Search This Blog

Monday, May 24, 2021

Rocket Bureau - Middle Angst

ROCKET BUREAU is a One-man studio band. Behind that moniker is KYLE URBAN, who can play pretty much every music instrument, and does so on this brilliant album. Pop hooks a plenty, crunchy guitars and pounding Keith Moon-esque drums. All recorded on his own in Kyle's Madison, Wisconsin basement studio. Analog, of course! Read all about it here!

1) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about Rocket Bureau to introduce yourself? Do you feel more confortable to present yourself as a "band" rather that an solo artist?

Hello! I'm Kyle Urban, I'm a musician and recording engineer. Rocket Bureau is both a solo recording project for my songs, and a live band with my friends. I've been based in Madison, WI for almost 20 years. I've played different instruments in a bunch of bands (The Motorz, The August Teens, The Arkoffs, The God Damns, Earl Foss & The Brown Derby, etc), and I run an analog recording studio out of my basement. Besides locals, I've recorded a lot of bands from Milwaukee and elsewhere, including The Midwest Beat, Fox Face, Phylums, and Hughes Family Band. I had a great working relationship with The Midwest Beat for so long that I ended up playing keys with them for live shows, including a European tour.

I think I'm more comfortable presenting Rocket Bureau recordings as a band as opposed to a solo act. I write the songs, perform all the parts, and record & mix everything myself. In spite of that, one of my goals is to always make it sound like a full band is playing the songs, not just one guy overdubbing everything. It's how I'm comfortable working, but I love playing live as well. I happen to have some great friends who are also fantastic players, and they like the music I make. There's something great about playing with a group of close friends. Plus these guys share a similar energy to me when we're playing; we are loud and we let it rip. The live band is Dan Bornemann on bass (a friend since high-school, he convinced me to move here), Josh Labbus on guitar, and Paul Kennedy on drums. They rule.

photo David Kreisman.
2) About the newly released LP, what can you tell about the recording process? Please tell us about your working process? Do you start with the drums and the bass and then the guitars and finally the vocals?

I record the drums first, I've always worked that way. There's no click track or anything; that forces me to have the song arranged and as fully-realized as it can be before even thinking about recording it. I play the song on drums as I would on guitar or any other instrument, meaning it's a performance dependent on the dynamics of the song structure with fills and all, as opposed to just playing a beat and editing it later. After that I usually add guitars, bass, any other extra stuff (keys/percussion/etc), then vocals. Unless I have a vocal arrangement in mind that calls for a lot of voices, then I'll do vocals earlier with a guide guitar track, and bounce all the extra vocals down to one or two tracks, and add everything else afterward. I didn't do much of that on Middle Angst, as most of the songs didn't really call for big multi-part vocals, but that is something I love. I am a huge fan of The Everly Brothers, The Hollies, The Cowsills, and The Resonars.

3) Do you only work with analog machines in analog studios or might you, one day, consider using the nowadays digital recording technology?

Despite the maintenance work involved with a vintage tape machine, I stick with mostly analog because I can record and mix with tape and a console much faster than with a computer. The drawback to that is no ability to save mixes for simple changes at a later date. That led to having a hybrid system. 90% of the work is done analog. I track to a 2” 16-track tape machine from the early 70s (before 2016 I only used 1/2” 8-track). I record everything to tape, then mix from tape through a big analog mixing console and outboard gear for compression/tape delay/etc. The direct outputs of the console are fed to their own tracks in the computer. I started doing that from recording other bands; they would often like my mixes but want minor tweaks here and there. I would have to start an entire mix over from scratch just to turn the bass guitar up a little bit or something but I might set another level differently in the process, so I put together this system where I could still work quickly & efficiently with analog tape, but have my mixes saved for easy adjustments in the computer. It's a workflow that I'm happy with. Tracking and mixing fully inside a computer is very slow for me, so I bypass most of that with the benefits of having saved mixes and easy adjustments. It has saved me hundreds of hours of work.

Sonically, I prefer analog tape. I grew up listening to all kinds of old music, and analog tape is a big part of those sounds. Digital recording technology has come a long way, it can sound fantastic now, I do not begrudge anyone for going that route. But analog tape gets the sounds that I really love, and it's a workflow I'm comfortable with. 

