american

Great American Taxi in the Midwest & rides w/ Todd Snider

hermanOn Saturday night Vince Herman and Great American Taxi finished a two week run of dates in Colorado and New Mexico highlighted by two nights supporting the Bill Kreutzmann Trio and culminating in Durango at the Abbey Theater.  Todd Snider happened to be playing the Strater Theater in Durango the same night and headed over to ride the Taxi.  He surfaced for the entire second set for a freaky folk festival.  Snider led on tunes of his own and some inspired covers including a take on J.J Cale's "Crazy Mama," Snider's own "East Nashville Skyline," and some fractured folk takes on some 70's funk hits.  It was apparent that all on stage and in attendance were witnessing a new musical meeting of the minds.

 

Great American Taxi is heading through the Midwest over the next couple of weeks while work on their second album is finished, entitled "Reckless Habits," which will expand Taxi's ever evolving sound aided by the production of Railroad Earth's Tim Carbone and supplemented with Barry Sless on pedal steel, the Black Swan Singers from Denver, CO and a horn section.  Although an official release date has not been announced, Taxi has shows scheduled on their home turf on March 19, 20 and 21 to celebrate the forthcoming release, including Hodi's Half Note in Fort Collins on March 19th, Boulder Theater on March 20th with the Peak to Freak Horns and Black Swan Singers and March 21st at the Bluebird Theater in Denver with the horns, singers and special guest Bill McKay Band on support.

Great American Taxi: A Benefit for The DiscoverHope Fund

Great American Taxi - photos by Sam Holloway- for the Grateful Web

Great American Taxi is ready to charge into 2009 with a new album on the horizon and some new members in the cab.  In December of 2008 founding members Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon) and Chad Staehly brought their new line-up and a few special guests into Backbone Studio in Loveland, CO to record the next evolution to their "Americana without borders" brand of music.  Filled with electric folk, alt-country, a dash of bluegrass and good ol' rock and roll, Taxi has found their stride and sound. The latest version of Taxi includes Jim Lewin on electric guitar and vocals, Edwin Hurwitz on bass guitar and Chris Sheldon on drums and vocals.  Barry Sless is also considered a member at large adding pedal steel and guitar when he can get away from his other gigs and jump into the Taxi

The band has been led by Herman and Staehly since its' inception for a Rainforest Action Group benefit show in March of 2005.  Now approaching well over 400 shows, the band has kept a fairly busy schedule of 140 shows a year and has hit a lot of the premier music festivals along the way including High Sierra Music Fest, Wakarusa, Summer Camp, 10,000 Lakes Festival, Dunegrass, nightgrass slots at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the list goes on.  After a brief tour in fall of 2008 supporting Railroad Earth, the idea was hatched to have Tim Carbone (fiddle player from Railroad Earth) produce Taxi's latest album, and it proved to be a magical marriage. Carbone also added some fiddle to a few tracks complimenting Taxi's big sound which includes Herman's acoustic guitar, Staehly's rock and honky-tonk piano and organ work, Lewin's west coast telecaster guitar assault, Hurwitz's funky bass lines and Sheldon's tasty percussive blend.  Sless also added some pedal steel and guitar, and Carbone brought in a horn section and some gospel singers for a few tunes as well.  This all supports Taxi's original song-writing, which is also complimented by 3 part harmonies and strong lead vocals from four of the five members.

Great American Taxi's sound has been compared to a variety of roots oriented bands including New Riders of the Purple Sage, a "Grateful Dead for the new millennium," Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, The Byrds and more.  People will hear threads of the Leftover Salmon fabric propelled by an inspired Herman being supported by a cast of talented minstrels ready to follow Herman to the land of 'Festival!"  Herman's in-your- face, in-the-moment improvisation helps bring the party to Taxi's well-crafted songs.  People from all backgrounds will be able to latch onto something in the band's sound.  Great American Taxi is truly a melting pot of musical tastes and styles all rolled into their "Americana without borders."  Look for Taxi's latest album to be released in March of 2009. 

