December 7, 2011 - OKIE Magazine

OKIE Magazine 12-7-11

Witt Comes to Town

When asked to best describe himself using only one word, which could be a difficult task for many, Sterling Witt doesn’t hesitate—“artist.”

The word is indeed the best description of Witt, as one can quickly decipher upon viewing his Web site, although fans don’t just “view” it, it’s more of an “experience.” The site transforms all mediums of Witt’s art: painting, drawing, sculpture and music into a visual and auditory involvement allowing an intimate understanding of Witt, “the artist” to be gained.

With seven albums released, the first dating back to 2000 and the most recent, “Shadows and Secrets” and “Skeleton,” both released in 2009, the Missouri-native indie musician has shared an array of musical numbers with audiences across the states, some of which can be viewed on the site. His recent stop on a U.S. independent tour led him to Lawton, Oklahoma for the first time.

Witt and other artists, such as Christophe Murdock and SMACONE entertained Lawton from Jimmy’s VIP Lounge Nov. 8. The show was an intimate acoustic affair that kicked off with Murdock, the self-proclaimed “hardcore Okie boy,” originally from Shawnee Oklahoma, performing several numbers that could be categorized as hardcore country, except when he was accompanied by rapper, SMACONE from OKC. Enthusiastic to be in Lawton, Murdock said the show was his 126th of 2011.

“If it’s in my ability to play somewhere, I’m gonna do it,” Murdock said. “And I enjoy the Lawton music scene.”

Witt’s show, the headlining act, was a mixture of storytelling and dynamic tunes that often required audience participation, surprising them with his unique spin on the childhood classic “You Are My Sunshine.”

Interestingly, while Witt was onstage, guitar in hand, his visual art could be viewed on display, which is uncommon for a music show. Then again, Witt is not just a musician.

“I’m an experimentalist,” Witt said, describing his drive to express himself through several mediums.

“My message is honesty, truth. What I do is an honest expression, and you don’t see that often, anywhere.”

Although Witt said can’t choose a preference with respect to his forms of artistic expression, he has taken periods of time off from each of them. Never for too long, though.

“It’s like a fish hook. You don’t realize it’s in you until it starts pulling you,” he said.

Lawton was a short stop on his tour, which would take him to Texas next, and then to New Mexico, Arizona, California and later to Missouri. Though he’s pounding the highway sharing his music with people across the U.S., in the grand scheme of things, Witt said he has a long way to go to meet all of his artistic goals.

“If you’ve reached all your goals, something is wrong. The goal is the journey, and I’m only half way there.”

To find out more about Sterling Witt, visit: Christophe Murdock is on facebook at

October 12, 2011 - OKC.Net

OKC.Net 10-12-11

The Freebird Question


 Undoubtedly, it must be a Law with a capital “L”, for no state (precluding any that once flew a Confederate flag) would write this into their legal code, but a Law of Nature (or Science)…something like the Law of Gravity. It is some undeniable force, a universal and invariable fact of the physical universe. “At some point at every live show, someone will, ironically or otherwise, vocalize a request for the Lynryd Skynyrd song, ‘Freebird’. The volume of this request will be equally proportional to the lack of sobriety of the individual making it.”

 As unlikely as it is that someone might be unfamiliar with this song, I will gladly inform that small minority of deaf shut-ins that “Freebird” (variation in spelling, “Free Bird”) featured on the debut album of the southern rock band, Lynryd Skynryd in 1973. It is considered by most the band’s signature tune and has been since its release and certainly since October 20, 1977 when the band’s plane crashed in Gillsburg, Mississippi. The plane crash killed Ronnie Van Zant (lead singer), Steve Gaines (guitarist), and his sister, Cassie Gaines (vocalist). The influential tune can run well over 14 minutes long and made number 191 in “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

 “We like to call ours ‘Southern Raunchy Roll’” Ronnie Van Zant described the sound of his band, Lynyrd Skynrd. “The other bands are just as bad but we go to jail more”. Van Zant and the band thrived on this outlaw image and have been canonized as the patron saints of the South. “We’re kind of like an old dog that ain’t housebroke”, Van Zant said in a 1976 interview and requests for their most (in)famous song have been pissing on the legs of musicians regardless of genre at live shows ever since. will spare its own witty editorial comment and allow the musicians to answer the penultimate final interview question themselves and in their own words. I call it “The Freebird Question”.

