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HoZac Blackout 2013 Recap: Looking for the Magic


Games (Brooklyn, NY), HoZac Blackout 2013 | Empty Bottle, Chicago

HoZac Records, the untamed Windy City label, dipped under the radar yet again to pull together both new and legendary acts for this year’s four-day blowout at the Empty Bottle in Chicago (the one exception was perhaps power popmeister Dwight Twilley, whose songs “I’m on Fire” and “Girls” cracked the Top 20 in 1975 and 1984). I managed to catch 18 of the 19 bands (sorry, Population!) and was delighted by the following (in chronological order):

  • Winter Bear (Milwaukee, WI): Refreshing jangly pop featuring Erin Dorbin (formerly of the Cave Weddings). Limited-edition cassettes are currently available on Etsy; debut HoZac 7″ is out in June.
  • Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA): Primitive punk à la early Misfits (or the Spits)
  • Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA): No doubt riled up about the alleged Christian group that was keen to shut down their performance (see the Huffington Post report), this Killed By Death outfit cranked out classics like “The Creeper,” “3 Chord Rock,” and “Summertime.” At one point, singer/guitarist Richie was so caught up shredding his sunburst Les Paul Gibson that he took a nasty backwards tumble off the stage. We feared the worst, but he bounded back on stage after a few minutes to continue playing, but not before he threw his guitar in my direction. Its headstock struck my lens, which in turn smashed part of my camera into my face (my brow bone still hurts and is swollen more than a week later!), but that was nothing compared to the blood oozing down Richie’s face. They polished off their set with the Plasmatics’ “Butcher Baby.”
  • Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron on drums: Sinister electropunk
  • The Sueves (Chicago, IL): The only garage punk band to play the fest!
  • Games (Brooklyn, NY): Catchy power pop featuring Jeremy Thompson (ex-Busy Signals, Carbonas)
  • Pezband (Oak Park, IL): Technically proficient power popthey were fun even though they didn’t do “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
  • Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK): Master showman in a white suit; “Looking for the Magic” (originally performed with Tom Petty and the late Phil Seymour) was the encore

Incidentally, I somehow had energy for a Saturday afternoon show (Jook, Fake Surfers, Mac Blackout Band) at the Mutiny, and then another (The Beets, Wrong Words, Pink Films) at the Night Light in Oakland after I returned to the Bay Area, which brought my final band total to 22 that week. I’ll admit that capturing that many bands while getting smacked in the face by a guitar and being drenched in PBR and assorted bodily fluids requires a special blend of endurance and masochism, but there was a lot of magic to be had. Here are some of my favorite songs I heard during the course of those seven days (press the “play” arrow below if you’d like to start the soundtrack for this photo essay), followed by a smattering of snaps from the Blackout. Thanks, HoZac!

hozac blackout 2013

The 2013 line-up (May 1619)

the sleaze

The Sleaze (Minneapolis, MN)

negative scanner

Negative Scanner (Chicago, IL)

mike rep & tommy jay

Tommy Jay & Mike Rep (Columbus, OH)

mike rep-tommy jay-todd

Mike Rep, Tommy Jay & HoZac’s Todd Novak

dustin mertz and tommyjay

Tommy Jay, proud owner of Dustin Mertz’s Iggy Pop piece

winter bear

Winter Bear (Milwaukee, WI)

winter bear portrait

Erin Dorbin of Winter Bear with limited-edition cassettes

buck biloxi & the fucks

Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA)

buck biloxi & the fucks portrait

Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA)


Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)


Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)

make-overs portrait

Make-Overs (Pretoria, South Africa)

eat skull

Eat Skull (Portland, OR)


Tyvek (Detroit, MI)

tyvek portrait

Tyvek (Detroit, MI)

unnatural axe1

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA), pre-tumble

unnatural axe2

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA), post-tumble

unnatural axe3

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA)

unnatural axe portrait

Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA)


Verma (Chicago, IL)


