Saturday, October 19, 2019

October 19th, 2019...

Greetings and salutations,

This weekend I'm hoping to finally decorate for Halloween (yes, I know...super late). The month of October seems to have gotten busier and busier as the years have passed. I can remember the time when I HAD the time to sit back, relax, watch some Halloween shows and chill.  Now, with my commute, kids, etc I rarely stop before 11 pm at night and since I wake up around 5 am every morning it leaves little time to do much in the way of Fall festivities. The one cool thing I HAVE been doing is listening to creepy music in my office in an attempt to try and get into the spirit.



What do YOU do to get into the Halloween spirit? Drop me a line and let me know!

Happy Haunting!

Mark Harvey

Friday, October 18, 2019

October 21st, 2019....

Jack O' Lanterns!!!!

Pumpkins are pretty much my favorite thing about Halloween season.  Anyone who KNOWS me knows that I have a thing for Jack O'Lanterns and that my "Halloween scene" is all about 'em.  I wrote this song years ago and it is always fun to have a listen.

Does your family have any traditions surrounding carving pumpkins? Do you like carving them ON Halloween or do you carve them before?

I like to carve pumpkins ON Halloween as sort of our ritual - keeping the spooks away.

Have a listen to my tune, "jack o'lantern" and bug out with me!

Happy Haunting!

Mark Harvey

October 18th, 2019...pumpkin beers (repost warning)

Greetings ghouls and beer drinkers (you can be both ya know...),

As many of my readers know I brew beer, enjoy beer and write about beer.  This is not to say that I drink A LOT of beer, but it is something that I have grown to really appreciate.

Each year I await the inbound shipments of pumpkin beers - not that I am a HUGE fan of them, but there's something about getting 'em, drinking 'em and having 'em available throughout the holiday season.  I headed over to the local BevMo and picked up the only four types they had.  I thought I'd go ahead and review them as well.  I've read about MANY others - would like to try MANY others, but unfortunately I can only get what's shipped to CA and rather than hunt down specialty pumpkin brews at small liquor stores I head to BevMo and buy what they get in.  If ANYONE located in NorCal can point me toward places that carry other varieties I'd be grateful.
So...let's begin...

Shipyard Brewing Co. Pumpkinhead Ale - 5.10% ABV - I was introduced to this beer while in Portland, ME on business.  It is the perfect beer to drink with a hearty meal on tap at Bull Feeney's on a cold Fall  night in Maine.  Pumpkinhead Ale has a very nice pumpkin pie spice scent, with a nice little hint of malt sweetness at the back. Great flavor, not as much spice in the taste as in the nose, and it matches well with the nice malt backing. These go down very easily and have the perfect balance of spice and flavor.  A nice addition to a Halloween party of holiday meal.  Shipyard is prolific and you can find their beer nearly everywhere.  I'm a fan of the Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (Pugsley's Signature Series) - a 9% ABV (which is right up my alley being that is it HIGH ABV).  Those are sold in 22s so it is a drinking commitment unless you can find a pal to help you out.

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - "A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg" pretty much sums this beer up. This beer weighs in at a nice 7% ABV.  Hmmm...smells like a pumpkin beer...tastes...great, but not as spice heavy as I expected.  Punkin Ale pours a great burnt orange - a nice white head and sticky lacing. The scents of cinnamon and ginger linger. The brown sugar and spices coming through in the finish. This beer is excellent and provides all the things I like.  Drinkability AND high alcohol content.
Wasatch Pumpkin Seasonal Ale  - comes in at 4% ABV. Let me start by saying that I LOVE Wasastch beer.  I visited Utah earlier this year and got to taste all of the beers (with low ABV) on tap and their double IPA in bottles - drinking a six pack in a few days was a feat, I must say. I love their Polygamy Porter and their sister brewing company's (Squatters) Hop Rising, but this seasonal ale just doesn't do it for me.  The spice scheme is all off.  The taste is unsweetened and mostly a watered down cinnamon-spiced pumpkin taste.  It has an empty finish that is jsut flat out sour. I don't enjoy it (and I have a whole six pack to deal with).  I wanted to like it, but I just don't.

Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale (America's Original) - 5.2% ABV. - This is one of the best of the best pumpkin brews (in my opinion).  The brewery is almost in my backyard and I enjoy a bunch of their brews.  Brewed with fresh roasted pumpkins and flavored with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, it IS NOT pumpkin pie in a bottle. It pours to a golden orange color and has a very light head formation.  A wonderfully spicy nose that reminds me of freshly baked pumpkin pie. With a firm crystal malt background the pumpkin and spices take center stage. They meld nicely with the pumpkin flavors right on into the perfect spice-balanced finish.
For some reason the reviews of this beer online have been grim.  I'm not sure why. 

What I'm REALLY looking forward to is the release of their Imperial Pumpkin Ale.  I tried 6.5 ounces of it (that's all they serve at a time) the other night at the pub and I tell ya, it is GOOD.  At 9.8% ABV is packs a wallop. 

Since Buffalo Bills is local I figured I'd post a little something I found about the brewing of their brew...
This taken from HomeBrewTalk.com (here)
Brewer: Geoff Harries of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California.Geoff homebrewed from 1981 to 1987. He became the head brewer at Buffalo Bill’s from '87 to '89, then the GM and head brewer at Brewpub on the Green from '90 to '93. He bought Buffalo Bill’s and is now the owner and head brewer.
" Our pumpkin beer is brewed at several locations for us, but one definite rule is that we always use fresh, whole pumpkins. The kinds vary depending on the season and what is ripe, but we like to use Atlantic Giants and Big Macs. Both are jumbo in size and have lots of fiber. Especially the fiber makes for easier mashing.
We roast the pumpkins, since a raw pumpkin is really nothing but a squash and if you try to use them raw, nothing comes out of them. Roasting converts some of the starch inside the pumpkin, and lets us extract sugars and sweetness. We cook them to the point where they’re kind of done—maybe a little brown around the edges, just when they are starting to caramelize. But we don’t want them turned to mush. Since pumpkins come in all different sizes, cooking times will vary. Once they are ready we cut them open and pull out the seeds.
For six-and-a-half barrels, we use about thirty pounds of pumpkins, though this will depend greatly on the pumpkin. This is a bit more than one-half pound for a five gallon batch, but once you start brewing you’ll realize you don’t want that much pumpkin anyway. Remember, this is a beer, not a vegetable beer. The pumpkin is there to complement the malts, not take them over. Besides, too much pumpkin makes for a tough sparge.
We always experiment with the base beer, but it’s generally a red ale/amber beer. We are looking for something with an orange to red hue. All the color in the beer comes from the malt. None comes from the pumpkin.
We go through the standard sparge. We have had trouble with this stage in the past, and what we have discovered is if you overcook the pumpkin it gets all mushy and causes the stuck mash. So, it’s important to not over roast.
Hops should be low-key. Be subtle, just to balance the malt sweetness. You don’t want the beer to be bitter. Think pumpkin pie in a glass, and shoot for that flavor profile. The dominant character will be the up front malt flavor, followed by a finish that highlight the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. And speaking of spices, we use whole spice. This year we’ll put them in a big sparge bag, and then hang them in the conditioning tanks, after the boil. This is the way to get that nice, spiced character because it’s kind of like dry-hopping."

Well, I enjoyed the process of drinking these four beers (minus the Wasatch) and bringing these beer reviews to you.

Grab 'em if you can find 'em and CELEBRATE!  Halloween is NEARLY here!

Mark Harvey
Brewer and Beer Drinker
Enjoying an Imperial Pumpkin Ale
at Buffalo Bill's Brewery years ago

Thursday, October 17, 2019

October 17th, 2019....Master of Music Macabre

Here's another repost...
An interview I did with Ghoul Skool :