The DiscoverHope Fund (DHF) is an international development organization promoting abundance for women and their families living in economic poverty through microcredit and sustainable support systems.  DHF creates an entrepreneurial framework for the poor to actively participate in their own economic advancement, personal empowerment, and life transformation.  Of the worlds 6.1 billion inhabitants, one of every five (more than one billion people) live on less than one US dollar a day.  Nearly half of the human race, more than 3 billion people, live on less than 2 US dollars a day and are faced with the life-threatening reality of poverty every day.  These numbers represent real people, real families, and real stories of those who are trapped in poverty and cannot adequately feed, clothe, or shelter themselves.  DHF is rooted with the passion and vision to create a world that really works for everyone.  

Who:      Great American Taxi featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon

            w/ Creek Road Ramblers

Where:    Coconut Louie's 2303 E. Washington #8 Bloomington, IL

When:     Saturday, March 7th

WEB:      www.greatamericantaxi.net Press photos, bios, dates and much more!

How Much: $10 – includes a raffle ticket towards 2VIP tickets to Summer Camp

Jamie McLean - American Heartache

Jamie McLean- for the Grateful Web

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jamie McLean likes to do things his way. From his tenure in the New Orleans based jazz ensemble the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to performances with Elvis Costello, Norah Jones and Widespread Panic to the debut of the Jamie McLean Band, his wailing guitar and flowing pen screams for the spotlight. Backed by a dynamic voice loaded with New Orleans soul and New York City swagger, McLean's transformation from hired gun to front man has been seamless. The songs on his latest release, American Heartache, are entirely Jamie McLean. Showcasing years of musicianship, McLean and company ooze drops of southern roots rock, blues, R&B, funk and soul out of every note. With the rock & roll attitude of the Rolling Stones and Black Crowes combined with the songwriting prowess of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams, the result is the Jamie McLean Band's latest effort.

Recorded over eight days at the legendary Allaire Studio near Woodstock New York, American Heartache rolls through twelve cuts of southern rock infused guitar, soulful melodies and radio ready choruses. The twangy guitars and driving rhythms of "Can You Hear Me Now" and "Garden of Thieves" are reminiscent of early Black Crowes while earnest ballads such as "Don't Do Me That Way" and "Bottle of Love" summon the songwriting influences of Elvis Costello. McLean's versatility and fret board mastery is on display on every track, as he coaxes that heavy, classic rock sound out of his army of Gibson guitars. Soulful lyrics pour from McLean's voice in trademark front man fashion. With producer Stewart Lerman (Rufus Wainwright, Richie Havens) at the helm, American Heartache is McLean's best work to date. "Allaire is a magical place to record and Stewart was able to really steer the ship in the right directions. He helped make each song as strong and concise and meaningful as possible," states Jamie.

Featuring a plethora of special guests, American Heartache offers plenty of supplementary textures and styles. With additional recording completed in New Orleans during the New Orleans Jazz Festival, the Jamie McLean Band captures the essence of a city steeped in musical history. From trading bluesy guitar licks with Luther Dickinson (The Black Crowes, North Mississippi All-Stars) to adding the sexy and smoky vocals of Shannon McNally, McLean is in the company of good friends on this record. Joined by old band mates the Dirty Dozen Brass Band mixing up a chaotic horn section, everything comes full circle for Jamie McLean.

The remainder of 2008 is shaping up to be a gigantic year for the Jamie McLean Band. With a full-fledged album release tour in the works hitting all major markets, McLean is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as securing some new fans. In the hopes of expanding their touring schedule to the western half of the country, the Jamie McLean Band is poised to take their music to the next level. The creative juices are pumping and Jamie McLean foresees the release of select lives sets, an entirely acoustic album and a possible new studio record on the horizon. "I feel like the band is really firing on all cylinders right now. We are amazingly productive with songwriting, singing and touring and look forward to releasing and performing as much of this great music as possible."