Verma (Chicago, IL)

verma portrait

Verma (Chicago, IL)

fnu ronnies

FNU Ronnies

cop city/chill pillars

Cop City/Chill Pillars (Orlando, FL)

cop city/chill pillars portrait

Cop City/Chill Pillars (Orlando, FL)

wizzard sleeve1

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron

wizzard sleeve2

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL)

wizzard sleeve portrait

Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron


Chrome (San Francisco)

helios creed meets wizzard sleeve

Wizzard Sleeve meets Chrome’s Helios Creed

the sueves

The Sueves (Chicago, IL)

the sueves portrait

The Sueves (Chicago, IL)


Games (Brooklyn, NY)


Games (Brooklyn, NY)

games portrait

Games (Brooklyn, NY)


Pezband (Oak Park, IL)


Pezband (Oak Park, IL)

pezband portrait

Pezband (Oak Park, IL)

dwight twilley1

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley2

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley3

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley4

Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK)

dwight twilley with fans

Dwight Twilley fans passing the dust


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Gettin’ Cozy with COZY


COZY and a few adoring fans

With their debut single “Cola Shock Kids” (HoZac Records) climbing the charts since its release last May, there’s no doubt COZY is the hottest act in popular music today. Starry-eyed fans have been swooning over this swinging sensation, storming their arena shows in a bubblegum-snapping frenzy. Sure, you’ve heard all about them and their skyrocket to success, but just how well do you know them? These 21 probing questions will give you the inside scoop on this captivating quartet from across the pond.


Left to right: Fabian, Bonkers, Gordie & Baz

21 Questions with COZY

1. When’s your birthday?

Bonkers: 17th August. Besides me, the most famous man born on that day would probably be Richard, Duke of York. I must admit I rather feel a kinship with him, although thankfully I lack his dreadful hunchback!
Baz: Me? I was born on St. Swithin’s Day.
Gordie: 27th September.  The same day as my mate Shaun Cassidy.
Fabian: I was born under the sign of the Ram on 20th April.

2. Where did you go to school?

Bonkers: Cardiff Sixth Form College.
Baz: At the West Sheavesbury Ecumenical Technical Academy.
Gordie: South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy.
Fabian: Bishop Burton Agricultural College.

3. What did you dream about becoming when you were a little boy?

Bonkers: An astronaut. From the time I was small I always dreamed of living amongst the stars.
Baz: I reckon my first passion was to be a juice lorry deliverer, the thought of all that fresh juice and lollies was quite appealing. As I got older I realized that the profession involved driving a juice lorry, and I don’t much like driving, now do I?
Gordie: As a lad I fancied myself scooting about town on a fancy motorbike, delivering parcels and the like. Failing that, an elevator driver.
Fabian: A man.

4. What made you decide to go into music?

Bonkers: I fancied a career where I could express my feelings, put smiles on faces, and see the world.
Baz: A coin toss.
Gordie: Something to talk about whilst chatting up scrummy talent, I suppose.
Fabian: From a young age my favourite pastime has always been banging things. Playing the drums seemed a natural vocational choice.


5. Are you single?

Bonkers: Believe it or not, at the moment yes! I’m always keeping my eyes peeled for that special someone, though.
Baz: Presently I am.
Gordie: Yes.
Fabian: Despite vicious rumours in the tabloids linking me to Maureen McCormick, I must assure you that I am currently “on the market,” as they say in the States. Maureen and I are just close personal friends!

6. What do you look for in a girl?

Bonkers: A cute smile, a sense of humour, and open-minded parents.
Baz: A nice girl should have clean hands and nicely trimmed cuticles. I find this to be the paramount of grace and poise in a young lady.
Gordie: Availability.
Fabian: A full set of teeth.

7. Is there anything a girl should NOT do on a date with you?

Bonkers: Wear her school uniform in public.
Baz: Fang a U-Banger.
Gordie: Get cheeky.
Fabian: No. Girls should feel free to be themselves around me.

8. What is your favorite color?

Bonkers: Green.
Baz: Having a good time!
Gordie: Blue.
Fabian: Red.

9. What are your hobbies?

Bonkers: Fencing, flying my aeroplane, eating out, and reading fan mail.
Baz: I’ve a passion for sculptures of exotic foods. Just recently I acquired a marble relief of some guavas from a trader in Brixton; it’s quite delightful really.
Gordie: Playing my grand piano alone on my estate.
Fabian: Motoring down the Autobahn in my Lotus Elan 2 + 2, collecting medieval weaponry, and mastering the vexing intricacies of Pong.

