Ex-Lionhead, Superhot devs join Quo Vadis lineup

first_imgEx-Lionhead, Superhot devs join Quo Vadis lineupEmmi Kuusikko and Piotr Iwanicki will speak at the Berlin conference later this monthMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefTuesday 5th April 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareFormer Lionhead director Emmi Kuusikko and Piotr Iwanicki, the designer of the indie hit Superhot, have joined the lineup at Quo Vadis, which takes place in Berlin later this month.Kuusikko has worked in the games industry since 2004, when she joined Habbo Hotel developer Sulake to manage user and market insight. Next, she joined Digital Chocolate as VP of product management, before taking the role of head of strategy at Lionhead in 2013. Of course, Lionhead was closed by Microsoft last month, at which point Kuusikko became director of business and product management for Microsoft Studios.Iwanicki operates at the other end of the scale, leading Superhot Team on the development of one of the most exciting indie games of the year. He joins several other prominent independent developers at Quo Vadis, including Coldwood Interactive’s Martin Sahlin, Double Stallion Games’ Eric Angelillo and Shark Punch’s Jiri Kupiainen.The full schedule for Quo Vadis, which also features talks from Ubisoft Montreal’s Alex Hutchinson, Ghost Games’ Henrik Jonsson and the co-founders of Dontnod Entertainment, is now available. You can find it here.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Quo Vadis is a centrepiece event of Berlin’s International Games Week. More than 3,000 people attended last year’s conference to see a mixture of panel discussions, presentations and workshops. This year, it will be held at Station Berlin from April 18 to April 20.For more information, or to purchase tickets, follow the link.GamesIndustry.biz is a media partner for the Quo Vadis conference. Our travel and accommodation costs will be provided by the organiser.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 9 hours agoGenesis Noir nabs four nominations in 2021 IGF AwardsOther games in the running for Seumas McNally Grand Prize include Paradise Killer, Teardown, Chicory: A Colorful Tale, Umurani Generation, and SpiritfarerBy Brendan Sinclair 4 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

French mobile studio Oh BiBi secures $21m for future titles

first_imgFrench mobile studio Oh BiBi secures $21m for future titlesFunding round led by Supercell and Rovio investor AtomicoJames BatchelorEditor-in-ChiefThursday 28th June 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleAtomico VenturesOh BibiOh BiBi has completed a Series B funding round to the tune of $21 million, thanks primarily to regular games investor Atomico.The latter has previously funded the likes of Supercell, Rovio, Teatime and Bossa Studios, and has now led financing for the French mobile studio, along with fellow investor Korelya.The Paris-based developer was formed in 2012 and has released seven games since, including 2017’s Sup Multiplayer Racing, which has generated $13 million in revenue over the past year. The studio was founded by Martial Valery and Stanislas Dewarvin, who previously led development on some of Gameloft’s biggest hits, such as Minion Rush and Asphalt.The funding will be used to continue developing new games and exploring the studio’s goal of creating console-style experiences on mobile devices. Most notably, upcoming title Frag hopes to capitalise on the popularity of Fortnite and Overwatch by delivering a hero-based team shooter. The game is currently in soft launch.”When we started working on Frag six months ago, we knew there was no reason why a shooter game could not dominate the top grossing rankings for mobile games,” said Valery. “Now Fortnite has demonstrated it was possible, we’re ready to challenge their claim for best mobile shooter and with Atomico onboard, as one of the most active VCs investing in the games sector today, we are well equipped to scale and looking forward to the challenge.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Dewarvin adds that the funding will also be used to “hire the very best of the best in our industry” as the studio plans to expand.”When we published our games investment thesis we identified a huge trend in mobile games will be around PC and console game genres that historically haven’t made the successful transition to mobile,” said Atomico partner Mattias Ljungman. “We believe there is an opportunity there to create deeper, more engaging games on mobile, that keep players coming back for more and we believe that Oh BiBi is the best games company in the industry to tackle this challenge.”We know from our experience with prior games investments such as Supercell how special the Oh BiBi team is and we can’t wait to support them on the next stage of their journey.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesTeatime Games raises $9 million for mobile gaming communication platformFunding sources included Supercell investors Index Ventures and AtomicoBy Rebekah Valentine 2 years agoOh Bibi raises €3 million in fundingTime Equity Partners also acquires a minority stake in the French mobile developerBy Matthew Handrahan 6 years agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Best Places To Work Awards UK deadline is Friday

