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Jams for Man
A history of the Northern Virginia music scene
Category: Music
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by Andy Keiler
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February 19, 2019 07:02 PM PST

Mike Webb got encouragement as a singer in elementary school chorus, earned a prestigious award for choir in middle school, and basically taught himself to play piano and guitar through high school and college. After studying music at JMU and starring in an a cappella group there, he went on to Nashville after graduation, but didn’t find his calling until he returned to the DC area. There, he tried out and was accepted into the US Navy Band Sea Chanters, singing the national anthem and other songs at Nationals Park and many other sporting events as well as President Obama’s inauguration. Mike later went on to join one of Northern Virginia’s legendary cover bands, Gonzo’s Nose, and he performed as their lead singer for over a decade.

February 11, 2019 11:57 AM PST

Tim Murphy started out playing jazz trumpet, moved on to hardcore punk and played drums in several noise rock groups, before learning to mix house and techno with his Chuck Street Players crew. He took the name DJ Redbees from an article about some Brooklyn-based insects that may or may not have been getting high off maraschino juice and weed. After moving back to Massachusetts and making hip hop and some jazz with Alan Boyer’s Hyperphonix, emerging rock trio Highly Suspect tapped Tim to help manage their group and DJ for them on tour. You can find music from DJ Redbees on various clouds, of the Sound and Mix variety at https://soundcloud.com/djredbees and https://www.mixcloud.com/djredbees/

January 30, 2019 06:24 PM PST

Chris Jackson liked to play guitar riffs at an early age, from the Peter Gunn theme to Day Tripper, and made a musical career out of them with the rock band The Vehicle Birth and later Cracktorch. He opened the Dharma Coffee House in Fairfax with his friend Christian Yavorsk years before anybody in the area heard of Starbucks in order to have a place that served great coffee like they did in Europe, but also to give high school and college kids a place to hang out and listen to live music and poetry. Dharma hosted bands such as The Dismemberment Plan, Frodus, and the Sun Monkeys along with Jackson's own band, as they competed to be the best group in the area. The Vehicle Birth then moved to Boston to go to college, only releasing three singles and an LP called Tragedy on Crank in 1998. They went on a cross-country tour to support the album in 1999, but broke up on their way back home. Jackson then went on to form Cracktorch, who released the album Tonight the City in 2005 and went on to tour for the next decade. Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician-Band/The-Vehicle-Birth-165595246822653/ for more information on The Vehicle Birth or https://www.amazon.com/Tonight-City-Cracktorch/dp/B001P2TID2 to purchase the album by Cracktorch.

January 21, 2019 09:53 PM PST

Mike Davis learned guitar from his neighbor Steve Niles, who went on to play in Gray Matter, and formed his first band, Pudwak, with Sean Philpotts and Dave Allen, who later played in Branch Manager. They recorded one cassette album with Mike Clayberg from Malefice. They then added Davis White, also of Malefice and later Repercussion, on drums, renamed themselves Foundation, and recorded two albums with Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studios. Mike went on to work at Inner Ear himself as an engineer and producer and helped record albums by Dismemberment Plan and the Goons among many others. Along the way, he helped connect Dag Nasty with their first vocalist and played with other members of the band in Los Vampiros. He also played in the eclectic NOVA band The Iceboxers and on albums by the Blood Bats, featuring Charles Bennington of Bloody Mannequin Orchestra. Suffice it to say, Mike helped establish what would come to be known as the Reston Hardcore scene and had a Zelig-like ability to cross over with virtually everybody making great music in Northern Virginia at that time. His guitar sound is an indelible part of numerous stellar records from the 80s and 90s as well as his recording techniques.

January 12, 2019 09:38 PM PST

Beau Butler aka Beau Beau started out as a guitarist in the Reston band Hostile Environment but joined AVAIL just before they moved to Richmond. He became their self-described cheerleader, go-go dancer, and tour manager, though others have referred to him as a hype man. He told me, “I don’t like playing music. I like jumping around screaming.” It seems that he’s been doing that at punk rock shows since his first Corrosion of Conformity concert in 1985. He continues to love discovering new hardcore bands and introducing his teenage kids to the joys of jumping around screaming at shows too.

January 01, 2019 11:08 AM PST

Mark Ferrara now leads megachurches in the DC area in a different brand of rock than the kind he played with alternative pioneers the Arctic Shepherds. However, he’s still using his bass to connect to the universal language of music. His playing and creativity have taken him around the world to the Middle East with a faith-based rock opera called Vital 45, jam with the likes of jazz great Loston Harris—a key member of Wynton Marsalis’ band, and continue to explore other genres such as hip-hop and electronic music.

December 15, 2018 09:53 PM PST

Nathan Crouch formed the band Lugnut with Marc Williams on vocals, Brian Ballard on bass, David Swartz on the other guitar, and a series of drummers, Clay Wells, Zack Stanley, and finally Barney Rubble (né Jeff Robinson). They worked with some great producers and studios along the way, from Christian Quick and Stillness Sound, to Inner Ear Studios, and finally Jeff Juliano. Their 7”, Lugnutty Buddy, was released by Victrola Records thanks to label head Billups Allen. They hit some major milestones in playing DC Space, the old 9:30 Club, the Black Cat, and best of all—Jam for Man. They were the best times Nathan remembers from his youth, and he shares those memories here.

December 03, 2018 08:37 PM PST

Multi-platinum Justice Johnson is a true producer. He started his career in Washington DC at the legendary Renegade studio as an intern and worked his way to head engineer/producer, working with artists such as MYA, Digable Planets, and many local artists. In less than a year Justice was promoted to head engineer and was recruited by New Horizon Studios in Capitol Heights MD., where he worked his way up to chief engineer/producer and worked with rap legends like Tupac, Biggie, and Snoop, Justice has also worked alongside and learned from great producers like Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Swizz Beatz. Most notably, Justice was the recording engineer and co-producer on DMX's "It's Dark and Hell Is Hot" album. Justice also started the company SubUrban Entertainment in 2006 and has placed tracks with current artists including: Wale, Rick Ross, and 50 Cent. Justice grew up in Reston, VA, and has always supported hip hop artists from his community. He recorded some of Reston's earliest hip-hop tracks and established its relevance in terms of rap music in Northern Virginia. You can find more information about Justice and his work at http://dmvlife.com/

November 25, 2018 07:57 PM PST

Jamie Fisher went from being a punk kid with a camera trying to somehow capture the magic of his local music scene in Northern VA and DC to a man with a video camera trying to capture shows the right way in Richmond, VA. He never liked all the rules, regulation, and repression of RHOA and the spreading of their yuppie ideals around his community, but acknowledges that it gave rise to the most creativity he’s ever seen come out of one town in such a short period of time. Check out his photos of Jam for Man I at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Jams4Man/photos/?tab=album&album_id=501398803618988
and Jame for Man III at https://www.facebook.com/pg/Jams4Man/photos/?tab=album&album_id=441417896283746
along with his professional videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/guitarjamie1

November 18, 2018 09:30 AM PST

Andre Love is the kind of drummer that broke his wrist playing basketball, so he shoved a drumstick down his cast in order to play Jam for Man. He played so many of the Jam for Man shows, at the start with Remission, then continuing with Split Decision, and finally at the end with Nemesis. He continues to play the Northern Virginia area with his current band Soul Craft. His episode is perfect for this week, since he expresses so much gratitude to all of the great musicians that have jammed with him and given him a chance to live out his musical dreams.

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