|Photo: Bill T. Miller|
February 15th, 2018 ::: Today Brooklyn
Vegan announced the release of the BC 35th comp!
January 13th, 2018 ::: Wow, it's been some time since I posted an
update. What can I say? Things in life come
up, and can distract us. Last fall, I did another
performance with the choir in the original rock opera
Heterotopia at the fabulous Oberon theatre in Cambridge,
MA. Written by a woman, and featuring a female
protagonist and many female leads, with music that can be
very dark and gothic, it felt perfect that we staged it
this time right around Halloween. I also did some
backing vocals for a friend's Pink Floyd tribute.
It's funny to return to being more of a side person, but I
don't mind if the music is good. Serving that role
provides me a different kind of musically-oriented
pleasure. So last year, I really only did one solo
show, and then joined up for many other cover tributes,
including a Leonard Cohen one in late winter.
So far 2018 holds good
things. The Martin Bisi "BC35" comp is finally coming out
- in April on an Italian label Bronson
Recordings. It will be issued on vinyl, and I
have one of my newer, previously unreleased tracks on
it. I also have 2 other tracks from that session
that I can and would like to finish mixing and release.
July 5th ::: Porchfest was
cool. Now summer is here, and it's absolutely lovely
here in New England. I'm out and about all over the
place trying to find inspiration. I finished a great
biography of Aretha Franklin, and now I'm currently reading Zen
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert
Pirsig. Yup. Motorcycles seem to be a theme in my
life since 2014, and provide me with endless
inspiration. Hopefully, I'll soon have news about a
compilation one of my newest original songs will appear on -
the song being from the 35th anniversary sessions recorded at
BC Studios last year.
March 21st, 2017 ::: I am
pumped to announce I've been asked to sing in the choir for a
performance of songs from Heterotopia - an original rock opera
composed by a local female-fronted band. It's at a
beautiful theater space - Oberon - and will be my first time
performing there. Many other local Boston-area
visionaries and luminaries are involved, and I am honored to
join them. The music is rhapsodic, proggy, trippy, and
psychedelic, and it is about the journey of a female
protagonist. The music is challenging to work on, and I
embrace and enjoy that, as a trained musician who continually
seeks to expand and refine my skills. The harmonies are
beautiful, and it's good for me to change it up and sing in a
group, since I almost always sing lead otherwise.
8th, 2016 ::: Alright! Back
from the session in New York, and it went very well.
Over the course of 23 hours in 2 days, we edited, recorded
overdubs on bass & electric/acoustic guitar, and
preliminarily worked on mixes. Just a few more steps and
they'll be in the can. Here are some pictures
31st, 2016 ::: For one month this
summer I worked for a rock camp for kids aged 11-17 in the
Chicago/DC/Pittsburgh areas, and, despite the grueling long
hours, it kickstarted me creatively. Therefore, this
weekend I am heading down to NYC to work with Martin Bisi to
do some overdubs and touch-ups on three songs I recorded at BC
Studio in January. I am psyched! Brian Viglione
(Scarlet Sails/x-Dresden Dolls/Violent Femmes) and Paul
Wallfisch (Swans) sound awesome on the tracks, and I think
Lorde Buckingham may lay down some bass, too.
Right before I
left for the camp in July, I did a solo show, and then another
right after I came back. Both were really cool, and it
felt good to get up there and do my thing.
2016 ::: Played an event called PorchFest in
Somerville (the city where I live) last weekend. It was
great! Friends and fans stopped by to watch me and my
musical neighbors do sets of originals and covers right on our
September 30th, 2013 ::: My last few gigs went
great, and at the moment I am very focused on making the
show the best I can. The band sounds great, and it
feels like flying playing with them. In solo news, I now have a lovely profile page
on the Free
Archive, thanks to WFMU. Be sure to check out
Fortress of Opium profile page on there, too!
August 21st, 2013::: Fall show booking is
heating up! I will probably add 2 more shows to the
above list, one of them being AJDIO near or on
Halloween. Stay tuned on that! Our 2012 album Stratospherical
has received a fair amount of airplay this month on WZBC, and it makes me happy to
know people are digging the tunes.
July 25th, 2013::: Here is a piano and vocal version of a song
I've been working on over the past year and change.
It's called Way Up in
Fortress of Opium is seeking a new bassist.
