EXCLUSIVE: Kung Fu’s Hammond Wizard Beau Sasser Talks moe., Grateful Dead, & More

first_imgFresh off a West Coast tour with Kung Fu, keyboardist Beau Sasser took some time during break to sit down with Live For Live Music. During our conversation, Sasser talked about his past and his future, which includes joining moe. for their comeback show. A wizard on the Hammond, Sasser is involved with several projects, including Kung Fu, The Z3, and Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan. Read on to learn more about this funk-filled, down-and-dirty, soul-rocking keyboardist that tickles the fancy out of the ivories.American Beauty To Host Phish NYE Late-Nights With Particle, The Werks, Nth Power, Kung Fu & MoreLive For Live Music: Let’s go back to your younger days. Who are some of your earliest influences? How did your involvement with the keys begin?Beau Sasser: My earliest influence was my grandmother. She played piano. She was from Memphis, Tennessee, and she would play classical as well as some ragtime, stride piano, and lots of gospel songs. It was the first time I had heard someone play piano when I was a little kid. I was pretty impressed and wanted to learn. I had some other family members that played piano as well. My dad played guitar growing up. He only knew a handful of chords but would play a lot of Cat Stevens tunes and other artists from the 60’s plus some folk songs as well. He grew up on a farm in Tennessee and had an interesting picking style. I thought it was pretty neat and wanted to learn music.Musically, I’ve been influenced by a handful of different types of artists. Early on, as a kid studying classical music, I was influenced by Bach and Beethoven. From there, I started to study and learn about other types of music. Pop music led me to discover jazz and the heavy-hitters like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Through jazz, I discovered organ players who were playing the Hammond organ—guys like Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff. As a Hammond organ player, I was really influenced by them. Piano players in the jazz idiom include guys like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett.In high school, I discovered Frank Zappa and that kind of changed everything for me. I learned what it takes to really be a musician and hone a craft in through his band. Growing up, I played lots of different types of music, with my teachers having me read music as well as playing classical. I also played the trombone in the middle school band, and they taught us kind of how to improvise. I was figuring all of that out during middle school and high school.L4LM: You’ve been involved in a lot of different musical projects over the years. What’s the most interesting story behind any of these projects?BS: Right now, my main projects are Kung Fu and The Z3—a Frank Zappa tribute band—as well as Beau Sasser Escape Plan, which is my own band. I get to play in many of these projects with people that I met over twenty years ago and a lot of people I’ve played with consistently since then.I met Tim [Palmieri] and Adrian [Tramontano] when they were in Psychedelic Breakfast, while I played with a band called Uncle Sammy, and we had the same booking agent. We were all kids, maybe around twenty years old. When all of us in Uncle Sammy first saw Adrian and Tim play, we thought, “Crap, there’s our competition right there.” I remember standing there watching them soundcheck and thinking, “Those are pretty special cats.” I obviously loved to play with them as much as possible. Now, I feel as if it’s come full circle twenty years later because we get to play together every night.INTERVIEW: Getting To Know Kung Fu’s Powerhouse Drummer Adrian TramontanoL4LM: When you were invited to join Kung Fu back in 2015, there was a little bit of controversy surrounding the “changing of the keyboardist guard,” if you will. Were you concerned with how fans may react to you joining the band at that time?BS: No, I would have to say that I really wasn’t concerned—partly because I felt like I was on the outside looking into a situation that I didn’t know too much about. My only concern was to learn all the material in the two weeks that I had to learn it. I didn’t really think about anything else other than getting the music ready and being able to perform it.L4LM: On a lighter note, Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan did a video in honor of the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary for a project known as Songs of the Dead. The group performed “New Speedway Boogie” .Did you get to check out any of the Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago, and what has the The Grateful Dead meant in your life, musically?BS: First off, I will say that I did not get to go to any of the shows. I would have liked to because we were there. Kung Fu was playing in Chicago performing as part of the after shows. I did not get to see The Grateful Dead when they came through. I’ve actually never seen The Grateful Dead, though I would have enjoyed it, for sure.To be perfectly honest, I really just discovered them in the last four or five years. Growing up, I always liked their music and had plenty of friends that listened to them, but I never really latched on. I never really “got it.” Then a couple of years ago, I ended up on a show playing in the John Kadlecik Band. They needed a keyboard player, and John had sent me a list of Jerry Garcia Band songs that contained the Hammond organ. That was really the first time that I had to learn those songs and get familiar with them, even though I had heard them for years.I really enjoyed it, and it changed my outlook on what that music was and how interesting it can really be. I did a few shows with John, and some of those songs I still play on my own gigs today. Any chance I can get to see Melvin Seals play, I always stand there and watch and learn.