first_imgBest Places To Work Awards UK deadline is FridayIt’s your last chance to submit your employer surveyChristopher DringHead of Games B2BMonday 6th August 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareYou have until Friday at midnight to enter the Best Places To Work Awards 2018.Presented by recruitment specialist Amiqus, the UK Best Places To Work Awards 2018 will highlight the greatest employers in the UK games business. To take part, publishers, developers, retailers, services companies, media specialists and more must fill in a detailed employer survey by August 10th. To request a survey, email here.Alongside the employer survey, employees must also fill in a questionnaire on how they feel about their workplace – we allow extra time for this part of the process.Data obtained by these surveys are not held or shared publicly. Only winners will be named.Those that don’t make the list may request a short report detailing why.The winners will be named at an awards ceremony set to take place at London’s Ham Yard Hotel on Friday, October 12th. For more information on the awards and how they work, click here.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games Last year’s winners included Playground Games, Criterion, Space Ape, Unity, Creative Assembly, Studio Gobo, Hutch, Double Eleven, Failbetter Games and Wish Studios. Already, more than 70 UK companies have requested surveys.New this year is the introduction of specialist categories, designed to highlight excellence in CSR, Health & Wellbeing, Learning & Development, Diversity and Leadership. For more details on how to enter these, click here.The 2018 event has also been backed by UK developer Playground Games. For further sponsorship enquiries, contact Charlotte Nangle.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 3 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 5 hours agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

DRC: Green mini-grid programme to reduce energy poverty

first_imgThe advisory services also encompass mini-grid regulatoryframework development, project feasibility studies, extensive policy andregulatory level engagement. Less than 1% of rural and 35% of urban areas have access to electricity from the national grid. Hott said: “The innovative scheme under this programme is also expected to demonstrate viability for private sector led mini-grid financing, which will open up a market for mini-grid investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Upon completion, the envisioned mini-grids that range from 3 to 10MW will directly connect 21,200 households and 2,100 SMEs, and public buildings, benefitting at least 150,000 people. Amadou Hott, the Bank’s Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth said the Bank’s financial support to the DRC’s off-grid electricity programme would transform the country’s energy sector and deliver high development impact. The DFID support seeks to promote the proliferation ofprivate-led green mini-grid projects in the DRC. AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector With limited grid coverage – around 10% nationally – manyCongolese rely on kerosene or diesel fuel for their lamps, cookers andelectricity generators. BRICS Blended financing The bank will provide a blend of private and concessionalresources notably from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other developmentpartners to the sponsors/consortia that will be selected in the auctionprocess. The bank’s financing will complement the UK’s Department forInternational Development-backed Essor – Access to Electricity (A2E)initiative, which is a technical assistance programme that supports the Government-ledmini-grid auction and project preparation. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR He observed that while helping to eradicate the use of diesel fuel in the target communities, the programme will also foster the country’s transition to low-carbon growth. The African Development Bank’s board has approved a $20 million facility to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to support renewable-based, mini-grid solutions to the off-grid cities of Isiro, Bumba and Genema. The bank is also providing a $1 million Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) grant toprovide advisory services to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congofor the procurement of solar PV mini-grid systems. “We hope to replicate the same model once this pilotdemonstrates success.” According to the development bank, the green mini-grid programme will serve as the pilot to an innovative private-led electrification approach to deploy renewable-based mini-grid solutions in the central African nation. Finance and Policy The board of the GCF approved $21 million for the programmeduring its 21st Board Meeting in October 2018. TAGSAFDBcarbon emissionsmini-gridsoff-grid energyRenewables Previous articleESI Insights #21: Developing African smart citiesNext articleCity of Cape Town supports training for solar PV installers Babalwa BunganeBabalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa – Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast. Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA Featured image: Stock Generation UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon developmentlast_img read more

Being thankful is what Covid-19 taught us?