10. What is your favorite food?

Bonkers: Lamb curry, steak and chips, just-ripened peaches.
Baz: A nice purée of banana, fresh duck meat (roasted, not broiled), and fine Polish vodka.
Gordie: Chips ‘n’ brown sauce.
Fabian: A three-way tie between black pudding, parson’s nose, and spotted dick. For dessert, a spool of candyfloss, please!

11. What is your favorite drink?

Bonkers: Cola Shock.
Baz: A nice purée of banana, fresh duck meat (roasted, not broiled), and fine Polish vodka.
Gordie: Fizzy drinks, preferably cherry flavored.
Fabian: Patriarch Père et Fils, 1966.

12. Who are your favorite recording artists?

Bonkers: ABBA, Neil Diamond, and Kiki Dee.
Baz: Chuck Berry and Tiny Tim.
Gordie: Wings, ELO, Johnny Kidd.
Fabian: The Wombles, Billy Joel, and Focus.

13. What is your favorite country to visit on tour?

Bonkers: Japan. I enjoy the food, culture, and nightlife. Most of all I love the fans!
Baz: Austria is quite nice, what with the barrier reef and all those quaint convicts and such.
Gordie: England!
Fabian: I find Jamaica and the Netherlands to be two of the more civilized and tolerant countries on Earth.

14. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Bonkers: Once in the middle of a gig, a half-naked bird ran up on stage and planted a right sloppy one on me. She just so happened to be the daughter of the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, which made for an awkward moment indeed when he presented me with The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire the next day.
Baz: Have you ever dreamed of being in class at school with no clothes on?  Well, it happened to me FOR REAL!  The worst part is that the instructors let me carry on for six weeks before informing me that I should arrive for class clothed.  I still harbour a natural distaste for the institution of trousers.
Gordie: Caught the leg of my 517s on a nail once…tore ’em clean off.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but on stage at Wembley, in front of 10,000 screaming fans?  Played the whole gig half starkers!  But the show must go on, as they say in the biz.
Fabian: When I was a wee lad of four, my mother, father, and I were at a public pool. We were just leaving and my father was grabbing our swimming costumes. My mum suggested–as a joke–that I go in the changing room and smack his naked bum. Being a good filial son, I dashed inside and gave the hardest slap I could manage to his prone behind. I began laughing in a peal of delight until he turned around and I realized the man I slapped wasn’t my father! I was quite embarrassed!


15. If you had a chance to switch places with someone else in the group, who would it be?

Bonkers: I’m rather content being myself.
Baz: Bonkers.
Gordie: Bonkers.
Fabian: Bonkers.

16. What are your turn-ons?

Bonkers: Honesty, intellectual curiosity, and a positive attitude.
Baz: Ducks in flight, dogs in a fight, night lights, and sculptures of exotic foods.
Gordie: 517s.
Fabian: Blondes, brunettes, and redheads.

17. What are your turn-offs?

Bonkers: Nagging girls and people who let success get to their heads.
Baz: Wrinkled clothing and gout.
Gordie: 501s.
Fabian: Snobs, vacuum cleaners, and untidiness.

18. What is one fact that nobody knows about you?

Bonkers: I quite fancy watching The Wide World of Sports. I love to see people alive and doing things!
Baz: Where’s Rita?
Gordie: I pinched a packet of biscuits once!
Fabian: My shoe size.

19. How do you suggest parents cope with kids who are suffering from COZY MANIA?

Bonkers: Keep them well supplied with COZY records and merchandise lest they up and run away from home.
Baz: I find a milkshake followed by a trip to the sauna and a mild birch wand whipping a more refined method of relaxation than most. I also propose more COZY-themed boarding schools.
Gordie: Instead of idling in the car park during the next local COZY concert, perhaps they purchase a ticket and seeing what all the fuss is about?
Fabian: Don’t fight it. What’s wrong with a little COZY mania now and again?

