// Return True if only characters 0 thru 9 function _IsNumericString(string) { // Function will also accept a string of comma, or comma-space separated values. var howLong = string.length; var string1=""+string; for (var count=0; count < howLong; count++) { if ((string1.charAt(count) < '0' || string1.charAt(count) > '9') && string1.charAt(count) != ',' && string1.charAt(count) != ' ') { return false; } } return true; } function checkeulaagreements(b) { t = document.getElementById(b); if (t.checked == true) { w = 'checkthem'; }else{ w = 'uncheckthem'; } for (var count=1; count < 4; count++) { r = document.getElementById('agreetoeula'+count); if (w == 'checkthem') { r.checked = true; }else{ r.checked = false; } } } function gUpDown(tabid) { var etab=document.getElementById(tabid); var sumimage=document.getElementById('IMG'+tabid); if (etab.style.display=='') { etab.style.display='none'; sumimage.src = '/editor/images/plus.gif'; } else { etab.style.display=''; sumimage.src = '/editor/images/minus.gif'; } } function _IsNumericString_old(string) { var howLong = string.length; var string1=""+string; for (var count=0; count < howLong; count++) { if (string1.charAt(count) < '0' || string1.charAt(count) > '9') return false; } return true; } function submit_onclick() { var missingstuff = ""; if (document.mlsnumber.ln.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; //if (_IsNumericString(document.mlsnumber.ln.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter a valid MLS number."); }else{ document.mlsnumber.submit(); } return false; } function submit_onclick2() { var missingstuff = ""; if (document.mlsnumber2.ln.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; //if (_IsNumericString(document.mlsnumber2.ln.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter a valid MLS number."); }else{ document.mlsnumber2.submit(); } return false; } function _validate() { var missingstuff = ""; if (document.mlsnumber.ln.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; //if (_IsNumericString(document.mlsnumber.ln.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter a valid MLS number."); return false; }else{ document.mlsnumber.submit(); return true; } } function _validateMLSandEULA() { var missingstuff = ""; if (document.mlsnumber.ln.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; //if (_IsNumericString(document.mlsnumber.ln.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter a valid MLS number."); return false; }else{ if (document.getElementById('agreetoeula1').checked == true) { document.mlsnumber.submit(); return true; }else{ alert('You Must agree to the End User License Agreement (EULA) before continuing.'); return false; } } } function _validateEULA() { if (document.getElementById('agreetoeula1').checked == true) { document.quickhouse.submit(); return true; }else{ alert('You Must agree to the End User License Agreement (EULA) before continuing.'); return false; } } function _validate13833(fo,id) { var missingstuff = ""; var d = document.getElementById(id); var f = document.getElementById(fo); if (d.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; //if (_IsNumericString(d.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter a valid MLS number."); d.focus(); return false; }else{ f.submit(); return true; } } //////////////////////////////////////////////////// // start phone number numeric check //////////////////////////////////////////////////// function _IsNumericPhoneNumber(string) { var howLong = string.length; var string1=""+string; for (var count=0; count < howLong; count++) { if (string1.charAt(count) < '0' || string1.charAt(count) > '9') return false; } return true; } function _validatePhoneNumber() { var missingstuff = ""; if (document.config.PhoneNumber.value == "") missingstuff = "MLS Number "; if (_IsNumericPhoneNumber(document.config.PhoneNumber.value) == false) missingstuff = "Non-Numeric "; if (missingstuff.length > 0) { alert("Please enter numbers only."); return false; }else{ document.config.submit(); return true; } } //////////////////////////////////////////////////// // end phone number numeric check //////////////////////////////////////////////////// stdBrowser = (document.getElementById) ? true : false function toggleMenu(currElem, nextPos){ menuObj = (stdBrowser) ? document.getElementById(currElem).style : eval("document." + currElem) if (toggleMenu.arguments.length == 1){ nextPos = (parseInt(menuObj.top) == -5) ? -90 : -5 } menuObj.top = (stdBrowser) ? nextPos + "px" : nextPos } function showMenu(dMenu) { var dBase = dMenu; var dItem = dMenu.substring(0, 7); if (dBase.charAt(7) == '1') { document.getElementById(dItem + "1").style.background = "#cccccc"; document.getElementById(dItem + "2").style.visibility = "visible"; } if (dBase.charAt(7) == '2') { document.getElementById(dItem + "1").style.background = "#cccccc"; document.getElementById(dItem + "2").style.visibility = "visible"; } } function hideMenu(dMenu) { var dBase = dMenu; var dItem = dMenu.substring(0, 7); if (dBase.charAt(7) == '1') { document.getElementById(dBase).style.background = "#cccccc"; document.getElementById(dItem + "2").style.visibility = "hidden"; } if (dBase.charAt(7) == '2') { document.getElementById(dItem + "1").style.background = "#cccccc"; document.getElementById(dItem + "2").style.visibility = "hidden"; } } // show/hide a document element function toggledisplay(el) { var e = document.getElementById(el); if (e.style.display=='none') { e.style.display = 'inline'; } else { e.style.display = 'none'; } } // creates 3 nested spans to make a (show this)|(hide this) link. function elemShowHide(element,firstlabel,toggledlabel) { delim="','"; document.writeln(''+ '' + '' + firstlabel+ '' + ''); }
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 Band Profile: Lothario
12/30/2008 2:57:03 PM
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story and photos by Guy Still
12/30/2008