If you haven't heard 13th Track Halloween Radio or listened to the music of Nobody Records then your missing the best part of Halloween. Read along and check out the links as we interview Mark Harvey, the Master of Music Macabre!
Q: The 13th Track is the Premiere Halloween Radio Station. Why Halloween?
A: Halloween is my favorite holiday. For years I would put together mixes of Halloween (and Christmas) music and give it to friends. A sort of music to live your holiday by. As the years went on I started collecting anything and everything Halloween audio related. As my collection grew I decided I wanted to share my collection with a broader audience so I started 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio.
Q: Your collection of Halloween related songs is staggering, how long have you been collecting them? Do you have a favorite find? Is there a favorite song associated with Halloween?
A: I've been collecting Halloween related audio for around 22 years (I'm 34 now). My favorite find is a recent one. I finally located The Munsters LP in excellent condition. This LP features the Munsters theme with lyrics. Of course now that I found one, they've been showing up left and right on eBay. It'd be tough to pick just one favorite song since I've got so many. I'm into the more fun, party side of Halloween music. Music that is good to dance to. Something to get the girls dancing!
Q: You split your record selections for the 13th Track between classics (pre-70s) and modern (post 70s), in your opinion was there a shift in the music at that time? Where do you see Halloween music headed in the future, will it be darker, more Culdee or could there be another "Monster Mash" looming on the horizon?
A: There seems to be a shift from the pre-70s to the post 70s. Music from the 70s fits better with newer music. Music from the 60s and earlier tends to fit together. I've been DJing for many years and figured that 70s and before and 70s and beyond would be the logical place to split the broadcasts. Earlier Halloween music tends to be more whimsical, while newer Halloween music a bit darker (not in all cases). As far as the future of Halloween music? I think musicians will continue to record whatever inspires them. I know there are lots of new whimsical Halloween tunes, but with society getting a bit darker I also feel that Halloween music will emulate what's going on, so it should also get darker.
Really, people record for whoever they think their audience is, even if it is just for themselves. When I record my music I record the music for myself and hope that there is someone out there that can relate to what I'm doing. So far so good. As far as another "Monster Mash" on the horizon, I doubt it. Songs like that one come around once in a lifetime. Of all the emails I get, "Monster Mash" is still the most requested song. I'm still trying to write a song that rivals it. Hopefully someday I'll succeed!
Q: Nobody Records is a unique name, oft times there is a special meaning linking the name to the owner is it so in your case? How long has Nobody Records been in business? Where are you located?
A: Back in the late 80's my band, The Screaming Paisleys, needed a record label name to release our debut LP "EXIT" on. I had a band mascot (if you will) that I called Nobody - a no eyes, nose or mouth doll. I liked the name and it seemed to fit and it has stuck now for 16+ years. The label is located in Northern California near Oakland.
Q: The artists on your label are truly talented, how do you find them or do they find you? Do you solicit material from new acts or do you create them?
A: I've found most of the artists on my label. I do accept unsolicited material and I've signed acts who've submitted demos. Much of what is on my label has some connection to me - either I am the band or part of the band or good friends with the band. My goal is to be able to someday add many more artists to the label and get affiliated with a major label.
Q: Have you been associated with providing music for the dark ride industry? If so, in what fashion?
A: I've created many custom tracks for the dark amusement industry. People from all over the world contact me for specialized tracks. It helps that I am a haunter and dark rider. I understand what it takes to put on a good show. Music, in my opinion, is the least considered, but the most effective aspect of any dark attraction. I like to see floor plans, understand the themes or gag in each space. Then I create a track that immerses the visitor in the desired location. Right now I am working with a dark ride company in the Middle East. Another goal of mine is to work for an amusement company putting together tracks for rides, theme parks and events.
Q: Do you do anything special for Halloween such as parties, haunts or charitable functions?
A: Yes. Each year I put on a haunt for children called "Pumpkinland" (named after my CD series). Children enter free and I collect canned goods or small donations for an entrance fee from the adults. All proceeds benefit the Davis Street Community Center in San Leandro, CA. Last year I wasn't able to put "Pumpkinland" together, but plan on getting it back up and running this October. I've got many new pneumatic props (built by Brent Ross, Devious Concoctions) and look forward to putting on a professional show for the kids this year.
Q: Is there a special Halloween memory that remains with you?
A: Yes. Trick or Treating as a kid. I have many fond memories of combing the hillsides in San Carlos, CA with my friends in search of candy and good scares. It was safe back then to wander around until all hours of the night with your friends. We'd come home with pillow cases full of candy. I also loved carving Jack-O-Lanterns, visiting Half Moon Bay, CA and decorating the house for Halloween. The new fond memories of Halloween include meeting Rob Zombie, Karen Black, Bill Moseley and Alyson Hannigan at Universal Studios. They all did radio spots for 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio and received copies of my Pumpkinland CD and my band, Rain Station's CD, DARK RIDE. I also enjoy visiting local haunts and hearing the tracks I've created for them in action.

And that's it folks...repost du jour...hope you enjoyed it and keep visiting Mark Harvey World each day during the month of October.

Hallowe'en Greetings!

Mark Harvey
(the picture to the left is me at a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay)





Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 16th, 2019....

Greetings and salutations,

It is hard to believe October is halfway over. I hope you're having a great Season. If you haven't already moseyed over to have a listen to some of my Halloween music now would be the perfect time to do so.  There's something for everyone!

