KC music

On The Beat with Josh Enyart




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On The Beat with Josh Enyart


Josh Enyart is one of the most eclectic drummers in Kansas City, proven by his time with bands like Pixel Panda, Maps for Travelers, and currently, Jorge Arana Trio and Various Blonde. We catch up with Josh to learn more about him and his massive collection of drums (see photo).

The Deli: How did the drums find you?

Josh EnyartWell, back in ‘95 at Hocker Grove Middle School (Brett Southard and Justin Tricomi were also in the same grade as me), a friend of mine would play guitar by himself all the time and I would just hang out and watch. so I got a job as a carny for fun services, saved up enough money to buy a drum set in ‘96 and I started my life as a habitual worker/drummer. That is pretty much all I have been doing since. Work and drums!

The Deli: What type of kit(s) do you use?

JE: I have a couple, and each one has had a pretty specific role in each band it was used for. In Jorge Arana Trio, I use a Mapex Saturn series (Manhattan sizes) with an auxiliary Sonor Rosewood 16" floor tom. This is one of my favorite setups!

The DeliBiggest influences?

JEThat question has an odd answer; I missed out on a lot of music culture. Until 1993 we lived overseas (my parents were missionaries) so we got back to the States and I was introduced to Nirvana and Pantera—talk about culture shock! Spirit Fest and The Gadjits were how I was introduced to the live music scene.

How about this, the bands i saw in concert most: Fear Factory, The Urge, Primus, 311, Lake Trout, Drums and Tuba, anything Mike Dillon! Tons of heavy shit back when Adam Mitchell in The Esoteric (love that guy)! In all actuality I would say all the people I have played with have been some of the biggest influences on my drum style. Yeah, definitely! I've had the pleasure of playing with a lot of great musicians. These are the people who helped shape my playing style.

The Deli: Tell us about some of the bands you’ve been in.

JEThat is a long list, so I will name a few. Nocturne Noir, kind of a black metal meets J-Rock heavy sound. Savitar: Middle Eastern-based Mars Volta sound. Pixel Panda: anxiety-driving chaos dance rock. Latin: vocal-driven modern alt rock. Maps for Travelers: heavy indie rock. Capture the Flag: electronic bass dance indie. My current groups are Various Blonde: vintage expressive rock, and Jorge Arana Trio: punk jazz, as described by Jorge.

The Deli: Wow, that’s quite an eclectic list. Is there any style you wouldn’t play?

JEI have also played in country and pop bands. There isn't anything someone could put in front of me that I wouldn't try because you can learn from every style, and that keeps me growing as a musician.

The Deli: Okay, let’s say you get to pick a group of KC/Lawrence drummers to make a drum circle with. Who would they be?

JEThat’s a long list! Separating by genre? Style? Taught or rough on the edges? It would totally depend on what was trying to be accomplished. But one of my top configurations would most likely be Sam Sartorious, Blair Greens, Nick Organ, Justin Tricomi, Drew Little, and Alex Thomas. This is a group I am trying to get in my basement!

The Deli: Anything else you want to share with us about your technique?

JE: I would like to become a jazz drummer. That means I have work to do.

The Deli: What other plans do you have for the bands this year?

JEI bought a van, and this year, and the Jorge Arana Trio is planning on spreading our Gospel throughout the land. We and Various Blonde will be playing the MidCoast Takeover in Austin for SXSW. As far as other projects are concerned, I do have an idea I might start working on, but the trio is my top for sure!

Enyart will join Jorge Arana Trio on stage tomorrow, Friday, February 1 for the second MidCoast Takeover fundraiser at Czar. Then, go to Riot Room on Saturday, February 2, where he’ll be with Various Blonde for the third fundraiser.

--Michelle Bacon  

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She owns an Australian cattle dog and a Corgi. The Corgi is the dumbest (but also quite possibly the most adorable) animal she has ever owned.


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Josh Enyart

Photos by Jorge Arana





 Jorge Arana Trio









Spotlight on Midwest Music Foundation and Apocalypse Meow with Abigail Henderson




Spotlight on MMF/Apocalypse Meow with Abigail Henderson


She’s sitting across from me drinking a cup of coffee and wearing a Sons of Great Dane t-shirt. We talk a little bit about what she’s been up to, how many bands I’m in today, how lukewarm the coffee is, how we are both ultra-evil political operatives, and I forget that I’m supposed to be doing an interview.

