Muncie
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Muncie

Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Oakland, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2012
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Fresh out of California, four 20-somethings with a passion for music are heading on a 60-day national tour, playing 57 shows in 35 states during February and March – and Mokena is on the list. On Feb. 17, Go Kart Mozart will be coming to Soundlab, 9623 W. 194th St., Mokena.

Go Kart Mozart’s music is classified as indie alternative pop rock and “sounds similar to groups like Weezer and Green Day,” according to Anna Kremenliev, drummer and band manager since 2001. She is also the tour manager, director of public relations, producer, engineer, web designer and graphic designer.

“Anna’s contribution is amazing,” said Shane DeLea, bassist. “She took care of all the booking of our upcoming tour. She manages pretty much everything.”

Kremenliev, DeLea and Vince Lay, songwriter, lead singer and guitarist, were all self-taught and have been playing music for about 10 years. They were exposed to other band members and siblings at young ages from whom they learned. But Stewart Gude, guitarist and backup vocalist, has more of a trained background. He has been playing music since elementary school, trying his hand at snare drum and trumpet. He’s also been in music classes since the fourth grade and has taken music theory and performance classes in college.

Lay is the songwriter of the group, coming up with the lyrics, basic melodies and chord progressions. During practices, the other band members contribute new ideas or suggest changes in words, arrangements or other issues.

“I come in with the stripped-down, unplugged version,” Lay said. “And then the other band members add to it until we get one big song.”

“We get a lot of influences from different places,” added DeLea. “We each come from various musical backgrounds and that helps us write better songs.”

Lay and Kremenliev are intrigued by the indie pop punk genre, with Kremenliev leaning a little towards the pop angle. DeLea prefers the heavier rock feel, and Gude appreciates more classic rock, such as The Who, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and artists of that era.

How did this band get together? Actually Kremenliev, DeLea and Lay met each other around the ages of 14 and 15 in a music class they were all taking through a local college. They then formed the band Kid Moe and played for some time.

“It wasn’t working anymore and the songs were too bubblegum pop,” Kremenliev recalled. “We realized we wanted our following to be an older crowd, so we made some changes, including the band name.”

The band became Go Kart Mozart and has been since January 2007.

“When we were actively looking for a name, we would be open to every phrase or catchy words we would hear or see,” she said. “Then one day, I was listening to the radio on the way to work and I heard the Bruce Springsteen song, ‘Blinded by the Light,’ and in one of the verses, just in passing, I heard the new name of our band. It stuck out to me and then I knew that was to be the name – that one actually worked.”

The last member of the band joined a little later in the process. The original threesome had known Gude since 2003 and had met him through the music class they were all taking, but he didn’t become the final member until October 2007, when the band had already become established as Go Kart Mozart.

The high-energy quartet just recorded their first CD last August and is very pleased with it.

“It has 13 songs and offers a variety of topics and tempos. It is not overproduced – just guitar, bass, drums, a little keyboard and some back-up vocals,” said Kremenliev. “It’s clean as well – for kids and adults alike. The whole family can listen to it.”

Fans can pick up their CD and keep up-to-date on their tour, as well as other new announcements, by checking out their two Web sites: www.myspace.com/gokartmozartmusic and www.gokartmozart.com.

“I really enjoy the feeling I get from the audience,” Gude said about performing on stage. “There is a really special connection between the audience and the performer, a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.”

“I love the way people respond to the live performance,” added Lay. “In shows with a larger crowd, it’s wonderful to see the fans singing our songs. Sometimes I don’t even need to sing a certain verse or chorus, because the whole room is doing it for me.”

With regards to pursuing music as an independent band without the financial backing of a record label, Kremenliev said it would be great to have that kind of support.

“It can be quite challenging to have to work at various jobs to earn income to pay rent and everyday bills and then to have to make additional income to cover the band’s expenses, such as touring, recording CDs, purchasing and maintaining equipment/instruments and marketing,” she said.

Nevertheless, all four members value the freedom to be in charge of every aspect of their band. Lay is excited about seeing the progress they are making with their hard work. He is very proud of them all earning the money to make t - The Mokena Messenger (Mokena, IL)


When he died 14 months ago, Godfather of Soul James Brown still held the uncontested title “the hardest-working man in show business.”