I pull up to a rather nondescript building, adjacent to the train tracks of Northeast Minneapolis’s Shoreham Yards, and find a spot to park the whip. Both the lot behind the building and the street are packed with cars, evidence that this haven for aspiring musicians will be bumpin’ on this brisk Tuesday evening. As I enter through a heavy steel door in the back of the building, the biting winds scratching at my face are immediately replaced by the sound of a cacophony of guitars, percussion and screaming (which will pass for singing in some venues).

 

This old facility has been converted into myriad small practice spaces for musical hopefuls and hobbyists alike, mainly of the heavy-metal ilk. As I negotiate the desolate and dreary hallways of this industrial labyrinth, the sweet aroma of sensimilla escapes from beneath the doors of the offices of punk rockers and hip-hoppers. Behind one of these doors is the home of creativity for the live hip-hop band Lothario.

 

I rap on the door and enter what the band affectionately calls “The Space.” Bold black letters on a huge banner on the wall spell out “LOTHARIO,” accompanied by American Sign Language above the Roman characters. The room is littered with instruments, cords, amplifiers, computer equipment and empty beer bottles. Only a few of the members are present, although I arrived well after the scheduled start time for practice. They are drinking, smoking and talking about something related to the band. Eventually everyone arrives and the session lasts for hours, running through the crew’s established songs, interspersed with impromptu jam sessions.

 

Merriam-Webster defines “lothario” as “a man whose chief interest is seducing women,” leading me to wonder if the impetus for this musical collective was simply for the ladies.

 

“The band Lothario intends to steal the heart of hip-hop and seduce the minds of those who listen,” Ben Jammin’, the group’s primary bassist, explains. “Our message is one of freedom, defiance… liberation. Our style of music is boundless, and does not obey any particular genre. We start with a foundation of hip-hop, and liberally add layers of rock, funk, jazz, blues, metal, punk, and any other style of music that captures the mood of the moment."

 

The band consists of six members whose roles are not as strictly defined as in most acts. The three primary MCs are The Ill Pirsona, Cuban Captain America (aka The Cuban) and The DeepEasy. While they are spitting on the mic, CJ hits the strings on the electric guitar, Ben Jammin’ strums the bass (and provides backup vocals) and Scotty keeps the beat on the drum-kit. Although these are the principal roles of the members, it is not uncommon to see DeepEasy on the guitar, Cuban Captain America on the hand-drums and The Ill Pirsona tooting his horn, in the form of a trumpet. Even Scotty climbs out from behind the drum kit for a song to verbally collaborate with The Cuban on an homage to “Cartoons,” waxing poetic about those Saturday shows from our youth, including “The Smurfs,” “Hong-Kong Phooey,” and “Inspector Gadget.” At a recent show, the group exemplified its diversity of talents, effortlessly switching between the aforementioned instruments, in addition to the djembe and didgeridoo.