If you are interested, please contact me at
July 15th, 2013 ::: Here we are halfway
through the year and deep in the dog days of summer.
After a period
of relative quiet, Black Fortress of Opium has seen a flurry of
activity, with numerous recording sessions over the past
month. We are getting close to the mix stage for 6 new
songs, and we couldn't be more psyched about how they are
sounding! We have been working with Josh Hager at
Metacomet Sound for this phase of the recording. Here
are some pictures
from our most recent sesh...
I am working on getting a Halloween show together where I will sing Dio/Sabbath/Rainbow songs. The band involved is sick! I have been truly inspired by Ronnie James Dio over the past year, and I guess you could say I'm in a Dio phase...similar to my Nico phase back in 2006. In fact, I vistied Dio's grave at Forest Lawn in LA in May.
June 3rd::: Got back from NYC late last night. My set at ZirZamin went well; old and new friends were there, which was nice. I felt very comfortable, and we had the place to ourselves so I held a bit of an informal Q & A, and introduced people, etc. WFMU was great! Once again DJ Julie of Dark Night of the Soul got me in there doing my thing, but solo this time. I did 8 songs on guitar and mandolin, and then she requested "Ari," too. Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo was filling in for the OTA DJ at the moment, so I met him and we took a picture. I've always admired his guitar playing. So expressive...Julie asked me to pick out some songs from records that I like and/or have influenced me, so we did that, too. A DJ set, if you will.
Here's the link to the set, interview,
Beyond the business of why I was there, I
also managed to get around town a bit, and visit with friends
and check out some cool spots in the Big Apple.
All in all, a great way to kick off my
May 29th::: I
just returned from LA and Las Vegas, where I took an all
too brief vacation. This coming weekend, I am
excited to play ZirZamin in NYC, where luminaries such as
JSBX, William Parker, and more have played. The
next day, June 1st, I am heading to WFMU to record a solo set for
Dark Night of the Soul, with Julie B. The show will
likely be aired the following week, on June 6th, and then
added to the station's free music archive.
April 28th::: Hello there! It's spring now, and I've been trying to get out and enjoy
the warmer weather - hiking, biking, and birdwatching,
etc., as well as taking in cultural events, like the
Boston Turkish Film Festival. The outdoor activity
is very much desired and deserved after our long,
seemingly unending winter here in Boston. Still
recovering from the insanity after the bombing attacks
here last week, as well. Makes me especially proud
to have lived here so long, though, when I saw how kindly residents reacted in the
wake of this adversity. There is no doubt we have
all been through a lot here.
Musically, I hope to
finish some new pieces and record my parts for our EP. I don't have any shows booked at the moment,
but I predict that will change with the evolution of new
material, which is what really inspires me to gig. I
would also embrace some help in booking, if anyone out
there wants to help me out, whether it's band or solo, or
both. Email: email@example.com.
Teaching-wise, I joined
the National Association
for Teachers of Singing.
March 5th::: Mission
accomplished during our trip down to BC Studio in NYC.
We captured basics and guitar overdubs for 5 new tracks!
We are leaning towards releasing a vinyl EP...Click here
to view pictures of us hard at work during the session.
In other news, my solo show went very
well, and I challenged myself - doing 16 songs in an hour, 15
originals and a cover of one of my favorite songs.
Black Fortress of Opium has some great
shows coming up this spring. T Max from The Noise
magazine kindly gave us a live
pick for our next one on 3/21!
10th, 2013::: Well, the new year is upon us.
We are heading into the studio in 2 weeks, and have been
working on pre-production to prepare for that
experience. In some ways, this is the most ahead of the
game we've been for any recording, and that feels good!
My solo show went very well, and I have another one coming up
at the end of the month.
Dear friend/fan/supporter Johnny Anguish
from Daykamp Music took some shots at our last show.
Check them out here!
11th, 2012 ::: Black Fortress of Opium is
confirmed to record at BC Studio in NYC in February, and we
have 2 new songs that will join at least three others that
have not yet been recorded.
In a few days, I am doing a solo show at a
local gallery here in Cambridge. I am so excited, as it
has been awhile, and solo shows are an excellent impetus for
me to finish some new material. I will play several
And the very same day, in the morning, I
will do a song live on WMBR 88.1fm with Lost Highway DJ Doug
Gesler. Tune in!