4) Who is responsible for the cover artwork of the L.P.? And can you also explain the meaning of the title of the LP?

Kyle Clemins, an old friend of mine from high school, made the cover art. I'm a control freak over the music and audio, but I know I have zero skills as a visual artist. When the recording was mostly done, I sent a rough mix to Mr. Clemins. I had him listen to the album a few times and come up with something. He nailed it in a way I did not expect. I liked it when he sent me his sketches, but when I got the LP jackets, WOW. It looked even better than I'd imagined. I especially love the mirrored-eagle on the back cover; if we make t-shirts, that's what will be on them.

I think I came up with the title Middle Angst after most of the songs were written. None of this was written to be a concept album, but I was writing more personally than I had before, and the songs all kind of fell into a loose narrative of aging, but not feeling like you're progressing with life. I'm 41 and I often feel as lost as I did as a teenager; the songs either reflect that, or look back a bit nostalgically. I felt really weird about it for a while because I didn't know if anyone else would relate to it. I'm getting older but I don't really feel like I am. I don't want to become an acoustic singer/songwriter. I don't want to make 'mature' music. I want to rock. It's the kind of music that I naturally play when picking up any instrument. Conversely, I know I don't want to make the same kind of rock songs I did in my 20s or younger. I want that same energy, but with lyrics that I won't feel absurd singing as I get older.

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

That's a tough question! I don't think I have a favorite or easy topic. My most satisfying writing comes from being struck by a melody and sound that evokes a strong emotion, then completing a song that maintains that initial spark. It doesn't happen often. Sometimes the spark gets lost and I abandon the song. More often than not I finish the song and it doesn't have the same spark, but it becomes something else that I like.

Lyrics are difficult and frustrating for me. I can rattle off music relatively easily, but words are hard. In my old band (The Motorz), I only wanted to make fun, hooky rock'n'roll songs. I didn't care about lyrics at all; as long as they weren't embarrassing (and sometimes they were), I was happy. I hear music first and lyrics second. In the interim between The Motorz and Rocket Bureau, I started to appreciate lyrics more and more. I got a couple of Sparks records and they blew my mind. Lyric-focused music previously struck me as pretentious at best and outright boring at worst, but I gradually realized you can get really creative lyrically without it weighing down the music. That opened my ears to things that I'd only half-listened to for years.

6) How would you described Rocket Bureau's type of music? Would you call it power pop or do you consider there is way more than that?

Great question! I have no idea. I love power-pop, but I think it's a really limited descriptor. What I think of as power-pop isn't what other people think (and that goes for virtually every genre to an extant). I've described my music as power-pop in the past, and it helped the music find its way to people who enjoy it, which is all I really want. However, just as often I've seen 'power-pop' used in a way that's almost dismissive or derogatory.

I tell people that Rocket Bureau is a rock'n'roll band. That's probably more troublesome than power-pop, but I can't think of a better description. There are a couple punk-ish songs on the album, but we're not a punk band. I try to give everything catchy melodies, but there may be too much classic rock influence for some power-pop fans. A lot of what I play on guitar is country-based, but it's through an old amp on 10.

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

Nope! I'm not opposed to videos, but I've never come up with a cool video idea. I hate being on camera as well. If there's ever a Rocket Bureau video, it'd have to be a collaboration with someone with a great sense of visuals, and little to none of me in it.

Photo:  David Kreisman.
8) Do you intend to take Rocket Bureau on the road one day soon and if this happens what can concert goers expect at a gig of Rocket Bureau? Will you be playing any famous cover songs during the gig?

I would love to do a tour! I would especially love to go to Europe again, I met a lot of wonderful friends while over there. The reality is we've all got day jobs, and there's one father and one father-to-be in the band. That said, we could find a way to make it work for the right opportunities.

Historically, our live shows have one constant: we are loud. We're loud when we're trying NOT to be loud. I love actually feeling the sound out of my guitar amp. Paul is a monster drummer so we could blame him, but honestly I think we all love cranking up the volume. We're a rock band, that's how we're supposed to sound! It kind of limits where we can play, but I think we'd rather have it that way than try to change how we sound and be frustrated. 

