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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Cherry Drops - Good to the Last Drop


"Good to the Last Drop" is the third full length by Vern Shank and his pals. The album also features legendary musicians like Ron Dante of The Archies, Dennis Tufano of The Buckinghams' fame, Steve Boone of The Lovin' Spoonful, Mark Dawson of The Grass Roots, and the late Gary DeCarlo of Steam. The moods on this record range from soft Beach Boys ballads like "Feels like summer love" to a Bowie medley including "Hang on to Yourself","The Jean Genie" and "Rebel Rebel". Super brilliant album. This is a must buy.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The Cherry Drops to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays?  

The Cherry Drops were formed in the Summer of 2012, and led by principle songwriter and lead vocalist Vern Shank. As lead singer and songwriter of the Florida-based band, he fuses an amalgamation of all he's absorbed within the bubblegum, garage rock, and power pop genre of the 60's and 70's musical mosaic and spits it back at us with a visceral, magnetic passion. Our band members are: Vern Shank, lead vocals, various instruments ie: rhythm guitar, percussion; Josh Cobb, backing vocals, guitars, bass, various instruments; Jamie Markowski, bass guitar, backing vocals; Jimmy Mason, backing vocals, drums

2) About the latest full length record "Good to the Last Drop",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs?

It was recorded over the course of 3 years starting in 2015 and was completed around the fall of 2018. It was done in a track by track basis. A lot of vocal harmonies were put into it with a number of overdubs. This album took awhile to complete because we had 5 legendary musicians on it. Including, Ron Dante of The Archies, Dennis Tufano of The Buckinghams' fame, Steve Boone of The Lovin' Spoonful, Mark Dawson of The Grass Roots, and the late Gary DeCarlo of Steam who actually passed away during the making of this album. It took a while to get this all put together especially because of all the different mega stars on it and the different studios in different places we had to record parts in.

3) Do you consider it should be foolish not to use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

No we used all the latest technology at our disposal. However we did our very best to make it sound retro and vintage as if we were recording in an analog studio. We are of course a "throwback" band with a classic sound with a modern twist. 

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another? 

Vern Shank (myself) and Josh Cobb share writing credits to our originals. Sometimes one of us will come up with the melody and I usually come up with most of the lyrical content and Josh fills in if I am having a "writer's block" kind of a day.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song? 

Love, struggle, the chance to make it and at times happiness and sunshine. Sounds like a strange combination, however I can sum it up as saying I am always trying to find a glimmer of hope and the happiest of days through moments of sadness and uncertainty. Most of our songs project searching for those feel good moments that we all try so hard to attain. Even though it is a struggle and sometimes we feel we can't get there,the songs take us to a place where everything is okay and
perhaps we can actually make it.

6) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

Oldies from the 60's and 70's as well as Rock bands and some New Wave bands of the 80's. We also have a great love for the crooners like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin. etc. My favorite and as a teenager was the Beach Boys. Some of the bands that influence our music today are: The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Queen.

7) Do you have a new video on YouTube  featuring a track from the new LP? 

This is our lead off music video from Good To The Last Drop. It is a cover of The Lovin' Spoonful's You Didn't Have To Be So Nice. However what makes this more significant than just a cover is the fact that Steve Boone of The Lovin' Spoonful actually plays with us on this release. He is also the co-songwriter of this song along with John Sebastian. He is a great musical friend, loved the idea of doing it with us and we are honored to bring this new take on his classic song to life with him. 



8) What can concert goers expect at a Cherry Drops gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs? 

The Cherry Drops excel at our originals, however when we do a cover, we do our very best to have at least one member of the original and with us when we do a cover. An example: we just played the Hard Rock in Daytona Beach and we brought along Tony Valentino of The Standells and Steve Boone of The Lovin' Spoonful with us. When we did do some covers live, we did The Standells "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" and "Dirty Water" and then we did The Lovin' Spoonfuls "You Didn't Have To Be So Nice" as well as a song we wrote with Steve that he performed with us on our last album called "Sweet Lovin". We also throw in a few covers that we are influenced by from time to time from The Monkees, The Easybeats, The Beatles, The Sweet, The Raspberries and Bad Finger to name a few. But I must stress for the most part we are an original band and only sprinkle in a few covers from time to time.


9) Are there any bands in the USA today you consider yourself close to? 

Besides the legendary classic 60's and 70's bands (some of the aforementioned bands) If you are talking more modern bands perhaps: The Lemon Twigs, the 90's band Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, B-52's, Matthew Sweet, The Pooh Sticks, The Apples In Stereo, Los Strait Jackets



10) Anything you wanna add? 

My advice is to not to be afraid to dig deep and find something that can resurface again. Always be willing to try something new in your entertainment field no matter what it may be. Flexibility to change gives you new experiences. New experiences makes you a well rounded artist. Never forget you can re-invent yourself just like the industry does. Remember though, you’ll never know until you give it a shot and be willing to learn. Lastly, the entertainment world is definitely a business for sure, but for me it is more of a feeling, an emotion and a personal expression of yourself. Live your dream!

