Larry Crane and Pat Hull, plus the Champions of the Arts awards
Pat and Larry You must be talkin’ about steak again, Arts DEVO! Sorry, as much as I love to rhapsodize about a good cut of beef, this is not an homage to that bygone East 20th Street institution, Pat ’n’ Larry’s Steakhouse.
Given that this week’s CN&R is the Local Music Issue, I am instead surveying the landscape of the three-plus decades I’ve spent partaking in the Chico music scene—from the CD-release party tonight (April 11, 8 p.m.) at Argus Bar + Patio for the new album by Pat Hull, all the way back to my first local show, a tour-van benefit for Vomit Launch—a band that featured bassist Larry Crane—more than 30 years ago.
I have Crane on my mind because of an online post last week by Vintage King (a pro audio retailer for studios and recording engineers) featuring a mini-documentary on “The History of Tape Op” magazine (vintageking.com/blog/2019/04/tape-op-magazine). Crane is the founder and editor of Tape Op, the long-running publication that started off as a 500-copy run of a hand-stapled zine in 1996 and grew to a 70,000 circulation glossy that is now the most read recording-arts magazine in the world.
It doesn’t hurt the numbers that Tape Op has always been free (seriously, go subscribe at tapeop.com), but the real secret to its success is that it’s not a slimy music-industry rag. Instead, it has always been a well-written love letter to music, with fun long-form stories and interviews by people who are super into talking about how their favorite songs were recorded.
In addition to his Tape Op success, Crane is, of course, also well known as the owner/engineer of Jackpot! Recording Studio, in Portland, Ore., where he’s recorded everyone from Sleater-Kinney to Elliott Smith (for whom he’s the official estate archivist).
It’s been forever since Crane roamed these parts. The amazing Vomit Launch broke up 30 years ago, and Crane moved to Portland shortly after. But all of us who used to eat tacos and drink pale ales with the guy are proud from afar as he continues to kick so much ass.
And Hull, a modern-day Chico favorite son, is on the radar for releasing another new CD, Sera—his fifth album in three years! In addition to several guests (vocalist Evin Wolverton, guitarist Dorian Rohlfes, etc.), the recording features singer/guitarist/pianist Hull’s regular band of locals: Ethan Swett (bass, guitar, and tons more), Sean Raeside (drums), Michael Bone (guitar, bass, vocals) and Webster Moore (organ).
The album feels like a continuation of 2018’s Denmark Sessions, with Hull’s light and soulful voice the constant across a varying collection of lush slow- to mid-tempo folk-rock tunes. More gorgeous music by one of Chico’s best songwriters. Find the album and a video for the single “Water Glass” at pathullmusic.com.
Art champs The Chico Arts and Culture Foundation will celebrate six local arts heroes next Thursday (April 18, 5:30-7 p.m.), at the Museum of Northern California Art. A performance by troubadour Jonathan Richman will kick off the ceremony honoring the 2019 Champions of the Arts: watercolor painter/instructor and arts consultant Amber Palmer, Chico Art Center Director Cameron Kelly, painter/instructor and Studio 561 owner Christine Mac Shane, artist and Butte County Art on Wheels founder Jessie Mercer, Healing Art Gallery coordinator Rebecca McIntyre Senoglu, and longtime Chico Theater Company Executive Director Marc Edson. Congrats!