THE DELERIUM D-TOUR 2008 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

DELERIUM- for the Grateful Web

Electronic music pioneers DELERIUM have announced the D-Tour 2008 North American Tour, which kicks off in Vancouver September 11 and ends in Atlanta October 4.  This marks the first major tour for front man Bill Leeb and Delerium in five years. Fans can expect guest vocalists from past Delerium albums to make special appearances, including Sixpence None The Richer's Leigh Nash and chanteuse Kristy Thirsk. Up and coming fellow Nettwerk artists Elsiane and Morgan Page will support the entire 16-date run.

Delerium has also been spending time in the studio working on their next project, an acoustic session that will be comprised of past hit singles as well as two new tracks. Since the release of their Nettwerk debut album Semantic Spaces in 1995, Delerium have gone on to sell over a million albums in North America alone, and are also known for a string of successful singles, including the worldwide dance smash "Silence" (featuring the talents of superstar Sarah McLachlan), which sold over 300,000 copies in the UK. Other hits have included "After All," "Innocente (Falling In Love)," "Underwater" and "Heaven's Earth."

Montreal's Elsiane - Elsieanne Caplette and Stephane Sotto - joins the bill in support of their debut album Hybrid (August 5), which CBC Radio 3 called "mind blowing."  Los Angeles-based electro house producer Morgan Page rounds out the bill with his up-tempo grooves that continue to top the Billboard Club play charts. The track "Longest Road" from his album Elevate (March 2008) was his first original chart-topper, making it all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot Club Play Chart, sandwiched between megawatts Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Full tour dates as follows:

Date                City                              Venue

Sep 11            Vancouver                 Commodore Ballroom

Sep 12            Portland                     Wonder Ballroom

Sep 13            Seattle                        Showbox

Sep 15            San Francisco           Slim's

Sep 16            San Diego                  House of Blues

Sep 17             Los Angeles              El Rey Theatre

Sep 18             Anaheim                     House of Blues

Sep 21             Denver                       Gothic

Sep 24             Minneapolis               Myth

Sep 25             Milwaukee                  The Rave

Sep 26             Detroit                        Royal Oak Music Hall

Sep 27             Toronto                      Guvernment

Sep 28             Montreal                     Club Soda

Sep 30             NYC                             BB Kings

Oct 1                Washington                9:30 Club

Oct 4                Atlanta                         The Loft

Steve Earle: Renaissance Man and American Rebel

photo by Ted Barron- for the Grateful Web

There are vast depths to singer/songwriter Steve Earle. Not only is he one of the best creative writers in music, having received thirteen Grammy nominations and winning two for Best Contemporary Folk Album, but he writes soundtracks for movies and television (P.S. I Love You, Brokeback Mountain, Pay It Forward, The Horse Whisperer, G.I. Jane, Dead Man Walking, and many more).  He's also an actor, having appeared regularly in the HBO prison drama The Wire, and he paints a little, too.

Earle ran his own record label for a few years. "I started a label called E Squared with a friend of mine named Jack Emerson right after I got out of jail in 1995,"  Earle said in a recent phone conversation.  "I recorded for that label with one distribution scheme or another till about three years ago when Jack passed away.... Just having a record label kind of got to be anti art. It got to be sort of like owning a pickup truck and everybody calls you to help them move.  I was just so busy trying to keep all that going I felt like I didn't have time to concentrate on what I do." He now records with   New West Records.

He's been working on a novel for the past six years, hoping to get that magnus opus done in the next few months. He did finish a book of haiku, a full year's worth of little gems, written one-a-day from wherever he was on the planet. He also published a collection of short stories called Doghouse Roses. In eleven stories, he told the tales of people struggling with drugs, trying to make it in the music industry, or living nightmares in Vietnam. Unfortunately, the literary world raked these human portraits over their ivory tower braziers. Earle never intended to create great art, just human art. And, he's been doing that for decades through multiple artistic genres.