first_imgIn the past two months, we all have seen life has taken 360-degree turn due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In my opinion, a virus that has continuously been cursed all over the globe has actually done a favour to humankind. It has reminded us to live our life. We cannot deny the fact that even without our knowledge, we were living an automated life. We all became too dependent on machine living. We could finish every work within no time, be it cooking, cleaning, sometimes even socializing. How have we forgotten condolences to congratulations through messages or calls instead of meeting in person?This way of life, we all thought, was perfect and comfortable. After all, we are part of the technology boom.The time which we saved through machine work, we couldn’t utilize in productivity or self-growth. As our robotic life compelled us to devote the saved time for our professional success( more to automation). Hence we compromised big time on personal and family life. Somewhere while meeting the daily work deadlines and stress, we always longed for a break.Since God has granted us the desired break, it turned us restless. Have you thought about it? Why are we full of anxiety and stress during this lockdown period? What is the missing part? Or are we pursuing the wrong goals?Do you realize since we stepped into this big world as an adult, suddenly, our requirements changed? We started seeking happiness in worldly or frivolous things. Although in our hearts, we knew everything is temporary. But sparkle and artificial happiness tempted or rusted our brains completely.If we look deep down, this deadly virus outbreak has taught us many things.Family matters- In the whole world, it is being with family, which gives us security.Hope – Emerging of a new world, which is better without any insecurities.Appreciation – Enjoy the gifts of nature, which we neglected for so long.Opportunities- Change in professional life while accepting a new way of working.Better – Change in living standard, more attention to a healthy lifestyle.Glitz and glamour no longer distract our focus.Time – Creating and providing a better world for our children.Thankful- Be thankful that we are alive because we changed with time and accepted the new way of living.We can count innumerable blessings bestowed on us. The Covid-19 has woken us from a deep slumber. We are lucky to witness and being part of this change, which happens once in many centuries. Think about how we ‘ll share our experiences, be it good or bad, with our future generation. We all have several stories to share with them. Thank you, coronavirus, for opening our eyes, allowing us to be part of this significant social change.last_img read more

3 dead after small plane crashes in Florida, authorities say

first_imgjaminwell/iStock(DELAND, Fla.) — Three people were killed after a small plane crashed in Central Florida.The Cessna 421 crashed in a wooded area off State Road 44 in Deland around 4 p.m., according to a news release from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. First responders discovered the three victims on the scene without a pulse, authorities said.Several people in the area saw the plane go down, and a portion of the highway was closed after the crash.The identities of the victims have not been released.The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.Additional information was not immediately available.Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more


first_imgHours per Week40 Posting DetailsTo create a Posting, first complete the information on this screen,then click the ‘Next’ button or select the page in the left handnavigation menu. Proceed through all sections completing allnecessary information. To submit the Posting to Human Resources,you must go to the ‘Posting Summary Page’ by clicking on the ‘Next’button until you reach the Posting Summary Page or select PostingSummary Page from the left navigation menu. Once a summary pageappears, hover your mouse over the orange Action button for a listof possible approval step options. Documents Needed to ApplyRequired DocumentsResumeOptional DocumentsCover Letter/Letter of ApplicationReferences Compensation Title Is this an internal only posting? Open Until FilledYes Work Schedule Requisition Number2021S1335 Job Close Date Preferred EducationHigh School Diploma Commitment to Inclusive Excellence Northern Kentucky University is an Equal Opportunity/EqualAccess/Affirmative Action institution. We embrace inclusiveness,equity, and global awareness in all dimensions of our work and seekexcellence through diversity among our students, administrators,faculty, and staff. Application by members of diverse groups isencouraged. Position StatusRegular Supplemental QuestionsRequired fields are indicated with an asterisk (*). High school diploma/ GED required with 2 years of relatedexperience.Commercial Driver’s License is preferred but not required. (Mustobtain within 6 months of hire date.)Must possess ability to perform mechanical repairs on all types ofvehicles/engines including gasoline powered, diesel powered,battery powered, etc., prefer ASE certification.Must be able to perform emergency mechanical repairs on roadsidesand in adverse weather conditions including but not limited toextreme heat/cold, snow, ice, rain, etc.Must be physical able to perform frequent medium heavy to maximumexertion.Must possess basic computer skills.Must be flexible to work any and all hours associated withovernight trips and responding to perform mechanical repairs tosnow/ice removal equipment. Perform mechanical repairs/diagnostics on all types of motorizedequipment including but not limited to trucks, buses, vans, mowers,gators, golf carts, salt spreaders, etc. Welding/FabricationCleaning of 26 passenger mini bus after useComplete daily records and logs. Input data in SchoolDude workorder system on a daily basis.Other duties as assigned. Do you possess a Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License withPassenger endorsement?YesNo Minimum EducationHigh School Diplomacenter_img Provide safe and appropriate transportation to meet theUniversity’s needs and to provide safe work vehicles and equipmentfor Operation and Maintenance personnel and the CampusCommunity. Job Open Date03/22/2021 Primary Responsibilities Salary$15.35/hr minimum Working TitleMechanic Purpose of Position DepartmentAutomotive Shop * How did you hear about this employment opportunity?NKU Jobs SiteHigherEdJobs.comCareerbuilder.comInside Higher EdEmployee ReferralIndeed.comOther Quick Linkhttps://jobs.nku.edu/postings/10107 Pay GradeS67 Months per Year12 * Please describe in detail your automotive mechanicalexperience.(Open Ended Question)* Please list any licenses or certifications you might havethat are directly related to this position.(Open Ended Question)* Do you have the ability to perform medium to heavy physicalexertion on a regular basis, including lifting up to 50 pounds ormore?(Open Ended Question)* Are you able to work in adverse weather conditions, i.e.extreme heat, cold, rain, etc?YesNoNo response Qualifications Monday – Friday 6:30a.m. – 3:00 p.m.12 HOUR SHIFTS ARE REQUIRED FOR SNOW EVENTS Position Number30001634 Minimum Experience2 yearslast_img read more