Q: What do you do at a show when someone screams for “Freebird”?

Chad Bennett (The Electric Primadonnas): “It actually happens more often than you’d think. Imagine, in between songs, getting ready to jam it out, or possibly looking to your other band mates to see what the next song may be, then BAM! From out of left field in the crowd you hear a distant, ‘FREEBIRD!’…It’s happened so many times.

 I heard once upon a time, before I had joined The Electric Primadonnas, the band actually DID know how to play ‘Freebird’, and would do so if they would hear the obnoxious redneck call.

 I personally do not know how to play the song. I was never a Lynryd Skynryd fan. Actually, I can’t stand their songs. I think they sound the same. I can’t tell ‘That Smell’ from ‘Gimme Three Steps’ or ‘What’s Your Name’”.

Minna Biggs (Local Honey): “Yes, we can and have. Drava knows the lyrics, she just tells me what key to play in. I’m familiar with how it goes, but I have never sat down and learned it.

 We played it at the request of rowdy drinkers at Prohibition Room last winter. They loved it. People seem to think you’re a bad ass musician if you can play it. It was fun.

 The other songs we get requested a lot, because of the fiddle, are ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ ‘Orange Blossom Special’ and ‘Wagon Wheel’. I don’t mind at all playing these for folks. I want to keep them happy. That way they are more receptive when we throw in our originals.

 I am thrilled when someone requests an original. That is near and dear to my heart. Hardly ever happens though”.

Jack Elliot (DJ, 98.9 KYIS FM): “I did play drums in a bunch of bands back years ago…long before ‘Freebird’ was popular. Today, I think I would go ahead and begin playing the strongest hook or most identifiable part of that song for about forty seconds and immediately bust into something I really wanted to play.”

Mike Hosty (Hosty Duo): “I play the slide guitar intro to the song, stop and say, ‘That’s it! That’s all I know how to play…’ You would think they would boo but most folks think it is pretty funny.”

Anna Kinder (solo singer/songwriter): “I have had it happen so many times… I just laugh and say, ‘Reeaaallyy?’”

Ryan Lawson (Hack and Saw Nation): “Isn’t that just a running joke? No, I can’t play it. I played a few real rough hole-in-the-walls where you sort of felt like you had to play it. I mean…I didn’t. But…”

Christophe Murdock (Chris Murdock and The Prairie Fire): ”I don’t play it. I usually challenge the person to come up and play it instead. That shuts them up. A lot of times, I’ll just do some random three chords and let a drunk come up and sing some Skynyrd over it. They leave happy and I have some fun.”

James Nghiem (The Ngheims): “I kind of sigh sometimes, because it used to feel like you could almost never go to a show without someone doing it. You could get close but there would always be someone. It would always be a couple of hours into the show. Someone would scream it, and I would just be like, ‘Man, Almost made it.’ Lately, I think it’s kind of going out of style.

The only time I  remember hearing it when we played, my friend, Cliff was the one screaming. I just kind of shook my head. I’ve seen one band actually play it. The lead singer and guitarist went into it and the rest of the band kind of shrugged and followed. I thought it was really funny, but I think they kind of felt dirty afterwards.”

Ferris O’Brein (DJ, “If it’s in the studio or a live DJ gig, I simply say…’I’ll get it on next.’ Then promptly play ‘How Soon is Now’ by The Smiths.”

Dustin Prinz (solo singer/songwriter): “I ignore those people! If I’m in the mood to fight, I usually respond by saying that there is a good chance that plane crashed for a reason. This terrible song was never meant to live on. It will haunt musicians until the end of time. I am just kidding but not really.”

Katie “Khaos” Stephens (The Needles): “I can’t play ‘Freebird’ but I wish I could. It’s a great song. It was a good band. My first concert was ZZ Top and Lynryd Skynyrd. I mean Artimus Pyle crawled across the ground with a gut wound to get help for the others after that plane crash. You have to respect that. If I could play a Lynryd Skynyrd cover it would be ‘The Ballad of Curtis Loew’ though.”