"There's not as much difference as people would think between the job of writing and singing a song or acting or writing a book or a play," Steve Earle said. "The jobs aren't that far apart." Each one, calls upon the artist to walk in someone else's shoes to convey the story. "Some people get confused about that," he said, "but it is the way I approached doing it....That's the job. For me, it always has been."

Earle has the uncanny ability to create unforgettable characters, especially in his songs. Responding to a rough cut of the film Dead Man Walking that screenwriter/director Tim Robbins sent him, Earle wrote a gut-wrenching song about a prison guard called "Ellis Unit One."  "In The Horse Whisperer, I wrote a song based on the character as I saw it," Earle said, referring to the Robert Redford character, Tom Booker, who had finesse with people as well as horses. "I actually put words into the mouth of one of the characters in the movie."

However, that ability to get inside a character once caused media to vilify him. When "John Walker's Blues," which he wrote in 2002 about the young man who came to be known as the American Taliban, started hitting radio stations, it sent a shock wave throughout the country, with some  stations refusing to play it and causing talking heads to smack their mouths in a media frenzy. Yet, anyone who actually listened to the song understood that Earle wasn't being un-American. He merely saw a human being in the eyes of John Walker Lindh.  "I have a son that's exactly the same age as John Walker Lindh," Earle said. "I was really relating to that as a father. I saw that kid on TV. He was strapped to board, a skinny 20-year-old kid, and I had a skinny 20-year-old kid of my own at the time."

Earle's skinny little kid, Justin Townes Earle, is now 26 and he'll be playing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival this week. "He's been playing since he was 13 or 14," Earle said. "He was one of those post modern Nirvana fans. He was too young to have been a Nirvana fan when Cobain was alive. The acoustic thing, for him, kind of started from listening to the Nirvana Unplugged thing on MTV. Cobain was doing what he called 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night' and I always called 'In the Pines.'  My son was talking about how much he liked that song and I told him it was a Leadbelly song. He got into my records and my Leadbelly records are right next to my Lighting Hopkins records. He sort of went from there." Earle also had video recordings of some of these roots players, including Lightning Hopkins. "He could literally watch those and watch where they were putting their fingers. He plays that stuff really well."

But six years ago, Steve Earle steeled himself for the onslaught that his songwriting would produce. Even before he wrote the lyrics, he ignored advice from fellow musician Elvis Costello and others not to write it.  "I knew people were going to freak out," Earle remembered. "I had to make a conscious decision to write it anyway. I wrote it because I was genuinely inspired to do it." Still, he knew that he would not be understood. "There are a lot of people out there who only listen to every third word. At that point in time, most people were reacting to the reaction of a handful of people whose job is to overreact to stuff for the entertainment value of overreacting, the Rush Limbaughs, the New York Post.....I mean, if you're not pissing off the New York Post like I did, then you're not doing your job."

Though Earle's latest recording, Washington Square Serenade, doesn't have a song like "John Walker's Blues" on it, the album is no less stirring. His "City of Immigrants" was written to remind TV pundits who rail against immigration that this country was founded by and continues to prosper because of immigrants. And, "Oxycontin Blues," which is probably the most rootsy cut on this album, is about the widespread addiction of this painkiller in the South where it's known as Hillbilly Heroin.

"Before everybody learned the word from Rush Limbaugh, it was in the news," Earle said. "I lived in Tennessee for 32 years. It was in the news in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. People were crushing it up and either eating it or injecting it or snorting it, and they would die. Tennessee is one of the most landlocked states in the United States; it borders seven other states. It has just never had a particularly dependable supply of class A narcotics. It's always been that way. They've always been expensive and hard to get them in there....Dilaudid was the drug of choice when I was using. Nowadays, it's OxyContin."

Earle is currently touring with his wife, Alison Moorer, (Mrs. Earle number seven, by the way).

He will bring a bus load of instruments: a bouzouki, a mandolin, harmonica, tamboura, harmonium, several guitars including a resonator guitar and a 12 string, and his trusty banjo, a copy of an old White Lady open backed model made by Bart Rider made it. "I only know how to play the kind of banjo that scares sheep. It's a very, very primitive instrument in my hands," Earle said. All of these instruments were used on Washington Square Serenade.