[Video: JamBase]L4LM: Kung Fu will be opening up for moe. in February for their return show coming off hiatus. What are your thoughts on that, since it’s pretty huge since their fans are really looking forward to seeing Rob Derhak get back on stage?Beau Sasser: Yeah, we are looking forward to it, too. Those guys in moe. have always been so incredibly supportive and kind—not only to Kung Fu but also Uncle Sammy and other bands that I’ve been in. We played moe.down this past summer. Out of the many festivals we played, moe.down was definitely one of the most memorable, if not the most. Our show there was awesome. It truly was magical. We played in a tent on one of the second stages, and there was this huge kind of fieldhouse-type of vibe in the there with a lot of people. Everyone goes crazy at those moe.down festivals too, so it was a rowdy crowd and was packed to the gills.moe.’s Rob Derhak Is Officially Cancer Freemoe. asked us to sit in later that night for their set. We sat in—myself, Tim and Rob [Somerville]—on “San Ber’dino,” which is a Frank Zappa tune that we all love very much. It made it even more special to play at that event and hang out with those guys. Vinnie [Amico] has played with Z3. Like I said, they’re so supportive, just awesome to hang out with, and incredible musicians, too.We were very sad to see that happen to Rob, but at the same time, we are so excited that we get to do this at The Capitol Theatre for moe.’s comeback. It’s going to be a very special night. We look forward to seeing those guys and spending time with them. Of course, we have a lot of similar fans. Our fan base has a lot of moe. fans that also like Kung Fu. If you like guitar rock, you’re going to like moe. and you’re going to like Kung Fu. It always makes for a good time. I hope we get to join in during the moe. set. That would be a lot of fun.L4LM: Do you have anything on deck for the new year with Kung Fu? What is in the works for your projects?Beau Sasser: Kung Fu just got off of tour. I’ve been home for about a week. We did a run in Colorado, New Mexico, and the West Coast with The New Mastersounds. That was a great tour. It was a lot of fun. Those guys are incredible musicians and great friends, really. We worked really hard.We’ve been off for about a week and will have another week off or so and then in December, we will gear back up again. We will be in Greenfield, Massachusetts, which will be my hometown show, on December 2nd at The Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, and then, we play Boston a few weekends after.That’s followed by our annual Toys for Tots show on December 16th at Toads Place in New Haven, Connecticut. As always, we collect toys for the underprivileged children around Christmas time. People bring toys that are collected in boxes and we then bring them to hospitals the next day. As always, it’s a really neat experience that we enjoy. It’s a big deal for us.For the Toys for Tots show, it’s going to be with Pink Talking Fish, and we are going to do the Prince and Bowie set—Pink Talking Fu Plays David Bowie And Prince—that we did at the Wanee and Catskill Chill festivals this year. It’s a really awesome set that we’ve honed. We are uniquely trained and highly qualified to play it at this point. We’ve had some experience, especially at the Wanee Festival, which was really awesome. It was the closing performance of that fest. I’ve heard that there were ten-thousand people in attendance. It was definitely one of the biggest crowds I’ve played in front of and it was amazing. One of the highlights for Kung Fu for this year, for sure.L4LM: Is there anyone that you would love to perform with but have not yet had the chance?BS: I have had the pleasure of performing with a lot of artists that I never thought that I would. I grew up being heavily influenced by Medeski, Martin and Wood. I didn’t mention John [Medeski] earlier when I talked about influences, but he was one of the organ players that definitely changed everything for me. I was a 15-year-old kid when I first saw him play.I’ve met those guys a couple of times and hung out with them as well, but I’ve never actually jammed or been on stage with any of them—I think that would be a lot of fun. Maybe it will happen, but I don’t know. Even today, I still listen to them all the time. Between them and Soulive, those are two of my biggest influences as far as Hammond organ music goes and bands I got to see when I was in high school and in my twenties. It’s pretty amazing to me because I’ve played in Alan Evans Trio and Playonbrother.Alan [Evans] and I have done a lot of work together. It’s been very special to me to hang around Al and to learn from him, as well as to hang around Soulive and watch them soundcheck and get to know Neal [Evans]. When I was twenty years old, Neal was one of my biggest influences, and still is. As far as playing the organ and left-handed bass lines, which I do quite a bit of, all that music is pretty heavily influenced by Neal. To circle back around to your question, Medeski, Martin and Wood was in that same era of my life for listening to music. It would be pretty fun to jam with those guys.L4LM: To wrap this up, is there anything you would like to say to your fans?BS: Stay cool. Stay in school. Listen to Kung Fu.To learn more about Beau Sasser’s many projects, including tour dates, please head over to the websites for Kung Fu, The Z3, and Beau Sasser’s Escape Plan. Also, make sure to catch Kung Fu in New York City for New Year’s Eve, when they’ll be playing a very special post-Phish afterparty at American Beauty on 12/31 (technically, early morning 1/1) from 1 am to past 4 am! You can grab tickets for Kung Fu’s New Year’s Eve throwdown here! [Words: Sarah Bourque; Cover Photo: Sonsini Media]last_img read more