Just want to say thank you for your time.

PURCHASE THE GOODIES HEREhttps://www.thecherrydrops.com/




Saturday, December 15, 2018

The DIRTY SIDEWALKS - Bring Down the House Lights


Earlier this year, No-Count Records released "BRING DOWN THE HOUSE LIGHTS", the debut full-length record of Seattle based The DIRTY SIDEWALKS. The band was formed in 2010 by Erik Foster, his older brother -and founder of surf/garage outfit The Boss Martians- Evan Foster and longtime friend Evan O’Neil. 

If you dig ‘80’s college rock, ‘90’s Brit pop and ‘60’s harmonies you really gonna love these guys! Time for this blog to have a great and instructive chat with Erik.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about The DIRTY SIDEWALKS to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays? 

The DIRTY SIDEWALKS is the last great American guitar rock band. As Dirty Sidewalks is known today, we’ve been around since roughly 2010. The core of the band is myself (Erik Foster), our bass player Evan O’Neil, and my brother, Evan Foster, who plays lead guitar and sings with me. The newest addition to the band is our drummer, Mike Fritz who joined us in the later part of 2018.

2) About the full length record "Bring Down The House Lights",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? 

Bring Down the House Lights was recorded mostly in the kitchen and laundry room of a house my brother was renting in south Seattle. Evan (Foster) engineered the record. The majority of the songs were built track by track with a fair amount of overdubs. The recording process was integral to the sound of the album, as we were able to work at our own pace, meaning that if we wanted to spend a whole night auditioning gated reverb options for a snare drum on one song, we could.

3) Do you consider it should be foolish not to use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

I don’t think any form of recording or technology is foolish per se, if you’re using it to do something cool. I’m a firm believer that If you can use any format to better suit your idea, do it. Bring Down the House Lights is a fully hybrid record in the sense that we blended lots of old and new technology, alongside using cassette 4-tracks and primitive digital recording methods. Like any piece of art, you have to step back once in a while and check that the sum of all the parts is still working together.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

With Bring Down the House Lights I wrote the bulk of the material. However, O’Neil wrote a riff here and there which I was able to use as the foundation of a song, and my brother and I did some co-writing. As we’ve been moving forward, we’re co-writing a lot more frequently which I’m super into. My brother and I have very similar writing styles, but he will always come through with some kind of idea or change, no matter how small, that I didn’t (or wouldn’t) think of, that will make a huge difference/improvement.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?

Hard to say. I don’t ever sit down and say to myself “ I’m going to write a song about this specific topic today”. I’m a fan of more abstract lyrics, and I think it’s cool when people can apply their own interpretations easily. I’ll almost always start with music and try to let the lyrics flow naturally from that. However, there are times where a lyric pops into my head, and I’ll think, “shit, that’s pretty cool” and I’ll try to grow something out of it.

6)  To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager and does it still influence your today work? What was your favorite band as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

When I was I teenager, I mostly listened to punk rock and indie rock. Most of the SST Records catalog was highly influential to me. Certain aspects of that music and ethos absolutely still influence me. For example, Black Flag had one of the strongest work ethics of any band, ever and I find that highly inspirational. On the other side of that, I’ve liked Oasis since I was in elementary school. My 3 favorite bands when I was a teenager were probably Oasis, The Descendents, and Sonic Youth? Narrowing it to 3 is tough. I still love those bands, and still consider myself to be influenced by them. The only difference now is that I love more bands/artists and I have a much wider spectrum of music I truly appreciate.

7) Do you have a new video on YouTube featuring a track from the LP?? 

There’s a video for the first single from Bring Down the House Lights, “Rock and Roll (save my soul)” on YouTube right now. We’ll be releasing the next single / video in early 2019.



8) What can concert goers expect at a The DIRTY SIDEWALKS gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs? 

At a Dirty Sidewalks gig you can expect all the fuzz, reverb and lush vocal harmonies you can shake a stick at... as far as covers, I always like to throw in some less-than-obvious covers that wouldn’t be expected. We’ve been known to whip out a version of “Hit me Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears once in a while, and we have a few more bangers up our sleeves.

9) Are there any bands in Seattle today you consider yourself close to?

There’s a lot of great bands and artists in Seattle right now, which is cool because the city is changing so rapidly. Having a solid music scene is one of the last things that makes it still feel like home. As far as bands that we’re “close to” locally would be Jupe Jupe, Vibragun, Nostalgist, Downtown, Joe Waine...the list goes on.

10) A question for Evan in particular: are the Boss Martians on an indefinite hiatus or can a new release be expected soon?

