Shades of Day
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Shades of Day

Ventura, California, United States | INDIE

Ventura, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Americana

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Feb
04
Shades of Day @ Bombay Bar & Grill

Ventura, California, USA

Ventura, California, USA

Jan
30
Shades of Day @ The Watermark Lounge

Ventura, California, USA

Ventura, California, USA

Jan
22
Shades of Day @ Saint Rocke

Hermosa Beach, California, USA

Hermosa Beach, California, USA

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Years ago, the West Beach Festival hosted Shades of Day, an Ojai-based band whose infectious mix of rock, pop, and deep grooves nearly stole the show from their main-stage counterparts. Most recently, though, the band released its sophomore album, Take All Night, a 10-song CD that delivers a healthy sampling of the band’s musical interests. The root of the record is classic rock, but the guys keep things interesting by bending the genre to include strains of pop and dancehall. “One Flashing Light” and “Waiting on a Train” are bright, radio-ready songs, while “Sidewalk Sun” gives a nod to The Black Crowes-style hard rock. Other standouts include the catchy “Hollow Man” and “Life Is Amazing,” which highlights frontman B. Willing James’s rich tenor. It’s a solid attempt by a group that definitely deserves to be seen live, and one we think proudly represents the staying power of good old rock ’n’ roll.

- Michelle Drown 11/29/10 - Santa Barbara Independent


Hoping to have it made in the shade even if it takes all night, Ventura jam band heroes Shades of Day will stay up late when they host a release party for their second CD, “Take All Night,” on Saturday at Zoey’s in Ventura. Burning substantially fewer minutes will be the opening act, Brother Sal.

Shades of Day has progressed well beyond the “Hey, let’s start a band” moment inherent in Rock Star 101. Always a hit when they play live, these longtime Shadys — B Willing James (vocals, guitar), Camp O’Neill (guitars), Bruce Kimmell (guitars), Micah McCabe (bass) and Rick O Shay (drums) — seem ready to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Inspired by a line from a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon (James was flipping through a book of the comics when he came across the phrase “shades of gray” and changed the last word to “day”), the Shades of Day guys are loud enough to scare both C&H while also mesmerizing their big sisters.

“Take All Night” was recorded in an Ojai barn the band has converted into a studio and rehearsal space. The disc was produced by Michael Dumas, who has worked with the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams. Guests on the CD include Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) on Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards, and Ojai musician-producer Jesse Siebenberg on keyboards and lap steel. Just this week, James said, Siebenberg decided to join the group full time. “Jesse is part of the band now,” James said. “Count him as a member.”

Credit Shay with dreaming up the album title. “There’s a theme of night crawlers and day walkers, the weirdos and the strange” on the album, James said. “We all latched on to ‘Take All Night’ and that shaped the art, track order and the rest of the mixing process and funneled us right into release.”

The concept for the “stack of eyes” that grace the CD cover was Shay’s, too. Those are the band members’ eyes, and the photographs were taken at McCabe’s house in Ojai, with the headlights from Kimmel’s and Shay’s trucks used to light the shoot.

“You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes,” James said. “Or can you? It’s up to you to find out. It’s an invitation and a warning, something mysterious, when very little of it still really exists.”

James has another life as a solo dude, but for now it’s all about Shades of Day and pushing the new album. The frantic frontman discussed all this and more during a recent phoner.

What’s the latest with that cool band of yours?

The Shades’ biz is good right now, man, really good.

How often have you wonderful guys been playing?

We played a bunch during the year, but we’ve narrowed it down the last couple of months. We did the Ventura Theater show with Rey Fresco on Halloween and we’re doing our CD release this Saturday, so we’ve been focusing on those and getting ready to tour in the spring — just getting the word out but not playing a lot.

Still the same guys?

Yup. We’re all the same dudes. A few years back, we added a guitar player — an electric guitar. Bruce Kimmel came in 2007 when I was on tour doing the solo thing and started jamming with the guys. When I got back, we had an extra dude. That was cool because I could put down the electric and focus on the vocals and singing the songs.

So how long has it been Shady?

About 10 years.

Wow. That’s a lifetime for a band.

Yeah, we started jamming in the garage about 10 years ago and this is our second album.

When you made the first one, you guys had certain expectations. How have those expectations changed for the new album?

Well, we certainly have a lot more shows under our belts and this record is different in that we had an outside producer and we had some different musicians come in to add some organ and other things. So that was the biggest change for this one. On “Mayday” (the first album), it was all us.

What’s the lowdown on Saturday’s gig?

It’s going to be 15 bucks; for that you get a copy of the album. We’re going to play the album straight through, maybe a couple of surprises. We’re going to have Brother Sal open. He’s amazing and one of my favorite artists.

How do your solo gigs fit into or detract from all this band excitement?

Well, I do both. I’ve certainly focused this last half-year on getting this record out. We decided last year that it was time to do a new record. I was living down in L.A. but was still up here a bunch and doing a lot of solo gigs. I released a little three-song EP last year and played that for a bit, then we really got hot and heavy with this, and honestly, I’ve been mostly doing band stuff. Maybe next year I’ll do some more solo stuff, but right now, it’s certainly all about the whole show.

You guys were trying to expand your horizons by playing in L.A., which usually sucks. What happened with that?

We’re planning on going wherever this will take us — L.A. and beyond. We’re looking to do some European stuff; we all want to go to the Netherlands, Australia, maybe into Spain. We’re definitely going to put our feelers out.

Need a roadie?

You’re down with that? Good to know.

As long as there’s no heavy lifting involved. How far have you guys traveled so far?

As a whole group, we haven’t been that far — mainly West Coast — but we’re really stoked about this album. We put a lot into it — time, blood, sweat, tears and money.

After 10 years, you’ve seen a lot of things come, go and stay the same. What’s your take on the local scene?

