Band Swap and a love note to Alec

Smokestack Relics

Smokestack Relics

Photo By josh bishop

SWAP IT Hey, Chico, if your band wasn’t chosen for Band Swap—the band-trading promotion that’s bringing the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Lindsey O’Brien Band to play with Chico’s Big Mo and the Full Moon Band at the Sierra Nevada Big Room on Saturday, Sept. 21 (and sending Big Mo and crew to O’Brien’s stomping grounds on Oct. 6)—don’t sweat it. Arts DEVO checked it out, and it turns out that you don’t have to wait to be voted into a contest to play outside of our city; you can actually do your own show-trading!

I tried a little band-swapping of my own this week. I contacted a handful of Fort Collins clubs and bands (from both cities), as well as a few Chico venues and bands to see what opportunities for intercity exchange there might between the two state-college towns. I sent mini press releases for a handful of bands, and so far I’ve heard back from one Fort Collins venue: Road 34, a popular bar/bike shop (Fort Collins loves bikes!). Road 34 said that our own skifflin’ yokels Michelin Embers, and indie pop-stars Surrogate, would fit nicely on one of their bills.

Alec and Anna Binyon

Photo By Fairchild photography

In Chico, Fort Collins-area groups Smokestack Relics (swampy, foot-stompin’ two-piece), Otem Rellik (solo experimental rap/electronic), and lively country/alt-rockers Mosey West would be welcome at both Café Coda and 1078 Gallery, and Monstros would definitely book Smokestack Relics and bar-rockers Drag the River. There are, of course, the caveats that it’s expected that bands would be passing through more than once in an effort to build a following, and that hooking up with locals is crucial (in Chico, Bogg, Michelin Embers and Fera all said they’d be down with hooking up with Colorado crews), but if you have Internet access, a little energy, and some vacation time saved, you too can reach out and take the show on the road.

GOOD LUCK, MY FRIEND I overuse the word “righteous.” I realize this now as I sit down to write this little love note to my good friend Alec Binyon, the CN&R’s longtime general/sales manager who, as of last Friday, is no longer working at the paper. Alec is the person I’ve joked with, confided in and leaned on the most at work for the last four years or so, and to say I’m going to miss him is an understatement. He has been “my guy” at work, and regularly checking in with him to whine about clueless people or rave about art, or to laugh along as he passionately (and hilariously) railed against society’s empty devotion to the corporate and digital worlds and advocated for revolutions big and small, has been a huge part of why I have liked working at the paper. His deep, burning passion for print media and all things Chico (not to mention family, friends, mustaches and the Oakland A’s) has been a source of inspiration and motivation for many of us here, and in many ways he’s been the spiritual heart of the CN&R.

I can, however, take great comfort in the fact that the CN&R is still filled with plenty of righteous folks, and that another friend, and fellow print-media crusader (and lifelong Chicoan), Jamie DeGarmo, has taken over as sales manager. Jamie is the shit, so I can just chill out. Besides, Alec will be posting up just down the street with his wife, Anna, at the hip Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse they’ve taken over (with friends Eric and Morgan Fairchild), so any time I need a spiritual pick-me-up, there is a cup of coffee and a bowl of righteous fervor only a couple blocks away.

So yeah, I’m going to miss you around here something fierce, Alec, but I’m stoked for what the future holds for you and your family as you enjoy the freedom of working for yourselves. Your energetic spirit—whether advocating for the Fourth Estate or plugging into the local economy with a vibrant small business—makes Chico more rad.