Music of Indiana
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|Music of the United States|
Indiana was one of the first places where jazz music became popular outside of New Orleans and Chicago. In the late 1910s and through the 1920s the state had numerous bands of young musicians playing the new style for dancing.
Indiana-born musicians and composers include John Mellencamp, Michael Jackson (also of Gary's The Jackson 5), Janet Jackson, Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, John Hiatt, Hoosier Hot Shots, Harry Von Tilzer, Rich Mullins, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Hazel Harrison, May Aufderheide, Cecil Duane Crabb, Julia Lee Niebergall, Kris Roe, The Four Freshmen, The Ink Spots, the Bill Gaither Trio, Albert Von Tilzer, Cole Porter, J. Russell Robinson, Eddie Condon, Hoagy Carmichael, Stuart Gorrell, Wes Montgomery, J. J. Johnson, Freddie Hubbard, Cal Collins, Royce Campbell, Noble Sissle, Henry Lee Summer, Larry Ridley; Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, and DJ Ashba (all of Guns N' Roses); David Lee Roth of Van Halen, Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, Travis Meeks of Days of the New, Mick Mars of Motley Crue, Carrie Newcomer, Janie Fricke, Lonnie Mack, Tiara Thomas, Leroy Vinnegar, Claude Thornhill, Jamey Aebersold, and David Baker.
The Jackson 5's first 4 singles (including "I Want You Back") reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, all on Motown records. Michael Jackson (the "King of Pop", d. 2009) had 13 #1 singles (including "Billie Jean"), more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era. Janet Jackson has 10 #1 singles (including "All for You") on the Hot 100. Deniece Williams, also from Gary, had 2 #1 Hot 100 hits, including "Let's Hear It for the Boy" in 1984. Van Halen (with David Lee Roth) had a #1 hit on the Hot 100 with "Jump", also in 1984. Guns N' Roses (with Axl Rose) had a #1 hit on the Hot 100 with "Sweet Child O' Mine." And The McCoys had a #1 Hot 100 hit in 1965 with "Hang On Sloopy." All of the above (and John Cougar Mellencamp, who had a #1 hit with "Jack & Diane" in 1982) are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, except Janet Jackson, Deniece Williams, and The McCoys.
In Indianapolis, a vibrant 1970s punk rock and new wave scene existed, including Latex Novelties, Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dow Jones and the Industrials (from West Lafayette). One of the most influential Indiana punk bands was The Gizmos, from Bloomington, Indiana - who spawned a thriving local alternative scene that included the likes of Amoebas in Chaos and Dancing Cigarettes. Later, a hardcore punk and alternative rock band from Indianapolis called the Zero Boys became the single most important punk band ever to arise from the state. The Zero Boys started trying to make a local hardcore scene after seeing the Dead Kennedys in Chicago. Paul Mahern of the Zero Boys led the effort, and founded Affirmation Records, releasing several compilations and recordings from Articles of Faith (from Chicago) and local band Killing Children before going out of business.
Bloomington has a large folk punk music scene. The town is home to Chris Clavin who runs the DIY punk rock record label Plan-It-X Records and is in the band Ghost Mice. Every other year Plan-It-X Records organizes Plan-it-X Fest, a large DIY punk music festival held in Bloomington. Bloomington is also home to the record labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar, and BlueSanct.
Layfayette is the home of Mass Giorgini's (of Squirtgun, Screeching Weasel, and Common Rider fame) Sonic Iguana Studios. Possibly the first recording studio in the world dedicated exclusively to recording punk rock, several legendary national and international punk bands have recorded or mastered their releases at Sonic Iguana, including platinum-selling acts such as Rise Against. Lafayette / West Lafayette is home to punk rock record label Oi! the boat records whose roster includes bands from around the US and Europe, notably including Sweden's Perkele who headline many punk festivals throughout Europe, Lars Frederiksen's (of Rancid) side project band The Old Firm Casuals, seminal UK punk bands The Last Resort and Peter and the Test Tube Babies along with many other internationally acclaimed punk and ska groups.