Valve invite proposals for the Dota 2 Fall 2018 majors

first_imgGame developer Valve has opened the application process for hosting a Dota 2 event post The International 8. Event organisers interested in hosting a major or minor on the Dota 2 Pro Circuit in Fall 2018 have until February 16th, 2018 to send proposals to Valve. The Aegis of Champions, the ultimate aim for any Dota 2 player. Credit: ValveThe post that reveals there will be three majors in the Fall Season, which will have Grand Finals falling on the following weekends:October 20-21;November 17-18;December 15-16.Proposals are asked to include as much information as possible, including location, venue and format amongst other aspects. A difference is that all majors are now required to be 16-team tournaments, whereas the qualification process must still be accepting of each region.In addition, proposals for minors are requested but the decision will first be made on majors before considering minors.This season saw a dramatic change in the format of the Dota 2 Pro Circuit, with the introduction of Pro Circuit Points and a move away from Valve-run majors. There was originally 11 majors and minors but instead it has shifted to around 9 majors and 16 minors. It’s a marked increase and as a result there has been no shortage of Dota 2 action for fans to watch this year.There remains very few organisations with the resources necessary to host a major, but with three tournaments in three months in the Fall Season it’s safe to say that we’re in for another hectic season. Additionally, this provides more time for tournament organisers to plan a tournament although it’s still a fairly short lead time.One would assume decisions will start to be made by the end of February, but many organisers would ideally want even more time to best prepare an event – especially to accommodate 16 teams. Esports Insider says: This is definitely communication from Valve that is very far in advance compared to what the public normally hear and/or see. It makes sense not to wait until The International finishes to get our first tournament announcements though – and makes even more sense for the first major to run in October when new rosters are settled.last_img read more

‘Ugandan’ boxer Simbwa resurfaces, eyes place in Australian team

first_imgRegarn Simbwa being interviewed by media in Australia. PHOTO RS FACEBOOKSince Simbwa and Nasir walked by chance into Abbot’s camp six months ago, the trainer has not lost sight of them, especially of the 6.6ft light-heavyweight who reached the quarter-finals at the Commonwealth Games.Simbwa’s latest target is to represent Australia — while trying to keep his place in the country.Since moving to Wagga Wagga, Simbwa has been impressed in the ring already, and has won his six fight, including against the New South Wales Champion.” Without his Australian citizenship, we can’t represent the state and we can’t represent the country,” Abbott told ABC Riverina .“Obviously they miss people from home but they still keep moving along, going to work every day, coming out here and training hard every day.” Share on: WhatsApp Regarn Simbwa (middle) with fans and his coach Tony Abbott (right). PHOTO RS FACEBOOKSydney, Australia | THE INDEPENDENT | Boxers Regarn Simbwa and Nasir Bashir who absconded from the Ugandan camp and stayed behind during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, have resurfaced and are seeking to become Australian citizens.The boxers are living in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia under a bridging visa while awaiting transfer to a protection visa, which if approved could see them fight for Australia – maybe even at the next Olympics in Tokyo Japan.Six Ugandans absconded during Gold Coast 2018. They were cyclist Vienna Ssekanga, weightlifters Irene Kasubo and Kalidi Batuusa, boxers Simbwa and Bashir and  table tennis player Halima Nambozo.In an interview with ABC Riverina, 22-year-old Simbwa claimed returning home would have put his life in danger, but did not give details.“Those of us who stayed back had different issues back home whether that be politically or otherwise,” Simbwa said.Coach Tony Abbott has taken Ssimbwa under his wings, and the boxer says he is happy with his new home,“Wagga (Wagga) is a great place. It’s given me the opportunity to meet my welcoming coach, Tony, and my teammates. When I’m in the gym I do my best — like it’s my last time in my last fight,” Simbwa said in the interview with ABC Riverina.last_img read more