While there’s still not any more venues — there might even be less with Nicholby’s closing — it’s still just a very, very cool scene. I don’t know if it’ll ever blow up and be another Austin or L.A., but it might just stay Ventura. Everybody here is really into it, even the traveling folks that come through but, you know, the scene could use a few more venues. I don’t what it takes to do all that. I’d love to start a venue, but we’ll see

Nicholby’s is gone, but the Dirty’s happening and the Red Cove is still underutilized. Who knows?

It’s just a matter of getting out there and keep playing if you love to play, and the musicians here have clearly shown that they love to play anywhere, anytime. That’s a good thing.

Ojai’s still pretty much the same. Three bars in one block?

Ojai? We haven’t played up there in a while. We’ve just kind of been hiding out. Even though we did our record up there, we didn’t perform there much at all this past year. We love the scene here but we’re definitely looking to travel and see what’s out there.

Who goes to a Shades of Day show and what should they walk away with — if they can still walk after they get drunk?

There’s certainly a lot of drinks that go down at our shows. You know, pretty much anybody and everybody comes out. We definitely want to do a lot more all-ages shows. We want music that’s good for everybody that’s timeless. The last (Ventura) Theater show was really great. There’s no limit to what you can do if you’re into songs and melodies, which is what we do.

What’s “Take All Night” sound like?

I’ve heard some people say that there’s more pop and country in this new stuff. I guess there could be, but no more so than “Mayday.” I think the biggest difference for me was really the focus on the stories and the lyrics. The last one, “Mayday,” was very introspective and very personal. This is more about what’s going on outside the writer’s perspective — you know, kind of a third person’s view — and I think that really translated into the music so that it’s more accessible.

Do you guys still do “Mississippi Queen”?

We haven’t done that in years.

See? That’s how long it’s been since we talked. So are you still an L-Alien or are you back up here?

I’m definitely living in L.A. but I come up here all the time and sleep on the guitar player’s couch or go up to Ojai and hang out with the folks or sleep in my truck.

Shades of Day frontman B Willing James offered a track-by-track look at the band’s new album, “Take All Night.”

1. “One Flashing Light” is from the perspective of a guy or gal who moves into a big city with big dreams and starts getting out and mixing it up and realizes, “Gosh, I’m in over my head,” and kind of gets overwhelmed with the bigness of it and starts to get a little lost.

2. “Sexual Pretender” is kind of about going out with some abandon — out into the night, forgetting about all the fears you have and just finding someone to latch onto and having one of those all-nighters. And you know the angel and devil thing on your shoulder? They’re both whispering in your ear (there’s a line in the song that says that) and you don’t really know which way to go, so you kind of end up going with your instincts.

3. “Love Parade” is from a man’s perspective on what he’s got to deal with, like those times when you’re in school and can’t go to the chalkboard because you (are sexually aroused). It’s all about being a man and “Man, here we go again.” It’s sort of a tongue-and-cheek song that came out really good and is definitely one of my favorites on the album.

4. “Everything to Everyone” was written about someone who’s trying, trying, trying and things just don’t seem to go right. It’s definitely one of the more hopeful songs on the record. It’s like, “Just take a step back, take a deep breath and let life take you where it’s gonna go. Just go with the flow. Sit in the river and stop struggling and everything’s going to be cool.” It’s a very cool song, piano-driven, and it’s got a really cool melody. It was inspired by things my mother’s been through and I certainly dedicated that one to her.

5. “Sidewalk Sun” is kind of a continuation of “Everything to Everyone” but it’s got a little more party in it, I guess, and, “Hey, stop looking down at the sidewalk when you’re walking, stick your head up once in a while or else you’re going to miss what’s going by.” We’re giving that one away for free on our website, http://www.shadesofday.net.

6. “Hollow Man” is kind of about some Dungeons and Dragons stuff with a younger element of fantasy and dreams. The music really goes along with it, and there’s this cool creepy dance vibe. It’s a great Halloween song and we totally jammed it at the (Ventura) Theater. There’s also an underlying theme of, “Don’t listen to those who might poison your mind but rather use the poison on those that are trying to use it on you.”

7. “Fear” is one of the harder songs on the album, so that’s pretty cool. There’s kind of a thread of fear throughout this whole album — what it does to the psyche and how it changes decisions and kind of shapes your life. It pretty much holds us back in some respects. The song doesn’t explain how to beat it, but hey, there’s fear everywhere. It’s been especially a theme in this country for the last decade.

8. “Business Side of a Gun” involves a character — doesn’t have a name — who has certainly lost his way in life, maybe from childhood but just never really had a chance. He goes the way of crime and murder but he’s got this underlying goodness in him. He just can’t get past the evil part of it and all the hate and the hurt.

9. “Waiting for a Train” was kind of inspired by folks in Ventura: homeless people and vagabonds, young and old. It was written from the perspective that a lot of these people have made this choice, a lot of them haven’t and they’re where they are because of circumstances. “Hey, I’m not lonely — I’m just waiting for a train. Don’t feel pity; this is life I choose.” There’s some melancholy in it because that can be a lonely life to live, but it is your choice at the end of the day.

10. “Life Is Amazing.” It is, absolutely, any way you slice it, pretty amazing — the twists and turns and where it will take you. There’s ups and downs and things that are going to hurt real bad and things that are going to feel great and you’ve just got to take it all together and look at the picture and say, “Hey, this is it — this is life as we know it, see it for what it is and love every minute of it.”



Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/nov/12/night-grooves/#ixzz15KiDp3Nr
- vcstar.com
- Ventura County Star


Hoping to have it made in the shade even if it takes all night, Ventura jam band heroes Shades of Day will stay up late when they host a release party for their second CD, “Take All Night,” on Saturday at Zoey’s in Ventura. Burning substantially fewer minutes will be the opening act, Brother Sal.