Accusations, a secret rival and brewing legal fight embroil new listings portal

first_imgRealPlus’ Eric Gordon, Michael Gabriel and REBNY’s James Whelan and Ninve James (Gordon by Emily Assiran; Whelan via Facebook/REBNY; homes.nyc)When Michael Gabriel began building a consumer-facing listings portal early this year, he thought he had the real estate industry’s blessing. Instead, he’s found himself embroiled in what could become a lengthy legal battle.Just four days before the planned launch of homes.nyc, the Real Estate Board of New York hit the veteran software developer and his data partner RealPlus with cease-and-desist letters, claiming the two had improperly used its members’ residential listings data.Both REBNY and homes.nyc share the goal of giving StreetEasy, the dominant listings portal in New York City, a run for its money. REBNY is said to be working on its own consumer-facing portal, backed by a third-party platform recently acquired by CoStar Group.Now, both Gabriel and REBNY say they are lawyering up.Read moreWatch out Zillow, here comes CoStarREBNY taps Realtor.com exec to lead RLS$2M settlement reached in REBNY anti-trust suit Message* Gabriel is no babe in the woods. He got his start publishing an annual guide to New York City rental buildings before listings were online. Now, his firm, Gabriels Technology Solutions, is known for creating the Hamptonsre.com listings portal, among other real estate sites and digital tools in the U.S. and abroad. Earlier this year, he decided to create a rival to StreetEasy, which rose to prominence in the absence of a citywide multiple listings service.The residential brokerage industry, which has never created a successful consumer database, has been a vocal critic of StreetEasy because of the portal’s fees and advertising programs. That’s what motivated REBNY to launch its Residential Listing Service in 2017.The official debut of homes.nyc was scheduled for Dec. 14. REBNY’s cease-and-desist letters accuse Gabriel and RealPlus of violating REBNY’s intellectual property by using listing data from its RLS without proper licensing.RealPlus is owned by Eric Gordon as well as Douglas Elliman, the Corcoran Group, and Brown Harris Stevens’ parent company. Gordon was not available to comment and his partners declined.REBNY’s lawyer indicated in an internal memo viewed by The Real Deal that the trade group had received complaints from several brokerages indicating they had not given homes.nyc permission to display their listings or logos. The site displays 22 residential brokerages’ logos, more than 10,000 sales listings and close to 20,400 rental listings.“Your listings data is your most valuable asset and the compilation of those listings is the RLS’ most valuable asset,” wrote Claude Szyfer, a partner at Stroock representing REBNY, in the memo, which was sent to members of the Residential RLS Board of Directors.“REBNY and the RLS will do everything they can under the law to protect that absolutely vital listing information,” he added.Gabriel said he was shocked to receive the letter from REBNY and maintains that he was authorized to use RLS data on homes.nyc.Gabriel said he was talking to REBNY earlier this year about building a consumer-facing listing portal but, when they couldn’t agree on pricing, he decided to move forward with the website alone. Gabriel also said he’d been “encouraged by many of the larger firms.”Correspondence provided by Gabriel shows that he filled out a form applying for a license to use RLS data in February 2020. The same day, John Canniffe, the head of the RLS at the time, wrote in an email that “due to a few things going on here, my product person suggests that you get the data from RealPlus.”“The rest was verbal but you can take from those emails that there was authorization,” said Gabriel. “I did what I was asked to do.”REBNY says that process did not amount to official licensing. The trade group’s president, James Whelan, said REBNY never granted homes.nyc a license, and RealPlus did not have its permission to give RLS data to Gabriel’s portal.“We intend to pursue all available legal options in this matter,” he said in a statement. Canniffe left REBNY in August and did not respond to requests for comment.There may be a factor beyond licensing at play for REBNY. The trade group has struck a deal with Homesnap, a residential technology provider, to build out its own public-facing portal that could launch early next year, according to a source with direct knowledge of the deal.Homesnap was acquired by CoStar Group for $250 million last month, as CoStar seeks to break into the residential sector and compete with established firms — namely, Zillow Group, which owns StreetEasy.“CoStar wants to go after Zillow,” said the person. “The only entry at this point is through this portal.”The idea of REBNY building out its own consumer-facing portal has been much-discussed over the years, but active efforts this year were not previously reported. Asked about the partnership with Homesnap, a spokesperson for REBNY said, “We look forward to announcing upgrades and improvements.” A representative for Homesnap did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Gabriel said he wasn’t aware of REBNY’s recent plans, but he has hired an attorney to consider whether REBNY’s cease-and-desist letters could amount to an antitrust violation. The trade association paid $2 million in 2008 to settle an antitrust lawsuit for blocking access to its listings.“[Homes.nyc is] a site that brokers and agents have been waiting for, and asking for, for a very long time,” he said. “And they’re trying to restrict access.”Gabriel has invested a “substantial” sum to outfit the portal with high-quality video, the capability to operate in 19 languages and display listing prices in over 50 currencies, and other features. He said homes.nyc will remain open, even if he has to source listing data directly from brokers and agents in the city.“We are forging forward,” he said, “one way or another.”Contact Erin Hudson Email Address*center_img Full Name* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowlast_img read more

