Posts Tagged ‘OSU’

Feature: Sherree Chamberlain

September 17, 2010

  • If you are over 21, check out the Sherree Chamberlain Band for free Friday night at 9 inside Eskimo Joe’s, 501 W. Elm Ave. Tulsa acts OK Sweetheart and Fiawna Forte are opening. This story ran in the Friday edition of The Daily O’Collegian and The Oklahoman.

It’s frightening how quickly breakfast can turn into bedlam.

On a rainy morning in early July, Oklahoma City-based songwriter Sherree Chamberlain was driving near the Paseo Arts District.

The Oklahoma State University alumna had a full day planned.

Breakfast with a friend. A paid gig in downtown Oklahoma City with Stillwater rockers Taddy Porter and The Flatland Travelers. Dinner with her soon-to-be manager.

While pulling across traffic, a car slammed into her and knocked her head against the driver’s window. Her car was totaled, and she was stuck in the rain with a car full of instruments.

When Chamberlain snapped back to reality, she said she didn’t want a doctor.

She wanted pizza.

Her bandmates, Eric Kiner, Jonathon Mooney and Joey Morris, heard what happened and got a hold of Chamberlain.

“I was like, ‘Are we going to play or not?’” Kiner said in a phone interview.

Chamberlain said she knew the ball was rolling. Her band was getting paid for playing. She needed to start saving cash for a new car.

“It made sense to play,” she said in a phone interview.

After a trip to an emergency room and an OK from a doctor, Chamberlain’s parents drove her to the Wormy Dog Saloon. As neon signs buzzed and beer bottles clinked, the Sherree Chamberlain Band flew through a set of several songs in front of about 300 listeners.

“Sherree’s insane,” Morris said with a laugh over the phone. “When she got that mild concussion, I couldn’t really tell the difference. She’s crazy anyway … It was the perfect show. We didn’t have time for rehearsal, and we played like she had rehearsed for hours.”

Fast forward through the summer to last Sunday.

The rainy afternoon and the allure of bed sheets delayed Chamberlain from an interview, but she quickly apologized for her tardiness and began detailing her active morning.

She worked on music and prepared for the two classes she started teaching at Edmond Santa Fe High School this semester, but she got overwhelmed and hit the hay again.

She said she’s having a “24-year-old meltdown.”

“I’m feeling so old, and I don’t know what’s going on. I’m having anxiety about everything,” Chamberlain said. “I’ve been listening to music I love, lately. I keep going, ‘I wish I could be in this band, or I wish I could be in that band. Why am I not writing music I love to play?’”

She’s balancing a lot, though, teaching classes and preparing for a sophomore album.

Her debut, “Wasp in the Room,” was a gentle folk album that embellished the singer’s talents and her simple, elegant songs.

After a visit to Stillwater on Saturday, she’s taking “a little step away from the cutesy pop singer/songwriter and a little bit more toward being a cohesive band and setting a mood.”

No matter what happens, music is going to be around Chamberlain.

She lets her students at Edmond Santa Fe listen to music while they work. One afternoon a student walked up to Chamberlain and wrapped headphones around her ears. It was her album playing.

Sometimes her students aren’t the biggest fans though.

“I heard one of them the other day go, ‘Miss Chamberlain, I downloaded your stuff off of LimeWire,’” she said.

Another kid asked what she sounded like. He responded with a review saying Chamberlain’s music is weird. Something you’ll either love or hate.

If her student’s review and a car accident won’t stop her from making music, little will.


Feature: Orange Peel reels back this year

September 3, 2010

This story ran on the front page of the Friday edition of the O’Colly.

  • The day the music died

Jason Aldean’s guitar strumming inside Gallagher-Iba Arena last year might be the final sound heard at an Orange Peel for a while.

The longtime student-run concert series and pep rally is canceled for 2010. Since 1996, the OSU campus event has been canceled once in 2007 because of issues with talent.

Director of Campus Life Kent Sampson said the past 13 Orange Peels have lost roughly $210,000.

“Truthfully, we’ve never been into it to make money,” he said.

