line for Dicul our new product line launching this winter. It is our vision statement for the brand, how we live and how we will embrace going to the market.  The mural project begins tomorrow at midnight so technically Sunday September 29th and continuing on through midnight on Monday the 30, and is the kick off to the next chapter of living life so LUCID [wink].

One Spirit , Many Lives is an opportunity to honor the community and showcase  a lot of the artists that have shown here before and contributed to our LUCID family. I wanted to create an atmosphere where we show the versatility of LUCID. Priya, (Art Director at LUCID) said “Let’s squeeze a month in 24 hours” and I thought it was a great idea. I said, “YES.  Let’s do it. ”  We have so many different kinds of events throughout the month. While the artists are at work on the mural we may have live music, book readings, a DJ, a film, the Seahawks game, burlesque and theater live on the stage.  We’ll have a Bloody Mary bar and all sorts of amazing food planned.  All the dishes prepared for the day of events will be made with a slight touch of the Dicul vodka and Bloody Mary Mix.

We wanted to bring forth what lucid is about which for me it’s all about the experience being unique.

People can go anywhere in this city and hear live music, they can go anywhere and get a good cocktail , you can go anywhere in this city and see art, but if you’re going to come here????

I have to be giving you something a little more thought out.

David’s experience over the past 4 1/2 years has only strengthened and refined his steadfast commitment to move LUCID forward in a community-centered and sustainable format.   He’s inspired and committed to his goals which is great for LUCID and for all the folks like me who have grown to love experiencing art and creating memories there.

We are pretty happy to join forces with this new art family and can’t wait to share more and build with all of you. You can stay up to date on all the diverse events at LUCID on the website and of course Facebook Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s the full detailed event lineup

ONE SPIRIT, MANY LIVES

In honor of LUCID’s upcoming 5th birthday, we are kicking off the celebration with a mural painted in 24 hours by ten of Seattle’s most promising artists.

The mural is a dedication to the community LUCID continues to foster and the launch of Pierre-Louis’s latest creation, Dicul, a locally crafted spirit and innovative product line that challenges convention and transcends the traditional drinking experience.

Composed Of:

Nationally award winning Bloody Mary mix
Organically spiced vodka
Globally-inspired spiced bitters

Beginning at midnight on Sunday September 29th and continuing on through midnight on Monday the 30th, we will host a variety of events and experiences to complement the muralists, showcasing LUCID’s vibrant diversity over the past five years.  From spectacular local music, burlesque, brunch, Bloody Mary bar, book readings, tea, films, Nerd Nite discussions and more, there promises to be something unique and captivating pulsing through our walls at any time of the day!

The mural will take up the entire LUCID wall comprised of 48 2″x2″ canvases and will be a vital component of our fundraising efforts this fall in support of the Dicul launch.

We invite you to come watch this incredible creation come to life and sample a month of LUCID’s creative offerings in a 24 hour period.

It will be a feast for every one of your senses!

Featured Artists:

"Pointline Sublime" by Jazz Brown

“Pointline Sublime” by Jazz Brown

Jazz Brown

"Echoes" by Heather Stadler

“Echoes” by Heather Stadler

Heather Stadler

"Beware the Little Things" by Kimisha Turner

“Beware the Little Things” by Kimisha Turner

Kimisha Turner

Playa 8 (La Discoteca) by Courtney Harris

Playa 8 (La Discoteca) by Courtney Harris

Courtney Harris

"Forest Drip" by Derick Standard

“Forest Drip” by Derick Standard

Derick Standard

by Eric Salisbury

by Eric Salisbury

Eric Salisbury

"Bearers of Culture" by Eddie Ray Walker

“Bearers of Culture” by Eddie Ray Walker

Eddie Ray Walker

"Unfinished Chaos" by Nate Woeck

“Unfinished Chaos” by Nate Woeck

Nate Woeck

Events:

12:00am – 2:00am – Midnight Soul | DJ F1 – Soul R&B Hip-Hop

Join us at midnight for the One Spirit, Many Lives mural painting kick-off party come and support our painters with an evening filled with R&B, Hip-Hop and Soul by DJ Just Jordan 1. Paired with Chef Michael Cunningham’s Bloody Mary marinated Chicken Kabobs with Rice Pilau and Grilled Flatbread along with $5 Dicul drink specials. Come for the art, enjoy the food, the drinks, the ambiance and leave with an amazing experience.