In Northern Indiana, South Bend is home of Plinko Productions, led by Garth Plinko who recorded many of South Bend's punk bands throughout the 90's. Garth is also the founding member of the Urinal Mints, who have toured all over the US and Europe. The band released four CDs: "Vulgar Display of Ass", "Minty Fresh and In the Flesh (Live CD)", "Fourteen'll Getcha Twenty", and "Own Your Soul". The Urinal Mints are the main reason the Northern Indiana punk scene prospered in the late 90's and 00's, by bringing in several national touring acts, hosting shows, and building a network with other Midwest bands. Plinko Productions is also responsible for the "Shit Like a Champion" compilation series. The very first local punk rock compilations. Wrecked Hooligan Records came into fruition in 2012 and has started releasing compilations titled "No Coast, No Problem" which features many of the South Bend Punk Bands, as well as bands throughout the midwest. South Bend was also home to The Aakata's. The Aakata's are widely credited with keeping the punk torch lit in northern Indiana. From their earliest days as a band, The Aakata's stood apart from their punk peers with their musicianship, as well as their lyrics. The Aakata's style often draws comparison with the Clash and Sex Pistols. The Aakata's emerged as a response to what was perceived to be the increasingly safe and bloated punk rock, heavy metal and manufactured alternative music of the mid-1990s. The band created various controversies during their career which captivated the Indiana punk scene, but often eclipsed their music. Their shows and tours repeatedly faced difficulties from authorities, and public appearances often ended in disaster.The group went on hiatus in 2004.
The Hardcore music scene has been flourishing in Indiana cities such as Indianapolis and Richmond since the late 80's, and also in other parts of the state such as Northwest Indiana.
This is due to access at one time to small independent record stores such as Hegewisch Records in Merrillville, distros at shows, tape trading, word of mouth, flyering, the tenacity of die-hard music fans and musicians and more recently the internet.
Northwest Indiana in particular was a hotbed for Hardcore due to its already established metal scene and place in the urban decay of the rust belt. It really took off in the mid 1990s with the bands Right Arm Death Threat from Laporte and Take A Stand from Michigan City. Having members that had lived in New York and Chicago and being influenced first hand by the scenes in those cities as well as the well established, known and thriving scene in Chesterton, it's large number of bands for a small town, (Failsafe, Aberration, The Chesterton Hardcore Conspiracy, just to name a few) it's DIY ethic, and number of National and International acts playing there.
Being in a cover band saturated market, members of these bands started networking across the region and started booking shows for their own bands as well as bringing acts from other cities and far away places. It soon took off and there were shows every other week and bands popping up every day. Strong connections to nearby already established scenes in Chicago, South Bend, Indianapolis and Detroit were made and growth continued producing even more bands such as After The Quarrel, Shut The Fuck Up, and most notably Blood In/ Blood Out. Apathy, commercialism and violence has marred the scene over the last decade and as with any punk genre and subcultures in general the fakes come and go, personal lives take precedence over participation, and Things change but, the majority of the stalwarts remain and the ball keeps rolling with shows in Hammond and Gary and new bands such as No Dice and All These Years and Nothing, plus strong ties to the Heavy Metal and Hip-hop communities, as well as international ties to the Punk and Hardcore scene from the years of hard work, perseverance and resistance to the powers that be.
Hip Hop Music
In 1993, independent label Pump the Mix Productions released "Firs' From tha Bend" which is a 5-track EP consisting of tracks produced by DJ Machete and rapper Q-Swon, both natives of South Bend. Independent hip hop group, The Mudkids, hail from Indianapolis, Indiana. Producer Elp-Mass and emcee Rusty Redenbacher made up the classic hip hop combo of emcee and dj/producer. Both artists are currently active in other musical endeavors. Indiana hip hop can be found mostly these days through Bringing Down The Band, a blog founded in 2009.
