Free download: “Piper” by Junebug

December 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Junebug is happy to announce the release of a new digital single!

This is the second in a series of online exclusive non-album studio tracks from Junebug. It’s a moldy oldie from the way-back catalog. It was originally slated to be recorded for the Modern Day Fairy Tales sessions, but was cut from the agenda. When I (tony) started going to school for production, I decided this was a song I wanted to produce, just for the heck of it. When the song was started, bassist Brandon Johnson was still in the band. This is the second of the two tracks he recorded with us in studio (the first one being “On the Sidewalk”). So here it is, in all its glory.

We’ve all had a person in our lives that when we look back, we’re not sure if it’s better to remember them or forget them. That’s the spirit behind this song. Heck, it says it flat out. Enjoy.

Lyrics by Anthony Bergman, Music by Junebug
Vocals/Guitar: Anthony Bergman
Guitar: Dustin Marks
Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals: Tony L. Kollman
Bass: Brandon Johnson

Recorded at IPR Studios in Minneapolis
Percussion and backing vocals recorded in Tony’s home studio
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Tony L. Kollman
Engineers: Collin Crawford, Tony L. Kollman

Copyright 2011 Junebug Jones

Categories: Uncategorized

Free download: “Chosen Ones” by Junebug

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out this track I produced.

This is an online exclusive, non-album, FREE digital single from Twin Cities band Junebug.
What would it sound like if Graceland-era Paul Simon did a cover of our song “Chosen Ones“? We don’t know for sure, but if had to guess, we have a hunch it would go a little something like this…


Lyrics by Anthony Bergman, Music by Junebug

Vocals/Guitar: Anthony Bergman
Guitar: Dustin Marks
Drums/Percussion/Backing Vocals: Tony L. Kollman
Bass: Brandon Johnson
Recorded at IPR Studios in Minneapolis
Percussion recorded in Tony’s home studio
Produced, mixed, and mastered by Tony L. Kollman
Engineers: Collin Crawford, Tony L. Kollman
Copyright 2011 Junebug Jones
Categories: Uncategorized

A new project

My band Junebug has begun work on our third album, Beards.

Categories: Music

Tornado in My Neighborhood (part three)

[This entry was originally posted as a “note” on Facebook on May 25, 2011.]

Yesterday, we decided to drive around our neighborhood. We had thought, since we saw many more of the roads cleared in our immediate area, that it would be okay to do so. We drove further south on Logan than I had been on Sunday, south of Lowry Avenue. We thought that we had seen some pretty bad damage previously, but it was really nothing compared to the area between 29th and Lowry.

We shouldn’t have been there. That’s the simplest fact about our drive yesterday. Liza was driving and I was shooting video footage on my iPod, but once we got below Lowry, I put it away. I immediately felt dirty and sick. And we immediately tried to find the quickest way out of the area and out of people’s way. But the thing is that we couldn’t easily get out once we got in. The streets are not cleared there. There are still trees over the roads, there are Xcel Energy trucks everywhere, frantically working on the power lines and still attempting to clear the downed lines. The roads are narrow, only allowing one car through at a time, and sometimes only barely. The road is littered with debris even still – glass, insulation, sticks, branches, sawdust, a stray sock or t-shirt. Branches that have been sheared from downed trees are stockpiled at the curb. Vehicles crushed beyond repair sit, waiting.

People are still in their houses, even when there is little house left. One family sat perched on their stoop, while leaves rustled on their branches in the fully exposed bedroom and bathroom upstairs. The family eyed our van with contempt as we slowly slithered past. What made it worse was that we weren’t alone. Our van was only part of a caravan of sight-seers, which the neighborhood is undoubtedly sick of. It pained me to be part of this voyeuristic parade.

People were everywhere. Residents and neighbors were chatting. Assessors were writing on their clipboards. Children, who do not yet grasp the magnitude of the situation, were climbing on the fallen trees and playing tag amongst the wreckage. Families were grilling in their yard, behind the barrier forest of downed trees – the very trees that are currently crushing the homes in which they continue to live. Shelter has been offered to them, but they choose to stay in their homes for fear of being victims of the low-life scum that are stealing belongings from ravaged homes. One house had a giant plywood sign out front which read in spray paint, “I am home, and WILL protect.”

We did make it out of the terrible maze, following the four wheel drive Suburban in front of us. We got back to our house, unloaded our belongings from our Dollar Store shopping trip, took the baby in the house and got ready for the night. The power came back on. So life is back to normal at the Kollman house now. But just a few blocks south of our cozy little family, a couple blocks east, and a few more northeast, life is not even close to returning to normal.