jean_michel_basquiat_the_radiant_child_xlg

2:00am – 4:00am – Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010) – LUCID Indie Films

Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced neoexpressionist work emerged while minimalist, conceptual art was the fad; as a successful black artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and misconceptions. Much can be gleaned from insider interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat’s own words and work that powerfully convey the mystique and allure of both the artist and the man

Menu by Chef Unika

Soups, Gourmet Popcorn, Jerk Coconut Chicken Sandwiches

tea&  herbal teas by Ilaria

Mocktails by LUCID lounge

4:00am – 6:00am – No More Babyphat

Let the sounds of semi-overweight carry you through to the sunrise, their laid back sample-heavy hip-hop beat stylings are the perfect back drop to that part of the night where the lines between dimensions are the thinnest and the difference between fantasy and reality are imperceptible to the untrained eye.

Menu by Chef Unika

tea&  herbal teas by Ilaria

Mocktails by LUCID lounge

6:00am – 8:00am – Group Meditation with Brian E. Davis, LMP

Brian E. Davis, L.M.P. is the owner and founder of the Anaand Wellness Center, which has been serving downtown and the greater Seattle area since 2007. Brian has 30 years of experience in a variety of massage techniques, including deep tissue, shiatsu, trigger point, and Swedish massage.

8:00am – 10:00am – Food & Art

 Breakfast buffet

 Bloody Mary bar

Seattle Seahawks Sailor St Claire

Seahawks vs. Titans | Burlesque Half Time Show (Sailor St. Claire of Tuesday Tease)

10:00am – 12:00pm – Bourbon, Breakfast, Bacon & Burlesque

  • Biscuits
  • Spinach & Cheese Quiche
  • Fruit & Yogurt with Granola
  • Bacon Assortment

Olivia De La Cruz & That Brown Girl Cooks!

12:00pm – 4:00pm – Brunch with that Brown Girl Cooks | Kristi Wokoma (advanced tickets available)

                                        Musical performance by Olivia De La Cruz

Olivia’s music has been characterized as a mixture of Lyrical, Soul, Americana, and Rock. Her songs are inspired by her life experiences, capturing moments of the travel, friendship, love and heartbreak that have molded the woman she is today.

Brunch Menu

  • Laos Sausage Eggs Benedict
  • Peach Cobbler Gallette
  • Seared Bloody Mary Prawns over Cheese Grits
  • Sweet Potato Beignets served with a Maple Bacon Syrup
  • Root Vegetable Hash
  • Smoked Oyster Deviled Eggs

4:00pm – 12:00am Adventure Bites

  • Boozy Berries
  • Boozy Butta
  • DICUL Tomato-Basil Soup w/Grilled Cheese Bite
  • DICUL Wings
  • Couscous Salad with DICUL Vinaigrette
  • Chocolate Beet Cake

tea&

4:00pm – 6:00pm – tea& :: Shh…we’re reading

Special readings from authors & poets presented by Pacifica Literary Review

  • Sarah Kathryn Moore’s poetry has appeared in Cutbank, Poetry Northwest, and The Seattle Review. When she’s not writing she’s dancing or drinking tea, sometimes simultaneously.
  • Olga Vilkotskaya is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she published in Bricolage. She’s the recipient of the Arthur Olberg Prize for Poetry and the Innis Arden Friends of the Arts Scholarship.
  • Matt Kelsey is the managing editor of Poetry Northwest. His writing has appeared in Colombia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Best New Poets, The Classical, and Center: A Journal of Literary Arts

Ayron Jones

6:00pm – 8:00pm – Ayron Jones – Acoustic

Just when the glory days of being able to witness the talent of a true blues guitarist appeared to come dwindling to an end, Seattle native Ayron Jones gifts the world of music with rebirth and renewal. Self-taught at the tender age of 13, Jones aimed to follow in the likeness of Blues and Rock&Roll greats like BB King, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and Jonny Lang. Now a mere ten years later Jones is playing at the skill level that legends are made of.