20. What are your ambitions for the future?

Bonkers: After my time in music winds down, I’d love to transition to a career on the silver screen. To tell the truth, I’ve already had numerous offers to act in major motion pictures alongside Hollywood’s brightest stars. Alas, my busy touring schedule doesn’t permit me to take time off for non-COZY-related films. My dream is to star in a rock opera remake of Spartacus titled I Am Bonkicus. Pete Townshend has already contacted me about writing the score, but I would like to try my hand at it first. A knighting from the Queen would also be nice. “Sir Bonkers” does have a smashing ring to it, doesn’t it?
Baz: To Fang a U-Banger.
Gordie: A second world tour, composing more original material, and purchasing a Rolls-Royce–you never know when one could come in handy.
Fabian: To go to heaven.

21. Do you have a message for your fans?

Bonkers: Thank you for making it possible for us to do what we do. Remember that with a dream in your heart anything is possible. I’m living proof!
Baz: Have a good time!
Gordie: Thank you and good night.
Fabian: No comment.


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The Many Faces of HoZac Records: Blackout 2012 edition

gentleman jesse and his men

Gentleman Jesse & His Men (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 500

The mere thought of sifting through the thousand-plus underexposed / overexposed / blurry / out-of-focus shots I snapped at the HoZac Blackout two weekends ago was so overwhelming that I decided to ease myself into the abyss with the band portraits I took that weekend. Unfortunately, due to varying degrees of senility, tardiness, hunger, and/or exhaustion, I failed to capture all the bands that played. (Steven/Redd Kross, if you’re reading this, sorry I had to bail! Will you take a raincheck?)

In any case, here are the portraits I managed to wrangle over the course of those four days, starting with the opening-night art show and concluding with the legendary Roky Erickson (a wholly unexpected development, I might add). Incidentally, I displayed a bunch of prints at the art show but forgot to take a self-portrait that night. I also forgot about taking portraits by the time Cemetery and Mentally Ill played. I suppose if this mental lapse had to happen anywhere, what better place than at the Blackout.

In the next few weeks I’ll be posting photos of the actual performances as well as a revealing interview with the latest teen-pop sensation out of Minneapolis, Cozy. Stay tuned!

marieke mcclendon

Marieke McClendon, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f4, ISO 200

luke chappelle

Luke Chappelle, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

darius hurley

Darius Hurley, artist/Criminal IQ Records mastermind | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

colin smith

Colin Smith, photographer | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/320 sec, f8, ISO 200

christopher ilth

Christopher Ilth, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/40 sec, f4, ISO 1250

joey potts

Joey Potts, artist | Canon 5D, 40mm, 1/40 sec, f4, ISO 1250

tiger lily photo exhibit

Tiger Lily photo exhibit | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 1250

tiger lily photo exhibit

Tiger Lily photo exhibit | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 1250

hozac trifecta

HoZac trifecta (Canderson, Todd, Brett) | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/50 sec, f4, ISO 400


Cozy (Minneapolis, MN) | Canon 5D, 17mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 640


The Plateaus (San Diego, CA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 640


Video (Denton, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 500

spider fever

Spider Fever (San Diego, CA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/5 sec, f8, ISO 400

davila 666

Davila 666 (Puerto Rico) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 640

white mystery

White Mystery (Chicago, IL) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f6.3, ISO 400


The Barreracudas (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 800


The Ketamines (Alberta, Canada) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/6 sec, f8, ISO 500

pleasure leftists

Pleasure Leftists (Cleveland, OH) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f6.3, ISO 800


Teledrome (Calgary, Canada) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/8 sec, f8, ISO 500

fungi girls

Fungi Girls (Cleburne, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/6 sec, f6.3, ISO 500

gentleman jesse and his men

Gentleman Jesse & His Men (Atlanta, GA) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/13 sec, f8, ISO 500


Medication (New Milford, CT)  | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f6.3, ISO 640

bare mutants

Bare Mutants (Chicago, IL) | Canon 5D, 15mm, .3 sec, f8, ISO 800

estrogen highs

Estrogen Highs (New Haven, CT) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 800

human eye

Human Eye (Detroit, MI) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500

roky erickson's band 2012

Roky Erickson’s band (Austin, TX) | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500

roky erickson meets human eye

Roky Erickson meets Human Eye | Canon 5D, 15mm, 1/4 sec, f8, ISO 500


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