There is natural disaster devastation in our own city, and half the people I talk to have no idea what even happened, not to mention the scope of it. Keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. Don’t drive through there. Consider volunteering or donating.

Categories: Life, Weather

Tornado in My Neighborhood (part two)

Eric and I headed south on Logan Avenue in the Kollman minivan, toward the sirens and commotion. We summited the small hill south of where we had been and the first thing we saw was that the road was impassible. There was a literal wall of downed trees blocking the way at the far end of the block. I put the van in reverse, turned around, and went west for a block, then south again. When there was an opening, I turned east to once again get to Logan and I parked the van. It became obvious that there was no way to get around down there by motor vehicle. We would have to walk if we were going to get anywhere.

We walked south on Logan Avenue and it was a horrible obstacle course of tree trunks and crushed cars. We had to criss-cross our way through the maze, across the street and back again, just to make it down the block. What I saw there couldn’t be justified in words. I pulled out my phone and started shooting video. I’ll let the video do the talking. Although, I will say the video doesn’t truly do it justice either. I mean, when you see a roof in a parking lot, and you look around and absolutely cannot determine where it came from, that’s a pretty big deal.

By the time we got down there, there were already scores of emergency personnel doing their thing. It was quite obvious that there was really no help we could offer. We were just two members of the looky-loo parade. We headed back to the house.

Hannah and Eric left. They had to get back on the road. They called us on the way out of town and let us know it was extremely difficult getting to the Interstate, which is normally just a three-minute straight shot from our house, due to downed trees and sight-seer traffic.

We nestled in and prepared for a night without power. I mentioned in a previous entry about how I would never forget the sound of that tornado. There is another soundscape I will never forget. When the power goes out, your house goes silent. You never realize how much noise your house makes until the power is out. So on that silence, layer in the sounds of media and police helicopters. On top of that, throw in the occasional emergency vehicle siren. There were also distant voices chattering, hollering, crying. Underneath all of it was a steady drone of chainsaws, working working working to clear the road of downed trees. On two occasions that first night, I heard gunfire as well. The second night, a neighbor across the street had a generator running, powering bright work lights which were strung up around her house. It was the only beacon of light on our dark street. The loud hum of the generator was a welcome sound. We had heard tell already of looting and robberies. Most of those were taking place in the more damaged area to the south, but we were still somewhat worried. In fact, the first night in which there had been no generated light from the neighbor and the street was completely dark, someone had gone through our yard. Both our gates were hanging open in the morning. Did that person have a weapon? Did that person gaze into our windows while we were sleeping? Or did they simply want a shortcut to the alley? We didn’t know. But it did cause the occasional shudder when we thought about it. I kept my axe handy just in case. Luckily, there was no occasion to wield it.

The day after the tornado, there was a police blockade set up on Dowling and checkpoints to get in and out. They told us if we left the area, there was no guarantee we’d get back in due to gas leaks in the area. We took our chances. I went to class. Afterward, we sat outside a Starbucks and took advantage of their free wi-fi in order to check up on the latest news. When we were done with that, there was nothing left to do but go back home and camp out. We decided to grill a bunch of the stuff that was beginning to thaw in our freezer. We ate well that night. The second night was quieter and we got word that power was supposed to come back on Wednesday.

 

One thing that really struck me was how little people in other parts of the city seemed to know what had happened in North Minneapolis. To us and our neighbors, it was huge. But many (or most) of the students and teachers from my school didn’t know what I was talking about when I mentioned it. I was late for my first class due to it taking so long to wind our way through the maze of roads that weren’t blocked by trees and to get through the police checkpoint. When I explained it to my instructor, his face went blank, as if he didn’t know whether I was a bad liar or whether he had slept through the apocalypse.

Even so, the parade of looky-loos continued in North Minneapolis.

More to come.

Categories: Life, Weather

Tornado in My Neighborhood (part one)

It was a typical lazy Sunday. The previous day, we had gone to La Crosse, Wisconsin to visit with some college friends and see a show they were putting on at their community theater. We got home that night and stayed up kind of late. We slept in on Sunday and got up around 11:00 a.m., I think. We grabbed some fast food and awaited the arrival of a couple of Liza’s college friends from South Dakota who were in town and headed over for a visit. I munched on my chalupa and checked Facebook. I got an alert from a weather app that our area was in a tornado watch. “Strange,” I thought, since it didn’t look like tornado weather. I announced this weather watch to Liza, who was feeding Josiah in the other room. “That figures.”