We've almost always thrown a cover or two into live sets. We can't deny ourselves the fun of playing covers of songs we love. We have a couple of Thin Lizzy songs we often play. I think collectively our favorite band of all time is Cheap Trick; we'll play entire chunks of Live At Budokan during practice (and sometimes live). I've collected records since I was a kid, and that's always given me fuel to bring all kinds of oddball songs to the guys. We do an obscure Badfinger song, a couple 60s bubblegum songs, a hair metal tune here and there; we even cover other locals that don't play anymore. Great songs are great songs, it doesn't matter if they're by The Beatles or some punk band playing a local basement.

9) Are there any bands/artists in the USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?

The Resonars and Tenement. I don't think we're all that similar to either (or nearly as good), but both of those bands were integral to Rocket Bureau existing. I hadn't been writing or recording my own music for a long time; I was playing with a few bands and recording others. I still love doing both, but none of it was my own thing. I got into both of those bands around the same time and was inspired. Before that I had odd ideas that my own music wasn't worth doing, and I'd forgotten how much joy and satisfaction I got from writing and recording songs for myself. Both of those bands make incredible records, but they also put on great, loud, energetic live shows. They made me want to do my version of the same, just for enjoyment if nothing else.

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

I don't know how it is for other people, but I rarely outgrow any music I get into, I just get into more of it. As soon as I could walk I went for my dad's stereo. He was afraid I would break it, so he taught me how to play records. My earliest memories are of me playing anything I could find and pillaging my older siblings' records and tapes. I fell in love with Queen and ELO by the time I was 5. After that it was all Meat Loaf, 70s Kiss, hair metal, and Rush most of all. As a teenager in the 90s, I got into both pop-punk and oldies radio (50s/60s rock'n'roll). Eventually I got into British Invasion, psych, soul, vintage country, and so on. These days I'm really into collecting obscure old 45s that don't fit neatly into genres.

Three long-lasting influences are probably Cheap Trick, The Hollies, and The Who. This list could change every day.

11) What are the plans for 2021 as far as Rocket Bureau are concerned?

We just had our first fully-vaccinated band practice last weekend, which was something I missed very much in the past year. I don't know when we'll be able to play live yet, but we'll keep having practices and learning some new songs. I've got about a dozen written, and I've got some ideas for another album.

12) Anything you wanna add?

I play bass in The August Teens, and we put out a much-overdue album last year. You can check it out here:

I also play drums in The Arkoffs, a weird garage band. There is no website or social media for The Arkoffs. We have an LP, but it's not available yet. It may be the only recording I've been a part of where the record we got was exactly what we were going for. I can't wait for unsuspecting souls to hear it.

The only other thing I'd like to add is gratitude for sharing my music. Thank you very much!


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Bruce Moody - Forever Fresh! The Anthology on Wizzard In Vinyl

Today, Bruce Moody consider himself one lucky power pop survivor from the original heydays of an era that has long since passed.

Over the years, his musical adventures have taken him on an amazing journey through the music maze to places he never dreamed of going and it allowed him to meet many of his musical heroes. Highlights include chatting with Paul McCartney on the phone, doing shows with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, A Flock of Seagulls, Sparks, and also bowling with members of The Go-Go's and Blondie. He also worked with Buddy Holly’s producer and manager Norman Petty at his studio in Clovis, New Mexico where Holly recorded his greatest songs. In fact, 
Norman Petty was the one who inspired him to write more songs and to release his first record which turned out to be the "Fresh Out!" EP.

This CD album "Forever Fresh!" is a collection of Bruce's power pop tracks from 1979 to 1986, many unreleased until now. This album has 23 songs, all of which have been meticulously digitally remixed and remastered exclusively for this release. The deluxe gatefold package contains liner notes and a website address for lyrics, the players on each song, recording dates and studio information.

01) For the viewers of this blog who would not know you, What would you tell about you and your musical background to introduce yourself?

Although I actually started playing music in bands as far back as 1968, I seem to have had the good fortune of always finding really good musicians to play with and that’s always made me a better musician.  After playing in many copy bands for years in the clubs, I became interested in writing my own songs around 1977/1978.  