 

While the band has been evolving for more than three years, Lothario only has a handful of shows under its belt. They have played Big V’s, Station 4, Gasthof’s, Red Sea and Fine Line to intimate crowds, originally consisting mainly of friends and family. This motley crew of musicians has a charismatic stage presence and, despite its lack of exposure, has already established a core following in the Twin Cities. The group hopes that a recently released live CD will expand its fan base. While the band becomes more polished and prepares for a studio album, the challenges of sustaining a viable performing act, consisting of half a dozen people, continues to grow.

 

“The most challenging part of being in a band is trying to juggle your daily routine with the band’s schedule,” CJ states during a lull in a recent practice session. All of the members sustain themselves through jobs outside of the music industry and some have already begun families, only compounding the difficulties of finding an agreeable date for the next gig. (They will be playing The Red Sea on Friday, January 23rd to celebrate their drummer’s birthday.)

 

The band seems to find its musical inspiration in life experiences, from the mundane to the melancholy.

 

I get inspiration from the ups, and mostly downs, of everyday life,” The Cuban contemplates while staring at the ceiling, sipping on a beer. Most of the group is a product of Minneapolis Public Schools and have known each other for a number of years, allowing creativity and intimacy to permeate the content of their lyrics and rhythms.

 

We’ve been doing this as Lothario for well over three years at this point, and most of us have played or rapped together in one way or another for many years before that,” The Ill Pirsona explains. And it shows. What seems like an endless freestyle session, with alternating beats and MCs on the mic, is often the genesis for a new Lothario tune. Ben Jammin’ states that, while some songs are first created on paper, “Most often it comes spontaneously during one of our aimless jam sessions. A freestyle lyric will spark an idea, which will ignite into a subject, and will gradually spread out into a complete song.” The band records nearly everything it creates, allowing them to review spontaneous excellence when it unexpectedly arrives 14 minutes into a seemingly unending jam session.

While the band’s foundation is firmly set in hip-hop, Lothario borrows aspects from many other musical genres. CJ is a student of heavy metal “mellowed out to fit” the character of the band. His favorite live act is Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Cuban Captain America cites Metallica, the Beastie Boys, the Doors, Atmosphere, Rage Against the Machine, and Led Zeppelin among his top influences. Other members named off groups including Isis, Dream Theater, Rakim, KRS-One, The Isley Brothers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Massive Attack, Saul Williams and Mastodon as some of those which have shaped their musical perspectives. The result is a thoughtful, unique and rhythmic synthesis of emotions and beliefs, conveyed through their music.

 

“Robert Downey” is one of Lothario’s signature songs, and is an introspective ballad that mixes in some lyrical levity to combat the rather serious nature of the song, which proved therapeutic for at least one of the members.

“My verse is right from my heart about my own struggles with drug and alcohol abuse… The moment I wrote that verse has become a turning point in my personal life,” explained The Ill Pirsona in a recent interview. Consistent themes in their lyrics include issues of social justice, revolution and free-thought, exemplified in songs like “Renegade Lemmings,” “Birthright” and “Edward Murrow.” The urban legend, regarding the use of yellow lighters by potheads, is the topic of “Bad Omen,” while “Shoreham” explores tagging in the rail yards of Northeast Minneapolis. One of their most popular, and poppy, tunes is “Polly Amerus,” which again uses humor to delve into issues of promiscuity and STDs.

 

When I queried The DeepEasy about his favorite cut he replied, “Man, that's like asking which kid is your favorite."

 

Clearly, every member of the group has a passion for the music they are producing, but the ultimate goal of Lothario remains in limbo. While the majority of members hope to convert their love of hip-hop into a sustainable living, they also realize the difficulties and challenges of finding a niche in the music industry. A studio album, short-term Midwest tour and possible participation in South by Southwest 2010 are on the list of short-term goals for this up-and-coming Minneapolis hip-hop group. Cuban Captain America best summed up Lothario’s immediate goals: “To split the Red Sea of conformity and lead people to the promised land of individuality."

 

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