Emmanuel Macron’s popularity plummets amid budget outcry

first_imgIn each case, the rating in July had little bearing on long-term averages.Even so, Macron’s shrinking score is a tough reality check for a president whose first weeks in power were uncommonly blessed. It comes after he held a number of high-flying meetings with world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, and now turns to deal with a stuttering domestic economy and unpopular plans to shrink the country’s deficit over the next year.Budget cuts are planned for multiple sectors, including a short-term one in the military, which prompted top officer Pierre de Villiers to resign this week in a public fracas that tested Macron’s authority.The poll showed voter groups concerned by cuts turning against the president. His approval score dropped by 18 percentage points among civil servants, by 11 points among over-65s worried about planned changes to the pension system, and by 25 points among supporters of the centrist MoDem party, whose leaders left the government last month amid a scandal at the European Parliament.Things are only set to get tougher. In September, outrage over public sector budget cuts will combine with fury over plans to overhaul labor rules and trigger street protests across the country. The anti-Macron front will have a fiery, uncompromising leader in MP Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who is already planning demonstrations for after the summer lull.Aides to the president say he knows there is no avoiding a confrontation over reform plans, and that he plans to move as quickly as possible to avoid getting bogged down in months of protests. He may yet find that trying to do many things at once — shrinking the budget, reforming labor rules and reforming housing taxation — is a recipe for unpopularity. If today’s grumbles turn into a nonstop chorus of outrage, even “Jupiter” — as the French satirical press calls Macron — will have to re-examine his approach. Also On POLITICO Opinion Can Macron avoid the Sarkozy trap? By Dalibor Rohac euro-press review Macron vs the military By Saim Saeed Schulz to Macron: Forget Merkel, I’m your man By Florian Eder PARIS — Emmanuel Macron, who compared himself to the Roman god Jupiter, is coming down to earth, fast.In the third month of his presidency, the French President’s approval score (the difference between positive and negative ratings) dropped by ten percentage points to 54 percent between May and July amid rising anxiety over budget cuts, a poll by Ifop for the JDD weekly showed Sunday.Macron, a centrist first-time candidate who swept to power at age 39, still has similar or higher popularity than most of his predecessors at the same point in their terms. Former President François Hollande enjoyed an approval rating of 56 percent in July 2012, François Mitterrand was down to 48 percent, and Nicolas Sarkozy was still flying high at 66 percent.last_img read more