29th, 2012 ::: Here in Boston, hurricane Sandy
is upon us, and it's blustery as Hell. Halloween is the
day after tomorrow, but things feel so out of whack with the
storm and all. I had a blast this past weekend, though,
catching some big shows for the first time in awhile (Major
Lazer and Saint Etienne), and dressing up like a red devil!
I had to move suddenly due to an
unfortunate turn of events at my old abode, but I am happily
settled in a wonderful new place. I am definitely
entering into a new chapter of my life, and it's fascinating
to see what shall be writ on the pages when all is said and
The move and the events surrounding it
have set me back a bit musically...but I hope for a return to
form over the next few months.
I have been doing some songwriting
workshopping with BFOO's guitarist Tony Sav. I have some
good riffs that need to be fleshed out.
are some gorgeous pics taken by Johnny Anguish of Daykamp
Music from our last show. What a lovely fellow...
September 2, 2012 ::: Here I sit at
summer's waning end. It's hard to let go of the sunny
season and summer fun, as I've had much of it this
year...alas, it too must end. Our first show of the new
season is coming right up at the Middle East on 9/12, where we
haven't played in many years. We are excited to be asked
do this show by Brian Carpenter's guitarist Andrew Stern, who
will debut his own new band, Old Soliders of the Prairie War.
This fall and winter we hope to record
about 5 new songs, working again with Martin Bisi. We
would also like to do some shorter, more regional tours.
If you have any bands or venues to suggest in your town,
please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also like to announce that we
have mounted a set of songs recorded
live during our Summer tour this past June on
Soundcloud. The recordings were made fairly lo-fi, with
just a Zoom H4, but they came out pretty well, and we are
happy to share this document of our trip out West.
July 3rd, 2012 ::: Our West Coast tour
last month went so very well. The whole experience was
reinvigorating and reaffirming! Pictures etc. are mostly
on our FB page. I can't wait to plan the next
tour...perhaps Northeast? We have been asked to do a few
dates in September for some special events, and are looking
forward to that very much. For the moment, though, I am
making a concerted effort to try to enjoy the season at
hand. Today I made my annual cherry pie, and with
America's birthday being tomorrow, some barbequing will
happen. Beaches and camping are also high priority for
the next month and a half.
I was most pleased to discover our own
Magazine gave us an amazing review of the new
album. Scroll down past Roy Sludge.
June 8th, 2012 ::: Alright, I have been
very busy between planning the tour, gigging with Black
Fortress of Opium and playing with Greg Ferreira. I have
had like 5 gigs in the past 3 weeks - which is grand!
"Stratospherical" received another positive review - from
Terrascope (UK). They loved our first record, too.
are some pictures of the Porch fest performance I did with
Greg and crew from Boston's Weekly Dig.
May 14th, 2012 ::: Our new album received
two more reviews this past week, one flattering and praising
our music, and the other, well, less so. I'm OK with
that, though. Jeez if I couldn't take some criticism or
hear the word "no" I would've quit doing music long ago,
ha! Art is subjective.
The West Coast tour is coming into focus,
and we are stoked to get out there next month!
I have also been playing mando and singing
a bit with the very talented Greg Ferreira and a kick-*ss cast
of musicians he has assembled to perform songs from a concept
album he wrote. 2 gigs this week with them - one radio
performance on WMFO and outdoor performance for Somerville
Porch Fest. Performing outside is one of my favorite
things to do!
I have been enjoying my new "Bat wing"
mandolin, which I got from a feller who formerly played with
April 19th, 2012 ::: Alright, some more
reviews and footage have come in since I last posted, check
New review from New York Music Daily
Video interview of Black Fortress of Opium the night of our record release
And I am working on booking us a summer
West Coast tour (from Seattle to San Diego), so if anyone
would like to suggest bands or venues that would be
appropriate for our sound, I am all ears!!!
The new album "Stratospherical" is out
now, and available in several spots such as Bandcamp,
Amazon, and Newbury Comics stores in Boston, so folks can pick
their favorite vendor. Though we will admit that if it's
purchased through Bandcamp the first week of sales get sent to
Soundscan, which looks good for us...
We have also received airplay on KDHX,
WZBC, WMFO, WMBR, WFMU, WFNX, WAAF, WZLX and probably more,
for which we are thankful and excited!!!