Johni Walker (Travis Wackerly and the Post Okies): “This happens quite often! Unfortunately, more often than not it’s the loudmouth drunk of the venue (there’s always one) that shouts it instead of somebody that actually appreciates a truly well written, timeless song. I am one of a handful of musicians I know who WILL play it because I am one who can appreciate it!”

 It is the hope of us here at that you think twice before shouting your request. Check your blood alcohol level. If the light is green and you still need some Skynryd, run it past your friends first. You don’t want to be “That Guy”, do you? Maybe you do! Think carefully before you open your mouth and consider what musician you are shouting to. Results may vary.

 In any case, you are welcome for the earworm. Enjoy.


July 29, 2011 - POP (Norman Transcript)

Norman Transcript 7-29-11

Murdock and Prairie Fire set to scorch Deli

NORMAN — Christophe Murdock has never been a musician bound by convention when it comes to blending genres.

 He’s continuing that artistic irreverence with a new project called Prairie Fire. It includes himself on vocals and guitar, Isaiah Harrell on drums and Eddie Mercury on bass. They’re performing as the featured band 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, kicking off Universe City Open Mic night at The Deli, 309 White St. Admission is free.

 “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Christophe said. “We’ll play a mix of punk rock, rockabilly and old school real country, not that radio s---.”

 He was dodging the mid-afternoon July heat over a glass of cool, clear water while talking about his music. Based in Shawnee, Murdock spends a good deal of his creative energy in Norman because of the many venues and opportunities to play out here.

 “This town has an amazing amount of talent,” he said. “And because of the college it’s constantly being replenished.” Murdock has been a presence on the local scene for nearly 15 years in several different bands and solo. He frequently plays in a number of joints along Main Street, including Michaelangelo’s, Bill and Dees and the Blue Bonnet Bar. These places schedule live music for their patrons to hear at little or no charge.

 Since starting with a 12-string guitar in 1997, Murdock’s method of operation hasn’t changed significantly. Writing songs at an all-night gas station job, playing them at solo gigs and being a member of outfits such as Social Parasite and South Side Crazy Kids fill his resumé.

 “I used to try to keep my punk songs completely separate from the folk and country music,” he said. “And in the early 2000s started my band Mockingbird Lane.”

 It was named after the street address of TV show The Munsters’ family abode and followed gothic, horror and punk themes. Even though he cut a 7-inch vinyl, 45 rpm record last year titled “Fear the Dead,” Murdock balked at my assertion that his songs tend toward the macabre.

 “Songs like that and ‘Wolfs Head’ are about my personal demons and anger rising up, with me trying to force it down,” he said. “They shouldn’t be taken at face value even if there is zombie or werewolf imagery.”

 He said “Fear the Dead is actually about stage fright and although he has been around violence all his life, his goal is to escape it not glorify it. Unfortunately in the life of a young American Indian troubadour, who bounces around mostly without a permanent address, anger that can breed violence is common. A recent West Coast tour included an incident in Sisters, Ore.

 “I was on my way home and stopped at a gas station, minding my own business,” Murdock said. “After paying for fuel I came back outside and my truck was surrounded by cops. They asked if I owned the vehicle and if I was an Indian.” He affirmed both questions and the police told him it was illegal to drive a tribally tagged vehicle off the “reservation.”

 Murdock truck is registered in Oklahoma through the Kickapoo Tribe. “They actually asked if I minded pulling the truck over behind another building where no one could see or hear us,” he said. “I told them I’d pull out of the way so people could get gas but where everybody can see and hear us.”

 A couple of hours later Murdock resumed his journey home with a $300 ticket. After a heap of hassle the summons was ultimately dismissed when a Kickapoo Tribe attorney educated the Sisters police about a Supreme Court decision governing the matter. Fortunately, from such frustration songs are often born.   

 Murdock has many influences but none greater than his cousin Merle Kilgore (1934-2005). Kilgore managed Hank Willians Jr. and co-wrote “Ring of Fire” with June Carter Cash. He also penned “Wolverton Mountain,” “Johnny Reb” and “Fast Talking Louisina Man,” all made hits by other artists.