Evan is busy mixing a record right now, but I can field this one. In terms of a “hiatus” of any kind, the answer is NO. I actually play bass in the Boss Martians. We’re busy as fuck, constantly. There’s at least 3 new martians releases coming out in the very near future. This summer we’ll be playing some shows in Europe and various parts of America. Evan is actually co-owner of a recording studio here in Seattle now, called No-Count Studios, so we’re in constant production. Stay tuned.

11) Anything you wanna add?

New Sidewalks material coming in 2019. Fuck Donald Trump. Stay high. Blessed Be. Sidewalks Rule, OK.

Purchase the goodies here: https://dirtysidewalks.bandcamp.com/album/bring-down-the-house-lights



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

GRANDE ROYALE - Captured Live released on The Sign records



Grande Royale is a rock'n'roll band from Jönköping, Sweden, rooted in the early 70's rock scene of Detroit and the 90's rock scene in Scandinavia, mixed up with some vintage pop. The Sign records released some weeks ago the aptly titled "captured live" by GRANDE ROYALE. 

After last year's highly praised "Breaking news" produced by Nicke Andersson (Imperial State Electric, The Hellacopters), this is the band's second album for this great label. And it is highly recommended if you dig "high energy" rock'n'roll. So this blog had a little chat with ANDY.

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about GRANDE ROYALE to introduce yourselves? How long are you guys together as a band?  Who is playing what instrument in the band nowadays?

We started as a garage/punk band with Andy and Gustav on guitars, Hampus on bass and lead vocals and Anton on drums. Anton dropped after the first record and now he lives in LA as a producer. Hampus wanted to only do the vocals so we took in Calle on bass and then we had a new drummer in Marcus Kveldstat. After Breaking News album Marcus left the band and we took in a new Marcus on drums but that only lasted for a month so we asked Johan if he could fill he´s place. Hampus and Calle said goodbye this summer to do other things in life. So here, we are with Andy on guitar Johan on drums our new bass player Samuel and Gustav on guitar and lead vocals. We never sounded better and never played better then now so the feeling is good as hell.

2) About the latest full length record "Captured live",  what can you tell about the recording process? Was this the full concert recorded just as it happened (same order of the songs? were some songs left over?) Were some parts rerecorded afterwards in the studio to correct any possible mistakes, etc....?

Last year we had been on a tour for 20 days. We had our last gig in Flensburg Germany and the venue recorded our gig. Before we went on tour the band and our label The Sign records had talked about doing a live album so the timing was perfect.We took contact with Ola Esfjord on Cuervo Recordings and asked if he could mix the album. Ola kept everything except the guitars. He wanted to have fuzz on them. We have songs left over from the show and it´s not in the same order of the songs.

3) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.

I can only speak for myself and the first band that I liked was Kiss like many other kids who were born on the 70's. When I was a teenager, I was first into thrash and death and when I was like 17 I was more into punk. The Rolling Stones, Kiss and John Fogerty and many others have an influence on me today.

4) Is there a main composer in the band or is everybody involved in one way or another?

For Breaking News and the new album that´s in the making, Gustav is the main songwriter. Before that, Andy and Gustav did a lot together. However, Gustav is a riff machine so he comes up with many songs and then we put it together as a band in the studio.

5) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?
Things that I believe  are wrong in our society, or in life. I think it´s easier to write about things that are wrong in my opinion. I do not know why it is so but that´s just me I guess.

6) GRANDE ROYALE are described by some people as an "High Energy" band in the vein of the great MC5. Do you agree with this label? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that?
Yeah we are described as “High Energy” but here in Sweden people compare us more to The Hellacopters than MC5. But that is a good thing! right? Both of them are great bands. We are going in to the studio together with Ola Esfjord next week. This album will sound a lot different from Breaking News. I think this one in not so “High Energy”.So if we take it from the start. Cygne Noir was punk, No fuss was more melodic but to fast. Like to much “High Energy”. Then we did Breaking News with Nicke the master of “High Energy”. He took it down a bit so we became a true high energy band. However, this one will be more soul/blues I think. It will do us good to change something so we don´t do the same record over and over again. And Grande Royale will sound different now when Gustav sings.

7) Do you have a new video on youtube  featuring a track from the new LP??
No but we will make at least 3 to 5 videos on the next studio album.



8) What can concert goers expect at a GRANDE ROYALE gig? Are you playing any famous cover songs that are not present on this album?

We have never played a cover song live with Grande Royale but we talked about do a cover several
times but we could not agree what song we should play. People attending our gigs can expect energy on stage. The people who saw us previously believe that we have more chemistry now that Gustav is singing.

9) Are there any bands in Sweden today you consider yourself close to?

I think there are many. From our hometown, we have Beat City Tubeworks. Look them up if you haven’t heard them. They kick as.

10) Anything you wanna add?

Thank you so much for supporting us it means a lot

PURCHASE THE GOODIES HERE: https://freighttrain.se/sv/the-sign-record/grande-royale/