February 13th, 2012 ::: Happy early Valentine's Day to everyone! I hope you all eat your weight in chocolate, if that's your cup of tea! So the countdown to album release continues, but now you can stream and download the "Right Around Here" single off the record via Soundcloud. Enjoy!
January 17th, 2012 ::: The new year is off to a great start! Our Lizard Lounge show was one of our best, as put by our fans who attended and the way we truly felt onstage. HUGE NEWS ~ Our new album is now available for pre-order here!!!!
You can buy a download only or a physical
CD, which includes a download as well. The enhanced CD
features a 6-panel booklet with lyrics and original artwork by
Thom Martin, BFOO guitarist Tony Savarino, and David Samuel
Robbins, as well as our music video for "Afyonkarahisar Battle
Cry." The pre-order includes immediate download of the
song "Blind" in your choice format. A link to the complete
album will be emailed to you the moment it’s released - on
March 6th, 2012.
We are really proud of this record and so happy to be able to share it with you. It has been 4 years since our last record, and it's definitely been a real labour of love. On this new album, we once again worked with dear friend/engineer/5th horseman Martin Bisi, Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls), and band members past and present, incuding Joel Simches, Rich Cortese, Joe Turner, and Dave Yanolis, as well as talented engineers Rafi Sofer and Danny Gold. Without such a team, it would not have been possible.
Now we make room for our second child.
January 8th, 2012 :::
Happy New Year! I do still hope to post my 2011 Year in Review, so stay tuned for that. It's pretty much back to the grind back in Cambridge, but I feel refreshed after my trip to Texas. It was definitely good to get away from the city life for a bit, and clear my head some. I've have been having a lot of new song ideas, and am feeling grateful for the inspirartion. And although the new record is about to surface, I have to say I can't wait to get the third record out. The new material is so strong...
Michelle McCormack of CBS Boston gave me a shout out for my voice lessons on her Secret Boston blog - awfully cool! Michelle is a Facebook expert and blogger at LoveTheCool. LIKE her Facebook page Secret Boston and FOLLOW her Tweets at @MichelleMMM.
The last remaining copies of Black Fortress of Opium's debut album and our matching ladies' tees are now for sale here. Your support is very much appreciated!
December 22, 2011 ::: I write to you now
from my native Houston, TX, where I am spending the Christmas
holiday with my father. The upcoming record is now at
the plant and being manufactured, so that's something.
This one's been a long labour! We now have 2 shows to
announce - back to the Lizard Lounge, where we played our very
first show in 2006, and the album premiere show at the Magic
Room, where we played our video release in 2009. Both
rooms are excellent in different ways, and it's an exciting
prospect! The muses have been graciously providing many
new song ideas, and we will debut some at the Lizard
Lounge. I will probably post my end of year review here
shortly, so stay tuned and Happy Holidays!
November 1st, 2011 ::: We had a blast last
week, with 3 events - 2 live shows, one of which was Tony's
Birthday show, and recording on the amazing independent radio
station WFMU. The set aired Halloween night, and it's
Thanks to Julie B, hostess of Dark Night of the Soul and Irene
Trudel, our amazing engineer! We even covered a Pink
Floyd tune, from the Syd years...
At the moment, we don't have any gigs
booked until our album premiere show, and we are wrapping up
and prepping for the release of the album. It feels good
to take a little break, as we worked hard this year!
We are psyched about some upcoming
things...such as recording a live set for Dark Night of the
Soul on the amazing 91.1FM WFMU, which will air Halloween
Night! Also, our album premiere show and party will be
in January at a new club in Boston. The new album,
"Stratospherical" will be released in mid-January, and we
can't wait for you to hear it!
August 15th, 2011 ::: We had a productive
summer, played a few awesome shows. Thanks to all bands
for asking us on these bills! I am teaching voice
lessons, and just finished 2 rounds of voice instruction/band
coaching at Girls Rock Boston, and it was a profound
experience, once again. If you know anyone with a female
child aged 8-16, it is an amazing program where the kids learn
to rock out, form a band, learn an instrument, write a song,
and perform it on stage at a real club in one week. We
also have a Ladies Rock Camp session in February, so stay
This fall we have some shows coming up,
and I am doing a solo show or 2 in Western Mass, as
well. I was crushed to hear of Amy Winehouse's passing,
but I've been working on a tribute song to her. The new
record is an egg we are sittin' on at the moment, but I
predict a hatch date sometime in December or so...