Sampson advised students, handled paperwork and helped manage Orange Peel since 1997. He said student volunteers needed to raise $100,000 from sponsors this summer in order to make an Orange Peel in 2010 possible.

“We didn’t make that happen,” Sampson said.

After looking at the amount of money needed and because of the Student Union remodeling, a big effort wasn’t undertaken to collect $100,000, Sampson said.

Profits from food and textbook sales at the Student Union provided the majority of backing for Orange Peel, Sampson said. Ticket sales and corporate sponsorships were the second source of revenue. Although Sampson said Oklahoma City’s Ford Center and Tulsa’s BOK Center made it difficult to attract performers to Stillwater, it was the lowering of ticket prices for concertgoers that became a big issue.

“In terms of trying to give our students a break, we undercut ourselves and hurt our income base,” he said.

Sampson said tickets were about $40 for Orange Peel in 2009, which is roughly $20 less than a show at the Ford Center or the BOK Center. In 2005 and 2006, the Oklahoma Chevy Team Dealer donated $30,000 to Orange Peel, which brought sponsorship amounts to $60,000 for those two years. The loss of Chevy as a donor made an impact, Sampson said.

But he said he doesn’t think Orange Peel will disappear. He named several student organizers throughout the years who made Orange Peel possible and illustrated how the event’s tradition has deep roots.

  • It takes a lot to make an Orange Peel grow

Angela Courtin stood inside Lewis Field (now Boone Pickens Stadium) in 1996, moments after Bill Cosby, Norm McDonald and Dog’s Eye View finished performing at Orange Peel’s debut.

The OSU graduate student sighed and looked to her friends.

“We pulled it off,” she said in a phone interview between meetings in Chicago. “We could walk on air. Was it the most successful show? Probably not, but the fact that we were able to bring it to completion in a way that we could be proud of was an enormous accomplishment.”

Courtin and dozens of student volunteers turned an idea for a pep rally before the football team’s season opener into an event 17,000 patrons attended. Without the assistance of a booking agency or prior knowledge of how to put on a concert, Courtin created big entertainment from scratch at Orange Peel.

“I look back at my career … and it certainly was this catapult to where my career would go,” Courtin said.

Today, she’s the senior vice president of integrated marketing at MTV, and she does almost exactly what she did for Orange Peel. Courtin is producing a live performance that will air during a commercial break of MTV’s 2010 Video Music Awards, which airs on Sept. 12.

Courtin said Orange Peel gave her skills to hustle and the opportunity to throw herself completely into something. She applied classroom lessons to the real world because Orange Peel operated like a tiny business. About 200 OSU students volunteered yearly within Orange Peel’s six committees, which ranged from stage production to marketing.

Since 2003, Orange Peel organizers used a booking agency to gather talent, but this didn’t make things much easier. The 2009 Orange Peel executive director, Kristen Kenaga, said she spent an hour a day for two months talking to Eric Hening Promotions to make sure everything was OK for Orange Peel.

Months of planning couldn’t prepare her for the surprise request of a special brew of Starbucks coffee the morning Aldean’s tour bus arrived. The coffee wasn’t for Aldean. His band had the power to request groceries, so Kenaga went shopping.

The demands of celebrities and their management turn concerts into work for hosts. The 2008 Orange Peel headliner, Sugarland, had a 35-page contract that detailed the brand of water the band drank, the exact number of Clif energy bars needed and the number of hand towels required for dressing rooms.

Erika Curry, Kenaga’s marketing director for 2009’s Orange Peel, spent 40 hours a week during her summer putting together radio ads, press releases and doing everything in her power to spread the word about Orange Peel. Her pace didn’t slow down when classes began. She spent weekends at rodeos and fairs handing out flyers.

“I can’t even put a number on it,” Curry said. “Hundreds if not thousands of hours.”

Sampson said Orange Peel in 2009 lost roughly $75,000. It hadn’t broken even since Bill Engvall and Alan Jackson performed in 2006, but the event did succeed in supporting charities such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Special Olympics. The past two Orange Peels raised about $16,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Whether Orange Peel continues or not, it will always be a great OSU tradition,” Kenaga said.

