Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Almost Gone -Tom Keifer of Cinderella Talks Vocal Scare, Solo Record & Guitars

TOM KEIFER 3 Press Photo 1 (High Res)

What would you do if someone told you that you would never be able to do the one thing you love to do again?

Imagine being a lead singer, sitting down at a Baby Grand piano with the spotlights on you, in front of thousands of screaming fans in an amphitheater, ready to sing one of your biggest hits.

Now, imagine opening your mouth to sing, your voice cracking & breaking, suddenly not being able to hit the notes or match the melodies, . That is exactly what happened to Tom Keifer of Cinderella  in 2006, who was onstage in Chicago at a piano , trying to sing “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)”.

He was told that he would never sing again.

If you’re a singer or musician, you play music until the day you die. You do it because you love it. Music is your life. If you’re in it for the right reasons, giving up isn’t an option. You find a way to fight through it and keep doing what you love,which is what Tom found the strength to do.

After numerous doctors visits and continued, daily therapy, his voice is once again solid and only getting better, which he has proved with this year’s release of his first solo record,  appropriately titled The Way Life Goes , which has been 10 years in the making.

*You purchase The Way Life Goes here: itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-way-life-goes/id634693996

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Tom Keifer, best known as the lead singer & guitarist for the blues based hard rock band, Cinderella, took the time for a phone interview to talk coffee, his solo album (The Way Life Goes), guitars, his worst onstage experience & the craziest bands that Cinderella toured with.

We are a coffee website, so I have to ask, Do you like coffee and if so what kind do you prefer? Yes, I love coffee. My poison of choice is the Starbucks, oh what’s it called? Now I’m drawing a blank… Verona! Starbucks Verona K- cups. We go through them by the dozen here. *laughs* I got one of those K- Cup machines & love it.

Awesome. So do you have a favorite cafe in Nashville? Um, I go to Starbucks. I like their coffee. I like the atmosphere. They play cool music in there and stuff and the breakfast sandwiches aren’t bad.

Speaking of Nashville, how do think that the music scene differs there than it did in Philadelphia in the 80s? Well, it’s two different eras you’re talking about , but I moved here because the scene you know when I was coming up in Philadelphia in the 80s, there was a few clubs that we played , but you know, there weren’t a lot of places that you could play where there was original music, so then, it was more about you put together a band , you were part of a band and you know, we just did everything we could to just bust outta there, you know? When I moved here,it was in the mid 90s when the wheels were kind of falling off of the whole 80s rock scene. The music scene was changing. Grunge was coming in & we lost our deal with Mercury, so we didn’t have an outlet for music anymore and we started drifting apart & I drifted down to Nashville here, cause at that point I was thinking about doing a solo record & I’d been writing with some people down here and the scene down here at that point was very different from the scene in Philly back when we started, I mean the music scene here is deep rooted for years and years and years and in a tradition of like you know, amazing songwriting and there’s a real artistry here to the songwriting and musicianship and it’s just an amazing town for inspiration in terms of playing and writing , you know? The talent level here is crazy. It was a good place to get a new start and to start sowing the seeds for a solo record, which obviously didn’t come until years later, but you know you gotta start somewhere .

What was the writing process like for The Way Life Goes? I know you worked with Savannah on that. Yeah. She co-wrote a lot of songs with me and I co-wrote with a lot of other people too. That was the part about the writing that was different from Cinderella because I pretty much wrote exclusively by myself with the exception of a couple of songwriters and writing with Eric with Cinderella, but on this record, I co-wrote with a lot of people. That’s one of the reasons I came to Nashville was because the writing is incredible here, but in terms of where the inspiration comes from and how the song begins, um that’s the same and I’ve always had a philosophy that I’m not going to force a song, I’m going to wait until real inspiration comes to me or the song finds me and you know , I don’t care if I don’t write a song for a year. I just never force it and there’s always that moment where you’re driving down the road or you’re flying on an airplane somewhere or walking down aisle 6 at Home Depot and this light bulb goes off in your head and you hear a lyric or an idea and a melody and you start to get an inspiration and then you grow it from there and usually when I hear that in my head, I’m just running for an instrument at that point. So you know, with this record I would take those ideas to a co-writer and we’d sit down and  work on them together.So, the initial inspiration came from the same place, I just brought some extra people to collaborate on those thoughts.