 Murdock is reluctant to bask in the glow of a relative but acknowledges his admiration for a man who always treated him like a prince.

 “Whenever I spoke with Cousin Merle, he always made me feel like it was all about me,” Murdock said. “Kid Rock sang ‘I Saw the Light’ at Merle’s funeral, and I got to perform ‘Wayfaring Stranger.’”  

July 4, 2011 - Moore Monthly

March 19, 2011 - Oklahoma Lefty Blogspot

Oklahoma Lefty 3-19-11

Album Review: Unpaid Fines

Title: Unpaid Fines (Christophe’s Music Blog)
Artist: Christophe (Music BlogFacebookMySpaceTwitterReverbNation)

Unpaid Fines is a limited collection of material recorded by Christophe Murdock with various projects over the years including demos and live tracks. As Christophe explained in our recent interview, the collection was put together to help payoff some traffic fines –
Between now and Feb. 15th I'm taking orders for an ultra limited edition compilation CD to help pay some fines off... so it's called "Unpaid Fines". I might extend the final date because of the weather. I know mail wasn't running for a few days there. This CD will be full length and include demos and rare tracks from various projects I'm in. You can get the info and view the current track listing here:'m also thinking about adding a couple live tracks including a Too Live Crew cover and possibly a Social Parasite track.
Because much of this collection is demos and live tracks the production is pretty hit or miss, but overall it’s an enjoyable record. Even though the tracks range from rap covers to acoustic outlaw country to death rock/horror punk, one thing that is consistent is the dark content of the lyrics (Christophe’s love of the horror genre greatly comes through in his music). My personal favorite track is the Mockingbird Lane four-track demo “The Last Man on Earth” (not to be confused with The Staggers’ classic by the same name). 

If you are a fan of Christophe’s music, then this CD is definitely something to track down (though it might be a little hard to get because it was available for a limited time).
- Dave Brown

March 13, 2011 - Punk All Forms Blogspot

Punk All Forms (Facebook) 3-13-11

Christophe - Fear the Dead/If the Sun Don't Shine 45

 christophe almost always has an original sound mixing country,punk and a bit of goth here and there.these 2 songs definatley grasp more of his punk side and although the vocals sometimes sound off kilter he always seems to hit his notes well with his music."fear the dead"and"if the sun don't shine"definatley seem to be 2 of my favorite selections from him so far and the artwork on this 45 from front to back are stupendous from the monster in his cowboy hat in the graveyard on the front to the desert photography selection on the back with christophe in the middle of 4 junkyard cars trapped in the ground looking like they are all about to get hit by a huge black tornado.always all i can say is this whole thing for me was an 11! score big fan of christophe here!

check him out and all of these listings below and the artwork as well done by justin terrell and photography carolyn murdock

punk rock


February 12, 2011 - Midnight Calling E-Zine

Midnight Calling 2-12-11

SmacOne - Bootleg This

These days, Hip Hop is not a genre which I am particularly knowledgeable about, so this review took some time to assimilate.  Back in the ‘80s I was a big fan of Run DMC and Public Enemy, but I have found very little to attract me in the contemporary Hip Hop scene.   But SmacOne is practically his own genre.   His website calls him Poetical Hip Hop, and this is as good a description as any.   While Hip Hop based, “Bootleg This” contains many other elements.   Guests on “Bootleg This” include Navigator, Jong-IL, Frost, and Christophe.  The only one I am familiar with is Christophe, who has done some fine work of his own.

“The 27th Letter” begins with a bit of saloon piano, and then goes into smooth hip hop vocals.  A funky, yet subtle bass line follows along with the piano, and eventually a cool keyboard hook emerges.  A bit of signature scratching and a spoken segment follows, and the song ends with rather elegant piano.

“Unsigned Hype” is an anthem to independent artists everywhere.  “got a studio I built myself/keep your record deals/I don’t need your help”.   Fast vocals, backed up by a bit a soul, the song blasts the system with biting lines such as “mainstream tools have everyone fooled”.    I am reminded of the great Gil Scott-Heron.   “If you want it done right, you got to do it yourself“.  That’s the truth!