Shades of Day has progressed well beyond the “Hey, let’s start a band” moment inherent in Rock Star 101. Always a hit when they play live, these longtime Shadys — B Willing James (vocals, guitar), Camp O’Neill (guitars), Bruce Kimmell (guitars), Micah McCabe (bass) and Rick O Shay (drums) — seem ready to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Inspired by a line from a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon (James was flipping through a book of the comics when he came across the phrase “shades of gray” and changed the last word to “day”), the Shades of Day guys are loud enough to scare both C&H while also mesmerizing their big sisters.

“Take All Night” was recorded in an Ojai barn the band has converted into a studio and rehearsal space. The disc was produced by Michael Dumas, who has worked with the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams. Guests on the CD include Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) on Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards, and Ojai musician-producer Jesse Siebenberg on keyboards and lap steel. Just this week, James said, Siebenberg decided to join the group full time. “Jesse is part of the band now,” James said. “Count him as a member.”

Credit Shay with dreaming up the album title. “There’s a theme of night crawlers and day walkers, the weirdos and the strange” on the album, James said. “We all latched on to ‘Take All Night’ and that shaped the art, track order and the rest of the mixing process and funneled us right into release.”

The concept for the “stack of eyes” that grace the CD cover was Shay’s, too. Those are the band members’ eyes, and the photographs were taken at McCabe’s house in Ojai, with the headlights from Kimmel’s and Shay’s trucks used to light the shoot.

“You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes,” James said. “Or can you? It’s up to you to find out. It’s an invitation and a warning, something mysterious, when very little of it still really exists.”

James has another life as a solo dude, but for now it’s all about Shades of Day and pushing the new album. The frantic frontman discussed all this and more during a recent phoner.

What’s the latest with that cool band of yours?

The Shades’ biz is good right now, man, really good.

How often have you wonderful guys been playing?

We played a bunch during the year, but we’ve narrowed it down the last couple of months. We did the Ventura Theater show with Rey Fresco on Halloween and we’re doing our CD release this Saturday, so we’ve been focusing on those and getting ready to tour in the spring — just getting the word out but not playing a lot.

Still the same guys?

Yup. We’re all the same dudes. A few years back, we added a guitar player — an electric guitar. Bruce Kimmel came in 2007 when I was on tour doing the solo thing and started jamming with the guys. When I got back, we had an extra dude. That was cool because I could put down the electric and focus on the vocals and singing the songs.

So how long has it been Shady?

About 10 years.

Wow. That’s a lifetime for a band.

Yeah, we started jamming in the garage about 10 years ago and this is our second album.

When you made the first one, you guys had certain expectations. How have those expectations changed for the new album?

Well, we certainly have a lot more shows under our belts and this record is different in that we had an outside producer and we had some different musicians come in to add some organ and other things. So that was the biggest change for this one. On “Mayday” (the first album), it was all us.

What’s the lowdown on Saturday’s gig?

It’s going to be 15 bucks; for that you get a copy of the album. We’re going to play the album straight through, maybe a couple of surprises. We’re going to have Brother Sal open. He’s amazing and one of my favorite artists.

How do your solo gigs fit into or detract from all this band excitement?

Well, I do both. I’ve certainly focused this last half-year on getting this record out. We decided last year that it was time to do a new record. I was living down in L.A. but was still up here a bunch and doing a lot of solo gigs. I released a little three-song EP last year and played that for a bit, then we really got hot and heavy with this, and honestly, I’ve been mostly doing band stuff. Maybe next year I’ll do some more solo stuff, but right now, it’s certainly all about the whole show.

You guys were trying to expand your horizons by playing in L.A., which usually sucks. What happened with that?

We’re planning on going wherever this will take us — L.A. and beyond. We’re looking to do some European stuff; we all want to go to the Netherlands, Australia, maybe into Spain. We’re definitely going to put our feelers out.

Need a roadie?

You’re down with that? Good to know.

As long as there’s no heavy lifting involved. How far have you guys traveled so far?

As a whole group, we haven’t been that far — mainly West Coast — but we’re really stoked about this album. We put a lot into it — time, blood, sweat, tears and money.

After 10 years, you’ve seen a lot of things come, go and stay the same. What’s your take on the local scene?

While there’s still not any more venues — there might even be less with Nicholby’s closing — it’s still just a very, very cool scene. I don’t know if it’ll ever blow up and be another Austin or L.A., but it might just stay Ventura. Everybody here is really into it, even the traveling folks that come through but, you know, the scene could use a few more venues. I don’t what it takes to do all that. I’d love to start a venue, but we’ll see

Nicholby’s is gone, but the Dirty’s happening and the Red Cove is still underutilized. Who knows?

It’s just a matter of getting out there and keep playing if you love to play, and the musicians here have clearly shown that they love to play anywhere, anytime. That’s a good thing.

Ojai’s still pretty much the same. Three bars in one block?

Ojai? We haven’t played up there in a while. We’ve just kind of been hiding out. Even though we did our record up there, we didn’t perform there much at all this past year. We love the scene here but we’re definitely looking to travel and see what’s out there.

Who goes to a Shades of Day show and what should they walk away with — if they can still walk after they get drunk?

There’s certainly a lot of drinks that go down at our shows. You know, pretty much anybody and everybody comes out. We definitely want to do a lot more all-ages shows. We want music that’s good for everybody that’s timeless. The last (Ventura) Theater show was really great. There’s no limit to what you can do if you’re into songs and melodies, which is what we do.

What’s “Take All Night” sound like?

I’ve heard some people say that there’s more pop and country in this new stuff. I guess there could be, but no more so than “Mayday.” I think the biggest difference for me was really the focus on the stories and the lyrics. The last one, “Mayday,” was very introspective and very personal. This is more about what’s going on outside the writer’s perspective — you know, kind of a third person’s view — and I think that really translated into the music so that it’s more accessible.

Do you guys still do “Mississippi Queen”?

We haven’t done that in years.

See? That’s how long it’s been since we talked. So are you still an L-Alien or are you back up here?

I’m definitely living in L.A. but I come up here all the time and sleep on the guitar player’s couch or go up to Ojai and hang out with the folks or sleep in my truck.

