punk

I’m Not Stuck in the Past

I turned into one of those annoying friends or coworkers who seems to have a story to tell for every topic or conversation. Folks make fun of me and I have a sense of humor about it. I started off trying to write an ironic tune about what it might be like to be that guy who’s really trying to relive his glory days. The end result, this song, was far sadder than I intended it to be. This was my first venture into anything “folk.”

I first wrote this song for February Album Writing Month (FAWM) 2019. Listen to the 2019 FAWM Demo:

 

War on Women - Glass City - Youtube Screenshot

Glass Ceiling? Try Glass City

The term “Glass Ceiling” is too limiting. The idea that women can’t get promoted past particular positions or roles in the workforce makes the issue sound confined. You might say “at least there’s only problems in the work place” or “at least that’s the only problem in the work place.” You’d be wrong to say that. That’s not how systemic sexism works. Everything is connected. The work force is connected to an unfair ecosystem and a system that’s stacked up against women.

As we steadily fight against that system, it’s important to get angry. Women have a right to be pissed off and a right to rage. Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill called for “girls to the front” at punk shows. So how about “Girls to the top” in the workforce? (more…)

do the pacman with less than jake

Get Out of My Head: #DoThePacMan

Every now and again a song gets so stuck in your head you have no choice but to exorcise it. Also, misery loves company, so now it’s stuck in your head, too. Sorry not sorry.

Thursday night I saw Less Than Jake at the House of Blues in Boston. Halfway into their set, they played a string of songs all sorter than a minute. One of them was their cover of a 1980s commercial for Pac Man cereal. This song appeared on their 2010 “TV/EP” release, composed entirely of covers of commercials and TV theme songs. It’s great. I really never gave it a listen and forgot what was on it. I mistakenly thought the Pac Man cereal ad was a new cover, as they announced it was going to be used as part of a new advertising campaign. As it was so short, they played it twice in a row. That was enough to get it thoroughly lodged in my head, occupying every inch of brain space in my skull. To further cement it’s location, they teased it during their¬†last song of their set. (more…)

Discussing Music and Social Movements with Pilfers Vocalist Coolie Ranx

The song “Next Generation” first appeared on the 1998 self-titled self-released Pilfers album, listed simply as “Generation.” The chorus is a call to action: “Time to awake, get up and fight, fight for mankind, life for the cause.” The first verse recounts humanity’s attacks on itself. Verse two reminds us of our rights and responsibilities while holding us accountable for that which happens around us:

But if you turn a blind eye, You’re just as guilty as the culprits.
The innocent are sure to die, so rise up against injustice.

17 years later, the band produces a music video for the song. The video juxtaposes footage of America during segregation with footage from recent Black Lives Matter protests; it contains footage of the 1991 beating of Rodney King as well as the 2014 murder of Eric Garner. It’s both powerful and heartbreaking. This was the first time I’d really paid attention to the lyrics of the song, guilty as usual of blindly singing along with the chorus until now. (more…)

That Time I Interviewed Big D and the Kids Table

Jacob Wake Up! And Big D and the Kids Table

New York was pretty good to me. I played some really great shows with some really great bands to include some of my heroes and influences. But, Boston is giving NYC a run for its money. This past weekend I got to interview Boston ska/punk legends Big D and the Kids Table. This was a band I used to open for on a fairly regular basis between ’03 and ’06 while playing in my CT-based ska/punk band Tap Out.

This past Saturday was a reunion of sorts. They played their 1999 record “Good Luck” start to finish and welcomed back to the stage quite a few past members. I ran into new and old friends which just added to the reunion vibe. I had the good luck (pun way intended) of talking to them before their set. They were just the nicest guys and we had a really great chat about the band, their history, the story behind the reunion, and what was next for the band. (more…)

Crazy Things Happen in Boston Music

One of the many reasons I continue to see live music as often as I can is the possibility that something out of the ordinary will happen at the particular show I attend. While there will always be the bands that perform a song exactly as it was recorded, I love seeing how bands put new spins on their music live, how new musicians in bands perform, or how a particular audience will react on a particular night. (more…)

Recording Update

The yet-to-be-named Hey Stranger recording is now 7 months along and more importantly about half way done. We joke about this being the band’s Chinese Democracy, but given the limitations of time, the availability of bandmates, our engineer and the studio, we’re not doing half bad. We started off in March and April with drums and bass and by summer we were recording vocals and guitars. Vocals and guitars I thought would wake the longest just given there’s more of them than anything else (lead vocals, backing vocals, clean ska guitars, distorted punk guitars, lead guitars, etc).

It’s been a really unique experience for me given that besides our loyal engineer and friend, Dave, I’ve been at more sessions than any other person. I’ve only missed one weekend of recording for a work commitment and the fact is it was probably for the better that I wasn’t there. I really enjoyed sitting in the producer seat for the times when I was there, judging takes, pushing people to play better, suggesting ideas and tackling the unexpected hiccups that come up along the way. I think from the start I wanted to be there for the whole thing and really own that producer role. However, it’s a Hey Stranger record, not a Jake record and I think not being there was good for the process. It was a heavy weekend with a lot to do and it means anything recorded that weekend was done in a different different atmosphere with a different vibe. These things matter. I will admit that it’s a little weird to have yet heard everything that was done during those sessions (I’ve gotten spoiled, our poor horn players haven’t heard much of anything yet!) so I’m somewhat nervous, but I have to trust the process and the creative minds that were present… and be prepared with a drink when I finally hear the mixes.

What’s left? A few small things have to be done on guitars and vocals but nothing that couldn’t be done in a couple hours. I actually have to go back and re-record bass. We got this far before realizing I’d screwed up playing a bars in one song. Then we just have to cram the horns into our Queens’ sweatshop. I’m very psyched though it just makes me that much more impatient to finish this record. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made and I think things sound great so far because we haven’t just rushed into completing anything.

We’ve been doing our best (we could be doing better, let’s be real) to blog and video blog about our time in the studio. We’ve got two videos so far with clips from recording, some goofy commentary and a lot of shirtless drummer.

I’m actually in the first clip, the background music is just from our demos we did back in March 2009. Download them now before we completely bury them:

I’m not in this second clip (it was recorded the weekend I wasn’t there) but it’s pretty funny and all the background music are rough mixes from the sessions:

The playlist I’ve been working to all day is about as manic as I’ve felt all day. More updates to come…