Alumnus rocks in band for first album
Nov12

Alumnus rocks in band for first album

Over the past three years, a small-town rock band named Johnny’s Body has been gaining popularity in Texas and just released their first album: Swing Low Rock and Roll. Most of the band members have been together for nearly a decade, starting off in a punk band called Garage 34, but decided to adopt a more straight rock style after gaining appreciation for the country and old-school rock music they listened to as children. UMHB alumnus Ben Rhudy is the drummer for the band and graduated with a degree in mass communication/ journalism last year. While working on his bachelor’s, he was also playing at venues in the area, including Common Grounds, the Jubilee Theater and the Watering Hole. He described their style: “Johnny’s Body is what I would call folk rock. It is a combination of old country and rock with kind of more of a modern take. We are really looking more towards the future with a foot in the past.” He calls them “Johnny Cash meets the Clash.” The band was started by the two Rhudy brothers, Ben, who plays drums, and Jordan, on lead guitar and sings. Other members of the band are Megan Harris, who plays trumpet and accordion; Taylor Branch, who plays rhythm guitar; and Ronnie and Carrie Martin, who play bass and keyboard, respectively. All of them live either in Waco or Gatesville. The band plays frequently in Central Texas, with the majority of shows in Waco. Most recently, the band was invited to the Battle of the Bands in Austin, but was unable to participate due to scheduling issues. The band has also registered for South by Southwest for next year and is hoping to get a spot in the prestigious indie festival. Their album, Swing Low Rock and Roll, has obvious influences from old country and classic rock, but still maintains a fresh, upbeat sound. The collection of 11 songs is diverse in its sound, crossing into mariachi, blues and punk. The album truly shines at track 6, named “Poor Boy.” The song has strong lyrical value and is upbeat and catchy. It is easy to find yourself humming many of Johnny’s Body’s songs long after the disc has finished. “Sweet on You” digs into a more indie style, giving listeners some great rhythmic material. The song gives the band sort of a lovable feel, straying from their normal bluesy country-rock style. “When the Chariot Swings Low” is masterful in its own right. The song is about what will happen when death comes knocking and is a great homage to the beginning sounds of country. This piece is really set...

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Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”
Oct13

Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”

Woody, Buzz and Mr. Potato Head are back on the big screen in their third appearance in a special Toy Story double feature in 3-D. Generations past and present will be able to enjoy some of America’s most popular toys for a limited time in their promotion of the third installment of the series set to release June 18, 2010. The 3-D translation of the popular family movie is stunning, to say the least. No extra scenes were added to the movies in their third theatrical appearance, but the new, subtle 3-D effects give the whole story a little more flavor and doesn’t shove the new movie presentation down the audience’s throat. None of the effects are overdone, and the new polish on the visual scheme of the film gives viewers convincing eye-candy. The double feature shows the films back to back, which could be problematic for small children or those with short attention spans, but the spectacular reinvention of these classic family movies is all the reason one needs to stick around for the full three-hour presentation. For those that haven’t had the privilege of seeing the two animated movies, the story chronicles the adventures of toys that come to life when their owner isn’t around and the emotions that they encounter when they are replaced by newer toys or more “grownup” items. The movies boast a high-profile voice acting cast, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie and will include Michael Keaton as Ken and Whoopi Goldberg in an unnamed role in Toy Story 3. The third movie in the series is set just before Andy, the toys’ owner, leaves for college. The toys are dumped into a day care center, which puts the toy-box bunch in the mouths, hands and pockets of drooling preschoolers. As Buzz says, “to infinity and beyond.” The original production was the first big-screen movie to be made by Disney Pixar and premiered more than a decade ago. The story of some of America’s favorite toys brought to life revolutionized the way that animated movies were made. Following the release of Toy Story, Disney Pixar released family favorites like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, WALL-E and the recent critically acclaimed...

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From class to the big screen
Sep29

From class to the big screen

In the past few years, students have had more opportunities to participate in area film-making than ever before They have worked with both small and large film production crews in their efforts to further penetrate and positively influence the growing Texas film industry. Two university communication students have landed roles as extras in a Robert Rodriquez film, Machete, set to debut in 2010. The movie is about a renegade Mexican federali named Machete who is hired to assassinate a U.S. senator, but gets set up by the people who hired him. He survives the attempt on his life and Rodriquez offered his fans a peek at the movie in a mock trailer in Planet Terror, a part of the Grindhouse double feature including Death Proof released in 2007. Senior mass communication/journalism major Terrance McGee was asked to be an extra in the film after auditioning and being accepted for a Southwestern Airlines commercial. McGee had a time conflict between class and the commercial, but was called back a second time to ask if he was interested in being an extra in Machete. The film employs several big-name actors, including Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Danny Trejo as Machete. McGee found himself beside some of the celebrities. He said, “Often times, the majority of the extras are subconsciously trying to get in scenes with a celebrity. I’ve been nothing but blessed in my role as a reporter, which ironically placed me in scenes alongside Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro. I just think that’s hilarious.” Junior biology major Cassy Olvera was also able to take part in the film. She said, “Being on set was really awesome. It was really cool to see how everything was made and how they make the movies look the way they do. I got the opportunity to work with Danny Trejo, who is the lead character, and Lindsay Lohan. My character was actually being a day labor worker, and we got to do some fight scenes.” This was the first role in a large production that either student has been able to take part in. “Well, first off, it’s a privilege to be on set with such top-notch celebrities. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with such reputable stance. I have learned how vital it is to be a team player and that no one movie is a success without the hard work ethics of every individual,” McGee said, “It is exciting to be on a set because, not only are you surrounded by popular actors or the production team, but...

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