June 30th, 2011 ::: Well well well! This
week a lot of video footage of Black Fortress of Opium playing
LIVE has emerged
thanks to some talented and awesome folks, namely Sophia
Cacciola and Dean
Frankensplean. Here are a bunch of clips of our
original songs and one cover, taken from gigs in May and June:
May 31st, 2011 ::: Summer weather has hit
Boston bigtime, and warm weather activities are in full swing
here. Black Fortress of Opium has some great shows lined
up for the summer, with new folks we haven't previously played
with. We just did a great show with Brian Carpenter +
The Confessions, which was so wonderfully matched we'd like to
try it again in NYC sometime soon. Speaking of which, I
was in NYC in mid-May finishing up the record. For real!
It's all mastered and good to go. Thom Martin is
cranking out the artwork as we plan our release, so stay tuned
for more deets on when & where. To present complete
bodies of work is very important to me.
While in NYC, I met up with some old
friends from Boston and we had a lovely brunch and they took
me to see the Andy Warhol sculpture in Union Square.
After the mastering sesh, Martin and I celebrated the
completion of the new album with a Turkish feast and then we
wandered around Times Square and Broadway - the first time for
me, despite many years of visits to the Big Apple.
I have been teaching private voice lessons
since fall 2009, and I am really enjoying it. It is
rewarding beyond what I could have imagined, not to mention
fun! I have learned so much in the process, and I desire to
keep studying, learning, and growing even more so I can lead
my students in deeper knowledge, and through my own personal
experience as an active vocalist and songwriter.
March 29th, 2011 ::: In 2 weeks, I will be peforming at the April Flowers edition of Deep Heaven Now!, a festival continuing the bi/semi-annual tradition of the original Deep Heaven ambient/psych festivals of the 90s in Boston, and featuring the very best of the East Coast, Mid-West & West Coast Ambient/Experimental/Psychedel
End of February 2011:::
Whew! This month has been flying by! I was
involved at the first ever Ladies Rock Camp Boston
as a vocal instructor and band coach. Truly rewarding
and I'm grateful for the oppportunity to be part of it!
Did a Valentine's Day gig with Tony where we covered The
Turtles, Amy Winehouse, Twin Peaks soundtrack, and Mark
Sandman. Got back up onstage with Martin Bisi and his
lovable gang at the Middle East. Here is the video,
as shot by Tony Savarino! Felt great! Did a Black
Fortress of Opium gig and more is coming up, especially this
April. We have made headway on album artwork and the
cover is looking fantastic! I'm currently reading Keith
Richards' Life and loving every page. I can
relate to a lot of it, especially the parts about writing
January 2011::: New year, new
lease on life, and been working on new material. Still
saving up to put out the new record. All that's left is
mastering, pressing, & promo! We are considering
doing a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to get it out, but
in the mean if anyone wants to make a donation, please Paypal
email@example.com! The support is much appreciated.
December::: Looking back on 2010,
I accomplished a lot of things, in terms of musical and
2010: In Review
Overall, much time was spent in the studio, and that’s how I like it!
-Made another solid full length Black Fortress of Opium record with Tony, Dave Y, Viggie, Bisi, Joel
-Live shows at clubs/loft parties/galleries like PA’s, TT’s (with Serena Maneesh/4AD), Gallery 119, The Distillery, HOB, Precinct, Great Scott, also in CT
-Licensed 4 new BFOO songs for an indie film soundtrack (and the movie’s actually good!)
2 solo shows (1st in nearly 2 years) The Delancey, & Gallery 119 (with Soriah)
-Played with Narcoterror (1st show in 4 years, and 1st flute appearance in a rock setting in as many years!)
-Picked my flute back up and began playing in a classical duo on a weekly basis
-Did some church gigs on flute and voice that paid well (anyone need flute on a sesh?)