Fortunately for Anna Kremenliev, the label of “hardest-working woman in show business” hasn’t been nabbed just yet, and she seems a contender for the position.

In February and March her band, the Concord, Calif.-based indie rock troupe Go Kart Mozart is set to play at least 55 shows — one show for almost every night — which Kremenliev has taken the initiative of scheduling and booking herself as the band’s manager, as well as its drummer.

“It’s a lot of fun to see the country,” says Kremenliev, speaking from a tour bus before a stop in Eugene, Ore.

“We get to see so many places. We’re trying to just get the promotion by trying to … well, we hear a lot about trying to be at the right place at the right time. We’re just kind of hoping to increase our chances, hopefully.”

The band credits its influences to Say Anything, Weezer and other pop-punk acts of the past decade and shares the compulsively optimistic energy of those groups, cheerfully reminding listeners “you’re like a ball of light. You’re gonna keep me feeling all right!” in the song “Big Ball of Light.”

With starry-eyed enthusiasm, Go Kart Mozart has put a tremendous amount of effort into its disciplined D.I.Y. mentality. T-shirts are individually pressed, guitar pick earrings are handmade and even the band’s CD, “Oh Yeah,” is being released without a label.

For Kremenliev and members Vince Lay (guitar/vocals), Stewart Gude (guitar/backing vocals) and Shane DeLea (bass/vocals), their crusade for exposure is almost purely an act of altruism. Kremenliev hopes the money earned at performances will cover the cost of the trip there, but she’s not banking on it.

“We try to sell our CDs and shirts; we make more money on that, usually. But sometimes we’ll find a bar that’ll pay $200 for a night from cover [costs] or whatnot, but it’s nice when we can play for kids or people who can’t always afford it,” she says.

It’s the kind of undertaking that even the grandest of bands do only every other year, but Go Kart Mozart isn’t a grand band; its musicians aren’t even full time.

Back in California, Kremenliev teaches preschool music classes and runs her own music production company Smiling Politely Presents, all of which helps to pay for touring.

“We don’t really have guarantees. We save up between shows, but everything we do is done ourselves,” she says, adding that she often books shows, while keeping potential venues in the dark about the fact that she’s a member of the band too.

“Sometimes I think that looks a little more professional. Once people know, though, they think it’s pretty cool — everyone thinks it’s cool, but don’t really assume that I’m in the band, or would be in the band.”

As long as the work keeps overhead costs low and its musicians fed, Go Kart Mozart will continue to perform nationally simply for the thrill of it. In a world that often feels weighed down by industry, it’s a strikingly romantic, or somewhat archaic, gesture.

“It’s something that many bands just can’t do for one reason or another,” Kremenliev says. “It’s something kind of out of the ordinary for a band like us to be doing, so I think it gives us something different.” - The News & Observer (Raliegh, NC)


Concord Rock City, population unknown, should not be confused with the City of Concord, a bustling yet decidedly non-rocking Contra Costa County suburb. Concord Rock City is someplace else altogether, and has its own MySpace page to prove it. The page boasts of “music from the greatest city in the history of the world,” yet its bio blurs the line between the Rock City and the real city by disclosing some of Concord’s more mundane features: It was founded by Don Salvio Pacheco; it was once the eastern terminus of the BART line; its 5,000-acre Naval Weapons Station is in the midst of redevelopment. The final sentence, thankfully, cuts to the chase: “Also, the best bands in the world all live in and around Concord.”

Among these best bands in the world are All Heroes, Azrael, Two Left Feet, Jumbo Regular, Bunson, the Seth Chaplas, Breaking Custom, and Space Monkey Gangstas. But there is a ninth best band in the world, and it happens to be the hardest working band in Concord Rock City: pop-rock trio Go Kart Mozart. Only one-third of Go Kart Mozart actually resides in the City of Concord, but the band was founded there, and still rehearses and records there. And anyway, Concord Rock City is more a state of mind than a spot on the map. Proudly plastering the slogan on fliers and T-shirts alike, Go Kart Mozart surely qualifies for residence.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Go Kart Mozart is the hardest working band in Concord Rock City. In 2008, after forming only a year earlier, the group played 143 shows in forty states, racking up nearly 33,000 miles on its van. Earlier this year, the members toured from mid-April to mid-May. Averaging 300 miles a day, they made it all the way to Maine. Last year they made it to Maine, too, then trekked all the way down to Miami and back. They’ve passed through all of the lower 48 states and played in 45 of them. In a two-month tour they can cover pretty much the entire country.