Shades of Day frontman B Willing James offered a track-by-track look at the band’s new album, “Take All Night.”

1. “One Flashing Light” is from the perspective of a guy or gal who moves into a big city with big dreams and starts getting out and mixing it up and realizes, “Gosh, I’m in over my head,” and kind of gets overwhelmed with the bigness of it and starts to get a little lost.

2. “Sexual Pretender” is kind of about going out with some abandon — out into the night, forgetting about all the fears you have and just finding someone to latch onto and having one of those all-nighters. And you know the angel and devil thing on your shoulder? They’re both whispering in your ear (there’s a line in the song that says that) and you don’t really know which way to go, so you kind of end up going with your instincts.

3. “Love Parade” is from a man’s perspective on what he’s got to deal with, like those times when you’re in school and can’t go to the chalkboard because you (are sexually aroused). It’s all about being a man and “Man, here we go again.” It’s sort of a tongue-and-cheek song that came out really good and is definitely one of my favorites on the album.

4. “Everything to Everyone” was written about someone who’s trying, trying, trying and things just don’t seem to go right. It’s definitely one of the more hopeful songs on the record. It’s like, “Just take a step back, take a deep breath and let life take you where it’s gonna go. Just go with the flow. Sit in the river and stop struggling and everything’s going to be cool.” It’s a very cool song, piano-driven, and it’s got a really cool melody. It was inspired by things my mother’s been through and I certainly dedicated that one to her.

5. “Sidewalk Sun” is kind of a continuation of “Everything to Everyone” but it’s got a little more party in it, I guess, and, “Hey, stop looking down at the sidewalk when you’re walking, stick your head up once in a while or else you’re going to miss what’s going by.” We’re giving that one away for free on our website, http://www.shadesofday.net.

6. “Hollow Man” is kind of about some Dungeons and Dragons stuff with a younger element of fantasy and dreams. The music really goes along with it, and there’s this cool creepy dance vibe. It’s a great Halloween song and we totally jammed it at the (Ventura) Theater. There’s also an underlying theme of, “Don’t listen to those who might poison your mind but rather use the poison on those that are trying to use it on you.”

7. “Fear” is one of the harder songs on the album, so that’s pretty cool. There’s kind of a thread of fear throughout this whole album — what it does to the psyche and how it changes decisions and kind of shapes your life. It pretty much holds us back in some respects. The song doesn’t explain how to beat it, but hey, there’s fear everywhere. It’s been especially a theme in this country for the last decade.

8. “Business Side of a Gun” involves a character — doesn’t have a name — who has certainly lost his way in life, maybe from childhood but just never really had a chance. He goes the way of crime and murder but he’s got this underlying goodness in him. He just can’t get past the evil part of it and all the hate and the hurt.

9. “Waiting for a Train” was kind of inspired by folks in Ventura: homeless people and vagabonds, young and old. It was written from the perspective that a lot of these people have made this choice, a lot of them haven’t and they’re where they are because of circumstances. “Hey, I’m not lonely — I’m just waiting for a train. Don’t feel pity; this is life I choose.” There’s some melancholy in it because that can be a lonely life to live, but it is your choice at the end of the day.

10. “Life Is Amazing.” It is, absolutely, any way you slice it, pretty amazing — the twists and turns and where it will take you. There’s ups and downs and things that are going to hurt real bad and things that are going to feel great and you’ve just got to take it all together and look at the picture and say, “Hey, this is it — this is life as we know it, see it for what it is and love every minute of it.”



Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/nov/12/night-grooves/#ixzz15KiDp3Nr
- vcstar.com
- Ventura County Star


Hoping to have it made in the shade even if it takes all night, Ventura jam band heroes Shades of Day will stay up late when they host a release party for their second CD, “Take All Night,” on Saturday at Zoey’s in Ventura. Burning substantially fewer minutes will be the opening act, Brother Sal.

Shades of Day has progressed well beyond the “Hey, let’s start a band” moment inherent in Rock Star 101. Always a hit when they play live, these longtime Shadys — B Willing James (vocals, guitar), Camp O’Neill (guitars), Bruce Kimmell (guitars), Micah McCabe (bass) and Rick O Shay (drums) — seem ready to take the next step, whatever that may be.

Inspired by a line from a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon (James was flipping through a book of the comics when he came across the phrase “shades of gray” and changed the last word to “day”), the Shades of Day guys are loud enough to scare both C&H while also mesmerizing their big sisters.

“Take All Night” was recorded in an Ojai barn the band has converted into a studio and rehearsal space. The disc was produced by Michael Dumas, who has worked with the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Lucinda Williams. Guests on the CD include Rami Jaffee (Wallflowers, Foo Fighters) on Hammond B-3 organ and keyboards, and Ojai musician-producer Jesse Siebenberg on keyboards and lap steel. Just this week, James said, Siebenberg decided to join the group full time. “Jesse is part of the band now,” James said. “Count him as a member.”

Credit Shay with dreaming up the album title. “There’s a theme of night crawlers and day walkers, the weirdos and the strange” on the album, James said. “We all latched on to ‘Take All Night’ and that shaped the art, track order and the rest of the mixing process and funneled us right into release.”

The concept for the “stack of eyes” that grace the CD cover was Shay’s, too. Those are the band members’ eyes, and the photographs were taken at McCabe’s house in Ojai, with the headlights from Kimmel’s and Shay’s trucks used to light the shoot.

“You can tell a lot about a person from their eyes,” James said. “Or can you? It’s up to you to find out. It’s an invitation and a warning, something mysterious, when very little of it still really exists.”

James has another life as a solo dude, but for now it’s all about Shades of Day and pushing the new album. The frantic frontman discussed all this and more during a recent phoner.

What’s the latest with that cool band of yours?

The Shades’ biz is good right now, man, really good.

How often have you wonderful guys been playing?

