Azusa’s Best: Robert DeLong, Scott Ryan and Johanna Chase

Posted: June 28, 2012 by Kevin Collier in Band Spotlight
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One of the great things about my time at Azusa Pacific University is the sheer amount of amazing, talented people I met along the way. I want to give a snapshot of three people I met there and what they’re doing with their music right now. Without further ado:

Robert DeLong

Photographed by Ben Miller
Courtesy of Leveled Magazine

I’ll never forget the first time I met Robert DeLong. “Hi, I”m Robbie. Do you like robots?” He said, as we headed downstairs from our dorm hall, which we called “Second South” to watch Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Here was this guy in a beanie from some small town in Washington called Bothell. Soon I found he was very into music and he actually piqued my interest in bands like Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie. In the months that followed I heard him talking about starting a band with another guy from our hall, Sam Ward. I had the privilege of seeing their band, called The Denouement, perform several times. I even watched them win APU’s Battle of the Bands, beating out another, more commercial sounding and arguably more popular band. In the years that followed, we both graduated and moved on. I was always interested to see what Robert would do next. His solo work at first spoke of often depressing subjects like getting older and feeling lost, yet it had a cool vibe and I couldn’t get enough. In 2010, he announced he would release free songs of the month to those who subscribed via e-mail. I signed up and like clockwork he has continued to produce original, thought-provoking, incredible art consistently. I always admired his intensity on drums when he played with The Denouement or backed other solo artists in their bands. What’s cool to see though is how he has evolved his music into a sort of amalgamation of multiple genres that frankly sounds nothing like it should with you mess with that many elements. I look forward to seeing him in concert as part of KROQ‘s Locals Only Showcase at The Troubadour on July 11th. Buy tickets here.

Scott Ryan

Image Courtesy of Facebook

It’s hard to believe it’s been since September of last year that I reviewed Scott Ryan’s album, Mercy Killings. Unfortunately I didn’t take the opportunity to really get to know Scott in college, but I did watch him play a lot. He led the band at APU’s weekly chapel events and  he’s a natural at this whole music thing. His brother also played in the band with him. I had the pleasure of attending the music video premiere of “VFW”, which you can watch here. I think it’s about time I check in on Scott Ryan and see what’s next for him. You should too. He’ll be at El Cid Theatre in Silverlake, along with his band, The Thunderbeast. Tomorrow’s Friday, so do yourself a favor and stay up late to watch Scott Ryan and the Thunderbeast rock out. Also performing will be Kyle McNeill & The Stumble. I hope to see you there.

Johanna Chase

Image Courtesy of Facebook

Johanna Chase and I share a special connection. We used to get paid to pick up trash together. I actually met Johanna originally through Robbie DeLong and I had the opportunity to work with her as an on campus Custodian. We cleaned the shit out of that place. Well, I did…but that’s a story for another time. I got to see her do some pretty cool things over the years, such as her St. Baldrick‘s benefit show on campus. She shaved her normally trademark dreadlocks for a more freshly shorn look. You wouldn’t know it looking at her today. She also traveled around the US on her I heart people tour. But what’s really cool is that you can help her make a new album in New York with Producer Roger Greenawalt (Rhett Miller, Rufus Wainwright, Nellie McKay, Ben Kweller). I did! Please check out her music and donate on Kickstarter. Speaking of Kickstarter, stay tuned for a big announcement for The Stereo Lounge on Kickstarter.

Support independent artists!

- Kevin

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