Sometime around 2:00, Hannah and Eric pulled up and I wrangled the dogs into the bedroom. They don’t like visitors, you see, so they need to be in the other room. Just as our friends walked up our front stairs, we heard the neighborhood tornado sirens begin to sound. I looked at the sky again as we made our greetings, thinking that it just looked overcast outside. The thing is, we have heard the sirens go off in our area countless times. And when we look at the weather reports, the tornadoes are never in our area. Maybe my first clue this time should have been when I attempted to turn on the local weather and my television told me that DirecTV could not find a signal. The sirens continued to blare.

Hannah and Liza continued to chat and coo over Josiah – Hannah and Eric hadn’t met him yet. Eric and I both stepped outside to survey the weather situation. The sirens continued, but I didn’t think there was any severity near us at all. The rain had stopped, as had the breeze. It was totally calm. Liza popped her head out the door to ask what we were finding out. “Nothing,” I said. “It must not be around here.”

Then we heard it.

I mean, we heard “it.” The tornado. It was a sound I had never heard before, and a sound that I will be fine never hearing again. They always say that it sounds like a freight train. They’re right, mostly. Picture a freight train that is about three times the size of a normal train and you might be getting close. Add in the sounds of fear and destruction, whatever they sound like. If the word “ominous” had a sound, you could layer that in as well. That sound won’t leave me any time soon.

Eric heard it, too. He and I looked at each other. I looked to Liza. “Downstairs. Now.”

As I quickly rushed up the porch steps and into the house, in a calm but agitated state, I uttered, “There’s a tornado in our [expletive] neighborhood.” Liza and Hannah had Josiah and the baby puppy, and Eric headed downstairs as well. I ran to the bedroom and picked up our two girl dogs, one under each arm and had Wicket follow me to the basement. Liza went back upstairs to grab something quickly, I’m not sure what, and on her way back down the power flickered and failed. Through the basement windows we could see the sky turn green. We all just stood around and commented on the strange welcoming our visitors received. All the while, the wind whipped outside and rattled our basement windows.

I wandered over to the staircase, and I heard what sounded like a child screaming. I was terrified to my very soul. I booked it upstairs and to the front door, which I whipped open. If there was a child outside in this storm, I was going to get that child to safety. I peered outside and couldn’t see much of anything due to the density of the perfectly horizontal rain. Amongst it, I saw a greenish blur zip past the yard. I assume it was a tree branch. But it was fast. And it, too, was horizontal. And that rumble. That terrible roar. I opened the screen door to see through the watery haze on the glass to try to determine if a child indeed needed help. It was a false alarm, thankfully. What I was hearing was the stormy winds whistling through our windows, creating a high pitched, blood-curdling scream. I headed back downstairs, pronto. On the way, I grabbed my computer. Because honestly, my life is on that thing, and I rejoined my family and our visitors.

During the time that I was gone upstairs, Liza had been having text conversations with both her mother and our friend Renae. Renae told us that according to the television, there was a touchdown at Logan and 29th. We live at Logan and 37th. The sirens wound down and we went upstairs to see what was up. Within two minutes we heard emergency vehicle sirens. Eric and I went and stood in the middle of the street and peered south, toward where we had heard the tornado minutes earlier. We couldn’t see anything, but there was a hill between our house and where we had heard everything had happened. Then the sirens blew again. We went back down and then came back up a few minutes later when they subsided. We found more downed leaves and branches, but nothing too notable at all. The rain was subsiding, but a small deluge of water created an impromptu waterfall on our tall front-yard stairway.

There were more and more emergency vehicle sirens to the south. And more and more commotion coming from a few blocks in that direction. We all weighed the options. Should Eric and I head down there? On one hand if people needed help, we are two able-bodied people who would like to help if needed. On the other hand, we may get in the way of the professionals trained in such things. We erred on the side of good deeds, got in my van and headed south on North Logan. What we found was humbling and harrowing.

(Part two to follow)

My Thoughts on “Friday” -or- Give the Kid a Break

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment


For days I’ve been seeing this name pop up. It’s been mostly in vague terms. I dimly had the idea that some girl released some terrible song or something. But then Bob Lefsetz mentions it in his Letter. And Conan does a parody of it on his show on TBS. So I looked her up today, and I have to say, it’s awful to the point of unintentional hilariousness, but people should give this kid a break.

Image from a fan website.