-Started my own business teaching music and taught voice lessons to 16 students
-Attended the McClosky Institute of Voice’s summer seminar in Beverly, MA
-Joined up with Girls Rock Camp Boston (in their 1st year!) as a vocal instructor
-Recorded country vocals for Tony’s solo album, letting the Texas roots show a lil’
-Played Atwood’s with Tony Savarino & the Satanic Lounge Syndicate
Highly worthy of note:
-Solidified 2 new songs, one of which is mostly done being recorded (featuring Paul Wallfisch on keys)
-Improved my voice a lot through teaching
-Got to be in a band, rock out, and record with old friend Yuri Zbitnoff
-Got to be in a band, rock out, and record with dear friend Dave Yanolis
-Renewed my friendship with and got to make music regularly with Joel
-Got to be in a band and rock out with my buddy Chris Pearson
-Moved into a new rehearsal space that’s better all around (grace a Garvy J!)
-NYC a plenty to make a new record in my favorited BC Studio, to get Paul Wallfisch’s piano tracks for a new BFOO song, Cynthia’s Halloween BDay party, recording with Baz
-Syracuse for Carl’s recital (Tony's
-Houston for the Rodeo
-Went to MassMOCA for the first time to see Carolina Chocolate Drops
-Several New England beaches incl.
Nantasket, Hampton Beach, York Beach, Nahant
-Went to Battleship Cove with Tony
-Went to CT for Cynthia’s summer weekend and played almost everything I know with Tony outside under the stars (which inspired him to rework the Battle Cry a lil’ with a belly dance-y interlude)
-Went camping in Vermont with my dearest Pan 9 friends at summer's end
-Watched 6 years of the TV show “Lost” with Tony
-Attended Tony’s mastering sesh at Sound Mirror
-Had a wonderful coaching on flute with Peter Sykes of BU Early Music dept.
-Went to hear Tom Windish speak at Berklee – informative and inspiring
-Attended the Greek Festival down the street with Tony and enjoyed the yummy food
-Attended an excellent and enjoyable performance of Coppelia thanks to my friend Karen M.
-Attended a Lenten weekly harpsichord concert series at Emmanuel Church for about 4 of 6 concerts, where I heard several excellent players from the area
-Generally attended many networking events and parties
Awesome concerts I attended:
-PIL @ Royal
-Die Antwoord @ Royal
-Grinderman @House of Blues
-Swans @ Middle East
-Billy Ruane Memorial show with Thalia Zedek, Chris Brokaw (nice 20 minute feedback solo), Peter Wolf & more @ Middle East
-Bill Laswell & Method of Defiance in NYC at Santo’s
-Wovenhand w/Serena Maneesh @ Middle East
Great books I read:
Neon Angel by Cherie Currie (so awesome, inspiring, and powerful)
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Snow by Orhan Pamuk
Bargaining with the Devil by Robert Mnookin (very useful tactical advice)
Savarino's new solo guitar album "Guitaring"
is out this month, and I did guest vocals on a Flying
Burrito Brothers song on it, "Devil in Disguise (a.k.a.
Christine's Tune)." It was a lot of fun to do a
country tune from the 60s; I finally got to let my Texas
roots show! I am also touched and honored to be one
of 2 people Tony dedicated the album to!
I am pleased to report that 4 songs from Black
Fortress of Opium's upcoming album have been licensed for
use in a feature length independent film by Boston
filmmaker Andrew Sayre. More tba!
I recently went to NYC to do some recording
with Michael Bazini, a.k.a. DJ Butterface.
I recorded some vocals for a few pieces. This was a
great experience for me to come up with parts on the fly,
and for stuff other than my own. Collaboration
always rocks, and Baz spoiled me completely! I know
Baz from touring with Martin Bisi in 2009, and he is very
talented, as a musician, DJ, and producer. He now
has a record label called AwwYeah.
September 2010 ::: The upcoming Black Fortress of Opium record is now mixed. All that remains is album art and mastering!
This just in! I am so happy to receive word
that I've been selected to receive an ASCAPLUS award for
the 7th year in a row. It means a lot to be a member
of ASCAP and to be recognized by them for my efforts as a
composer/author of songs and lyrics.
Check out this
stellar review of my last solo show in NYC, by Alan
Young of Lucid Culture!
Thanks Alan! 2 shows with the full band this
month! Joel Simches is playing bass with us again:)
August 2010 ::: Played The Delancey in
NYC last night, at Paul Wallfisch's Small Beast. It
was a solo show, and it rocked, IMHO. Many NYC
friends came out to support. I spent a lot of time
outside my comfort zone during the set, as I debuted a few
songs. I performed exclusively on mandolin and
Thanks so much to
those who came out to see me in Lowell, MA on the bill
with Soriah. I was nervous, not having done a solo
show in nearly 2 years, but debuted a new song, 'Desperate Kiss'.