Do you have a song on The Way Life Goes that sticks out to you as your favorite right now? Well, there’s one that sticks out as being different, maybe, where it maybe pushed the envelope more so than what I was maybe known with Cinderella & that would be the second track on the record. It’s called A Different Light. I would describe the rest of the record as being pretty close to the Cinderella , the same wheel house as with Cinderella , as with it being blues based and American roots based, cause that’s  who all my heroes were growing up, the stones and Aerosmith and all that stuff, so for the most part, it’s a hard rock record. It has a lot of dynamics in terms of some acoustic stuff and ranging all the way into real hard drivin’ stuff. Different Light stands out as being a little bit more on the pop side, maybe represents some of the you know, more current bands that I listen to like Train or Imagine Dragons or that kinda thing.

So you said that The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith have inspired you musically. Who else has been a big influence on you throughout the years? Yeah, they were definitely some of the artists that I grew up on. There was also Janis Joplin and Rod Stewart and Bad Company and I mean, I came up in the 70’s , so there was an incredible amount of music then, you know? The rock of the late 60’s and 70’s where it was all just kind of exploding and happening for the first time so there was a lot of great music to learn from back then, you know?

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians & singers? My advice would be to be yourself and to play what’s truly in your heart and what feels right to you and express what’s inside of you. Don’t worry abut chasing trends or trying to look at the charts and figure out how to sound like those artists, just be yourself and if you can be yourself , and you know, prepare yourself in a way where you are as good at being yourself as you can be, in other words, have the work ethic to really develop your talent and what’s special about you and one day the trend’s going to be you and I think you’ve got a much better shot at doing that than trying to chase other people’s vibe or energy.

Do you have a favorite guitar that you own? Well, currently I do. It’s hard to pick, but I got a really, really cool Firebird a couple months back and it’s actually a reissue of one that I had years ago. I had a ’63. It was a red Firebird that I got rid of , I think in a guitar trade or something, you know? Heat of the moment. I call it the Firebird that got away, but I loved that guitar and for years, I’d see pictures of it & pictures of me after it, onstage and say , man, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that. So, just a couple months ago, I was in Guitar Center here in Nashville and there was a reissue of the exact same guitar hanging on the wall & I said I gotta have that, so I bought it and it actually turned out for the better because this reissue is probably better than the original one , so it’s currently my favorite.

What effects have you been using onstage lately? Really simple, you know? Rhythm is straight into the amp and I use very old, early 70’s Marshalls that have no master volume. You gotta crank them all the way up to get the crunch and the gain out of them , but nothing sounds like them, and then that’s for rhythm and if I want a clean sound, I just turn the volume down on the guitar & it cleans up real nice through those amps. For solos, I’ve got an overdrive pedal, uh , man, I got this cool one now, I can’t remember the name of it. I just got it for this tour this year. I think it’s called.. It’s a weird name, but I think it’s called a Timmy pedal and it’s one of those boutique, overdrive things & I like that & I like a little delay on my solos & I have this one. I think it’s called a Deep Blue delay pedal & that’s really all I use is a little overdrive & delay on my solos & the rhythm is pretty much straight into the amp.

During this tour, did you have a favorite song to play live?

Hmmm, let’s see. I always really, really loved singing Shelter Me. We were doing that one on the solo tour and I always like singing that one , so I’ll say that one.

You had a health scare concerning your vocal chords. Do you feel that that has made you stronger as a singer as you’ve been writing the record and going out and touring again?

I learned a lot from it. I was told I would never sing again in the early 90’s due to a partially paralyzed vocal chord and that’s a neurological condition that there’s no medical cure for, you know, they can’t give you a pill or a surgery to fix that and they said I was done. They said my only hope of being able to sing again would be to retrain it and work with speech pathologists and vocal coaches and hopefully find a way to train that chord to respond properly and that’s taken me years to do it, but I have overcome it. When I say overcome it, it’s still there, but I’ve managed to work up a routine from all the teachers that I’ve worked with to kinda get that chord in place & get it working properly, where I’m able to sing and do what I love to do , so that routine involves an hour and a half to two hours every day of vocal exercises , whether I’m on tour or not. When I’m on tour, my warm up is as long as the show, sometimes longer depending on how beat up it is from the night before, so even on a show day, I do about an hour and a half to two hours of warm ups and vocal chord stretching and things like that before the show and it’s just a bunch, well it sounds strange to most people, but it’s a bunch of weird noises and scales and stuff , but it works.

A couple of months ago , you did some gigs with Halestorm , how was that?

