Local jazzman-turned-folkie Mark Growden: There are many ways to interpret and preserve the traditions of musical Americana. One is treat it like a museum piece, with pious reverence -- thereby sucking the fun clean out of it. Another is to revamp it, keep its mannerisms, but supercharge it, mucking it up with irony and audacity until it's hard to tell where love for the music leaves off and contempt takes over. Local lad Mark Growden has found his own path -- he approaches American music in untraditional ways, keeping the framework and verities, but, in his words, "turning them on their head, [interpreting them] the way a jazz musician would. It's not jazz, but it's taking old songs and finding their emotion, remaking them anew." Growden embraces American music as a whole, finding Bruce Springsteen and Aretha Franklin part of the same continuum as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.
The Frustrators -- Mike Dirnt's Other Band: If you were in one of the most popular and successful rock 'n' roll bands on the planet, and had been entrenched in the Write-Record-Tour-Repeat cycle almost completely for well over a decade, you'd be forgiven for wanting to use your scarce patches of time off to sit on a beach somewhere, take it easy, and enjoy some quiet time before the next stadium tour loomed. No thanks, says Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt. He'd rather hit the studio to record with his beloved side project the Frustrators, and return to the punk rock dives he started out in -- including Berkeley's legendary 924 Gilman and Petaluma's Phoenix Theater -- for an upcoming minitour.