We played a bunch during the year, but we’ve narrowed it down the last couple of months. We did the Ventura Theater show with Rey Fresco on Halloween and we’re doing our CD release this Saturday, so we’ve been focusing on those and getting ready to tour in the spring — just getting the word out but not playing a lot.

Still the same guys?

Yup. We’re all the same dudes. A few years back, we added a guitar player — an electric guitar. Bruce Kimmel came in 2007 when I was on tour doing the solo thing and started jamming with the guys. When I got back, we had an extra dude. That was cool because I could put down the electric and focus on the vocals and singing the songs.

So how long has it been Shady?

About 10 years.

Wow. That’s a lifetime for a band.

Yeah, we started jamming in the garage about 10 years ago and this is our second album.

When you made the first one, you guys had certain expectations. How have those expectations changed for the new album?

Well, we certainly have a lot more shows under our belts and this record is different in that we had an outside producer and we had some different musicians come in to add some organ and other things. So that was the biggest change for this one. On “Mayday” (the first album), it was all us.

What’s the lowdown on Saturday’s gig?

It’s going to be 15 bucks; for that you get a copy of the album. We’re going to play the album straight through, maybe a couple of surprises. We’re going to have Brother Sal open. He’s amazing and one of my favorite artists.

How do your solo gigs fit into or detract from all this band excitement?

Well, I do both. I’ve certainly focused this last half-year on getting this record out. We decided last year that it was time to do a new record. I was living down in L.A. but was still up here a bunch and doing a lot of solo gigs. I released a little three-song EP last year and played that for a bit, then we really got hot and heavy with this, and honestly, I’ve been mostly doing band stuff. Maybe next year I’ll do some more solo stuff, but right now, it’s certainly all about the whole show.

You guys were trying to expand your horizons by playing in L.A., which usually sucks. What happened with that?

We’re planning on going wherever this will take us — L.A. and beyond. We’re looking to do some European stuff; we all want to go to the Netherlands, Australia, maybe into Spain. We’re definitely going to put our feelers out.

Need a roadie?

You’re down with that? Good to know.

As long as there’s no heavy lifting involved. How far have you guys traveled so far?

As a whole group, we haven’t been that far — mainly West Coast — but we’re really stoked about this album. We put a lot into it — time, blood, sweat, tears and money.

After 10 years, you’ve seen a lot of things come, go and stay the same. What’s your take on the local scene?

While there’s still not any more venues — there might even be less with Nicholby’s closing — it’s still just a very, very cool scene. I don’t know if it’ll ever blow up and be another Austin or L.A., but it might just stay Ventura. Everybody here is really into it, even the traveling folks that come through but, you know, the scene could use a few more venues. I don’t what it takes to do all that. I’d love to start a venue, but we’ll see

Nicholby’s is gone, but the Dirty’s happening and the Red Cove is still underutilized. Who knows?

It’s just a matter of getting out there and keep playing if you love to play, and the musicians here have clearly shown that they love to play anywhere, anytime. That’s a good thing.

Ojai’s still pretty much the same. Three bars in one block?

Ojai? We haven’t played up there in a while. We’ve just kind of been hiding out. Even though we did our record up there, we didn’t perform there much at all this past year. We love the scene here but we’re definitely looking to travel and see what’s out there.

Who goes to a Shades of Day show and what should they walk away with — if they can still walk after they get drunk?

There’s certainly a lot of drinks that go down at our shows. You know, pretty much anybody and everybody comes out. We definitely want to do a lot more all-ages shows. We want music that’s good for everybody that’s timeless. The last (Ventura) Theater show was really great. There’s no limit to what you can do if you’re into songs and melodies, which is what we do.

What’s “Take All Night” sound like?

I’ve heard some people say that there’s more pop and country in this new stuff. I guess there could be, but no more so than “Mayday.” I think the biggest difference for me was really the focus on the stories and the lyrics. The last one, “Mayday,” was very introspective and very personal. This is more about what’s going on outside the writer’s perspective — you know, kind of a third person’s view — and I think that really translated into the music so that it’s more accessible.

Do you guys still do “Mississippi Queen”?

We haven’t done that in years.

See? That’s how long it’s been since we talked. So are you still an L-Alien or are you back up here?

I’m definitely living in L.A. but I come up here all the time and sleep on the guitar player’s couch or go up to Ojai and hang out with the folks or sleep in my truck.

Shades of Day frontman B Willing James offered a track-by-track look at the band’s new album, “Take All Night.”

1. “One Flashing Light” is from the perspective of a guy or gal who moves into a big city with big dreams and starts getting out and mixing it up and realizes, “Gosh, I’m in over my head,” and kind of gets overwhelmed with the bigness of it and starts to get a little lost.

2. “Sexual Pretender” is kind of about going out with some abandon — out into the night, forgetting about all the fears you have and just finding someone to latch onto and having one of those all-nighters. And you know the angel and devil thing on your shoulder? They’re both whispering in your ear (there’s a line in the song that says that) and you don’t really know which way to go, so you kind of end up going with your instincts.

3. “Love Parade” is from a man’s perspective on what he’s got to deal with, like those times when you’re in school and can’t go to the chalkboard because you (are sexually aroused). It’s all about being a man and “Man, here we go again.” It’s sort of a tongue-and-cheek song that came out really good and is definitely one of my favorites on the album.

4. “Everything to Everyone” was written about someone who’s trying, trying, trying and things just don’t seem to go right. It’s definitely one of the more hopeful songs on the record. It’s like, “Just take a step back, take a deep breath and let life take you where it’s gonna go. Just go with the flow. Sit in the river and stop struggling and everything’s going to be cool.” It’s a very cool song, piano-driven, and it’s got a really cool melody. It was inspired by things my mother’s been through and I certainly dedicated that one to her.

5. “Sidewalk Sun” is kind of a continuation of “Everything to Everyone” but it’s got a little more party in it, I guess, and, “Hey, stop looking down at the sidewalk when you’re walking, stick your head up once in a while or else you’re going to miss what’s going by.” We’re giving that one away for free on our website, http://www.shadesofday.net.