Gruvatron

8:00pm – 10:00pm – Gruvatron AstroKnotts joined by Black Stax’s Jace & Felecia Loud

Gruvatron AstroKnotts (Dj Ratticus vs. Tony Lewis) sparked from years of studio collaborations and individual growth as musicians from DJing, performing with bands, and producing for different groups and artists. In the spirit and respect of Sun Ra’s tradition of the process of art and vision, DJ Ratticus and Tony Lewis decided to continue their collaboration by bringing them to the stage with their combination of electronics, improvisations and laptops. The duo has been inspired by the music and productions of electronic innovators like Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Dilla, Thomas Dolby, Mantronix and Pete Rock, experimental composers as well as the present electronic and beat scene.

DJ Top Spin

10:00pm – 12:00am – Wrap Party | DJ Top Spin

Celebrate our amazing journey by joining us for our wrap party! We have had a team of dedicated artists paint for 24 hours to showcase the unity and diversity of our LUCID community. Come see the finished product while DJ TopSpin aka Blendiana Jones spins some sweet tunes.

Ayron Jones Knows the Way

Ayron Jones and The Way @ Dick's Drive-In 60th Anniversary

by Anna Mroczkowski

photos by Alex Crick

Ayron  Jones (pronounced A-Ron) found his current stage the old-fashioned way. Playing shows, playing more shows, and then playing still more shows.  It didn’t matter where it was or whether there were 5 people or 500.  People would see him at these shows, and then once all the hairs on the backs of their necks returned to normal, they told their friends, who told their friends and, you know the rest.  Very few YouTube videos are out (and only one official) and their full length studio album has yet to be released. It’s one of those, let the music speak for itself kind of situations (that is actually working), and on behalf of no one in particular except myself, I’d like to say THANK GOD!! I find this kind of organic buzz refreshing and exciting and hopeful for someone who does not identify as a music media tech savvy or insider-y person.

I just like music. I grew up in a Seattle garage band house on rock, blues, reggae, hip hop and funk.  I listened to The End, watched MTV, wore Doc Martens and plaid shirts. The first time I heard Ayron Jones & the Way (with DeAndre Enrico on bass & Kai Van DePitte on drums) my inner 12 year old self started to jump around and look for the Manic Panic. But enough about me.

About a year and a half ago another Seattle native who needs no introduction, Sir Mix Alot heard about Ayron from a friend too and though he probably didn’t think about reaching for semi-permanent hair dye, he did see enough to sign on as producer of his first full-length studio album.

“What I see with Ayron Jones & The Way,  I see the resurgence of Seattle and I mean from an artistic perspective. I think 20 years from now I’ll be proud  to say I worked with them. You know when these guys are old and grey, they’ll still be crankin’ out hits. I never produce stuff just for money, I produce because I love it so I had to be a fan of the band first and that took about 15 minutes. Seriously.” – Sir Mix Alot

Ayron Jones and The Way @ Dick's Drive-In 60th Anniversary

The first thing that struck me when I spoke with Ayron last Friday was how he first appeared a bit quiet or shy until the moment he spoke.   I saw it in the video too.  It opens and you can barely see his face and at the close again he’s soft spoken with his head down, but the song is anything but soft.

In conversation, he enunciates with the speedy enthusiastic articulation of someone enjoying the flavor of legitimate traction on their dreams without wanting to lose any of it. He’s confident but humble, calling himself “accidentally artistic.”  A natural leader and businessman as well as artist, which let’s face it is critical to professional success.  A career can not be sustained on talent alone anymore than a relationship can be sustained on love alone.  Ayron gets it.  He gets it, and he wants you to get it and his music too. He’s taken a lot of time to craft his upcoming release deliberately and masterfully.

“I see myself as the leader of a ship, the captain, and I’m going to continue to lead my group to greatness.  We’re going as far as we can go.”

Ayron Jones and The Way @ Dick's Drive-In 60th Anniversary

Tomorrow Ayron will play a solo unplugged set of original material and covers at LUCID at 9pm with no cover.  I can’t predict the future, but I really believe the opportunity to see him in venues like LUCID for free, a few feet away, where the gravelly conviction of his voice and the exhilaration of his guitar doesn’t use or need a bunch of amps to thump the insides of your chest and give you chills are going to be a hell of a lot harder to find after this album comes out November 2nd.

But hey, you don’t have to take my word for it.  The way Ayron works, one of your friends is bound to let you know soon anyway.