38 Special’s Don Barnes: Fostering The Spirit of the Underdog

first_imgIt was back in the early 80’s, and the guys in 38 Special knew they had played to packed houses in the Northeast before, so why not play the huge Brendan Byrne Arena in New Jersey’s Meadowlands? I mean, they had a couple hit records and some hot FM radio singles like “Hold On Loosely” and “Caught Up In You” under their belt, so their confidence was brimming. But as band co-founder and sole survivor Don Barnes tells it, their management and handlers didn’t share the band’s belief they could fill the big venue.“They were all like, ‘You don’t really want to go in there and embarrass yourself, ‘cuz you might get like half house,’ ” Barnes said recently from the road, a place he knows well after 40 years out on it. “We kept thinkin’ that we have been back there so many times, we really feel like they would come out and see us. And they thought ‘Well, it’s your funeral, we’re gonna advise you against that, you might want to play a smaller venue, ‘ but we were pretty stubborn about it, and kept saying ‘No, we can do it.’ And buddy, let me tell ya, 24,000 people came out there, and they had to eat their words. That’s one of the cherished memories of up and coming, to finally reach that pinnacle.”It’s around 35 years later, and 38 Special has pretty much gone the way all the other big Southern rock bands have gone — except maybe the Allman Brothers — where arenas are no longer on the itinerary. But as with many of their counterparts, the baby boomers that showed up at the big gigs back then are still rabid fans today who love hearing the music of their youth, so packed clubs, theaters and festivals are still the order of the day, like the fifteen or so thousand who showed up at a recent outdoor show in Illinois. The last remaining member left from the original lineup, Barnes founded 38 Special with childhood pal and former 38 Special lead singer Donnie Van Zant while living in Jacksonville in 1974. Van Zant is the younger brother of the legendary Ronnie Van Zant, who fronted Lynyrd Skynyrd until his death in a plane crash in 1977, and the older sibling of Johnny Van Zant, who would eventually take over for Ronnie and who sings with Skynyrd today.“We grew up on the same street (as the Van Zants), when I was a kid,” the affable Barnes said. “Three guys who ended up in 38 Special also lived on Woodcrest Road. It was a big four lane road, and when we were young, our parents wouldn’t allow us to go on the other side of Woodcrest, that’s where the Van Zants lived. There were over there on the ‘bad side of town,’ the wrong side of the tracks kinda thing.”Barnes saw his buddies in Skynyrd slowly climbing their way towards success, so he and Van Zant decided they would give rock and roll a shot too. And the camraderie with the guys in what would become Skynyrd was a key component in Barnes learning the rock and roll ropes.“I was right there in the middle of all this history being made,” Barnes continued. “Ridin’ my bike to go to (Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist) Allen Collins‘ house when I was 13 years old, him having some European English import records, and we’d sit down and we’d pick out guitar licks, and he would show me a few things. I mean, this was (one of the guys) who wrote “Free Bird” eventually, ya know. He would have a big Vox Super Beatle amp in his hallway and he’d just be rattling the windows when his Mom would come in from work, and she’d be so proud of her son. My mother would never let that happen in my house. And Ronnie, he was four years older and a big mentor as well for us.”Being a navy town, Jacksonville was full of venues the sailors would frequent on leave, and it gave budding young Southern rockers ample opportunities to play live and hone both their performing and songwriting chops.“They had four naval bases there,” Barnes said, “so all of us kids, I mean from Duane Allman and Gregg Allman to Ronnie Van Zant, everybody played the sailor’s clubs. We were fifteen years old making a hundred bucks a week, that was big money for a fifteen year old kid. There we learned the foundations, the structures of the craft of songwriting, playing the hits of the day, radio songs, and you realized it was a craft, there was a system to it where you have the A section and a B section and then a ramp that goes up to the chorus, and then the bridge and that kind of thing. You learned the structures at an early age. And then we’d get cocky and think, ‘Oh well I can write my own songs now.’ And that’s when you go starve for ten years.”Barnes and Van Zant played in “like, fifteen bands before 38 Special” and then began to pick up the stronger guys from other local groups as they began to focus on their big dream.“It started like any band, you play in somebody’s garage and get the cops called on you for playing too loud. But you really tried to get guys who would commit to it. Skynyrd was kinda just taking off and we thought that we were really gonna be serious about it. But it was hard, we all had day jobs too. I wouldn’t recommend it to many kids today, because you work so so hard, and there are no guarantees, and you can give 110% and still not make it. But it does build character, I guess.”After conquering the local bar scene, 38 Special sucked it up taking warm up slots often on three act bills playing mostly to alot of yet-to-be-filled chairs, but to their major credit, they played as if their lives depended on it, keeping the standards high no matter what the crowd was. And it turned out that being humble and working hard was well worth the effort.