6. “Hollow Man” is kind of about some Dungeons and Dragons stuff with a younger element of fantasy and dreams. The music really goes along with it, and there’s this cool creepy dance vibe. It’s a great Halloween song and we totally jammed it at the (Ventura) Theater. There’s also an underlying theme of, “Don’t listen to those who might poison your mind but rather use the poison on those that are trying to use it on you.”

7. “Fear” is one of the harder songs on the album, so that’s pretty cool. There’s kind of a thread of fear throughout this whole album — what it does to the psyche and how it changes decisions and kind of shapes your life. It pretty much holds us back in some respects. The song doesn’t explain how to beat it, but hey, there’s fear everywhere. It’s been especially a theme in this country for the last decade.

8. “Business Side of a Gun” involves a character — doesn’t have a name — who has certainly lost his way in life, maybe from childhood but just never really had a chance. He goes the way of crime and murder but he’s got this underlying goodness in him. He just can’t get past the evil part of it and all the hate and the hurt.

9. “Waiting for a Train” was kind of inspired by folks in Ventura: homeless people and vagabonds, young and old. It was written from the perspective that a lot of these people have made this choice, a lot of them haven’t and they’re where they are because of circumstances. “Hey, I’m not lonely — I’m just waiting for a train. Don’t feel pity; this is life I choose.” There’s some melancholy in it because that can be a lonely life to live, but it is your choice at the end of the day.

10. “Life Is Amazing.” It is, absolutely, any way you slice it, pretty amazing — the twists and turns and where it will take you. There’s ups and downs and things that are going to hurt real bad and things that are going to feel great and you’ve just got to take it all together and look at the picture and say, “Hey, this is it — this is life as we know it, see it for what it is and love every minute of it.”



Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/nov/12/night-grooves/#ixzz15KiDp3Nr
- vcstar.com
- Ventura County Star


The shades of life explored in rich contrast on Ojai band’s new record
By Michel Cicero 11/11/2010

“You failed at life/You’ll get ‘em next time/There’s a second chance for every one.”

The opening lyrics for “One Flashing Light,” the first song on Take All Night, the long-awaited second record by Ojai’s Shades of Day, are reflective of those moments on the artist’s path when self-doubt threatens to derail hope. It’s an experience that’s familiar to anyone who ever pursued a dream — when, despite all evidence of impending doom, you forge ahead, clinging to every scrap of encouragement you ever received, every inspirational cliché you ever heard.

With nearly five years having passed since the band’s debut record, Mayday, this release may seem like the proverbial second chance, but Shades front man B. Willing James sees it as more of a beginning. “You always hear about overnight success after a decade of hard work,” he says. “Discouragement and perseverance for the love of the game — I feel this is our real coming-out party.”

Chosen by VCReporter as a band to watch in 2010 and recently voted one of the top three bands in Ventura County by readers, there’s no question Shades of Day’s star is on the rise. And if the reception it received at the Ventura Theater last month is any indication, fans are having no trouble embracing a more seasoned and mature version of the band that wowed us in its infancy with its straightforward, country blues rock.

The journey from there to here hasn’t been fraught with the rock star drama normally associated with a band’s early development. Rather, it’s been a time of personal growth and searching, especially for James as is evident lyrically throughout Take All Night. Progressing as a band is a costly and often disappointing endeavor, especially at a time when it’s ridiculously easy for people to cycle through new music. A few years ago when things began to slow down for Shades of Day, James moved briefly to Los Angeles and explored his options as a solo artist. He also fell in love. All of this life experience ultimately strengthened his confidence in his calling as a musician and his bond with the band — all of which has everything to do with what is clearly a more grown-up collection of songs.

“I think I’ve been loving the last couple years — the richness of life I didn’t feel in my early 20s. I had more raw energy and apprehension, but now I’m more comfortable in my own skin and able to present what I want better, and that goes for everyone,” he says. “Making this record taught us a lot about ourselves, and about how to make a really good record.”

Shades of Day will celebrate the release of Take All Night with an all-ages show on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Zoey’s Café in Ventura. The band will perform the new record in its entirety, and $15 admission will include a copy of the CD.

TAKE ALL NIGHT

B. Willing James (acoustic guitars/vocals), Rick O Shay (drums), Camp O’Neill (electric guitars), Bruce Kimmell (electric guitars), Micah McCabe (bass and drums).
Available soon on vinyl.

From the bright lights of the big city and the boulevard of broken dreams to the kindness of strangers, the exhilaration of new love and the realities of business, Take All Night is a glimpse into the heart of the young musician trying to follow his bliss without sacrificing his soul. Musically lighter but thematically heavier than the first record, there is tremendous potential here for crossover into the pop and/or country markets.

One Flashing Light: Crisp and just pop enough for buoyancy, the perfect start to a record that builds with each listen.

Sexual Pretender: Fans will recognize this one from the band’s live repertoire. A tongue-in-cheek look at nightlife, lust and fast love. Upbeat and fun with interesting harmonies.

Love Parade: Currently in rotation on KJEE, 92.9, Santa Barbara. A sonically darker continuation of the previous track.

Everything to Everyone: Sweet, sweet love. Sigh. Sounds like good ’70s radio pop/rock.

Sidewalk Sun: The first “single” gets twangy with it. Fun, flirty and optimistic.

Hollow Man: The odd song out. A departure both lyrically and in the arrangement with a carnivalesque treatment. The artist’s journey takes a turn down darker streets.

Fear: Infectious tune that plays up the band’s talent for straight-up rock.

Business Side: “Can’t shake hands with the business side of a gun.” Super fun, clever country rock. Big crossover hit potential here.

Waiting for a Train: Powerful, evocative alt-country ode.

