What do the front man for a Mexico City goth-metal band, a French horn player in a Falun Dafa marching band, and a beatbox maestro all have in common? Firewood. From San Francisco’s Boom Boom Room to Dublin’s Voodoo Lounge, and from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to El Chopo (Mexico City’s most hardcore, open-air rock flea market), Firewoodians make music on a global scale.
As one strolls through the nine Sonos zones of our San Francisco headquarters, a wide range of tastes is immediately evident. This month, the Firewood OOO Spotlight series casts its beam on our resident musicians. Because there are too many to pack into one blog, keep an eye out for future posts highlighting some of the past, present, and future endeavors of our own in-house version of the Wrecking Crew.
While Bangkok nights may be humbling, Production Designer Milton Martinez admits that “being in an underground rock band in Mexico City takes a toll on you.” He led a gothic rock band, Los Dead Mariachis, back in DF, and “did most of the underground circuit, culminating at El Chopo – and making it out alive!”
But it was while performing in the conservative city of Toluca with the Billy Idol tribute band Cobraskin that he first faced government repression. As Milton recalls, “We opened up for the Iron Maidens, an all-female tribute band from L.A., and the cops closed the whole venue prior to the concert! We wound up playing at a clandestine warehouse and, again, made it out alive.” Despite his track record as a survivor, Milton reports, “ever since I left Mexico two and a half years ago, I haven’t played with a band (I support a local church, though, which keeps me well oiled).”
Recruiter Zhenni Zhang plays the French horn in a Falun Dafa (a.k.a. Falun Gong) marching band. As she tells it, “I joined a community band and started to learn French horn about five years ago…to share the beauty and peacefulness of Falun Dafa to the community through some wonderful, original music.” Since then, Zhenni has played with the band in “many parades and won lots of awards.” She’s been in San Francisco’s Italian Heritage Parade, Redwood City’s Fourth of July Parade, the Portland Rose Parade, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to name a few. And the band recently won first place at the Fourth of July Parade in Huntington Beach!
Over the 15 years that Art Director Sash Callsen has been performing music, he’s played around 40 live shows. Sash admits, “I’ve had all the embarrassing moments you can think of on stage: breaking strings, playing in the wrong key (while other musicians are in the right one), saying the f-word in a family restaurant.…It was part of the song. I don’t know if you should include that…”
During that time, he says, the coolest band he opened for was Moon Taxi. “I think they were on the [Late Show with David Letterman].” In other words, Sash makes music. Check it out for yourself on his website or on his new EP, Science Is All Around Us, available now on Spotify, iTunes, and other platforms. As for what’s next, Sash regularly has gigs around San Francisco and says, “I’ll be doing a lot more beatboxing. I just got a loop pedal and I think I’ll have some cool music soon.”
At Firewood, we believe that sharing the music you love with your colleagues is a great way to connect outside of the office. After all, Firewood was built on a creative spark. From music and dance performances to poetry readings, art openings, and fashion blogs, we wholeheartedly support and celebrate the creative endeavors of Firewoodians in and out of the office.