Awesome! They are just, you know,  a great band, and just some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They are my favorite rock band out there right now. I love their songs. I think they really stand out in the songwriting department and they certainly stand out in the vocal department. Lzzy Hale’s voice is, you know, one of the wonders of rock n roll right now in my opinion. She really sings. They’re great and we got to do a duet together, Lzzy & I. We did “Nobody’s Fool” together in their show and it was a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite song of theirs?

I love “Miss The Misery”. I mean , that’s just , just bad ass , straight up, but one of the things I really like about them is, and again, when people ask me how do I pick a favorite song on my own record, it’s hard to because there’s a lot of different kinds of songs and that’s one of the things to me that makes them stand out. When you listen to their records, there’s a lot of different kinds of songs, so on one hand I would say I really love “Break In” and I really like “In Your Room” , but I love “Miss The Misery” and “Mz. Hyde” too, and “Here’s to Us” kinda falls somewhere in the middle. It’s hard to pick a favorite there, it really is. I think they’re extremely talented & like I said, in the songwriting department and the dynamics department in terms of putting together a record. I just think they stand out in the crowd. They really do. They have lots of dynamics and great songs on their record. I guess I really didn’t answer your question, but I like a lot of their songs. *laughs*

What was the craziest band that Cinderella toured with in the 80’s ?

Hmmm. The craziest band that ever toured with Cinderella…. umm. You know, I don’t know. When you’ve been on the road as long as we have, things don’t seem as  crazy anymore. People ask, Tell us crazy stories and there’s so much crazy stuff that’s gone on everyday.. I can tell you the most fun bands,  because fun is fun & the people you enjoy being around you know? Some of the things that went on , well, those may seem crazy to other people, but on the road , it becomes old hat. I loved touring with Poison. We did a couple of tours with those guys and they are just like best friends and we always have a great time together. They’re really good people. Bon Jovi too, back in the day, you know? Just great people , great band & we had a blast on that tour, so there was crazy, fun stuff going on everyday.

Speaking of touring, What has been your best & worst onstage experiences?

It’s hard to pick a best, I mean there’s probably one that stands out, and that’s the Moscow Music Peace Festival. I still say to this day, that that was a very special show to be a part of. It was kind of like the Woodstock of the Soviet Union and we were over there before the wall came down and that was a pretty unprecedented gig that happened in Linen Stadium and that was something very special to be a part of and to this day, I’m very proud of being part of that and I think that any band that was there would say the same thing. Ummm, worst onstage moment was in 2006. The vocal problems I had, initially started in the early 90’s and I worked for years to get my voice back and I had a couple of set backs and injuries and had to have surgeries to repair it and I was just starting to get my voice to where I could tour & it was solid & I kinda got hit with a second round of it in 2005 and my voice started to go south again and we did a second tour in 2006, back to back and it was just getting worse and worse and I remember being onstage, it was in Chicago at a giant amphitheater called The World and we were out on tour with Poison and I sat down at the piano in the middle of the show to do “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” and I couldn’t sing the song. It was just me , sitting there at a Baby Grand with all those spot lights on me and my voice was cracking and breaking and I couldn’t, couldn’t get up to the notes and that was probably the lowest point for me onstage & vocally. I debated that night, when I walked off stage , just leaving the tour & going home & resting or trying to figure it out. I decided to stay, cause it was our 20th year anniversary and the tour was a lot of fun other than the vocal problems I was having, so I went the next day to Target, cause we had a day off & all of our gear was on the truck. I said to my tour manager, You know, I want to stay out here, but I have to re-work some of the melodies on these songs, just bring them down a 3rd or a 4th or a 5th and just get them somewhere where I can sing them , talk them , whatever I gotta do to get through it. I’m going to get through this tour and I’ve never had to do that before. I’ve always been able to sing the melodies that were on the record. So, I said I need a guitar. So he took me to Target and I bought some little, cheap $60 electric guitar called a Lyon. *laughs* and I sat on the back of the bus that day off and I went through every song and I kinda transposed the melodies down and figured out a way to just get through the tour and you know, I got through it and the fans were very supportive, but I didn’t sound like the record, but I finished out the last 6 weeks of the tour or whatever and that began the process of rebuilding my voice for the 2nd time and I had another surgery and we were off the road for several years at that point, but I finally built it back and the last 3 or 4 years, it’s been really strong, so I think I’ve got it all behind me now. Sitting at that piano in Chicago that night was the lowest point.