Attorney Vows To Fight Hampton Inn Approval

first_imgGasiorowski had also argued against the project’s traffic plan this go-around, opposing the developer’s proposal to allow traffic traveling north on Route 35 to make a left-hand turn, crossing two lanes of oncoming, southbound traffic at the busy intersection onto the property. Some board members expressed serious reservations about that idea, intimating they would vote against the project based on that provision. That led Cohen to withdraw the condition.An objector seeking to reverse a local land use board’s decision has to show a judge the board acted in an arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious manner, under the state land use law, a traditionally high burden for the plaintiff to meet.Martin A. McGann Jr., the lawyer representing RBank Capital, responded by noting, “My client will vigorously defend against any appeal.” McGann also took Gasiorowski and his clients to task, insisting they are “costing the borough of Red Bank money in legal challenges and lost ratables by an out-of-town competitor.”Michael Leckstein, the planning board attorney, declined to comment given he hasn’t even completed the approval resolution and the appeal has yet to be submitted. By John BurtonRED BANK — The objectors against the planned hotel for the Route 35 entrance to the borough want their day in court.As anticipated, Ron Gasiorowski, the Red Bank attorney representing the objectors, confirmed this week he plans to file an appeal of the borough Planning Board’s Feb. 6 decision approving the application to construct a 6-story, 76-room Hampton Inn and Suites at the Route 35 South/Bridge Avenue/Rector Place/Riverside Avenue intersection at the northern entrance to the borough. The site, which overlooks the Navesink and Swimming rivers, had been an Exxon gas station, but has been vacant for approximately 20 years and has deteriorated, becoming overgrown with weeds and still in need of contamination remediation.The appeal, Gasiorowski said, will be filed with state Superior Court in Freehold once the planning board memorializes its resolution of approval.Gasiorowski said the objections concern the size and scope of the project given the limitation of the property and the impact to area traffic, especially since the proposed hotel will be next to a residential area on Rector Place. “It truly is the proverbial 10 pounds of sand in a five-pound bag,” Gasiorowski said.Another sticking point, Gasiorowski noted, is the developer intends to construct a boardwalk area along the riverfront but may look to limit public access. Limiting it, Gasiorowski alleged, is counter to the standing borough-required easement, allowing public access to the river. “It’s violative of the public trust act; it’s violative of the terms of that easement,” he charged. “It defeats the whole purpose of what the easement is for.”RBank Capital and its principal, Larry Cohen, have been down this road before, during past efforts to construct a Hampton Inn franchise on this site. Gasiorowski has been representing Carey and Doran Tajfel, brothers, with Tinton Falls Lodging Realty, who own and operate the Doubletree by Hilton hotel franchise on Hope Road in Tinton Falls, and have objected to the project, presumably seeing this hotel, which will cater to business travelers, as a direct competitor. The Tajfels had tied up the project in court a few years ago, with Gasiorowski arguing many of the same points in two separate suits against the project. That eventually resulted in RBank Capital withdrawing the application.last_img read more