I started recording song ideas at home on a four-track reel-to-reel tape recorder in order to perfect the songs before going into an eight-track professional studio that costs money. In 1979, I recorded a group of five or six songs at Amphion Studios in Houston.  I didn’t really have a band at the that time so I asked some of the best musicians in town to help me record the songs.  Although Amphion was an eight-track studio, I still had lots of little ideas for guitar lines, harmonies and percussion things I wanted to include in the songs.  

I ended up playing and singing about nine different parts on every song, including my normal stage instrument of bass guitar.  Three of those six songs are on the Forever Fresh! album.  There’s a musical biography on my website, along with lots of photos, song lyrics and details of the players on each song.

02) Can you also introduce the other musicians who participated in the recordings? Are those the guys pictured on the inner sleeve of the CD? What instrument were they playing? Were they part of your usual touring band or were they guns for hire?

> Wow!  You have to remember that these songs range from 1979 to 1986 and I played in four different bands during that period.  The main players on the songs on the album are Rick Richards on drums and harmonies, Danny Kristensen on guitar and harmonies, Keith Lancaster on Keyboards, Doug Hines on keyboards, Terry Carolan on guitar and harmonies and Richard Morant on guitar and harmonies.  There’s a complete personnel listing of who played what on each song on my website.  Danny, Rick and I have always been the real nucleus of all my original music bands, which includes both in the studio and live shows.   The guys on the inner sleeve of the CD are Danny Kristensen, Keith Lancaster, Rick Richards and myself.

03) About this 23 songs collection "Forever fresh", 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?

All of the above, really.  On the recordings where time and money were big considerations, we’d try to only use two tracks, play the basic track together live in the studio, in a nice stereo spread and then use the remaining six tracks for overdubs.  I would sing the lead vocal, sometimes during the live take but on a separate track, just in case I screwed something up and had to fix it later without making us have to do another entire band take.  

On some of the earlier songs, I sang most of the harmonies, mainly because I already had the blend I wanted in my head and I knew the parts.  On those songs, we’d usually end up bouncing down four tracks of vocals down to two tracks, in stereo, and then there would be four more tracks left to put down a doubled lead vocal, each on their own tracks, and then two more tracks to do overdubs, like an extra rhythm guitar with a lead part on one track and either a keyboard part or percussion part, like a tambourine or something, on the last available track. If we’re rehearsed well, I like having the band play live together on the main tracks.  You can really feel the energy in the takes on this album where we do that!  That said, I’m playing all the instrument and doing all the vocals on “I Feel Strange”, “The Closer I Get” and “Missile Envy”.

04) If you were to record new material in 2021, would you use the nowadays digital recording
technology or would you keep working only with analog machines in analog studios?

That’s a great question.  Probably some combination of both digital and analog.  It really comes down to feel.  Sometime a digital drum part can sound so stiff and regimented that it dehumanizes the feel of the song.  When you play with a live drummer, there’s a slight ebb and flow to the song that’s more natural.  Of course, playing with Rick Richards for all those years really spoiled me!  The guy was always rock solid, unless you asked him to play a sloshy hi-hat on the back beat during the chorus or something.  Transferring basic analog tracks to a DAW works fine, though.  I also prefer to actually play keyboard parts in real time, all the way through with the track, verses looping or copy/pasting all the parts.  

Recording the overdubs in the digital world gives you so much instant flexibility as far as tones and effects go. It’s a very convenient medium and there are some great tools and plug-ins out there. In some instances, though, to my ears, what’s left of them anyway 😊, there can be a certain “warmth” missing sometimes that digital tools just cannot duplicate, especially in the guitars.  You just have to experiment and see what sounds best to you, I think.  Some of the digital plug-ins for vocals do nicely replicate that vintage warm tube sound you get from the old analog compressors.  Terry Carolan turned me on to the Abbey Road mixing console plug-in and we used it every song on the album during the mastering process. 

05) How would you describe the music you're playing?