Wow. I’m so happy that you have been able to get through it and find ways to make it better and better.

Well, thank you.

You’re welcome

What do you think that it takes for a band to make it now? I know it’s probably a little different than it was in the 80s when you guys started, but what would you say it takes for a band to really work their way up there?

Well, from a strategy standpoint, it’s a little different from when we were  coming up, but I can kind of speak from both sides because of my solo record is like a new artist, so I’ve stood in both parts of time. So , the reason I approached my solo record with not having a label involved with it when we were producing is because what’s changed the industry the most is illegal downloading and streaming and this mentality that music is free. So, record companies and publishing companies are the people who develop artists and when they don’t have the money because their revenues are down by billions of dollars, literally, because only a fraction of music that’s out there right now is actually paid for and you know, record budgets and artist development budgets and stuff are just nothing. There’s zero and it’s one of the areas in the industry that’s been impacted the hardest, so pay attention out there, kids and listen. You know, when we were coming up, record companies had tons of money, so you could make a really crappy demo and they had A&R people who had ears and imaginations and they could listen to this crappy demo and say “man, we could make a real record with these people” and they would sign you based on that cruddy demo and bring you in and make sure you had the best producers and studio engineers and make a real record with you . That kind of opportunity is few and far between these days. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but in most instances, record companies are looking for a finished product. So, that’s why I decided to finish my record. It took 10 years and we spent a ton of our own money on it , but once you sign with a record company, they tell you when you’re done and I didn’t want anyone breathing down my back on this record, so I really have been in that position, um and that’s why I opted to say I’m going to take a finished record to labels, not go and try to get a deal and make a record with them because that means they’re gonna tell you when you’re done and I just think less and less is going into album budgets and artist development so I think, long story short, the strategy these days is to , more than ever, take something that’s finished, you know & fortunetly, today, with the technology and pro tools and stuff, people can make records in their closets, you know, if you have good ears. It’s all about the ears, always. A lot of people think it’s about equipment, but if someone is twirling those knobs that doesn’t have ears, then, it doesn’t matter how good the equipment is. So, I think that that’s , you know, the biggest way that the industry has changed & I think it’s changed how artists need to go about, you know, approaching record companies. I still think record companies are a great thing to have behind you if you have a great product finished or if you can get one that will help you develop that product, that’s just harder to find these days.

So, back to your album, I have one more question for you. What can fans that are more used to hearing your work with Cinderella expect from The Way Life Goes?

It isn’t really that different. I would describe the record as somewhere between Long, Cold Winter and Heartbreak Station, which I think were some of Cinderella’s better work. The style of music is hard rock that’s american roots  inspired. There’s a lot of blues influence in it, a little bit of country and gospel. So it’s you know, the style of it’s the same. I mean , as a songwriter and a singer and a musician, every time you go into the studio, or you write a song, your hope or your wish is that you’ve written a better song and you’re going to perform it better, so hopefully I’ve managed to improve in those areas over the years and also producing, too. You always want it to be produced better and sound better, but the music style and writing is very similar. It’s hard to run from that sound because, you know I was such a big part of Cinderella’s sound , being the singer , the songwriter and I did a lot of the guitar work, so that’s a signature there, that’s on my solo record as well.

Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.

Thanks for having me.

You’re welcome. Have a great Christmas!

You too! Thank you very much.

kiefer91

*You can find more info on Tom, The Way Life Goes & Cinderella here:

tomkeifer.com/

www.facebook.com/TomKeiferOfficial

twitter.com/tomkeifermusic

*You can check out Tom’s newest music video for “The Flower Song” here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=u68tl82Ihmk

*You can buy “The Way Life Goes” – Tom Keifer by clicking the link below*

*A Special thanks to Tom for taking the time to talk with us!*

*Photos courtesy of Doug Weber/ New Ocean Media*

Espresso Cocoa Waffles Recipe

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Espresso Cocoa Waffles

Ingredients :

1½ cups pastry flour (whole grain)
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp espresso powder
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup fat free milk
3 tbs light olive oil
3 egg whites
A pinch of salt

Instructions:

In a large glass mixing bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients: pastry flour, baking powder, cocoa, & baking soda.

Create a hole in the middle of the mixture and add the espresso, milk, oil & sugar. Mix all ingredients together with a wire whisk until smooth.

The waffle maker should be preheated for about 4 minutes. It’s ready when a small drop of water sizzles on the waffle maker.