“Mistaken Identity” is slower, with more of an R&B feel.  Backing vocals interject a bit of Middle Eastern flavor that quickly become hypnotic along side the soft electro loop.  Main vocals are layered nicely.  “Now I’m self resurrected from my tomb“…

“Still Standing” strays into classic rap, with a hard hitting instrumental intro, and cadenced vocals.  Percussion is inexorable, and backing effects such as a bell give the song a sense of variety. Guest vocals keep the song edgy, and the song ends rather ominously.

“Bootleg This” another slap at the mainstream, is sort of rap-rock, with epic, almost heroic guitar and synth.  I love the guitar midway through the song.  “Now these major labels gotta listen to the common folk”     Vocals are subtly layered, which adds to the impact. ‘it’s round one, chump, and you better not choke.” Tell ‘em Smac.

A very funky intro heralds “You Could Be”, which is a rather imaginative variation of the old pick-up routine.  This is much more cleverly done than most contemporary hip-hop.  The backing vocals are great, bringing Leon Redbone to mind.

In  “Lay Me Down Ft. A-Dawg”, a funeral bell gives a gothic, macabre touch to a coffin’s eye view of a disreputable life.  “Now I lay me down to sleep/in a fly three piece six feet deep”.  Staccato, machinegun-like percussion and occasional gun shots provide suitable emphasis to the theme, and alternating vocals are very effective.  Synth is rather catchy.

“Native Beauty” is a love-lost-and-then-lost song, with a very evocative Native American flute in the background.  An hypnotic bass line and alternating distorted vocals give this song add to the song immensely.

“Fuckin Famous” is a contemporary rap song with a very unusual and effective chorus (for want of a better word.)  Not for the faint-hearted, yet unaccountable smooth.

“Replicas” not only has some great guitar and a fine electro hook, the hard punch it delivers to rivals is creative and true.  “I’ve heard better rhymes from Dr. Suess” and “develop your grammar” echoes exactly what I have thought on more than one occasion.  “Your rap sheet’s real but your skill is imaginary” is another great line.

“Stupid Bitch” is the ultimate comeback to the kind of girl we’ve all known at least once in our lives.  “I’m tired of you/running your mouth/you stupid bitch/get the fuck out”.  Acoustic guitar is a perfect counterpoint to the smooth vocals.  Imagine the demented lounge music that would have resulted if Flavor Flav was an understudy to Frank Sinatra, and you have the spirit of “Stupid Bitch”.

“The Dark Side” is a remix of Christophe’s very cool country song, with Christophe and Joe D. on guitars. .   Electric guitar is heavy, nearly psychedelic..  Acoustic guitar accompany the intense vocals.  Guest vocals give a hard rock touch “And if I could I’d do it all again.”  Halfway through, a very choppy rock guitar solo leads into the final vocals.

The very moving “Acoustic Dreams” features acoustic guitar and a sharp percussive effect.  “the love for this is instilled in my heart/and I’ll keep on pushing until my soul departs.”  The chorus has some very interesting backing vocals that give weight to the entire song.

In an age of carbon-copy, mediocre heavy rotation performers, “Bootleg This” is carefully crafted, intelligent, versatile, and hard hitting.   SmacOne is the future of the Hip Hop underground.  Out there on the cutting edge, it’s not about the fashion, the kowtows, or the cash.  It’s about the music, and SmacOne delivers.

February 10, 2011 - Oklahoma Lefty Blogspot

Oklahoma Lefty 2-10-11

10 questions with Christophe Murdock

Christophe Murdock has been playing in the Oklahoma City music scene for over ten years, playing everything from death rock to outlaw country. Currently he is playing outlaw country solo. I interviewed Christophe while he was playing in the band Mockingbird Lane. You can read that interview here. This interview was conducted via Facebook in February 2011.

For more information on Christophe check him out on hisMusic BlogFacebookMySpaceTwitter, andReverbNation.

Dave: How did you first become involved with making music?

Christophe: Well, as far back as I can remember my family had me musically involved. My sister took piano lessons and my Mom started me out with them as well. I played violin for a while too. My cousin was a sucessful musician and I was just always around it. I can't remember a life before music. I also remember when I was real little I wanted to be a singer for a rock band. My sister would make tapes of me screaming my lungs out. I was 6 and thought I was so punk rock.