Life is Amazing: A country ballad for the ages wherein the artist finds peace along the way. - VC Reporter


~~For some strange reason, my first impression of this song was "Foriegner meets Soundgarden"...what a great combination! The guitar work is extremely retro-70's, the vocals are early to mid 90's, and the song gives an overall impression of modern rock. The musicianship of this song is simply to die for! I love the recording quality of this track, professional all the way. Lyricaly strong, structurally strong.... An awesome track....let me know when I can buy the CD!!!~~~

~~The HOT track!
What a great startup - the swinging cymbal. This is heavy and indeed too heavy for me on my earpiece.
But it is neat and cool with their ultimate explosive vocals. I promise you this is a track of passion and desire. Listen to it and feel the warmness of the melody.~~~

~~This is a good solid rock tune. It's put together well and executed the same. The band is tight. A little old school, but nothing wrong with that in my eyes. Good vocals, clean and in tune. Good job guys. Production is great!~~

~~whoa! awesome awesome. the vocals just struck me out when it first came in. it's that good. great melody set up. and the chorus ROCKS.
guitar...drool....when i heard the instruments break down i was really hoping for a solo and i got it. and i always love wah. and i love this guitar solo. and it's the chorus again.....which is AWESOME. such a good chorus. ~~~

~~GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reminds me of David Coverdale a bit.
Excellent vocals.
I saw his last incarnation of White Snake with Steve Vai, Vandenberg, Sarzo and Aldridge. Awesome. You guys sound great.
Real tight. Good song, arrangement and mix and production. Up on my playlist.
Good work. Good luck to you.~~
- Mixposure.com


"...Every once in a while a random visit to the club results in a new favorite band. This last Friday night at the Velvet Jones club in Santa Barbara I had one of these moments. The band was Shades of Day...The singer is shirtless and swales and swings with the feel of a famous Plant. The drummer is literally Animal from the Muppets - shirtless and all. And the guitar player, well not only did he spend more hours than most perfecting his pentatonics he friking rips em to shreds. Not without merit is their bass player who through enough deep end punch to make it vibrate your ass off the stool and end up on the floor. Just the kind of player I like, reluctant and solid...So keep an eye out for a chance to see these guys play and surf on over to their site for a few listens to what may be the debut of the year and are by far my favorite local rock band..."

- Adam - Streethound.com - Streethound.com


"...Anyone caught in the Ojai foursome's crunchy twin guitar attack will know that this band understands and embodies the spirit of the age. Not the ACTUAL 70's, mind you, but the glorious neverland 70's that exist only in the minds of music geeks under 30 who, somewhere along the line had the good fortune to discover the first decade or so of the Stones. Rock and roll from before it was exiled from the garden, from before it knew it had anything to be embarrassed about..."

"...Back in their studio continuing to rehearse for the show, the guys play with a cocksure swagger that would look idiotic if their musical chops weren't so solid. When they confer after each song to critique their performance, the rapport between them is charming and good-humored to an almost eerie degree, like if you were spying on the Beatles in their dressing room and you learned they really do act just like they do in A Hard Day's Night..."

-Chris Klimek - VC Reporter


"...There are a few rock 'n' roll cliches that are as tiresome as they are true. The show never starts on time. The thirstier you are, the more invisible you are to the bartender. The T-shirts cost too much and the prettiest girls are always with the band, in this case, Shades of Day..."

- Bill Locey ~ Time Out - Ventura County Star


Brendan Willing James will sing for his supper and put yours in a bag. By day, along with half the musicians in the 805, James works at Trader Joe's.

James, sometimes booked as himself or as the clever B. Willing for solo gigs, also fronts one of the best local indie rock bands, Shades of Day.

The band will pack tiny Wine Lovers in Ventura on Friday night, which figures to be its final show of 2007. Then, on Sunday at artist-friendly Zoey's in Ventura, James will be part of a songwriter-in-the-round gig, sitting alongside Nathan McEuen, Delaney Gibson and Pi.

James, who writes for himself and Shades of Day, should have no shortage of songs. This year he embarked on a solo coast-to-coast adventure tour. In between he played all over with the band.

James was more than Willing to discuss the latest during a recent phoner.

How's the Shades of Day biz and solo dude biz?

They're both really good. Shades of Day is in the studio, and we've got five new tracks that are kickin' ass. We just played a sold-out show at the Wildcat in Santa Barbara, then a show with Alter Bridge at the Ventura Theatre and we're all pretty stoked. We're trying to figure out how to work together as a band as we get older — we're all about 30 — and (come up with) a good plan of attack for '08. We want to get some new music out there that's downloadable, maybe some ring tones — whatever it is they do these days.

When you do a solo gig, are you yourself or B. Willing?

Willing is my middle name, so I did B. Willing because I really liked the idea, and a lot of people like it, but I've gone back to my full name, Brendan Willing James — that'll be the name when my next real record comes out.

Could there be a Trader Joe's band?

That's funny because there are so many musicians and artists that work there. We're always talking about starting a Trader Joe's band and going on tour, playing all the stores and getting paid whatever our wages are.

You have a job, you're in a band and you're a solo guy. How do you find time for it all? Most people can't even do one thing.

Well, you find the time because you have the passion. Usually I stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning, sleep for a few hours, get up and do the work thing, get on the computer or start writing, grab my guitar and throw the song down. The next day I can go into the studio with the band and lay that song down or play it at Zoey's and get some feedback. The next day I go to work. It's kind of a blur, man.

What have you learned on the road?

I did a three-month tour across the country in the spring, then another month in the Southeast. It was a big undertaking, and in hindsight I should've done a little more local touring, but I learned that I really love to move. It's hard to be stagnant; traveling and getting out of your comfort space is what brings the songs. It's what brings the music into me. I get to South Carolina and talk to someone, and because I'm not sitting in Ojai thinking about going to work the next day, I feel a lot more creative.

So you booked the tour yourself and have phone bills to prove it?