Have a listen to Pumpkinland, Pumpkinland II and Pumpkinland III

Have a listen to Rain Station's DARK RIDE
Have a listen to Fleshrot: Songs from the Dead

Happy Listening!

Mark Harvey

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October 15th, 2019..."Helping Haunters" - FREE MP3 download

Greetings ghouls and fiends,

Back in 2002 I participated in producing a charity CD (with a number of other artists).  It was called "Haunters Helping Haunters" and I had three songs on the disc.

"Helping Haunters" was recorded specifically for this disc.

Please have a listen and ENJOY...

Tonight I'm making this tune available for FREE!

Download "Helping Haunters" now - here.

I hope you enjoy some of the FREE Halloween treats I'm posting.  Remember to support independent artists (like me) by downloading or purchasing music - you can find my music for download here, here, here and here.

Mark Harvey













Click here if you can't figure out where to download the track

Monday, October 14, 2019

October 14th, 2019....Halloween Cartoons!!

I'm sure you've noticed that Halloween is my favorite time of year. Something about the October sky. The air. The rustling leaves. The Halloween cartoons!

If you haven't already purchased them, be sure to buy "Mad Monster Party", "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" this season. Sure beats waiting around for them to air on TV!









I can remember when I was a kid (before VCRs and DVDs) sifting through the TV Weekly trying to find out when "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" was going to be on TV. "Mad Monster Party" hardly ever played on TV (due to its running time) so I was elated when it became available on DVD. "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" really captures what Halloween was like for me growing up. The story line: Charlie Brown is thrilled to have been at last invited to a costume party. His costume consists of a bed sheet with far too many holes in it (very befitting of Charlie Brown). Snoopy's costume consists of the goggles and scarf of a World War I flying ace. He is in search of his nemesis, the Red Baron. Linus prepares for the arrival of The Great Pumpkin, whom he believes will rise from the pumpkin patch and deliver presents to all good little boys and girls who believe in him. In the end, Charlie Brown finds himself with a treat bag full of rocks; Snoopy once more fails to bring the Red Baron down; and Linus spends the entire night in a pumpkin patch, waiting in vain for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. This the second of Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez' animated Peanuts specials, the 30-minute "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" was first telecast October 27, 1966.








Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is based on characters created by Burton, the former Disney animator best known as the director of "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", "Beetlejuice", "Edward Scissorhands", and the first two "Batman" movies. This a story of Halloweentown resident Jack Skellington (voice by Danny Elfman, who also wrote the songs), who stumbles on a strange and fascinating alternative universe called ... Christmastown! Directed by Henry Selick (who later made the delightful "James and the Giant Peach"), this PG-rated is suited for kids of all ages. As Roger Ebert noted in his review, "some of the Halloween creatures might be a tad scary for smaller children, but this is the kind of movie older kids will eat up; it has the kind of offbeat, subversive energy that tells them wonderful things are likely to happen."








For some homegrown Halloween fun be sure to check out the animated cartoons by Jay Moores for Rain Station's Halloween spectacular, DARK RIDE...and visit JackOLantern.org!











See the spooky animations for the songs:
CANDY
TRICK OR TREATIN'
MONSTER HUNTER
THINGS
DAY OF THE DEAD
TOMB OF DOOM
HAUNTED MAN
DARK RIDE
and a BONUS track NOT found on DARK RIDE...IT'S HALLOWEEN and SCIENCE!!!

Happy Haunting!

Mark Harvey



Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13th, 2019...Rain Station's DARK RIDE turns 19

Greetings fellow ghouls,

It is VERY hard to believe that NINETEEN years ago Jay and I released Rain Station's DARK RIDE and after 19 years I'm still as excited about this CD as I was when it was released.  Let's rewind the clock...here's the back story (for those who don't know).
Back in the Fall of 2000 (Due to my online presence on 13thTrack.com Halloween Radio) I was invited to The Universal Studios Hollywood Eyegore Awards. The Universal Studios Hollywood Eyegore Awards are presented for achievement in the horror and sci-fi genre. So, on Friday, October 13th Jay and I trekked down to LA to be there, interview some folks and get some station IDs for 13thTrack.com as well as interview some of the winners for an article that I wrote.  For some reason I still can't seem to find the article, but I'll keep digging so I can post it here.