I like to start out with a nice melody and lead vocal so that I’m working with an actual song verses writing something off a digital drum beat with a repetitive guitar or keyboard riff or something like that.  There’s nothing wrong with that. I just like coming up with a nice lead vocal part with an interesting melody first and then adding some cool harmonies.  That’s what inspires me when I’m writing.  Although I don’t have an actual band right now I still like to work with song ideas as though I’m writing for a band. 

06) What is/was your favorite topic/topic that came easily when you wrote a new song?

There’s always to “go to” subject of relationships and other personal life experiences.  I like to write about different things, sometimes putting the real meaning or inspiration cloaked between the lines, so to speak. But sometimes not.  I do like to play with words and I take great pride in the lyrics. There’s a sort of different sounding song for me on the album called “Secret Place”, which is about me dealing with depression.  

I literally wrote the entire song in about 15 minutes; words and music.  It’s been cathartic for me to just lay that out there.  Maybe it’s helped someone else, too.  I don’t know. “Secret Place” was featured in an Australian independent movie a few years ago.  There’s also a song on the album called “Above Suspicion”.  I’d been to a classic movie double feature back in 1983 that showed both “Above Suspicion” and “Double Indemnity”, both starring Fred MacMurray.  I ended up using the title “Above Suspicion” for the song, but I used the subject matter is from “Double Indemnity”, which I thought was fun!   

07) Do you have a video on youtube featuring a track from this collection?

There’s a very simple still images only video for “At The Rock Club” on YouTube right now.  There’s also a video for “She’s A Liar & A Spy” out there somewhere, but I have one of those awful 1985 shag haircuts in it!  Thankfully, the copy I have isn’t very good, as it was probably saved from an old VHS tape.  It might be best to leave that one in the vault!


08) Way back in the days, what could concert goers expect at a Bruce Moody gig? Were you playin' any famous cover songs during the gig?

Our shows were always very high energy with lots of three and four-part harmonies.  Having played in so many bands over so many years, I’ve played a ton of copy songs ranging from The Beatles, of course, The Cars, The Police … There’s even a sound check song on YouTube somewhere of my shortly-lived band Artisan playing “Yours Is No Disgrace” by Yes!   

09) Are there any bands/artists in USA  you considered yourself close to musically speaking, back then or now?

1960's Top 40 radio in the US was very cool!  Back then, The Beach Boys harmonies were, and still are, fantastic!  I’ve always liked The Association, Chicago; bands who wrote great melodies with lots of vocals.  These days, I love Elbow, especially their song “Lippy Kids”.  The way they approach their song arrangements and instrument parts is fantastic!  There are a bunch of bands whose songs I really like these days. But the tunes stream by so fast that I forget to look and see who it was!  From a pure songwriting aspect, I really like Fountains of Wayne.  When their bassist and chief songwriter Adam Schlesinger died last year from Covid, I did a video tribute to him and the band with massive help from Terry Carolan, Suzu Highmarts from The Highmarts and Atsushi from the band Gorilla.  The video is on my website.

10) To what kind of music did you listen to as a teenager? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands/artists that you consider still have an influence on your own work.

The Beatles were probably the cornerstone of my early musical influences.  I instantly fell in love with The Who, in particular Pete Townshend’s writing and John Entwistle’s bass playing.  I also loved listening to Cream, Chicago, The Byrds and Hendrix when I was a teenager.  I actually saw Jimi Hendrix in concert on May 9, 1969.  I even met him before the show!  There was something about that guy that was quite other worldly.  I remember watching him play live and hearing notes coming out of his guitar that he didn’t physically seem to be playing!  Beyond him using a fuzz effect or a wha-wha pedal, sometimes there would be a few extra notes ringing out from those Marshall amps, almost like an overdub!  He covered a lot of ground on his guitar. The lead in “Waterfall” is an example of that. 

But I still love Pete Townshend’s writing to this day.  There’s such a great body of work to listen to. I got to correspond with John Wicks from The Records over the years and ask him things about how certain songs were recorded, how they did the harmonies, etc.  I also got to tell him how much I loved his songs before he died.  That was really special for me.  Elvis Costello is another one of those writers whose songs are great to listen to and dissect. For pure power pop pleasure, The Outfield’s Biggest Innings album is hard to beat.  

11) What are the plans for 2021 as far as Bruce Moody are concerned?