In the meantime, with a hand mixer beat the egg whites along with a pinch of salt at high speed until soft peaks are formed.

Fold in the egg whites into the batter just until both mixtures are combined well.

Spray the waffle maker with cooking spray just before pouring in the batter. Add just enough batter to almost cover the grids on the waffle maker.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes , until firm.

Enjoy!

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facebook.com/bitojava

Colombian Campasina from Queen Bean Coffee

Ok, just so you all know there is currently ongoing a huge snowball fight in hell…why?  Because yours truly, that is I, Me, and us (invoking Gollum) have found a Colombian coffee that we will drink more than once.

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So while I have brought winter charm to the gates of Hades, that’s less important than telling you about this coffee.  If you have read my reviews you know that I am no fan of Colombian beans. These always seem to be overly bitter and strong to me, despite these misgivings I gave the Colombian Campasina from Mills Coffee Roasters/Queenbean Coffee a try.

These are shade grown, fully organic beans, grown at 4-5000 feet, in the Huila province of Colombia. And coming out of the burlap wrapped (nice touch) bag are a medium dark brown and evenly roasted. A light oil sheen was visible on the beans and the aroma was, well Colombian strong.

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Brewing via the Aeropress, I used just a little less ground coffee than I would with say a Costa Rican or Sumatran. This coffee has some real “Gusto!” and morphed into a living bubbling creature in the Aeropress.  The resulting juice was strong, and full with some bitter notes, and perhaps a hint of dark chocolate on the finish…it was so/so. Next I loaded up my now deceased little coffee pot and started a full brew.

The aroma of brewing the Campasina filled the entire house and it did smell really bold and good. Tasting was a pleasant surprise in that 90% of the bitter note was gone and the chocolate tones were mixed with a smoky flavor and full body .  This is definitely a coffee for the COFFEE drinker, there is nothing fru’ fru’ in this cup.  After half a cup I found myself actually enjoying a Columbian coffee!

Where would I drink this coffee? With Chuck Norris, Teddy Roosevelt and Marcus Lutrell as we planned our military operations…..well in all seriousness, this will be my go-to coffee for my outdoors adventures, and I am going to grind some really fine and try it as Coffee Cubano as well..  It just has that punch of flavor like a good Arturo Fuente Cigar, or Bombay Sapphire Martini, in fact this is in my opinion the R. Lee Ermey of coffee!. So man up and order some QueenBean Colombian Campasina, you won’t regret it.

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Jeff Rouse of Duff McKagan’s Loaded & The Guessing Game On Coffee, Music & Elevators…..?

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Rouse, who has been playing both guitar and bass since he was 14, is best known as the bass player for Duff McKagan’s (of Guns N Roses fame)  band Loaded. He’s played in countless bands over the years including Alien Crime Syndicate (with Loaded band mate Mike Squires), Vendetta Red and Sirens Sister.

The best part of this interview was when we asked Jeff what he thinks makes Loaded different from everybody out there. His answer was that “Well, I think the difference is that nobody in Loaded gives a shit what other people think of what we are doing. We always have made music for ourselves first.” That is exactly what we’ve been missing out of newer music lately, bands that don’t care about offending anyone or making them happy, just about the music. We’ve been missing the anger and Loaded is helping to bring it back with the fast paced, raw, in your face, punk rock – just don’t care attitude that’s made them favorites.

So , How is a bass player supposed to stay wired enough to play  2 hour gigs  night after night on tour in a punk band, you ask?

The Answer: Coffee. and Lots of it.

Jeff Rouse is a coffee junkie  and after talking to him, there’s no doubt about it. He doesn’t just  like coffee, he needs and craves it. His favorite cafe is Cafe Ladro in Seattle, although since he’s recently moved, he’s in search for a new spot with excellent coffee.

Jeff, who has many other titles to his name, bass teacher, coffee junkie & most recently, lead singer, has formed his own band, The Guessing Game. The Guessing Game, which has their debut record, titled “Holy Crow” ready & slated for release on April 15th, 2014, is compromised of Jeff (lead vocalist/guitarist), bassist Keith Ash,drummer Shawn Zellar, guitarist/backing vocalist Kathy Moore and guitarist Gary Westlake.

On his way back on a ferry from shooting his first music video with his new band The Guessing Game  in Seattle, Jeff Rouse of Duff McKagan’s Loaded took the time for an interview via facebook  to talk about everything from his favorite coffee hangout & meeting Duff in the late 90s to onstage effects & what musician he wouldn’t mind being stuck in an elevator with (hint… he can fart on command).

