Friday, November 21, 2014

Veikko and Jason: How Bad Coffee Brought Them Together to Form Wood Blind

On this day in history Rene Magritte, another of my favorite artists was born in 1898.

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The other day, while having another great soup for lunch at Beaners Central, I overheard Veikko Lepisto and Jason Wussow discussing a press release regarding their show next Friday night and their new record, a 7" split vinyl which the cut, both in conjunction with Teague Alexy of the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. Those who follow the scene know that Jason is the founder and owner of Beaners, which has established itself as an important music venue here in the heart of Spirit Valley/West Duluth.

Beaners is one of those places that seems like it has always been there. What was Duluth before Beaners? One of Jason's life passions is music, hence it's only natural that music would be central to the venue Beaners has become, including a recording studio downstairs among other things. I think it's his gentle good-hearted cheer that brings people in the door, though.

Veikko is a former L.A. musician with a strong pedigree whose parents home is in Morgan Park. With every visit to his parent’s home in Morgan Park from Los Angeles, Veikko would end up across the counter from Jason at Beaner’s Central. “My mom makes terrible coffee. Just terrible.” This is another reason Beaners' regulars weave there way in to Jason's java joint. Good coffee.

Invariably, the two would start talking about music while Jason steamed his tall latte. Veikko, the stand-up bass player for eight years with The Royal Crown Review, instantly connected with Jason’s tenacity for life and passion for music. But, year after year, Veikko would return to LA, lose track of Beaner’s and Jason would lose track of him.

If you followed what he was doing, it's easy to see why Veikko might forget Duluth for a season now and then. In addition to his years with The Royal Crown Review, he did studio work with the likes of Bette Midler, Mike Ness of Social Distortion, and the producer Ted Templeman.

For those unaware, Jason himself has quite a background in music beyond the home turf, touring the country with his band Flux Skapacitor, and opening for The Skatalites.

After over twenty years in L.A., Veikko finally made his move to the Duluth area in last year. Naturally Jason and Veikko wanted to make music together. Their first practice was thrown together on the spot behind Beaner’s (it must have been summer) and within a week they had written two originals and worked out two covers and soon became Wood Blind, an acoustic Ska duo.

There is balance between them. Veikko is the detail orientated planner and Jason brings the energy and his perpetually positive attitude. “He’s the happy little bird and I’m the hawk,” explains Veikko. Jason describes Wood Blind as “a simmered reduction of all my favorite things, the energy of my young bands and the maturity of the later ones.” They have a shared vision to do as much as they can with the time they’re allowed. “We strive to master the style, but first we strive to have a good time,” says Veikko. Derived from the Ska style is what the two call “Ska Box” – or Toasting, the Jamaican version of beat-boxing, rhythmic sound effects to enhance the already big sound of Veikko’s bass and Jason’s acoustic guitar.


The two have recently connected with Teague Alexy of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank to collaborate on a 7” split vinyl. Coffee was the catalyst between Jason and Teague as well when they met at Beaner’s 13 years ago. The three recorded and Wood Blind produced two tracks this fall in the Beaner’s studio. The release is set for November 28th at 7:00 p.m. at Beaner’s Central where they will share the stage with local favorite Jack Campbell.

Beaner’s Central
Friday November 28th
7pm   $5
Wood Blind * Teague Alexy * Jack Campbell
Single Release and Vinyl preorder party

Tuesday January 6th Official Vinyl Release Date

Saturday January 24th Minneapolis Release Harriet Brewery

If you want more details than this, stop in a see Jason. In the meantime... listen to the music.

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