Drummer Anna Kremenliev books all their shows. She schedules with a vengeance. “The only days off are basically because I can’t book anything,” she said. “I would book every single day if I could.” Go Kart Mozart plays bars, clubs, teen centers, homes, bookstores, coffee shops — “Everywhere that’ll have music,” said guitarist, singer, and songwriter Vince Lay. On rare days off, they’ll go sightseeing at places like Niagara Falls and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Or they’ll simply explore a city on foot. But they’d just as well play a show. Kremenliev’s booking philosophy is that the more shows they play, the more opportunities they get to really rock the house.

Last year’s marathon yielded one of their best tour stories yet. Driving through Indiana in a February storm, they hit a patch of black ice, spun sideways, and flew off the road into a ditch. Seconds later, an SUV followed their course and slammed into the van. None of the five people inside were hurt. A tow truck arrived and pulled them down the highway to the next exit, where their tour could well have ended. But right off the highway they spotted a used car lot with seven vehicles, one of which was a van identical to the one they’d just wrecked, only nicer and a year newer. The tow truck driver left them there, where they called Kremenliev’s parents and had enough money wired over to purchase the van and drive another 400 miles to the next show in Michigan. They arrived twenty minutes early. It was their fourteenth show in a row, and they had eight more ahead before they got a night off. “We avoid the winter now,” Kremenliev said, punctuated with a customary chuckle.

This boundless enthusiasm for life on the road has fostered a productive relationship: Go Kart Mozart subsidizes Kremenliev and Lay’s cross-country tourism, and the two musicians give everything they have to the band. It’s paid off for both sides. Financially, the trips usually break even, and the band has made strides in a number of markets across the country. “We do better in Chicago and New York than we do in San Francisco,” said Kremenliev. But they also have a strong base in Minot, North Dakota, where every time they play more people come. Last time “everybody from the town turned out,” wearing the band’s shirts and singing their songs, said Kremenliev. In San Francisco, where they’ve played venues like Café du Nord, Annie’s Social Club, the Brainwash Café, and the Rockit Room, their draw is considerably weaker. The band thinks Concord’s local stigma might keep people away. On the other side of the country, Concord means nothing and Concord Rock City is the real deal.

But being the hardest working band in Concord Rock City may not be enough for Kremenliev and Lay, who first started playing in bands together in 2000 and are now in their mid-20s. They also operate a small DIY button-pressing company called HellaButtons.com and occasionally present concerts at all-ages venues like Concord’s Cue Productions through their production company Smiling Politely Pr - The East Bay Express (Oakland, CA)


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Greetings from Muncie, California! After releasing 6 full length albums and performing over 600 shows together across 45 states during the past 12 years, Vince Lay, Anna Cucciardo, Bob Mathre, and Swen Hendrickson are Muncie, an independent rock, roll, swing and slide band based in Oakland, California.

Muncie's "California Soul Twang" sound is built upon classic, loose grooves ( la Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones, The Band, Tom Petty), coupled with honest, narrative songwriting (Ryan Adams, Bob Dylan), and a country-western/early rhythm & blues throwback vibe (Otis Redding, Johnny Cash). Following in the footsteps of a long line of San Francisco Bay Area musicians fortunate enough to exist in a place where music is not just a wave of sound, but a way of life, Muncie creates songs that are equally meant for your dancing pleasure as well as your listening enjoyment.

Released in October 2012, Muncie's self-titled, debut album features twelve tracks of original music recorded and produced by Andy Freeman (Eisley, Max Bemis, Soft White Sixties). The national tour in support of this album included 24 consecutive live performances between California and New York in October-November 2012, followed by a second national tour for the vinyl release in May 2013. Both tours were independently booked by the bands manager, agent, web/graphic designer, PR Rep, and drummer, Anna Cucciardo. Muncie is proud to be an independent band, thriving on the tried and true, do-it-yourself ethics of independent artists to build a project from the ground up with a solid foundation of hard work and integrity.

For more information, see:

http://www.munciecalifornia.com

http://www.facebook.com/munciecalifornia

http://www.archive.org/details/Muncie

http://muncie.bandcamp.com

http://www.reverbnation.com/muncieca

Band Members