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Hollywood Outsider Media Coverage

Correspondence: 8/27/04

I’ve been listening to Hollywood Outsider and nodding along. So much good stuff. From a literary perspective, a singing character opens up the possibility of change in his or the level of deeper consciousness. Singing seems to go deeper than basic dialog. The emotional movement from song to song makes for strong plot development, which of course you nailed with “Back on Track 1 & 2.”

You’ve got a verse that really resonates with some of the student films I get at the end of every semester: “misbehaving is the chic hip style they’re wearing on the screen and in the high school / and the fact that you’ve stopped caring is a sign that you’ve adapted / to the fiction that surrounds you and incites you and defines you.” I’m preparing my cinema classes and “Hollywood Funk” reminds me of all those “transgressive” movies that celebrate the shoddy treatment of other human beings with no significant consequences for the harsh characters on-screen.

I can’t believe you recorded this album at home. Great design, what Roger Waters would’ve done if he were born in California instead of England. The vocals have got a cool Freddie Mercury timbre, but I don’t think Freddie sang a lyric so directly as you do in “Return to Me.” Don’t get be wrong. I like “Find Me Somebody to Love,” but “Return to Me” brings the listener much closer to the human problem of what happens after the finding is done. Good deep use of point-of-view.

...The cover really got to me, not just the concept of changing to the bird’s-eye angle with our cut-out hero shot down, but the poem as well: “the entire smutty candy factory / sits on shaky ground / that God may pitch...into the abyss...but He does not.” Who knows if His inaction is based on compassion or injustice?

Thanks again for the provocative album.

Brandon Cesmat
Professor, Literature & Writing
Cal State University San Marcos

Compilation: "Moving Away" included on Shelter, 6/1/03

"Moving Away" has been included on Shelter, a benefit CD for the Chico Community Shelter Partnership. "Aaron Lyon, author of Hollywood Outsider and performer/producer of his album by that name, donated a richly-textured track for this CD." Read more...

Media review: Chico Enterprise Record's The Buzz, 9/19/02

For its part, the band was perfect. The sound control alone deserves an award. Almost without exception, the unamplified actors got their points and their lines across without being drowned out by the fully electrified rockers, the most impressive being lead guitarist Maurice Spencer...And Lyon played off his guitarist beautifully, playfully punching the action along and impressively belting out his soaring songs of discovery and loss. Read the complete review...

Media review: Chico News & Review, 9/19/02

Songwriter-musician-singer Aaron Lyon and the band present his songs almost meticulously. Bassist Chris Hunter and drummer Clint Bear are one solid rhythm section. The background singers--Sarah Foster, Giovanna Leah and Judi Souza--hit their notes precisely. Guitarist Maurice Spencer demonstrates an expert level of proficiency at coaxing a multitude of sonic effects from his instrument, from delicate melody lines to driving power chords. Even Spencer's occasionally induced feedback seems choreographed, it is that well controlled. Read the complete review...

Media preview: Chico Enterprise Record's The Buzz, 9/12/02

Resembling the eerie, gloomy glory of much of Pink Floyd's work, the songs Lyon wrote come from the same dark corners of his mind where Roger Waters got his ideas for the Floyd's psychedelic romp, "The Wall." Yet Lyon's songs are crafted with a Jeff Buckley-esque neatness much more akin to somber pop sensitivity than a psychedelic anathema. They range from soft and sweet acoustic laments to growling arena-rock rants that span the gamut of emotions. Read the complete review...

Press release, 9/10/02

Blue Room Theatre Presents
Hollywood Outsider by Aaron Lyon

(Chico, Ca.) -- The Blue Room Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of local musician Aaron Lyon's rock theater production Hollywood Outsider, September 12-28 (Thurs.-Sat. evenings), as the third exciting installment of the Fall 2002 Season.

A seven-member band of veteran musicians and singers joins Chico's finest actors and actresses to bring you this journey of discovery about a Midwestern boy whose mother packs hi up and takes him away from an abusive father to a new life in Hollywood. In search of his true self, he is swallowed by his surroundings, and spins dangerously out of control. However, even in the darkest times, there is a silver lining in life...the music.

Lyon, who has been writing and recording music since he was 16, found the inspiration to create his first rock show, Hollywood Outsider, when he wrote a song about a man reminiscing about his childhood. That song, "Moving Away," marked the birth of Hollywood Outsider's main character, Sky. With the help of director Jeremy Votava's playwriting skills, Sky's story came into focus.

Lyon became fascinated with Sky's troubled life. "As the songs emerged, I had the strange feeling I was getting to know a long lost friend. Sky's life is really sad--he succeeds against the odds, and then throws it away--but it made me feel good to reveal his story. I guess that's what the blues are about. Singing a song can make you feel happy...even if it is a sad song."

Sky (Beau Hirshfield) begins his life in the quiet of the country. But the rural setting is anything but peaceful. Sky and his mother (Judi Souza) run away to Hollywood in an effort to escape Sky's abusive father (Slim Barkowska). But the city where dreams come true does not welcome them with open arms, and Sky's childhood is full of hardship and temptation. When Sky's music career takes off, he fights his fear that his good fortune will be short-lived and his talent might never outshine the hardships of his life.

The music is provided by Lyon on guitar and voice, Spencer Tielmann on guitar, Chris Hunter on bass, Clint Bear on drums, and singers Sara Foster, Giovanna Henery, and Judi Souza. Hollywood Outsider reveals Sky's memories with nine songs, blending the lives of Sky, his mother, father, stepfather (Quentin Colgan), psychiatrist, and Sky's wife Valerie (Michelle Smith). The music is rooted in 70's rock n' roll, but also includes the influences of funk, blues, jazz, grunge, country, and folk music. Each song has been carefully crafted to move the audience--from the quietest acoustic guitar and voice, to stomping arena rock. The entire performance is sure to make toes tap and heads bob. Hollywood Outsider is a wild ride for the audience. It blurs the lines between reality, psychoanalysis, and performance, all driven by the rhythm of the live music and strong voices of the entire cast.

The cast and crew have all donated their time to bring Hollywood Outsider to life and to give the audience a unique experience. In short, Lyon exclaims, "Hollywood Outsider is sure to please any crowd. We are so excited to perform this show for the first time ever, right here in Chico. Hollywood Outsider has been my dream for the past four years and it is finally being realized thanks to the talented performers of the Chico community and the support of the Blue Room Theatre. We're ready to rock the house!"

Hollywood Outsider music, lyrics, and production notes are available online at

Hollywood Outsider will be performed at the Blue Room Theatre September 12-28, every Thursday through Saturday. There will be one Sunday evening performance on September 22. All shows will be at 7:30. Tickets are $10 general, $8 students and seniors on Friday and Saturdays; on Thursdays all seats are $5. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call the box office at 895-3749 or purchase tickets online at


© 2002 Aaron C. Lyon