Great Scott with the full band was amazing as well.
We had a couple great shows in a short amount of time, and
I feel some momentum, especially sitting here mixing 2
more songs with Martin.
July 2010 ::: We
are currently working on the second record, mixing
with Martin Bisi, and anticipate a fall 2010 release.
November! The artwork will likely include pictures Tony
took during our trip to Turkey last year, and yet another
fortress - Uçhisar. Basics for most tracks were recorded
in January at BC Studios in Brooklyn, NY
with Martin Bisi engineering
and Brian Viglione,
formerly of The Dresden Dolls, playing drums on it. Dave Yanolis joined us
on bass guitar, and is in the live band, too. Also, many
thanks to our original bassist Joel Simches for
helping record the vocals and some additional instrumental
This album is going to be different in many ways. It's much
more collaborative between me and Tony Savarino. We are
including a hard-hitting Turkish Queen song that S.J. Roi and
I demo'd in 2005. The personnel on this record is more varied,
including numerous musicians and engineers. Whereas, the first
time around it was 5 people from recording through mixing.
Janaka Stucky of Black Ocean will contribute some poetic appeal to the liner notes, and expect printed lyrics this time. I am very excited about that!
Our music video screened at the Boston Underground Film Festival
We shared the stage with Serena-Maneesh (Norway) in April.
They have an amazing new album out on 4AD, and they previously
also worked with Martin Bisi.
12/09:::The Thanks to the
lovely black angels who donated to the effort! Here are some great
pics from the shoot by most talented
photographer Mong-Jane Wu...
12/09:::TheMUSIC VIDEO for the song 'Afyonkarahisar Battle Cry' is now up on the newly created Black Fortress of Opium official youtube video channel (which also features many other live videos)!!! It was directed by Noah Blumenson-Cook (friend and winner of the 2009 Boston Underground Film Festival's award for Most Promising New England Filmmaker). It was shot in South Boston and on Lovell's Island in Boston Harbor in late summer 2009.
Thanks to the lovely black angels who donated to the effort! Here are some great pics from the shoot by most talented photographer Mong-Jane Wu...
We had a huge release show in Boston at The
Magic Room to premiere the video. Thanks to those who
came out to support!
We had a huge release show in Boston at The Magic Room to premiere the video. Thanks to those who came out to support!
We recently taped a set and interview on CCTV in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is currently airing in the Metro Boston area. The set includes a lot of new material. Thanks to Matt and Marissa for making it happen! They did an awesome job integrating the interview with the set footage!
band is Black Fortress of
Opium. It's named after the English
translation of the name of a Turkish town called AFYONKARAHISAR.
Originally, I passed through this town while traveling
around the Turkish countryside in summer of 2005, and then
returned in summer 2007 to climb up to the very top of the
Fortress itself. There is much lore surrounding this
place...Besides yours truly on lead female vocals, mandolin,
acoustic/electric guitars, melodica, and keys - the band
also features six-string samurai Tony Savarino on guitar,
Joe Turner on skins & Rich Cortese on bass duty.
My band is Black Fortress of Opium. It's named after the English translation of the name of a Turkish town called AFYONKARAHISAR. Originally, I passed through this town while traveling around the Turkish countryside in summer of 2005, and then returned in summer 2007 to climb up to the very top of the Fortress itself. There is much lore surrounding this place...Besides yours truly on lead female vocals, mandolin, acoustic/electric guitars, melodica, and keys - the band also features six-string samurai Tony Savarino on guitar, Joe Turner on skins & Rich Cortese on bass duty.
was produced and recorded by Martin Bisi in New
York City. Martin has worked with the likes of Bill Laswell, Herbie Hancock,
Iggy Pop, Afrika Bambaata, and many more. It's in a few other record stores around the US,
as well as being available through Projekt Records
Darkwave Store. A lot of hard work and excitement went
into the making of it, and we appreciate your support!
Our DEBUT ALBUM was produced and recorded by Martin Bisi in New York City. Martin has worked with the likes ofSonic Youth, The Dresden Dolls, John Zorn, Swans, Lydia Lunch, Brian Eno,
Bill Laswell, Herbie Hancock, Iggy Pop, Afrika Bambaata, and many more.
