October 27th, 2007 by admin
Being that I’m a hard core rock & roll fan whose enjoyed the likes of Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin at free concerts, umm a couple of years ago, it’s more than just a treat to listen to a hard rocking Native group like N8V.
With roots on Kodiak Island Alaska in the little fishing village of Port Lions, Alutiiq (Aleut) Tribe, the band with humble beginnings was established in Seattle in 2006. The love and respect for their Native American heritage is ever present in all their works. They are storytellers from a perspective that is truly unique to Native American youth (and youth in general) but they are a rock & roll band by every stretch of the word. And their music is BAD TO THE BONE, with lyrics of significant social consequence and worth paying attention to.
Their journey was filled with peaks and valleys as Chris Lukin (lead vox/guitar) and Ray Ray (bass), childhood friends, relocated to Seattle in 1999 and began to write and record their own demos. For their efforts they got their first break in 2004 with a hit “Sure To Bleed” which was aired on 106.4FM in Aberdeen Washington. Before long, this piece was being aired on other stations as well as the internet. It was then aired on satellite stations featuring Native American artists. Soon stations began to pick up another demo and in their words, “The introspective and autobiographical song 12 Steps Back.”
Early in 2007 they enlisted Electric Jake (lead guitar/vox) and drummer Brian Holland and hit the road. They played many venues in California and New Mexico culminating in a grand performance at the world renowned Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque New Mexico. After GON they went on to play shows and casinos across the Northwest. This past summer, they began pre-production of their Nations Rise EP. Radio stations began playing two of the tunes that were posted in N8V’s web site, “Nations Rise and Black Soul” and offering them yet more exposure.
A few months ago, the group was planning to perform at a festival in the Washington area to promote their music but was unfortunately introduced to the darker side of the entertainment world. The event promoter blocked them from performing (for dubious, and I argue, self serving reasons) to the dismay of these budding artists, creating personal and professional tumult in their lives. It was petty to say the least, but this is not uncommon in the entertainment arena. All entertainers must be wary of scoundrels. Ironically, I was scheduled to conduct a video interview with N8V for the festival when this all unfolded, but simply packed up my gear and split the scene when I witnessed the treatment these young artists were receiving.
N8V was disappointed the interview wasn’t going to take place, but they understood. They shared their frustrating experience saying how they felt the promoter aimed to break their spirit by damaging their reputation. Fortunately Chris and the crew had already grown a thick skin and she did not accomplish her goal of implying the band was unreputable. Granted, it did make them sad to think someone could possibly see them in such a negative light, but it was all too apparent in their eyes that this promoter/organizer never bothered to listen to their work. If she had, she would have known these kids champion noble causes and honor traditional Native values through their music and in life.
Sadly, it makes me wonder how many other artists were turned away from this festival and excluded from getting exposure. In no way did this reflect on the people who were footing the bill of this event, whom were likely unaware of these shenanigans. But I was and I will never forget the fallout and how it affected N8V, myself and others who support young Native performers.
With this bump on the road to stardom behind them, N8V is continuing to forge their own path as so many of our people have to do. Brian Holland, their drummer, has decided to follow other career pursuits and has since left the band. But timing is everything—on their way to The Toybox Studio in Seattle to cut their EP, their audio engineer, Dan Slinger, directed them to Ryan Wollen. Well, Ryan and the group clicked and the chemistry is obvious and the world will be able to enjoy some of the best rock & roll to hit the airways.
Fact is the engineer also clicked and is currently helping N8V build their own studio they will share with other budding artists as well. This speaks volumes about the caliber of this group N8V and I wish them all the success in the world in all they endeavor. Their EP will be out in November and it will be a welcome treat for rock & roll aficionados from all age groups. Even this old buzzard.
|N8V MySpace Profile|