The winners that night were:
* Joss Whedon
* Casts of Buffy and Angel
* Karen Black
* Gloria Stewart
* "The Undertaker"

I knew I was going to be meeting some people that night (Rob Zombie, Karen Black, Alyson Hannigan, Bill Moseley, Joss Whedon and more) and I figured it would be cool to record a Halloween CD to hand out to the folks we meet - you know, see if we can land that big record deal or get our music placed in a horror film, on TV...something. Rob Zombie had recently launched his Zombie A-Go-Go Record label (now inactive) and since I've always been a fan of HALLOWEEN and rockabilly (gothabilly) I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to push out another CD in 2000 (we had released "Stonedozer" earlier that year). So Jay and I put this together quick style and did what we set out to do. Funny how I remember working at the Gelb Music consignment shop and writing lyrics.  I had rough mixes on cassette and an old tape player. In between customers and phone calls I'd try and pen lyrics.  I remember being a bit frantic since I knew we had a deadline and I agreed to work extra shifts to cover a vacation. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when I record - or at least I try to be - and in this case DARK RIDE just wasn't going to get the time I would normally put into a CD.  Amazing enough the disc turned out despite lack of time. Once we got back to the Bay Area from the "gig" we decided that the CD was pretty good so we mastered the disc with George Horn (Chief Mastering Engineer) at Fantasy Records in Berkeley, CA.
It still amazes me that we recorded this entire CD in probably two or three weeks. The disc got some great reviews as well...and although I know I've blogged this far too many times, here goes again (the reviews):

Underground DJ from Haunted Attraction Magazine

Now it is time to run away and join the carnival. "Step right up and see the amazing, the unbelievable, the available for your attraction CD, DARK RIDE by Rain Station." A journey through a veritable midway of new music written for old pretzel rides. The use of sound effects is limited only to those that help create the feel of the piece. The styles of music range widely from Heavy Metal beats through old time Rock and Roll to the almost cutesy Trick Or Treatin'. This nostalgically fun selection, took me back to my early days as a young zombie, heading out on Halloween with the lust for candy in my heart. The CD would be great for line entertainment or a party, with a little bit for every taste and some of the beats are infectious.

Larry McKenzie HalloweenMagazine.com

DARK RIDE by Rain Station is one of the most unique Halloween music CDs I have ever heard. DARK RIDE has 13 music tracks. Each track is a good mixture for Halloween. A bit mysterious and dark, yet very fun. The DARK RIDE CD would be great for an adult Halloween party. If you are a Halloween enthusiast and are looking for more Halloween music for your collection, you should visit http://www.NobodyRecords.com/ and listen to the MP3 samples from the DARK RIDE CD. I am happy to have this CD as part of my Halloween music collection. I sincerely recommend visiting Nobody Records and listen to a track or two.

Underground Entertainment

(This) offering is more of a Halloween party CD, especially suited to be played in queue lines or on the midways of Scream Parks. It contains thirteen tracks of rock/alternative style music with Halloween themes. You'll find titles such as "Monster Hunter", "Haunted Man", "Black Lagoon", "Trick or Treatin'", and "Broom Hopping". This one is fun and is a CD that should be added to the collection of anyone interested in assembling a music anthology of Halloween related material.

Chaotic Order

Curious mix of Porno for Pyros and White Collar Crime with a penchant for Halloween. Best use would be on the soundtrack for the upcoming Scooby Doo movie.

Happy Halloween Magazine

Looking for a Halloween CD with an edge, this is the one to get. Available from Nobody Records, Rain Station's Dark Ride packs a gritty, heavy metal sound that conjures an auditory image of purgatory. While this is not normally the type of music I listen to, for Halloween...it works! The raspy vocals lend a dark, almost visceral feel to the accompanying music. Contains 13, new, original hits...

Jay made some "videos" for some of the tracks on DARK RIDE. Check all of them out here.
DARK RIDE is one of my all time favorite projects. Perhaps it is because we didn't over analyze it, we had a timeline and had to bang it out. Perhaps it was because we got to be completely goofy. Rain Station music can sometimes be awfully serious and this disc is nothing but pure fun. Perhaps it was the thrill of getting to give copies of our CD to folks like Rob Zombie and Karen Black. Perhaps it was the Halloween theme.

The road trip to Universal Studios with Jay is a very fond memory for me. It felt like we were on tour.




JackOLantern.ORG Animation from J.E.Moores on Vimeo.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DARK RIDE!!!

Mark Harvey





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