Dave: How would you describe your music to those who have never heard your stuff before?

Christophe: I guess the majority of what I do I would say is similar to the seventies outlaw country infused with a little bit of the eighties hardcore punk edge.

Dave: You used to play in a death rock band called Mockingbird Lane. How did you transition from playing that kind of music to what you play now?

Christophe: I actually played what I play now before I did Mockingbird Lane. I was never really comfortable playing without a band though so my shows were few and far between. I still have a demo I never released that Sam Pena from Sounder had recorded for me before the Mockingird days that includes "Misery Road" which is also on my latest ep. During the time of M.L. I was still writing all kinds of music. The folk, country, electronica and just whatever came to mind.

After M.L. I had stopped doing music for a while. I would still write occasionally, but that was about it. When I started playing regularly and wanting to do shows again I didn't want to deal with a band. Too many years of incompetant people that couldn't play the music or wouldn't show up. Too much money spent. During the M.L. it was all on my dime, every instrument, every amp. It was just a bunch of b.s. I didn't want to deal with anymore. So I tried to concentrate more on my stuff that would work acoustically.

Dave: Who are your favorite bands/artists to play with? What are your favorite cities and/or venues to play?

Christophe: Well, since I've been back I guess my favorites to play with have been the ones I've always loved to see live anyway. Bands like Billy Joe Winghead and Bloody 'Ol Mule. Also, I did a show with some of my hometown kids once, The Jimmy Hats. That was a lot of fun. The club was serving my whiskey by the cup and I was up there with them running through some old punk classics.

As far as cities and venues. I had a blast the last time I was in Colorado Springs. I played a bar called Copperhead Road that was a total party and in a nearby town I played a bar called the Ancient Mariner. That was a real nice intimate time. Locally the Castle is cool. Great stage set-up and sound.

Dave: Being someone who has been involved with the music scene in Oklahoma for quite a while, what do you think is the current state of the local music scene?

Christophe: Does anyone have an adrenaline shot? Seems too many places are closed down. I've been to too many shows where there's no-one out. Seems everyone wants to go to a dance club vs. seeing a live act.

Dave: Howe many releases do you have out? How would someone get a hold of your music/releases (do you have anything available in some of the local record stores like Guestroom and Size)?

Christophe: As Christophe... currently five releases I think... 'The Life Of An Outlaw: 1-17-08 Demos' had only 100 pressed and is sold out. 'Covers' was just a burn I did around the same time. 'Ten Necromantic Classics', my split with Thomas Gun, can still be found on Reverb Nation. ( The two I'm currently pushing are 'Fear The Dead' limited to 300 on mixed colored vinyl, and the 'Crossroads' ep on CD. Both of those are at the Norman Guestroom. Oh, and also SmacOne's album 'Bootleg This' has a re-mix of one of my songs on it.

Between now and Feb. 15th I'm taking orders for an ultra limited edition compilation CD to help pay some fines off... so it's called "Unpaid Fines". I might extend the final date because of the weather. I know mail wasn't running for a few days there. This CD will be full length and include demos and rare tracks from various projects I'm in. You can get the info and view the current track listing here: I'm also thinking about adding a couple live tracks including a Too Live Crew cover and possibly a Social Parasite track.

Dave: If you could collaborate with any musician, alive or dead, who would you want to work with?

Christophe: Honestly, I'd have to say my cousin.

Dave: This is a High Fidelity inspired question. What are your top 5 favorite bands/artists, albums, movies, television shows, books/authors?

Christophe: I don't feel like making a list. So I'll give you my top one of each.
Artist: Roky Erickson
Album: Cancerslug's 'Alabama Bloodbath' for sentimental reasons.
Movie: Martin by George Romero
Television Show: Night Gallery
Book: A Clockwork Orange, with the final chapter.

Dave: What’s next for you?

Christophe: Coming back home. I've got six days on the road starting Feb. 21st. Then I'll be back in Okla for a while.

Dave: Any final thoughts?

Christophe: Find me on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, ReverbNation and virtually anything else with the extension /HardcoreOkieBoy

February 2024