First and foremost, the song sucks. Admittedly. The song itself is grade A crap. The music is generic recycled pop and the lyrics can barely be classified as such. It’s an unintentional parody of itself. That being said, stop assuming that this kid wrote it. She didn’t. It was written by two adult males, who apparently aren’t worried about being taken seriously. But let me back up a step.

Patrice Wilson and Clarence Jey are co-owners of ARK Music Factory in Los Angeles. In the changing music industry, these guys have brilliantly found a niche: targeting the loving parents of somewhat talented kids. Give them $2,000, and they’ll record your child and put out a video. Heck, they’ll even write the song for you. Parents love their children, and they believe in them more than anyone else. So of course they’ll lay down a bit of money to help them follow their dream. Whether the kid is a good singer or not, today’s studio magic can do wonders for them.

But here’s the thing to remember; you get what you pay for. In the production industry today, especially in Los Angeles (where ARK is located) $2,000 is a somewhat nominal fee for a package including songwriting, full audio production, full video production, and legal rights to the song. If you pay only two grand for this package, the reality is you get an okay production of a shitty song that you own the rights to. It’s good for adding to a young person’s reel for a talent agency. And even ARK told Black’s parents that she likely wouldn’t get famous off this song/video. It’s almost as if they knew their production was awful. It turns out they were wrong (about the fame, not the suck), but there’s no way they could have predicted that.

When the popular television clip show Tosh.0 aired Black’s video, it caught on like wildfire. The viral nature of the Internet propelled this video to heights never anticipated by anyone involved. But for the wrong reasons. It caught on because it’s just so bad. And people have not been shy about coming down on this kid.

But let’s be honest here. What has Rebecca Black done wrong?

Did she sing poorly?
We don’t even know. The production on this song is horrendous. There is so much processing done on her voice that it’s really hard to tell. Was the Auto-Tune employed because the girl sang off-key? Or was it used because these producers feel it is “hip” among Black’s age group? We don’t know. After watching her sing a couple bars of the National Anthem on Good Morning America, I get the idea that the kid can carry a tune. Apparently she has even sung the Anthem in Angels Stadium. I don’t know the circumstances, but you generally don’t get that by sucking.

Did she write a terrible song?
No. She sang a terrible song written by two adult males.

Rebecca Black talks with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show

Should she have known going in that it was awful and asked for a different song?
Perhaps. But in fairness, the package her parents paid for allowed for a choice of two songs. The other song was about “adult love,” she said. Something she knows nothing about, therefore did not want to sing about. She already turned down the other, so she was apparently stuck with this one. Should her parents have intervened? Possibly. I don’t know how anyone could think this was good.

Does she deserve all the media attention she has received?
Based on the merits of this particular project, definitely not. But good for her, as an aspiring entertainer. She’s got global attention.

Does she deserve the scathing personal attacks she has received?
Definitely not. Saying that this is probably the worst song ever written is fine. Saying that you hope she gets an eating disorder so she becomes pretty is not. Neither is encouraging her to cut herself to death so you no longer need to hear her song. Making fun of the inane lyrics is perfectly fine. But please differentiate between this kid and the professionals who let her down.

…or did they?

As of this writing Black’s “Friday” video has almost 65,000,000 views on YouTube. The ad-share revenue from that alone is more than $30,000. “Friday” has been downloaded for pay 30,000 times. She has had radio airplay. Rebecca has been a featured guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America. She has been parodied by Conan O’Brien and Nick Jonas. Ryan Seacrest has been really sweet to her and Simon Cowell wants to meet her. She may be famous for many of the wrong reasons right now, but she is famous. And it is most likely fleeting, but right now, she is the most talked about person in music. She charted on iTunes higher than Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. Chances are good that she’s just a fad. But all of this for $2000? Her parents got one hell of a deal.

The bottom line is this: Rebecca Black has not done anything wrong. She is a kid with some measure of talent that is trying to follow her dream. Her parents had means enough to get her started on something and it blew up. The song sucks. She didn’t write it. The adults in her life are running her world. Again — she’s a kid with a dream.

She’s a kid with a dream.

Make fun of the song all you want. I’m with you. It’s one of the worst songs produced, I think. But when it comes to personal attacks, give the kid a break.

 

UPDATE: Rebecca Black’s mother has said that the total cost of the production was $4000, made in two even payments. This ends up being a much more standard price. So the argument of “you get what you pay for” does not apply as strongly. However, $4000 should still get you better lyrics than “gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal.” Though this figure may be more appropriate for the service, it seems that ARK Music Factory didn’t really deliver.