VIDEO UPDATE: Sherree Chamberlain Band in the studio

March 25, 2010

  • And don’t forget you can see Sherree Chamberlain Band, Jacob Abello and Gentle Ghost for free FRIDAY, MARCH 26.

VIDEO UPDATE: “on.” episode 16 – Josh Jones of Evangelicals Interview

March 11, 2010

Don’t forget to check out the two acoustic performances of “Stoned Again” and “How Do You Sleep?” Jones sang for “on.”

VIDEO UPDATE: James Price Band playing at the Heart for Haiti Benefit

March 5, 2010

VIDEO UPDATE: Brother Gruesome, The Boom Bang and DEERPEOPLE at Vault (Feb. 20) PART TWO

February 23, 2010


Now that I have your attention, please take a look at the remainder of video coverage from Vault’s show Saturday.

Your ears won’t thank you, but your heart will.

VIDEO UPDATE: Brother Gruesome, The Boom Bang and DEERPEOPLE at Vault (Feb. 20) PART ONE

February 21, 2010

If you didn’t get a chance to catch up with why Brother Gruesome is worth buying a cassette player for then watch as Todd Jackson and Levi Watson tear up Vault.

Jackson had lost his voice celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but something about the rawness of his vocals added to the intimacy of the show.


I know who to blame if I ever lose my hearing.

The Boom Bang.

The loudest band in Oklahoma played one of its most energetic sets to date. Climbing amps, throwing tambourines and general madness was everywhere. Keep your eyes on these kids to do some bigger than big things.

SHOW PREVIEW and VIDEO UPDATE: “on.” episode 16 (part 2) – Josh Jones of Evangelicals singing “Stoned Again”

February 19, 2010


(from left Brother Gruesome Todd Jackson and Levi Watson)


Here’s a chance to get to know Brother Gruesome before its show in Stillwater on Saturday.

Calling Todd Jackson while he’s celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a mistake.

Lots of yelling is involved.

Celebrating Jackson’s music is a much better idea and that’ll be possible Saturday at 10 p.m. when his band Brother Gruesome joins Stillwater’s DEERPEOPLE and Oklahoma City’s The Boom Bang at Vault, 716 S. Main St.

Jackson and Levi Watson comprise Brother Gruesome, an Oklahoma City duo who’s crafting seductively simple rock tracks catchy enough to make you strap on dancing shoes and dreamy enough to make you forgot only two people are playing.

Brother Gruesome isn’t your father’s rock band, but the duo records for your creepy uncle’s tape deck. Brother Gruesome chose to contain its first music effort via cassette tape.

Jackson said he has a connection to the classic plastic device.

“I started recording on cassettes when I first started writing, and it felt like the right thing to do at the time,” Jackson said. “CD’s as a medium is on their way out. Listen to tracks on ITunes then you’ll listen to them cassette player, it’s just a lot different sound.”

The five tracks from the self-titled EP took about 10 months to record for a good reason.

Hit rewind a few times on a dusty Sony Walkman, and you’d find Jackson and Watson playing in a psychedelic six-piece named The Hex. This is where he caught the attention of the Evangelicals in the early 2000s.

Since then, Jackson has spent his time playing with Brother Gruesome and the Evangelicals, a band who has opened for acts the Flaming Lips and Conor Oberst.

Evangelicals frontman Josh Jones said Jackson takes an active role in Evangelicals with the direction that band has taken. Evangelicals bassist Kyle Davis said there’s more to Jackson than his musical prowess.

“For shows he does guitar, plays keyboard, does backing vocals and he’s even handy with a wrench,” Davis said.

A majority of these talents will be on display tomorrow. Leave your wrenches at home.




February 7, 2010

Here are a few stills from the DEERPEOPLE house show on Friday. Hundreds showed up for this epic example of home entertainment.

VIDEO UPDATE: “on.” had its first house party

February 6, 2010