Yeah. I even got up to Canada. I found some places like Zoey's, but rarely — Zoey's is a unique place where people actually listen to you. I was rockin' out, but you can only rock so hard with an acoustic guitar. I was really wishing for my band at that point so I could just blow 'em out.

Do band songs begin as solo Brendan songs? How do you decide who gets what?

Good question. I write most of the stuff — lyrics, melody and guitar parts — then take it to the guys. If they're interested, we start to arrange it and put more interesting musical parts in, whereas when I'm playing solo, it's more focused on the melody. Playing with the band is a different beast. They all want to jam and we want it to be powerful and together. Lately I've been jamming with Nathan McEuen — we've been doing harmonies — and his brother, Jonathan. The three of us recorded three songs together. Those dudes are amazing, and I've learned a lot about songwriting and guitar playing and just letting your inner freak out.

How would you describe your music?

I look at it as an Americana thing. It starts off with a real strong melody and the lyrics are kind of coming from a heartbreak. The lyrics are very troubled, but I'm trying to come out with a positive message. I'm trying to show people that there are outlets. If you're a musician, it's writing or performing, but for others it could be exercising or painting or building a business. It doesn't really matter what it is, but I'm trying to elicit that.

What's your take on the local scene?

I think the local scene has got kind of an underground vibe. I've met a lot of musicians around here that I didn't even know existed. There needs to be more venues and a radio station where artists can get their music to the people, like a college radio thing. There's MySpace and Facebook, but I think there's a battle in Ventura where no one wants it to be Santa Barbara, and refugees from L.A. don't want the rest of L.A. to come here. There are a couple of key venues, but something I can't quite put my finger on keeps it underground, and there's a certain beauty in that. - Ventura County Star


"...Upon finishing the building of their rural studio which they appropriately christened the Barn in 2004, the group wasted no time utilizing the equipment they had just installed. It took them two years to complete the album because, James explains, their music and knowledge of the recording process evolved at such a rapid pace they had to constantly re-record material they felt wasnt up to par with the stuff they were doing only a few weeks later. But the end result appears to have been worth it: the album is muscular, melodic and strikingly mature..."

- Matthew Singer ~ Ventura County Reporter - Ventura County Star 5/25/06


Brier Random, May 11, 2006

Style: Classic ’70s-inspired wailing cock-rock, but with more than a hint of romantic chivalry that soon has the guys in the crowd fired up, and the girls standing in a slippery little puddle.

Influences: The Black Crowes, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Neil Young.

Prior Gigs: Velvet Jones, Wildcat, Rocks, Johnny Depp’s Viper Room in L.A., and the Ventura Theatre. They’ve opened for Blondie and Little Feat, and were featured on Chrissy Strassburg’s “Musical Café” on Channel 17.

The Skinny: Formed in Ojai six years ago, the band literally rose from ashes: After two garage-based years, they began the monumental task of converting a century-old barn into a deluxe practice/recording space (the “Red Barn Studio”) that perfectly suits their somewhat hippie-esque grassroots ideals. With wailing vocals, searing guitar hooks, and a punch-tight rhythm section, they take the phrase “in your face” literally, and they deliver on that promise. Hold on to your hat, cuz your ass’ll belong to Shades of Day.

- Santa Barbara Independent


Discography

TAKE ALL NIGHT LP
-Recorded by Michael Dumas 2010 at Audio International Recording Studio in Ojai, CA
-Release date November 16, 2010

MAYDAY! LP
-Recorded by Micah McCabe and Shades of Day 2006 at Red Barn Recording Studio in Ojai, CA
-Released May 12, 2006

Photos

Bio

TAKE ALL NIGHT
“You failed at life/You’ll get ‘em next time/There’s a second chance for every one.”

The opening lyrics for “One Flashing Light,” the first song on Take All Night, the long-awaited second record by Ojai’s Shades of Day, are reflective of those moments on the artist’s path when self-doubt threatens to derail hope. It’s an experience that’s familiar to anyone who ever pursued a dream — when, despite all evidence of impending doom, you forge ahead, clinging to every scrap of encouragement you ever received, every inspirational cliché you ever heard.

With nearly five years having passed since the band’s debut record, Mayday, this release may seem like the proverbial second chance, but Shades front man B. Willing James sees it as more of a beginning. “You always hear about overnight success after a decade of hard work,” he says. “Discouragement and perseverance for the love of the game — I feel this is our real coming-out party.”

Chosen by VCReporter as a band to watch in 2010 and recently voted one of the top three bands in Ventura County by readers, there’s no question Shades of Day’s star is on the rise. And if the reception it received at the Ventura Theater last month is any indication, fans are having no trouble embracing a more seasoned and mature version of the band that wowed us in its infancy with its straightforward, country blues rock.

The journey from there to here hasn’t been fraught with the rock star drama normally associated with a band’s early development. Rather, it’s been a time of personal growth and searching, especially for James as is evident lyrically throughout Take All Night. Progressing as a band is a costly and often disappointing endeavor, especially at a time when it’s ridiculously easy for people to cycle through new music. A few years ago when things began to slow down for Shades of Day, James moved briefly to Los Angeles and explored his options as a solo artist. He also fell in love. All of this life experience ultimately strengthened his confidence in his calling as a musician and his bond with the band — all of which has everything to do with what is clearly a more grown-up collection of songs.

“I think I’ve been loving the last couple years — the richness of life I didn’t feel in my early 20s. I had more raw energy and apprehension, but now I’m more comfortable in my own skin and able to present what I want better, and that goes for everyone,” he says. “Making this record taught us a lot about ourselves, and about how to make a really good record.”,, ~ michel cicero | VCREPORTER.COM

Shades of Day has been opener or support for Ziggy Marley, Natasha Bedingfield, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Jason Mraz, Blondie, Little Feat, Snow Patrol, Sugarcult, Alter Bridge, ALO, Devon Allman, Glen Phillips, Kenny Loggins and Edwin McCain, in addition to sharing bills regularly in the Ventura and Los Angeles counties with the many amazing local bands.