„We are here to connect with each other. We are here to create. We are here to have fun.“
Wise words by Bass Grandmaster TM Stevens during an epic display of musical fusion on the 24.4.2014 in ((szene)) Wien. Three unique bands from different parts of the world combined to make an unexpected evening quite special indeed.
Danny Bullman is an accomplished tattoo artist of international reknown.Rock’n’Roll is more than just a passion for him, it’s a lifestyle and in recent times he has taken to the stage as frontman with his band „Black Mariah“ to remind people what true rock is. On stage Bullman is like a derwish of anger fueled punk come alive, like Billy Idol on crack he has understood the concept of good showmanship coupled with a very powerful sound.
The five-piece are based in Vienna, flying the flag of earcatcher records. Their sound combines elements of heavy metal with a punk rock attitude while remaining distinctly old school Rock’n’Roll at their core. Shades of Motorhead, Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden are evident in anthemic songs that rattle your bones often times making excellent use of harmonics and driving beats. Every band member makes for an imposing presence on stage with their physicality, ink and instrumental skill, yet Bullman is clearly the focus here, bringing his experiences and personal touch into the lyrics and music and in combination this makes for a compelling package indeed.
We expect to see much more of them in the near future as they refine their craft, the mantra here is keep playing. Check out tunes like „Every Hour Every Day“ and „Get me the fuck outta here“ to get an idea of what local rock’n’roll is capable of.
Black Mariah are:
Danny Bullman ::: vocal
Filthy Phil ::: vocal, guitar
Steve Destiny ::: vocal, bass
Farid Leonhartsberger::: drums
George B.B. Newman ::: vocal, guitar
Nathaniel Petersen is a marked man. Literally and Figuratively. In appearance you might mistake him for a voodoo priest straight out of a pirate movie. Inked up and introspective…and then he begins to play his bass in world class fashion and the entire venue collectively holds its breath. It turns out that he is an extremely well travelled figure in the music scene having played an recorded with the likes of Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop and Keith Richards.
His journey has eventually led him to set up shop in Italy, where he has combined with some amazing musicians in 2002 to form the „Twin Dragons“ that enchanted the ((szene)) Wien. In a mix of genres, blues and metal stand out the most. Extremely rhythmic and technically flawless, Petersen displayed an amount of soul that only a lifetime of experience and struggle can provide yet it never broke his stride. He brings a presence to the stage that is both calming and powerful but never aloof or arrogant. Between songs he shared little anecdotes of his time as a nomad, family reunions and the superficial veil of Hollywood lifestyles.
At several points, his guitar player Dr. Viossi busted out licks and solos that belonged to the very highest echelons of guitar goodness. I would call his playing on par with the likes of Kirk Hammett of Metallica, the late and great Jeff Hahnemann of Slayer and possibly matching Eric Clapton. It was truly awesome. Where did they find this guy?
I can especially recommend the Grammy nominated track „Evil“ that they recorded together with Eric Clapton back in the day. Discoveries like „Twin Dragons“ remind me that at the end of the day I don’t know squat about music and that so much is left to discover. Thank You Nathaniel!
Unique. In appearance, style, experience and technical skill. That is TM Stevens. He is a whirlwind of positive energy and musical prowess. Shocka Zooloo is but one of many projects in a career spanning several decades that saw him play with masters like James Brown, John Blackwell of Prince or One Truth. Needless to say, the man is a legend. His band features Michael Barnes „Master Blaster“ on guitar and Garry „G-Man“ Sullivan on drums. To date Stevens, with the band Shocka Zooloo and earlier the band Out Of Control, has released seven albums, the most recent being „Africans in the Snow“ for the SPV Steamhammer label.
His early jazz years brought him to play with the man hinmself, Miles Davis, and fans speak almost religously of TM’s performance at Montreaux Jazz Festival so many years ago with One Truth, Mahavishu and John Mc Laughin.
„Heavy Metal Funk“, that’s what they played. But to reduce it to that would be underappreciative of what we witnessed that evening. Taking us on a musical roller coaster ride TM Stevens also took the time to regale us with tales of life and a trip through music history. From B.B. King to Led Zeppelin we arrived at the conclusion that
„We are here to connect with each other. We are here to create. We are here to have fun“.
It was a sincerely profound experience, both in narrative and melody and I for one am glad I got to see this.
„TM’s rich, hefty, trademark vocals came about through James Brown’s insistence that he not only play bass but sing on „Living In America“ and Mr Brown’s album „Gravity“. This was TM’s in-road to many years of sessions and productions with some of the world’s finest artists.
The songs lean more on the heavy metal funk side, combining Afro percussive blends and Reggae roots with funk and strong melodies peppered with his impressive ballads, we note:
„The important thing is that all of the songs came from my heart, guts and roots.“
Keep it real and love what you do, I felt like I learned a lot that night.