“We tried to act like we were the headliner, ya know like God help who was following us, we tried to throw it all down at ’em, so hopefully they would go home and tell somebody. Just keeping that high standard. We felt like if we got a couple of sentences at the bottom of the review the next day, you know it’d say, ‘Peter Frampton did blah blah, and Gary Wright did this, and 38 Special delivered a lively set at 7 0’clock,’ we thought wow, that could mean something! But it never really did.”Along with the Van Zants, Barnes and his 38 Special boys, and the Allman Brothers, Jacksonville was also a rock and roll breeding ground for the likes of former Eagle Don Felder, Stephen Stills and in nearby Gainesville, Tom Petty, among others. So what was it about this Florida navy town that made it a mecca for young soon-to-be rock superstars?“People ask what’s in the water down there, I don’t know,” Barnes said. “But I’ll tell ya, comin’ from the west side of Jacksonville, it’s pretty much no man’s land, you either end up drivin’ a truck or goin’ to prison or something. I really think there’s a thread of that underdog spirit, ya know, that comes from not being from New York or L.A. so you really gotta show your stuff to people, you gotta put it in their face, get out there and make your statement. I think that’s what the underlying aggression, the big strong guitars, ya know, “Listen to me!” You’re there screamin’ at people, basically to pay attention, because you’re not fashionable, you’re not from a hip place. I think that common thread of the underdog spirit is what is prevalent with all those people.”After two middling albums in the mid-70’s kept the band a relative unknown outside of the South, 38 Special shifted into more of an arena-style Southern rock sound and got some attention in 1980 with their third effort Rockin’ Into The Night, but it would be their next two albums Wild Eyed Southern Boys (1981) and Special Forces (1982) that would vault them up onto that elusive next level of stardom. Two Barnes-penned and sung singles, “Hold on Loosely and “Caught Up In You”, were the lightning in the bottle that got them that coveted heavy FM radio airplay and seats began filling in arenas. But Barnes is quick to point out that the road to making it is long and arduous, and can sometimes temper the success.“It’s such a long road, and it’s tiny baby steps at a time, and when things started happening, you’re a little bit anxious about it all because you worked so hard for so long. It took a lot longer than we thought it would, ya know, we’d do interviews and people would ask, ‘How do you feel now that you’ve made it?’ and we were just so weary. Our management was always about pushing forward, saying don’t be complacent, because there are bigger things to get. If I had to do it all over again, I’d try to enjoy myself a little bit more. Because it was always about push push push all the time, there were times when we’d do nine months of a tour to promote the record, then you’d have to do another record, but you have no songs written, not one note, and you’re so burned out from the road.”Barnes left the band in 1987 — “It had been ten years of absolute pushing and I was worn out”– and had a solid solo album done and ready for release, but it never saw the light of day, becoming a casualty of the sale of A & M Records. It was a crushing blow for Barnes: “I went on vacation after that, I said I’m going to the islands somewhere, and I did.” He eventually rallied and rejoined 38 Special in 1992, and has been the driving force and band anchor ever since. “I picked up right where I left off,” he said. “There were no ill feelings. Once we lit it all back up, it was all back, the formula was there. We kept going onward and upward, ya know.”What keeps Don Barnes — or any of his fellow Southern rock survivors for that matter who are still out there banging away four decades later (like Henry Paul with the Outlaws, Doug Gray with the Marshall Tucker Band and Gary Rossington with Lynyrd Skynyrd) — still working hard out there on the road, playing dozens of shows a year to adoring fans, after all this time? It’s all about using the emotion of the songs they remember to create an experience for those fans, and giving them something special every night.“I guess it’s that instant reaction in people’s faces,” Barnes said. “These songs have a history all their own, so when we go out there, we take the crowd up, up, up up and they are just manic at the end because we’re unfolding all the history from the beginning. We’re there to make sure they have the greatest time. We see ’em singing along, giving each other high fives, clapping and yelling, and we also see tears in someone’s eyes if a song reminds them of something or someone. And you see these kids, they’ve learned about all the songs through games and stuff. That is the fuel right there, seeing something you created from that long ago, that after all the scratching and all the suffering, it really worked out OK. You really mean something to these people. It really is special to us.”last_img read more