 

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Jeff 

Hey there!

Jessica 

Hey! How are you?

Jeff 

Good! Just sitting on the ferry heading back from my video shoot

Jessica 

That’s great! How’s the shoot going?

Jeff 

Good. 1st day was easy! Some drone footage and just some preliminary footage of me doing stuff. Hahaha

Jessica

Okay,I’m glad it’s going well. We’re a coffee website, so I have to ask , Do you like coffee?

Jeff 

Uh, yes. More than like. More like need and crave.

Jessica 

What characteristics do you prefer in a coffee? Dark or light roast? Central American, African , etc..?

Jeff 

I was always a dark roast guy until a friend changed my ways. I prefer a Colombian light roast now.

Jessica 

Cool. Do you have a favorite coffee hang out in Seattle?

Jeff 

My joint was always Cafe Ladro in West Seattle. But I just recently moved over to Port Orchard and haven’t found another spot yet? It sucks. Luckily the ferry I take everyday is really close to Ladro!

Jessica 

Hope you find a closer spot soon! Now, on to music! How did you meet Duff & get involved with Loaded?

Jeff 

I met Duff in around 1999. He was back in Seattle going to school and just being a family guy. In around 2000 he decided to make a record called “Dark Days”. So he made that record but needed a band. So he asked me to join and I jumped in head first.

Jessica 

That’s awesome! What’s your favorite song to play live & why?

Jeff 

In Loaded?

Jessica 

Yes

Jeff 

“Lords of Abaddon” off of our last record “The Taking” hands down. Just a menacing fun fast song to play!

Jessica 

What in your opinion makes Loaded different from other bands?

Jeff 

Well, I think the difference is that nobody in Loaded gives a shit what other people think of what we are doing. We always have made music for ourselves first. I guess we’ve been lucky in the respect that we can do that and still get the records out there….because of Duff. Hahahaha

Jessica 

It seems like it’s working for you guys! What effects do you use onstage and what advice do you give your students & aspiring musicians?

Jeff 

In Loaded, I play Bill Nash and Yamaha basses through Orange amps and Darkglass Electonics pedals. The best! If I could give any advice, it would be to play and write because you want to, not because of money and any of that crap. When music is honest and pure. People will listen.

Jessica 

My boss has a question he requested I ask. If you had to be trapped in an elevator for an hour with any musician living or dead , who & why?

Jeff 

Oh! Hmmmm? It would have to be Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols. He is the funniest mother fucker I’ve ever been around. He would make every minute of being trapped in that thing worth it, and he can fart on command

Jessica 

hahaha! Good choice!

Speaking of someone who plays both bass & guitar , which do you prefer & at what age did you start playing?

Jeff 

I started playing guitar and bass when I was 14. To me it’s all about making music. However and whenever. Singing, playing guitar or playing bass. It’s all good as long as I’m playing

Jessica 

Awesome! One last question, Since The Guessing Game is coming out with a new record next year, do you guys have any plans for a tour?

Jeff 

Absolutely. This band is built for that. We can’t wait to get out and play a bunch.

Jessica 

Great, We can’t wait to see you guys live! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

 

*The Guessing Game is playing a gig at Slims Last Chance on New Years Eve this year. More info here:

slimslastchance.com/shows.html

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You can find more info on Jeff, Loaded and The Guessing Game here:

duff-loaded.com/thetaking/

www.facebook.com/DuffLoaded

theguessinggameband.com/

www.youtube.com/user/TheGuessingGameBand

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Guessing-Game/456304301128155?fref=ts

Follow Jeff on twitter here:

www.twitter.com/JeffreyRouse 

*A special Thanks to Jeff for taking the time to talk with us!*

You can preorder “Holy Crow” here:

Rogers Roasters – Galilee Decaf Coffee

Rogers Roasters was kind enough to send us some of their Galilee Decaf Coffee to review.

Galilee Decaf Coffee

Not being much of a decaf drinker, I decided to get my parents involved with this review.  They are both coffee lovers and tend to drink Decaf coffee.  So  I loaded up the family in the car and headed up to my parents house.  Coffee has always been a huge part of that fabric of my family.  My parents both always like their cup of Coffee and my Dad seems to have a cup in his hand at all times of the day, so they are always interested in trying new coffee.

