The Local Music Project in Erie County, Penna.

I’m honored to be included and featured prominently in the Blasco Library’s Local Music History Window Display located in my hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s deeply meaningful to be recognized for my music and documented by such a highly prestigious and fundamental institution as our library system.

Photo by Erin McCandless at the Blasco Library in Erie, Penna. Featured photo also by Erin McCandless.

Here’s a little about the project from Blasco Library clerk, Jessica Makowski:

“Blasco’s Local Music Display is located near our Heritage Room, and it celebrates the library’s Local Music Project as well as Erie’s Local Music history. The display will be viewable during October, November, and December of 2021.

[…] Along with the window display, we are also working on creating what we at the library call a vertical file, for the local music topic. Traditionally, a vertical file is a physical file in a metal file cabinet located in the Heritage room at Blasco that contains newspaper clippings of anything to do with the related topic, usually coming from (but not limited to) the local newspaper. This is something the general public can study(and/or make photo copies of its contents) in the Heritage room. […] In addition to using the interview form about your experiences with local music here in Erie for our window display, we are going to save them, probably to a flash drive, and include them as part of the local music vertical file.”

Here is the full text of my interview for the Local Music Project verticle file at the Erie County Blasco Library.

What part do you play in Erie’s local music history (past or present?//musician? Promoter? Venue owner?..etc)?

I would say I started out in the scene as a fan and, with the encouragement of my friends in local bands, I became a singer-songwriter myself. John Yochim of Erie band Pegasus Unicorn (among others) taught me guitar fundamentals. Bob Jensen of Basement Transmissions helped me write and produce my first original song and even accompanied me during my first performance of aforementioned song at the Edinboro Celebration of Excellence in 2009. Matt Boland of The Dirty Pickles always insisted I attend his open mics and perform my music live. My life would look very different without the love and support I received from the people making music in the Erie scene. And I love them whole-heartedly. 
 
What does music mean to you?

Music is the only thing that’s been there for me when I feel most alone in life. 
 
Please share one or two (or more) of your favorite musical memories from Erie, Pa:

I just played PACA [LiVE!] this summer, Sunday July 25, 2021. It was my first show with an in-person audience since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. I was super excited to find a bunch of my friends had driven to Erie from Pittsburgh to see my show in real life! 

Also especially exciting was sharing my PACA [LiVE!] set with my boyfriend, Dang Anohen from the New York City rock band, Sallies. We both live in Brooklyn and booked the show as part of our trip to Pennsylvania visiting my family. I love that I’m able to continue creating memorable live events in my hometown! 
 
Is there anyone we should know about (past or present) that has had an impact on Erie due to their part in Erie’s local music history?
 
Dave Schroeder (Digg !t Dave) is one of my best friends in the whole world and has been a pivotal member of the PACA Theater on State Street since 2013. He’s also a drummer and has played in a handful of local bands including Matty B And The Dirty Pickles. Currently, he books and produces PACA [LiVE!] – the theater’s response to the COVID pandemic, which is about to hit 50 consecutive livestream concerts without missing a single Sunday (although, when I verified this information with him, Dave informed me that two of those broadcasts were reruns!). 

Do you have a favorite Erie venue ( past or present)?
 
My favorite venue as of 2021 would have to be the PACA Theater on State Street. I remember when it was still just a dream in Mark Tanenbaum’s head and he was showing me blueprints of the 1505 building while we were chatting in Perry Square. It’s been truly amazing to watch a cultural center grow and expand from it’s prenatal stages. I’m eternally grateful for my strong friendships in the Erie music community. 

My favorite venue from the past is The Beer Mug on Liberty Ave., which has since been torn down. That joint had zero pretension and was 100% dive bar. Bands could find the booking calendar and just write their name on the date they wanted. When I’m told to imagine my “happy place,” I legit always thought of standing in the back of The Beer Mug. RIP. 
 
What is your favorite genre and what do you love about it? 
 
Grunge – it’s raw and real and about as close as I can get to the style of music I think I’m creating. I’m not really sure what kind of music I make. I’m not going for anything specific. I’m just doing what feels right. 
 
Do you have anything else you’d like to share regarding your thoughts, feelings, memories, etc about Erie’s local music history?

Back in the day, when I was in high school in the late 90s and early 2000s, kids under 21 were able to attend shows in bars between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. I remember seeing shows at State Street Tavern and Sherlocks when I was 13 years old. I think it’s a great creative and real-world social outlet for kids that I never see these days. I’m not even sure if it’s legal anymore! 