His shows will also feature a club DJ, which you would never expect from an organic roots performer like Earle. However, he does have a very good reason for bringing this guy along. "The way we arrived at this record was over beats," Earle explained. "I recorded loops for the most part and played most of the instruments myself. Much of that I could have done solo, and that would have been fine. But for 'Satellite Radio' and 'Way Down in the Hall,' I just couldn't figure out how I was going to do them live. Then, John King, who produced the record and was also a DJ, suggested that I get a DJ. As it turned out my monitor engineer was a club DJ, and we started experimenting with it, and it works. You just have to see it."

Earle sees another album in the near future, as well as a lot more acting. "I'm doing a film in the fall," he said. "And I'll probably be acting more because I'm starting to get asked to.  I like doing it, and the insurance is better."

But he keeps songwriting ever most in his creative repertoire. "Still, my day job is making records and writing songs.  But all the other stuff, I bring back to my home-base craft.  I found that it makes it better."

Steve Earle grabs life and wrings as much meaning—and stories - out of it as he can, giving this Renaissance rebel a deep understanding of the human heart and human hunger. Catch Earle live in his new tour or savor his latest album Washington Square Serenade.

Great American Taxi Rolls into Boulder

Hometown heroes Great American Taxi played to an exuberant crowd of pre-weekend revelers last Friday night at Colorado's historic Boulder Theater.  The band, which is the brainchild of Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon fame, cranked out their fusion of country, rock, folk and electric bluegrass until the wee hours of Saturday morning, much to the disappointment of the audie

American Babies Re-Release Debut Album Today

Photo by Jesse Meyer- for the Grateful Web

Like all brilliant, beautifully rendered albums, American Babies' new release washes over you with wit, wisdom and tenderness. For the self-titled debut, re-released April 1, 2008 on SCI Fidelity Records, Philadelphia-bred front man and songwriter Tom Hamilton has combined his urbane mindset with the country music of his childhood, creating work that places him alongside career artists like Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst, and Jeff Tweedy. The buzz is already on.

American Babies was silently self-released by the band a year ago. But the secret soon spread. Together for a little more than a year, American Babies have already landed several influential gigs, including much-talked-about performances at Philly's World Music Café, Chicago's Wicker Park Festival and Bonnaroo. In addition, American Babies have become "next-big-thing" darlings for such prestigious showcases as the Paste/OurStage South by Southwest Opening Night Party at Stubb's and the Rhapsody/CMJ Conference Kickoff Event. The chemistry and magical X-factor this band possesses is already apparent, even contagious.

At the time Hamilton started writing acoustic roots material like the titled track, "American Babies," he was far from home. He'd been writing, performing, and enjoying a swell of critical acclaim with his band Brothers Past - - yielding a wellspring of positive notices that could possibly have been his ticket to the big time. But his heart wasn't entirely in the process as it stood. "For some time, I had wanted to get more into the music I grew up on."

Which is exactly what he did. He returned to the Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash records his dad made him listen to as a kid, but heard them differently this time. The sounds inspired him wholeheartedly and he began writing in a similar vein. "I don't want to get too deep on it," says Hamilton, a candid realist who equates writing songs with any other job. "I write songs and I play the guitar. It is what I do and it is who I am."

Some people undertake their occupations better than others, though, and Hamilton is a top-rate songwriter. And with the accompaniment of bassist/brother Jim Hamilton and drummer Joe Russo, and guitarist Scott Metzger, American Babies has developed into something extraordinary.

Look for American Babies on tour this summer.  Dates to be announced soon.

THE AMERICAN BEAUTY PROJECT

- for the Grateful Web

Two of the Grateful Dead's greatest albums, American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, both recorded in 1970, will each be honored with its own evening when Arts>World Financial Center presents The American Beauty Project free in the World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street.