Knights stone Leafs 3-0 Sunday in Armstrong

first_imgTwo by Sorrey powers Leafs past StormThree second-period goals, two by James Sorrey, allowed the Leafs to double Storm 4-2 Saturday in Kamloops.Dustin Reimer and Bryce Nielsen, in the third, also score for the visitors.Marcus Beesley stopped 23 shots to register the win in goal.Horswill cools the heat with OT winnerLinden Horswill scored with 15 seconds remaining in the second overtime to power the Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Chase Heat Friday.Colton Schell and Seth Schmidt, on the power play, also scored for the Leafs.Nelson out shot the Heat 50-34, including 16-6 in the third period.Calvin on fire as Hawks pound BruinsDallas Calvin registered a seven-point game — three goals and four assists — to lead the Nitehawks to a 15-0 shellacking of the Grand Forks Border Bruins Sunday in Fruitvale.The point explosion moves Calvin into first place in KIJHL scoring ahead of Leaf winger Colton Schell.What’s incredible about Calvin’s performance is he’s only played 31 games to Schell’s 41 and is currently riding a 12-game point streak. Offence was always going to be a concern for the Nelson Leafs after rookie sensation Colton McCarthy left to join Moose Jaw of the Western Hockey League in early December.For some reason McCarthy brought out the best in his teammates, and really helped power the offence.It was the offence that struggled Sunday afternoon in Armstrong as the North Okanagan Knight knocked off the Leafs 3-0 in Kootenay International Junior Hockey League action at the Nor-Val Centre.The loss ended the Leafs five-game road streak on a sour note and leaves Nelson in a tie for top spot in the Murdoch Division with the Castlegar Rebels.Nelson finished the road swing 3-2.Meanwhile Castlegar won its fifth straight Saturday 3-0 against Creston Valley Thunder Cats. The win allowed the Rebels to sweep the two-game, home-and-home series.Steve Pantazopoulos score the only goal necessary for the Knights during the first period to give the home side a 1-0 lead through two periods.In the third Mac Ferner and affiliate player Curtis Sexsmith beat Brett Soles in the Nelson nets to secure the win.Austin Buzzell stopped 25 shots to rack up the shutout.North Okanagan now leads the by three points over Sicamous Eagles.last_img read more

Selkirk Saints continue with record-setting season, score weekend wins over SFU and TRU

first_imgThe Selkirk College Saints continue to make this season as one for the history books.The Saints defeated rival Simon Fraser University Clan 2-1 in shootout to set new B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League records for wins (20) and points (40) Saturday at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby.Thomas Hardy scored the deciding marker in shootout, beating Clan netminder Graeme Gordon through the legs to seal a Saints victory.Justin Sotkowy scored for Selkirk to give the visitors a 1-0 lead before Trevor Milner drew the Clan even with seven minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime. Five minutes of four-on-four play solved nothing, meaning that Selkirk moved on to their first shootout of the season. Sotkowy put the Saints ahead in the second round, only to see Jono Ceci reply on SFU’s third shot.Stephen Wolff was outstanding in goal for Selkirk, stopping 37 of 38 shots fired his way and turning aside shootout attempts from Milner and Colton Graf.Selkirk opened the two-game road weekend in Kamloops by topping Thompson Rivers University 6-4. Missing a handful of top players, including league-leading scorers Jordan Wood and Logan Proulx, the Saints jumped out to a 4-1 lead but had to win the game late after TRU had come back to draw even with six minutes remaining. Scott Swiston opened the scoring when he capitalized on a turnover low in the WolfPack slot and roofed a backhand shot over Shane Mainprize.TRU responded off the stick of Scott Bollefer but Connor McLaughlin restored the Selkirk lead minutes later when he redirected a Dylan Smith point shot. The Saints scored twice in the early going of the second period on a pair of goals from Beau Taylor to go up 4-1, but a couple of defensive lapses proved costly as TRU scored shorthanded twice in 33 seconds to draw back within one. Selkirk held the lead through most of the third period until Tyler Jackson redirected a Jarrett Martin pass for the equalizer.But, as they have many times this season, the Saints dug deep and scored the winner with 3:50 remaining in regulation as Jackson Garrett deflected home a Lucas Hildebrand point shot.Taylor then completed the hat trick with six seconds remaining to cap the scoring. “We knew that it was going to take a full team effort to pick up the win tonight with some key guys missing, and that’s what we got,” said Saints head coach Jeff Dubois.”Beau came through with a big game and our D did a great job of getting pucks to the net for three tip-in goals.” Alex Sirard picked up his 12th win of the season, stopping 29 shots.Selkirk will wrap the regular season with a home-and-home series against Eastern Washington on March 1st and 2nd and open the playoffs at home on March 8th against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.last_img read more