As we, opened up the Galilee Decaf ,the smell of the coffee beans quickly filled up the room, even before grinding.  Although the Roast is listed as a Regular Roast , they were pretty dark.  All of the beans all looked to be pretty close in color and size and there did not appear to be any burnt beans.

Galilee Decaf Coffee

Galilee Decaf Coffee Ready to Grind

As we ground the beads , the house was filled with a wonderful coffee aroma.  Maybe it’s just me, but usually the Decaf beans seem to have a much more subtle smell. Fortunately, with Galilee Decaf, this was not the case.

We used a Hamilton Beach Two way drip Coffee Brewer to make the coffee.  With a two way brewer you can make a 12 cup pot of coffee and a single serving cup.  Since some of our guests at the tasting preferred their coffee stronger than others, we used this method to please everyone.

The Results of Our Tasting Were:

Color: Beans were a dark roast, evenly done with oils apparent .

Aroma: 5/5   Strong house filling aroma when brewing.

Bitterness (1=very bitter 5=Sour): 3.2/ 5    If you like strong Coffee this one is for you If you want less strong decrease the amount of coffee you put in to brew

Taste:    4.4/5    Some heavy flavors ,smokey with heavy Earth tones.

Drinkability: 4.6/5  Very strong on the finish.

 

In total this is good strong coffee and ALL of these coffees are certified Kosher and available from Rogers Family Coffee Company separately or as a basket set. If you like Decaf and want a strong “wake up” cup, this is for you!

 

Equipment used to make the coffee for the tasting:

Espresso Gingerbread Cake Recipe

Espresso Gingerbread Cake

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For the cake:

1/2 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup very strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to just warm
11-1/4 ounces (2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour; more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
10 ounces (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

 

For the espresso glaze (optional):

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
1-1/2 tablespoons brewed espresso
(or 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 1-1/2 tablespoons hot water)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt pan (or four 2-cup mini loaf pans). Tap out any excess flour.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk the molasses with the brewed coffee. Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, baking soda, espresso powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, cream the butter in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time, stopping to scrape the bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour and coffee mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer at least one last time to scrape the bowl and then beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 20 seconds.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (or pans), spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air pockets. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (about 30 minutes for mini loaves). Set the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the pan, and let cool until just barely warm. Drizzle with the glaze (if using) and then let cool to room temperature before serving. If you’re making the cake ahead, wrap it while still barely warm without the glaze. If you plan to freeze the cake, don’t glaze it until you’re ready to serve it or give it away.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and rum (if using) in a bowl and, adding the espresso gradually, whisk until smooth. If necessary, add more espresso or water to thin the glaze to a drizzling consistency. When the cake is still barely warm, use a fork or spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top.

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White Spiced Coffee Recipe

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White Spiced Coffee 

Ingredients:

3 cup(s) whole milk
1 cup(s) whole Bit O Java coffee beans, lightly cracked (bitojava.com/coffee/)
1 1/2 stick(s) (3 inches long) cinnamon sticks
4 whole(s) green cardamom pods
1/4 cup(s) honey

Directions:

Place the milk and crushed coffee beans in a saucepan. Heat the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, about 7 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and let the beans steep in the milk for 15 minutes.
Strain the coffee mixture and transfer to the jar of a blender. Discard the crushed coffee beans. Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and honey to the steeped milk and blend on high speed until the spices are coarsely ground, about 30 seconds.
Strain the liquid back into the saucepan and discard the ground spices. Rewarm the spiced coffee over medium-high heat until the liquid is hot and steaming. Pour into warmed coffee mugs, and serve hot.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Glazed Espresso Brownie Bites – Recipe

 

brownies

Ingredients

Brownies:

2 sticks (16 tbs) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
6 oz finely chopped unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tbs. espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

Glaze:

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. water
3 tbs. unsalted butter
6 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
Garnish: chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional)
Equipment: a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan

Directions

To Make brownies: Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle. Line baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on short sides, then butter foil.
Melt butter and chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from pan, then stir in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla,& salt with a large spoon. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth and mixture leaves side of bowl. Add flour and stir until just combined.
Transfer batter to pan and bake until a tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs adhering, 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on a rack 30 minutes.
To Make glaze: Meanwhile, combine all glaze ingredients in a metal bowl, then set over a pan of barely simmering water and heat, stirring, just until smooth. Remove from pan, then pour glaze over pan of warm brownies and spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Let stand at room temperature until glaze is set, about 3 hours. Remove brownies from pan using foil as an aid and cut into 1-inch bites with a thin blade knife, cleaning knife as necessary to maintain a clean edge. Garnish with espresso beans.
* Brownie layer can be made 3 days ahead (without glaze) and kept chilled in 1 piece wrapped well in foil. Bring to room temperature before glazing, about 2 hours. Glazed and cut brownie bites can be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered, at room temperature.