The Birth of Indianapolis Hip Hop/Soul
Hip Hop/ Soul is what they are calling it. With a style brought from New York, Texas, New Orleans,and Chicago the Indiana hip hop scene has birthed some of the bravest talent in music. In 2008, we were introduced to two new anthems of hope in The Symphonic Band's "Commencement", which blazed with soulful vocals by Brendon L. Garrett, and heart pounding poetry by John "Juan Blanco" White and the ever present "Dream Again", which also featured Garrett and White with production by ManDog Productions. The Symphonics met at the Broad Ripple High School for Performing Arts, and finished their first recording in less than two days. It had been the first multi-racial recording group out of the Broad Ripple High School for Performing Arts ever. Many locals are still playing the cd although the band is no longer together. ManDog Productions is still actively producing local and national talent, White is still performing on the underground circuit, and Garrett became a local minister and activist. Other artists related to ManDog Productions include BPN, Black Box Entertainment., Ku-Dos the Kid, Z00 Krew Band, Trip Trae; and Calvin Crabtree with his South Central Indiana style of rap.
The Revitalization of Indy Indie Music
After returning home from the Nappy Roots & Friends Mile High Tour thru Colorado (9 cities in 11 days) in January of 2014, Indianapolis, IN Indy indie hip-hop recording artist SkRiLLa of The Zoo Crew hosted the first ever SkRiLLazZoo ENT LLC Indy indie Hip-Hop Showcase Concert Series Event "SkRiLLazZoo's Midwest Massacre I Featuring Buffalo Stille & Ron Clutch of The Nappy Roots Live at 247 SkyBar Live Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana on the first Friday of May 2014. After the event which featured performances from Nappy Roots, Junior Jackson, SkRiLLa, Shadowink (INK FAM), Ricky Freezer, The Zoo Crew, Rob Hood, Lyrical the Miracle Man, Mike Anthony, J-Griff of Stoneage, and dozens of other Indy indie emcees, SkRiLLazZoo ENT LLC quickly started a movement that would revitalize the entire Indy indie music scene. Since their inception in 2012, SkRiLLazZoo ENT LLC has helped over 200 hip-hop artists from the State of Indiana gain access to the resources and opportunities needed to pursue a potential career in music and live entertainment. After the formation of the "New Zoo Alliance" of artists signed to the SkRiLLazZoo Entertainment LLC record label: Lyrical the Miracle Man, Mike Anthony, J-Griff, and SkRiLLazZoo ENT LLC Founder Christopher "SkRiLLa" Bauer, the New SkRiLLa & The Zoo Crew Indy indie hip-hop group teamed up with industry producer Travis "Koldkut" Moore and AZMyth Recording Studios (Indianapolis, Indiana) to prepare for the world premier of the upcoming SkRiLLa & The Zoo Crew debut album "Natural Selection". The first two singles "We Alright" and "New Zoo Alliance" featured on the upcoming SkRiLLa & The Zoo Crew album "Natural Selection" debuted globally on the 2015 season finale of the Comcast Xfinity original series Inside Tracks shot by Comcast Xfinity live at AZMyth Recording Studios in Indianapolis, IN. The SkRiLLazZoo Zoo Crew documentary was featured on Comcast On Demand for six months throughout the Midwest. 