Later this year, Meanbean Records is releasing “At The Rock Club” on a vinyl compilation album
called Standing In The Shadows - Volume One.  Also, Terry Carolan and I will be recording some new stuff together, remotely of course due to Covid, probably starting this spring.  There are those who’ve been wanting me to come play in Japan for the past few years.  I would LOVE to do that!

12) Anything you wanna add?

Just to say thanks, Eric, for keeping us aging power popper’s music alive!


Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Tummies - 9.30 Girl

The Tummies is a five piece rock'n'roll band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, whose members have toured and /or recorded with people as different as Peter Wolf, Ace Frehley & Gene Simmons of KISS, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, David Lee Murphy or Rodney Atkins. 

Their debut full length record, "9.30 Girl", mixed and produced by Caleb Sherman, is featuring some of the finest 60's influenced pop songs. And they even had one of their tracks featured on the SHAMELESS TV Show.

Time for this blog to talk to bass player and vocalist Judd Fuller.

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

My wife Dana and I started writing these powerpop / Beatlesque tunes just for the sheer joy of it…a nice change from writing the usual Nashville “formula” country songs. Many of the songs took about five minutes to write! We had compiled so many songs, and we were having so much fun doing it, we decided we had to get a band together and play out live. There was only one line-up we had in mind, and that was our dear friends Philip Shouse & Jeremy Asbrock on guitars, and Sandy Gennaro on drums. I play bass, and Dana and I both sing lead vocals. We “recruited” these guys because we all share a love of Mersey Beat Britpop, The Beatles, etc., and are all musically influenced by that style. These guys know this style like the back of their hand. There was no other choice for players! Plus we love them as people. The seeds were planted about six years ago, and though we played live shows, it took us a while to get in the studio to complete our first record. This was because we are all on the road with other bands as our “day jobs”, so sometimes time is at a premium. You can find all our resumes on, but here’s a list of acts we’ve all toured / recorded with or are currently touring with (when the world gets back to normal!): The Monkees, Gene Simmons from KISS, Ace Frehley from KISS, Accept, Bo Diddley, Joan Jett, Pat Travers, Peter Wolf from The J. Geils Band, Carly Simon, Maggie Rose, Rodney Atkins; the list goes on! So not only are the band a great bunch of folks, but I like to think we have some serious pedigree, hahaha! 

2) About the latest released full length record "9:30 Girl",  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? 

  As far as the recording of “9:30 Girl” went, we all play down the tracks live in the studio, with Dana and I doing “scratch” (reference) vocals to map out the arrangement. Minimal guitar overdubs, as we like to have that “live” feel. Part of the fun is that we go into the studio unrehearsed! We just send the guys work tapes that we record on my iPhone, just singing and playing acoustic guitar. This gets everyone’s wheels turning regarding creativity. We hand them a blank slate, basically, and there is minimal production or directing….these guys are so in tune that they “get” what we are looking for in the songs, and come up with really cool parts and ideas for the song! So it’s a fun, exciting, at times beleaguering, process….and it makes for a fresh, exciting product in my opinion! Sandy will add some extra percussion to the tracks such as tambourine, shaker, etc…then Dana and I will go in and overdub the final vocals, singing together “live” to the tracks…but even the vocal ideas are a work in progress right up to the finishing line! It’s a blast.

3) Do you use the nowadays recording technology or do you guys only work with analog machines in analog studios?

 We do use more modern technology for recording….but our engineer / producer Caleb Sherman of Cygnus Sound Studio here in Nashville is a wizard. Also because it’s less expensive. We are all involved in groups that have labels, management, etc., but because The Tummies are independent we do have to keep an eye on the wallet. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on Caleb’s production! If it were up to me, I’d want to produce an almost “slavish” imitation of the 60s vintage sound, but Caleb talked us out of it, and he was right. He believes there should be a touch of modern pop in our “vintage” style songs. So we like to think it’s a balance between old and new. We like his approach. 

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

Dana and myself write all the songs. The boys help with arrangements of already written songs; and as I mentioned earlier, they always come up with great ideas!