Ripped Cream……mmmmmm Chocolate

This review has been a while in the making. Some time back we were sent samples of Chizzled Chocolate and Lean Vanilla Bean Ripped Cream, gluten free coffee creamer. Ripped cream is unique in that it is chock full of stuff that is good for you while actually tasting  good to boot.  Along the way we also found some …unusual uses for this tasty powder.

Choc Store

Up until being badly injured two years ago, I have long been an avid student of the martial arts, having studied everything from Kenpo to Krav Maga, one important aspect was always muscle building. In the search for workout beverages I have frequently used Protein drinks like Muscle Milk and Weider. Ripped Cream is a workout drink for the coffee minded, with as much protein as an egg and lots of vitamin content, it should be your healthy choice for coffee creamer!

 

I am not big on flavoring my coffee (certain adult beverage additions excepted), but for the sake of our readers I ventured into Mocha… I first tasted the Chocolate Ripped Cream dry, and it is very reminiscent of the bodybuilding sports powders I had used previously. The downside of those drinks was an ever present chalkiness despite mixing with water or milk. Pleasantly this is not the case with Ripped Cream when put into coffee!

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What you do get is pleasant chocolate taste, I prefer it added to a light roast to bring out more body in the coffee.  Earlier in our Ripped Cream testing we ventured into Coffee Milkshakes and even Chocolate Strawberry Crepes made with Ripped Cream, check out the recipes for these here on Bitojava.com.

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So quit filling your gut with chemicals and load up on Ripped Cream, your taste buds and your family doctor will thank you. @BitoJava Joel has the Vanilla for testing so check back frequently for his review.

Donkey Coffee

So there I was,  sitting with @BitoJavaJessica in Athens Ohio at Donkey Coffee. We were discussing the layout and vibe of the shop when in walked four young men who passed by us and into the as yet unexplored back room.

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Soon we heard piano music and picked up our cups and headed toward the sound. The back room at Donkey Coffee includes a small stage, several seating areas and a sound booth, and a piano. We were soon treated to an impromptu concert of Christmas tunes with some jazz thrown in and even the peanuts theme.

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As quickly as they had come in, the men including our pianist, went back to the front to drink coffee. Based on the reactions of the obvious regulars near us, this is a common occurrence at Donkey Coffee. The shop is located on Washington Street, not far from Ohio Universities campus. It occupies two stories in an old building, and has several cozy private seating areas in addition to the larger gathering spaces.

Donkey Coffee offers a full line of coffee and tea beverages, as well as light baked goods etc. Decor is distinctly Athens, with a mix of antiques including a Wurlitzer  juke box, local art, and political statements galore.

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The staff was very friendly, chatty and helpful. There was a constant banter between them as they worked which gave real atmosphere to the front room. I also must say the choice of music being played on the shops stereo was fantastic, being a huge fan of the Man in Black and what he stood for throughout his career, they could not have picked a better selection for bitter winters morn.

The dark roast of the day was the Donkey house blend, the Marrakesh. This coffee is not something I would drink on a regular basis, mainly due to its bitter finish. It is a strong brew, with a pungent aroma and full ebony color in the cup and has an oily feel. This coffee does have one characteristic, that might redeem it with further tasting.

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Smoke, that’s right, smoke. The Marrakesh had the smokiest taste of any coffee I have ever drunk. It was like sipping the smell of a wood fire in late autumn. Sort of like a premium cigar you can drink, making it a prime choice for those that want a brew to wind them up for a night at the casino or to wake them up after a night at the casino. It is exactly the type of coffee one would expect a character from a Brad Thor or Daniel Silva espionage novel to prefer.

Jessica was all over the spiced Chai tea like a cat on a ball of yarn, and pronounced it equal to the best from our Carolina Coastal Coffee tour this year. I don’t think it had time to settle before it was gone, and a take home bag of the Chai mix left with us.

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 Overall Donkey Coffee is worth a visit, it has a unique almost Bronx vibe mixed with a bit of Appalachia, with unique art, fair coffee, excellent Chai, and live tunes at random…you will find something you like.