A LIST OF INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA RAPPERS:
Lil Bango (Luchi Ent), Lil Skooter (Luchi Ent), TKON (The Kids Or Nothing), Trippin' Ballz, Ali Savage, Rusty Redenbacher, Skittz, ACE ONE, Grey Granite, Mr. Kinetik, Gritts, Pope Adrian Bless, EJAAZ, Blake Allee, Jaecyn Bayne, Lonegevity, Oreo Jones, Sirius Blvck, Andy D, Tony Styxx, Golde Patron, Dario A. Lee, Ray E, Alpha Live, Feeray, SkRiLLa, Ric Jilla, Villion, Brad B, Sir Hart, P. Hardy, S. Colli, Son of Thought, Freeze, John Stamps, Peteyboy, Trajik, KJ, Michael Barber, Shellz, G Stack, Jimi Mac, The Zoo Crew, Renegade, Hardtimes, Nutty Boi, Justus, HUMAN, Paul Michael, Skypp, Swoe, Nick Nice, Lyrical the Miracle Man, Vicky Valentine, Scoot Dubbs, Ms. Free, Mr. Indy 500, Vizion, Baby D, Ant Hustle, G Fresh, 20, Lady Free, Mercury Threshold, Jae Ellis, A.O., Nonscense, Onree, Yung Tone, Reddy Rock, Matty Moe, Famoss, J-Griff, Rambo, Rickey Freezer, Flaco, TAG, Benny, Mike Anthony, Methcost, T-Rock, Riddles, Nappyville, D.T. Farrelli, Beanz, Na Nizzle, Lil Sleep, T.A. The Truth, Bo Lo, Loco, Tae, Rasheeda, Freddie Gibbs, Riose, Classic Kid, J wood, Tkrazy, G-Scott, Radamez, Myah, OS7 of Frankfort Indiana, Evans,
Christian Musicians from Indiana
- Charis - Rap - Evansville
- Bill Gaither & Gloria Gaither - southern gospel - Anderson
- Ernie Haase - Southern Gospel - Cynthiana
- Gwen Stacy - Hardcore - Indianapolis
- Haste The Day - Hardcore - Indianapolis
- Hunter Smith Band - Country/Pop/Rock - Indianapolis
- Jeremy Camp - Pop - Lafayette
- Jody Davis (Newsboys) - Rock - Petersburg
- John Schiltt (Petra) - Rock - Evansville
- Josh Engler (Abandon / Audio Adrenaline) - Rock - Evansville
- Rich Mullins - pop - Richmond
- Roscoe Meeks (Geoff Moore & The Distance) - pop - Nappanee
- Sidewalk Prophets - Alternative - Anderson
- Mark Stuart (Audio Adrenaline) - rock - Rockport
- Tricia Brock Baumhardt (Superchik) - rock - Dillsboro
- The Redemption Song - hardcore - Evansville
- Yung Kriss - Rap - Evansville
Musicals about Indiana
Charles Moman, an elementary music teacher from Seymour, Indiana is the composer of musicals about the state of Indiana. In 2000, Moman released an Indiana history-based musical, Indiana, That's Where I Belong for use by Indiana elementary students. This 9-song musical tells the story of Indiana through songs of various styles. Song subjects include Indiana Indians, George Rogers Clark, Abraham Lincoln, the term "Hoosier", the Underground Railroad, a rap about basketball and more. It has been very successful and performed by hundreds of Indiana schools and over 50,000 Hoosier students. For more information, go to http://www.momanmedia.com/.
In 2007, Moman was commissioned to compose an original Broadway-style musical for the 2009 Bicentennial of Madison, Indiana - the musical Rivertown was performed 6 times in October, 2009 at Madison High School. He wrote the music, lyrics and orchestration while Yancy Unger wrote the book, and Aaron Kelsey was the director.
In 2010, Moman retired from teaching and is now a full-time composer, school presenter and ultramarathoner! For the 2016, Indiana Bicentennial, he will be performing a one-man show for Indiana elementary schools titled Celebrate Indiana!. This one-hour show will be a high energy celebration of the greatness of Indiana.
- Season Finale of Comcast Original Series Inside Tracks featuring SkRiLLa & The Zoo Crew (Indianapolis, IN) Show By Comcast Xfinity (Available On Demand), retrieved 2015-08-05
- Blush, Steven (2001). American Hardcore: A Tribal History. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House. ISBN 0-922915-71-7.
- Goshen, Larry, with Shaw, Mark (2002). Let the Good Times Roll: An Anthology of Indiana Music. Mentzer Printing. ISBN 0-9717596-2-6.
- Schiedt, Duncan P (1977). The Jazz State of Indiana. Indiana Historical Society. ISBN 0-9603528-0-5.
- Oi! the Boat Records website: www.oitheboat.com
- Rogers,Abbey. Abbey Rogers Midwest Showcase. Indy Hip Hop