By Jack Pennington
Here was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way. There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters — the creators — for rock music, for soul, for the blues — it’s finally dead.
Rock is finally dead.
– Gene Simmons, KISS
If rock is dead, then The Garage is its tomb, a mausoleum where the last remaining paganistic members of the Cult of Rock come to conduct their midnight black masses, a ritual to call up the re-animated corpse of our fallen God of Rock. Or maybe we’re just a bunch of kids who didn’t get the memo.
Yes, Gene Simmons, our nation’s officially appointed Secretary of Arts, Entertainment, and herpetic groupies, put a nail in the coffin of Rock. Between reality shows and beating KISS merchandise deep into the ground, I’m sure the man has truly kept his finger on the pulse of up and coming musical talent.
Parks, (vocals/bass) and his cohorts in All Them Witches, are the steady rhythmic beat of that very pulse. Equal parts blues, folk, and electricity, this act has been carving a name for itself all over the country. It’s the genuine, honest to God, grassroots traveling bard story that you read about, from back in the day before bands like KISS turned music into a vehicle for comic books and lunch boxes. Four men, one van, and a passion that borders on psychosis, carry this act from one end of the states and back.
They’ve played The Garage at least three times this year, and every show just makes us hungry for more. In just a few months, I’ve seen the crowd at the venue grow from a politely interested group of festival attendees to a passionate fanbase, a crowd of devotees ravenous for Witches’ unique brand of rattle and hum. And I’ve found myself swept up in that fervor.
With what little respect is due to Mr. Simmons, these are the hallmarks of true rock and roll. The snowball of people swept up in the wake of your music, watching a complete stranger turn into an excited fan. Connecting with somebody you’ve never met, with just a few plucks of a string, or the tap of a cymbal, the tremolo of your keys. Two unfamiliar souls resonating together through music, two souls becoming four, becoming sixteen, becoming sixty thousand…that’s the spirit of rock. A spirit that can’t be captured in trends like EDM, or the poppy thuds and thunks of Hip Hop. No, this is a spirit like no other, our savior Rock and Roll.
ll Them Witches doesn’t need the industry that turned glam rock acts into arena shows. Guys like them have people like us, fans that keep the beat of Rock alive, at little dive bars like The Garage. The power and ownership of Rock has swung back to where it belongs, back to the hands of the fans that made it what it is, what it will always be.
Rock ain’t dead. It’s reincarnated.
Reincarnated in the twang and thunder of All Them Witches.
Director/editor Jack Pennington is originally from Georgia and now finds himself transplanted and happily living in Winston-Salem, NC. Jack is a director, cinematographer, editor, and writer. He also works as a camera operator, camera assistant, gaffer, grip, electrician, and more around the Piedmont Triad and the rest of North Carolina. Pennington attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking (UNCSA) and now produces short documentaries about local artists, musicians and filmmakers.
If you’d like to see Mr. Pennington’s other micro-docs on CCD HERE.
You can find out more about Jack Pennington and his work HERE.