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

This is a fun question! Anything and everything can trigger a song idea. For instance, “9:30 Girl” came about because I remarked to my wife Dana how she consistently wakes up every morning at 9:30. She replied, “yup, I’m a 9:30 Girl”! I grabbed the guitar, the song was written within a half-hour. The song “Other Side Of The World” happened because Dana and I were having some wine on our back porch one warm, beautiful, breeze-less summer night, and she remarked, “look how still the night is, baby…” I grabbed the guitar, the song was written within a half-hour! “20 After 10” happened because one night we were hanging out, a little too buzzed on wine, and Dana said, “It’s 20 after 10! We must go to bed!” Do you sense a theme? Hahaha. So it could be a word, a sentence, the sound of a car horn; anything. Our antennae are always up and looking for song ideas!

6) The Tummies are sometimes described as a 60's influenced band. Do you agree with this? Are you proud of it or do you consider there is way more than that? 

 We DO agree with this assessment. And are proud of it. After all, this is the music that influenced all of our young lives. I think what naturally happens, though, is that inevitably the songs will carry our own unique stamp on them. We have all played with so many musicians, and so many different styles, I like to think that helps weave all the ideas into something fairly unique, and not just carbon-copying the 60s style.

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

Yes, we have two videos out on YouTube! You can find all the links on More videos coming soon! 


8) What can concert goers expect at a gig of The Tummies? Are you playing any famous cover songs during the gig?

 Concert goers can expect a fun night of Rock ’N Roll, and some pretty darn good musicianship as well! And a touch of humor. Music IS fun, right? We have not played any cover songs yet….we do have one in mind, but I don’t wanna give that away yet (wink, wink).

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

 Honestly we haven’t heard one yet from the USA…but that could also be a function of the fact that we all play with so many other folks, that if we’re not working on Tummies tunes, we are learning songs from other artists to play on their gigs! So our ears and practice time are usually full getting to work. Good question, though. When I get a break from being busy, I’m gonna see what’s out there!

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

 Obviously, The Beatles! That was both mine and Dana’s favorite band as kids. But also The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin…even stuff as far afield as Bob Marley, Little Feat, The Grateful Dead, Judas Priest, etc…we all listened to such a variety of stuff, it’s hard to pin down! But regarding The Tummies, specifically, the biggest influences are The Beatles, and even The Monkees. And again, while we wear those influences proudly, I like to think we don’t simply “imitate” them!

11) What are the plans for 2021 as far as The Tummies are concerned?

 We are trying to figure out everyone’s tour schedule with our other bands, as the world gradually opens up….we’ll probably start by playing an album release gig / party here in Nashville, and take it from there. We would LOVE to tour Europe. Got any connections over there? ;) :)

12) Anything you wanna add?

 I’ll add this: buy our record!!!! You’ll LOVE it. Just visit to order! Thanks, Eric! Cheers. 


Saturday, May 1, 2021

13 YEARS of this BLOG

Today is a VERY special day, not only because it's the birthday of yours truly but also because we celebrate 13 YEARS of this BLOG.

Matthew Sweet's fourth album Altered Beast and, in essence, his followup to the smashing success of the "Girlfriend" album. The recording featured a generous handful of performances from noteworthy musicians Sweet looked up to, including Jody Stephens of Big Star, Richard Lloyd of Television, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, well-known UK pianist/organist Nicky Hopkins, Robert Quine and Ivan Julian of Richard Hell & The Voidoids, and Pete Thomas, the longtime drummer for Elvis Costello. 

Tracks 1&2 from the album, Altered Beast
Tracks 3&4 Bonus Tracks

1.Time Capsule
Bass, Guitar, Vocals – Matthew Sweet
Drums – Pete Thomas
Guitar – Robert Quine

2.Knowing People
Bass [12 String], Electric Guitar, Vocals – Matthew Sweet
Drums – Ron Pangbborn*
Lead Guitar – Richard Lloyd

3.Speed Of Light
Bass, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Vocals – Matthew Sweet
Drums – Fred Maher
Fiddle – Byron Berline
Lead Guitar – Robert Quine
Steel Guitar [National Duolian] – Greg Leisz

Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals – Matthew Sweet
Drums – Jody Stephens
Lead Guitar – Ivan Julian