Workingman's Dead, which was recorded in March 1970 & will be honored Saturday, January 20, at 8:00pm by a distinctive roster of singer-songwriters, bands and instrumentalists when each perform one of the tracks on the classic album. The next night, Sunday, January 21, at 8:00pm, another group of singers and musicians will perform cuts from American Beauty which was recorded in August and September 1970.

Performing their own arrangements of the Workingman's Dead and American Beauty songs are Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane), Ollabelle, Toshi Reagon, The Holmes Brothers, Jen Chapin, Dar Williams, The Klezmatics, Tim O'Reagan (The Jayhawks), Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Larry Campbell, Catherine Russell, Jim Lauderdale, Andy Statman, Tony Trischka, and more names to be announced in the months ahead.

Putting together The American Beauty Project to celebrate 35th anniversary of these two landmark Grateful Dead albums is Artistic Director and Producer David Spelman, who was responsible for similar tributes to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. At last year's Nebraska Project honoring Springsteen, The Boss himself spent the evening standing unnoticed with the crowd before jumping on stage for the finale.

"Both Workingman's Dead and American Beauty were ranked on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, 258 and 262, respectively," said Mr. Spelman. "Each was extremely innovative at the time for their fusion of bluegrass, rock, folk and country music." Workingman's Dead, the band's fourth studio album, was recorded in March 1970, and was voted by readers of Rolling Stone as the best album of 1970, in front of Crosby, Stills and Nash's Déjà Vu and Van Morrison's Moondance.

American Beauty was recorded between August and September of 1970 and was released in November of the same year. It included instant radio favorites such as "Truckin'" "Sugar Magnolia" and "Friend of the Devil."

"The acoustic sound and folk/country tunes of Workingman's Dead would come as quite a shock to many fans, and to the critics as a harbinger of some sort of conscious movement (along with The Band, Dylan and the Byrds) toward country," wrote Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally in his program notes for the event. Mr. McNally went on to add that: "as usual with the Grateful Dead, the album's origins were serendipitous and synchronistic, involving no plan or program. Instead, their swerve to include country songs in their work began quite accidentally when their lyricist Robert Hunter moved in with the Garcia family in January 1969 ... In March 1970, they went into the studio to record Workingman's Dead. Hugely in debt to their record company, they were forced to be simple and economize, thinking consciously of Buck Owens' Bakersfield sound. The simplicity served the music perfectly, and the result was a classic, although not the departure many thought it was. They'd enlarged their vision, not changed it."

Arts>World Financial Center serves as the leading showcase in Lower Manhattan for visual and performing arts - from the intimate to the spectacular - by artists either emerging or established. Since 1988, year-round and free to the public, it has presented interdisciplinary arts programming with an emphasis on commissioned works, site-specific installations and premieres.

All events are free! No tickets required. Seating is first come, first served. For information, call (212) 945-0505 or click www.worldfinancialcenter.com.

American Apparel: Really American

- for the Grateful Web

American Apparel proves that good ethics equal good business.  Last year American Apparel made $250 million in revenue and $400 million in revenue is projected for this year.  American Apparel is a clothing wholesaler and a retailer.

"I'm really excited for it to be in Boulder because I think Boulder has been needing it," said Jules Brennan, 24, manager of the new American Apparel store which just opened on Pearl Street, claiming the Gap's former space.  Though both companies sell similar casual attire, they vary greatly in their manufacturing practices.  The roads from design to merchandising for each store could not be farther apart.  While the Gap and other clothing companies contract their manufacturing to factories around the world, American Apparel lives up to its name by manufacturing all of its clothing in Los Angeles, Calif.

Founded in 1997 by Canadian Dov Charney, 37, American Apparel initially contracted its manufacturing to Mexico, but Charney moved manufacturing to the United States since it is difficult to manage someone else's company.  Charney prefers a hands-on approach and oversees every aspect of the company from designs to the openings of dozens of new stores around the world.  "He wants to be in every part of the company so he can get a feel for what is going on and where the company should be going," said Brennan, and added, "Even though it's corporate you still have a lot of freedom."