It's in a few other record stores around the US, as well as being available through Projekt Records Darkwave Store. A lot of hard work and excitement went into the making of it, and we appreciate your support!
had this to say about our debut in their , as well:
"Given the band’s name and the fact that its front-lady is called Ajda the Turkish Queen, you might expect full-on, flat-out Goth. But elements of folk, country, and blues mingle with measured psychedelia and “Model Café”— a country romp about a love affair sparked in that famed Allston establishment — is easily the local song of 2008." - Linda Laban
The Boston Metro had this to say about our debut in their"Local Greats of '08" article
, as well:
band has also recorded a cover
of the Magnetic Fields song 'Born
on a Train' for the soundtrack to the indie
film 'Ana's Time' by Alice Cox. You can check it out on
our myspace page. The film was screened at the
2008 Atlanta Film Festival. See
below for more info on this venture...
The band has also recorded a cover of the Magnetic Fields song 'Born on a Train' for the soundtrack to the indie film 'Ana's Time' by Alice Cox. You can check it out on our myspace page. The film was screened at the 2008 Atlanta Film Festival. See below for more info on this venture...
Ongoing & Recent:
Other, Ongoing & Recent:
In 2009, I did many shows and tours with Martin Bisi, from New York City to Kansas City. I performed backing vocals for the title track of his album 'Sirens of the Apocalypse' and on several tracks on his new digital EP Son of a Gun. The EP also features Bill Laswell and Brian Viglione (ex-Dresden Dolls). Here are some pics from Martin's May 2008 CD release at the Knitting Factory, which also included Laswell, John Zorn and others.
Please take a moment to read the journals and view the pictures of my 3 tours from the past year!
Summer 2009 tour
II journal (Mid-Atlantic with Martin Bisi)
Summer 2009 tour I journal (West Coast with Martin Bisi) and pics...
Winter 2009 tour blog (Midwest with Martin Bisi) and pics ...
I performed some flute recording with Darkflow, which involves some of the family of bands that rehearse in our space V8.
In late December 2008, I recorded some flute and mandolin for my friends Abunai! on their track 'Jamaicaway'. Check it out!
Late October 2008 I performed with Bill T Miller's Orgy of Noise. It was a noisy little experimental quartet, with me on vox and skull shaker - the sort of thing I haven't done in awhile. Bill's blog and various pics can be found here. He is the multi-media documentation king! I dressed up pretty sexy for the show.
In 2007, I did the soundtrack for an independent film entitled Ana's Time, by director Alice Cox. I composed new music on piano, tenor banjo, and guitar. Black Fortress of Opium recorded a cover for this movie as well, as mentioned above. I am excited to announce the film was screened at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2008. I posted one version of the main piano theme on my solo myspace page. The soundtrack also features a recording of my version of 'Afraid' by Nico.
In 2007, I did some vocals for an anti-war song called "End War Now" written by T Max, editor/publisher of the local Boston music magazine 'The Noise'. The session was at Hi'N'Dry Studios, which was started by Mark Sandman of Morphine. The song is now complete and thusly available on the myspace page for you to download. The song, along with other anti-war tracks, is featured on Neil Young's website.
An interview I did on www.gothtronic.com...
Two pieces of my original music can be heard in the independent film Pony Trouble. The whole soundtrack rocks, also featuring Dame Darcy, Freezepop, Lorette Velvette (The Hellcats, The Kropotkins, Sonic Youth, Tav Falco's Panther Burns), and many others. Officially released in March of 2007, the film is distributed through Brain Damage Films. You can buy the Pony Trouble DVD here. The film is also available through Netflix.
My other band, Narcoterror, recorded 5 tracks for an EP, which may one day be released. One of our songs made its way to Angel Sighs - a website of some people putting together a Spiritualized tribute album. Our cover of "Electric Mainline" is on there. Check it out! Please befriend us on myspace.
I am a
7-time recipient of the ASCAPLUS Award.
If you are a musician, I highly recommend joining ASCAP as
a performing rights society. They offer monetary awards to
new/developing artists, which can be ohsohelpful until
royalties start pouring in. I highly endorse this
organization, which is run by and for artists.
I highly endorse this organization, which is run by and for artists.
† RIP Dear Mother † 2006
† RIP Scott Roy † 2008
† RIP Michael Braga † 2011
† RIP Thom Martin † 2015