Abigail Henderson was the reason behind Apocalypse Meow, a benefit that begun in 2008 when she was diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer. Her friends in the Kansas City music community rallied around her to hold a benefit named (by local filmmaker and musician Tony Ladeisch) after her penchant for kittens, her inner strength, and the severity of the disease she was facing. But she told me that the entire impetus for Midwest Music Foundation happened well before.
“I had just come back from a tour with The Gaslights. We played a show in New Orleans, and I realized something was wrong with my stomach,” Henderson said. “Someone told me that Louisiana State University had a musicians’ clinic, but I didn’t have the money to go. Turns out, all I needed was to give them a CD. I went to a real doctor, who said I had a tiny hernia and told me how to get through the rest of tour.”
When she returned to Kansas City, Henderson thought that a safety net for musicians would be a good idea. But like many large, grand ideas, this one went to the wayside. Until 2008.
“When I got diagnosed, I realized that we had enough of a community and a need. We had been doing benefits, but we really needed a net for musicians when they fall.” And thus, Midwest Music Foundation was born, with Henderson and her husband/creative partner Chris Meck at the helm.
Midwest Music Foundation is, by definition, an educational art organization that unites musical performers and audiences in the Kansas City area. But if you talk to Henderson and watch the intensity in her eyes as she talks about it, it’s much more than that. It’s a passion to foster an artistic community, a desire to allow musicians to follow their own dreams but still be able to live within their means, a need to show the rest of the country that there’s something to the Midwest.
“The music that comes out of Kansas City rivals anything made on either coast, and I honestly believe that, because we’re in the middle, we have to kick so damn hard to be listened to,” she tells me. “And as a result, a lot of our music is better because we have the tenacity to get it out there. We have to fight to be heard.”
One way MMF has represented Kansas City and allowed us to be heard has been at its own showcase at South By Southwest, MidCoast Takeover.
Henderson mentioned, “It was never something we discussed doing; it just happened. Suddenly we were planting our flag on the biggest music festival in the country.” And it’s paid off. Last year, MMF, the showcase, and several Kansas City musicians were highlighted in USA Today. The Deli Magazine named MidCoast as one of the best unofficial showcases at SXSW, and asked MMF to head up a Kansas City branch of the magazine.
“There’s something to be contended with in Kansas City. Not just a music scene, but a community that fosters itself—a thinking, doing community of people practicing an art.”
It’s clear throughout the conversation that Henderson wants to give something to the local music community and prove to the nation at large that our city is a force to be reckoned with. “After the first Meow, I had no idea what to do except have incredible gratitude and indebtness to those who helped me. I realized that I was home. I never would have to leave this city. I just wanted to know what I could do to give back.”
And give back she has. Midwest Music Foundation has not only helped put Kansas City’s stamp on a national music stage, but has provided emergency health care to a handful of musicians.
“It’s good to have an organization that cares about the work you do; it’s important to the livelihood of the community. If you blow out your knee, or fall off a ladder, or have a terrible situation, we can help you immediately.” She mentioned that other smaller cities like Austin and Memphis had become places that the musical community could count on, and hoped that MMF could become that for Kansas City. But why does it matter so much?
Henderson was more than happy to tell me. “Because music is an art. It’s something that needs to be tended, and the people who make it need to be cared for. And not just in the health care sense, but also a sense that musicians are important and what they do is important, and it’s a conscious decision, a sacrifice that they make to do what they do. And the currency to building a city is investing in its artists. It’s a cultural infrastructure.”  
Now in its fifth year, Apocalypse Meow has become a bigger benefit than ever. The event will be held on Saturday, November 3 at The Beaumont Club with seven bands, raffles, auctions, food vendors, health care information, and much more. On the evening before, Dead Voices and Henderson’s project Tiny Horse will be performing at Midwestern Musical Co.
“I’m really looking forward to playing the pre-party. Last year I was too sick to do it.” Henderson’s cancer came back with a resurgence last year and she was unable to play. “This year, Chris and I will be playing with a full band. Matt [Richey] has a true arranger’s brain, Zach [Phillips] has an incredible mind for melody, and Cody [Wyoming] is just brilliant. A treasure.”
She tells me that she’ll just be excited to be there, especially when she never realized that Meow could get to its fifth year. “When I thought I was dying, I told my lawyer that I wanted $5,000 to go to MMF; it’s that important to me. I want this thing to get bigger and go on, even if I can’t be a part of it. I want there to be an Apocalypse Meow 15.”
And with a person with such a determination toward creating a musical community, who possesses such a persistence to bring good music to the ears of others, there’s no doubt that MMF and Apocalypse Meow will continue with that same spirit, conviction, and humility.
“I’m still the girl at shows who geeks out over the guitar. I’m still completely struck by people who make music. It’s the soundtrack of our universe. It’s what you get married to; it’s what you die to; it’s what you drift down highways in cars to.”
To find out more about MMF, visit http://midwestmusicfound.org. Be sure to join Abby when Tiny Horse plays at Midwestern Musical Co. on Friday, November 2 around 9 pm. Say hi to her at the big event at Beaumont on November 3. Facebook event here. Visit http://www.apocalypsemeow.net for a full lineup and schedule.

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She memorizes license plates, but not on purpose. 

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Abigail Henderson

Photo by Paul Andrews

Tiny Horse