Dreams of Joy

Jonathan Davis photographed by Sébastien Paquet

THIS. This is the joy of which I dream. This is the face of my dreams for reality. This, what I imagine to be, pure elation of crowd energy and connection through music – ultimate connection with hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands…

Distant connection through the void and toward the ultimate connection, to the love-eternal that is music.

I remember seeing KoЯn in the amphitheater just this summer, 2019. Of all the times I’ve seen my favorite band, this one, I remember the happy moments. I remember Jonathan laughing, talking to us, the tens of thousands of us piled up to the fence in the back, and saying something like, “You made my fuckin’ dreams come true, y’all!” Or some other such in his easy So-Cal cadence.

That, I remember most, the few moments he took to talk to us, to thank us, to inspire hope in us. To remember the exact words would be to quote a moment that cannot be quantified into words (says the author).

Remembering much more than inexorable extacy or the intoxicating lights silhouetting the movements of rockstars and decorating the inside of my retinas.

Seeing Jonathan walk onstage with his bagpipes, greeted by a stage of mirrors, looking into them, then looking out towards us.

Looking into the mirrors, then out at us…

About last night… 

TransContinental Tour, East Houston, TX, USA

We woke up in a warehouse in East Houston. Stacked next to us, upended and with bicycles in the air, rested a line of rickshaws. We were curled together on a one-man cot in the midst of it all. Surrounded by gear and graffiti with an American flag hung from the ceiling.

Cars buzzed by in the street directly above our heads, just a couple of sheet metal doors between them and our sleeping bodies.

A roof! A roof! And even some walls. We don’t ask for much more. Yet, the spaces we’ve experienced while seeking shelter from friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers, has taken us through so many unexpected and amazing adventures!

Super Happy Fun Land, Houston, TX

Just an evening before our night in the warehouse, We woke in an industrial loft on Galveston Island. I remember my eyes first opening to the sounds of the street, four stories below, and the low-pitched horn of passing, perhaps docking, ships. A comforting “Good morning” from the shore.
Although, the metal-to-metal scream of the railroad tracks stretched through the major metropolis of Houston brought me comfort as well. And the activity in the street of a waking city. The noise. It’s all just noise. A symphony of human innovation.
We woke up on Jan. 20, in Houston, to Joe cooking us a breakfast of French toast, eggs, and bacon. He set out real maple syrup on the countertop of a kitchen fashioned into the corner of the warehouse.
“I’m just going to make the whole loaf,” he told me. “I don’t want to send anybody back on the road with an empty stomach. You can cut that bag of powdered sugar to sprinkle on top.”

I met Joe my first time through Galveston when I stopped in MOD Coffeehouse and he insisted I go to Fitzgerald’s for what turned out to be my favorite show of the whole, 4-month, cross-country trip.

He introduced us to Becky, who gave up her own bed and beautiful Artspace loft in Galveston so we could sleep comfortably in a real bed, make ourselves breakfast, and shower at our leisure.
Last night, though – an interview with the “legendary” KTRU, an evening of music, comedy, and friends at Super Happy Fun Land, and the warehouse we called home for one night in East Houston. The beauty of life can be hiding behind two sheet-metal doors.

Erie, Pa. “Kodachrome” Release Show

In studio at Behrend BVZ on Rebel Girl Radio with Auda Kontroll.

Hey all! I’ve traveled to Erie, Pa. where I’ll be joined by some of my very favorite musicians for the second release show of the “Kodachrome” record. This Sat., May 16, we shall converge on the King’s Rook Club from 10 p.m. till 2 a.m. and beyond for some acoustic rock n’ roll… or whatever you want to call it.

Joining me will be Matt “Broke” Boland, Andi Wondersound, and Chet Vincent of Pittsburgh’s The Big Bend. Each of us will share with you a rockin’ acoustic set of original music. And closing out the night, I’ll be performing with my full band, The Graveyard Orchestra.

SO GET EXCITED!

We all made this happen together. Even if you were unable to attend either release show, even if you were unable to back the Kickstarter, the support of my friends and the community brought this music into the world. In the form of a record. In the form of these events. In the form of a shared experience to mend our broken hearts and find the strength to fight another day.

Sincerely,
~ Victory

Release Week

This is it.

The culminating moment of my musical life, cut to vinyl, crafted from my heart. It feels like I tore the arteries out of my body and used them to string my guitar. Then I set about recording the noise and presenting it to the people like some kind of carnival display.

Well, I feel like I’m on the Rollercoaster – all adrenaline, excitement, and fear. Listening to the click of the chain on the tracks. Coming up closer and closer to that crest.
We’ll barrel-roll down that first hill and it’s gonna be a hell of a ride.

This is it.

The most important thing I’ve done thus far. In my whole life, really.
The “Kodachrome Heart” vinyl record.
This Friday.

This is it.