"The company's identity embraced a concept of a positive experience, and that means everyone is going to have a positive experience.  I think that's a real important basic premise," said Roian Atwood, 28, director of community relations at American Apparel.  The Los Angeles factory has modern sewing equipment, offers medical benefits after 90 days, has free masseurs on site, and offers subsidized bus passes, free ESL classes, free parking and bicycle lending.  Employees are allowed to use bathrooms whenever needed and to make brief personal phone calls on company phones.  The Los Angeles factory's location has plenty of natural light and is air-conditioned.  The atmosphere is laid-back and still productive.  According to www.americanapparel.net, the factory can create over 210,000 T-shirts each day, or about 1 million per week.

"We're reinvesting in ourselves," said Greg Martinelli, 35, the manager of the Denver store in the midst of helping the Boulder store on its opening day, referring to American Apparel's practice of vertical integration.  Everything from design to distribution is done in the Los Angeles factory.  Vertical integration eliminates the middle man and increases efficiency.  Design and assembly errors are noticed and amended faster.  The entire production is seamless and money is saved as a result.  Employees are also valued.  American Apparel's factory does not have a high level of turnover, which is also cost efficient.  Atwood also said Charney learned from the mistakes of the automobile industry.  As rising sales demand new technology, workers are trained instead of being laid off.

aaThe philosophy of vertical integration extends to marketing as all of the models in American Apparel's advertisements are employees of the company or friends of employees.  The Gap, while too sparing to pay manufacturing workers livable wages, paid Madonna $5 million for appearing in print ads and a television commercial in 2003.  Vertical integration could become the manufacturing model for the future in light of American Apparel's success and rapid expansion.  American Apparel already has stores in ten countries and 100 new stores will open this year.  The company also has 55,000 wholesale customers.  American Apparel has a growing fan base while its competitors continue to be scrutinized for their dishonorable practices.

"A lot of the companies that utilize contract labor have these large networks.  For them to consider changing…it's very difficult.  Making [clothes] in the U.S. may not be so easy for them to consider," said Ben Giardullo, 24, operations manager, but added, "They're running out of room to say it has to be done with contractors."  Clothes for Gap, Inc. are manufactured in over 50 countries by workers in more than 3,600 factories according to www.behindthelabel.org.  Garment workers at American Apparel's Los Angeles factory are paid $12.50-$20.00 per hour according to American Apparel's web site.  Many contractors in China pay workers an average of 22 cents per hour and as little as 14 cents per hour.  People sometimes work over 90 hours per week.  Workers are ruled by intimidation and are beaten if they make mistakes.  Workers in countries such as Mexico and Bangladesh are fired if they speak out about their poor working environments or try to organize unions.  Many of the Gap's contracted factories are surrounded by barbed wire fences and patrolled by guards.  The factories are basically prisons.  To make matters even worse, many workers are cheated out of their earnings by their employers.

gapThe BBC exposed the Gap for having a contractor which used child labor in Cambodia.  Some of these laborers were only 12 years old.  Cambodian workers were forced to work overtime and seven day work weeks while living in squalor, according to www.behindthelabel.org.  The Gap is not alone in its support of human rights abuses as Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, Ann Taylor and others have utilized contractors which treat human beings as product-producing machines. Contractors also act as loan sharks to their employees who borrow money at high interest rates to buy food.  The employees essentially become indentured servants who are trapped in a borrow and work cycle.

"Nobody does what we do.  We do exactly what everyone else says is impossible," said Giardullo.  American Apparel proves a company does not have to be unethical to be profitable.  American Apparel will add to the paradoxes it practices by exporting American-made T-shirts to China.

Ah, Mother American Night

Another decade another night at Red Rocks for Bob Weir.  Joined by Ratdog for the current lineup's first appearance and co-headlining with Colorado native sons String Cheese Incident, Bobby celebrated his