Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Q&A with The Bomb

When Naked Raygun frontman Jeff Pezzati put together his post NR band The Bomb, he was undoubtedly under a massive amount of scrutiny.

Like a punk rock Paul McCartney moving on to Wings or Johnny Rotten starting PIL - comparisons to his beloved, and highly influential first band were inevitable.

The Bomb are clearly nobody's version of Wings.

For about a decade now the Chicago band, comprised of Pezzati, guitarist Jeff Dean (The Story So Far,Tomorrows Gone), bassist Pete Mittler and drummer Mike Soucy (both from The Methadones), have been churning out amazing punk rock. Their latest "Speed is Everything" may just be their best record yet in an already impressive career.

Guitarist Jeff Dean was kind enough to put up with a handful of questions about the new record, working with J Robbins and punk rock supergroups.

So you guys are in a number of different bands. Does that make The Bomb a supergroup? A side project? Or a full-fleged band?

I don't know if you would call us a "supergroup", but we are a full on band. (Jeff) Pezzati started the band in 1999, and with the exception of us taking a break for about a year,the band has been active since it started.

So do your other bands get jealous when you spend time with another group?

No way! We are all good friends, and I think we all manage our time wisely. I have a lot more time on my hands to work with than the other guys, so I'm able to play in more bands than everyone else, but there is never any jealousy or anything like that.

How did you get J. Robbins to record the album? What was he like to work with?

J has recorded our last two records, so when we were getting ready to record our previous record"Indecision"there was a lot of talk about who we wanted to do it. I've always been a fan of J's bands as well as his producing/recording. Pezzati and J have been friends since when NR (Naked Raygun) and GI (Government Issue) played shows together back in the 80's, so it just made sense to get him on board. I gave him a call and he was really into the idea. J. is hands down my favorite engineer I've ever recorded with! When we were recording "Indecision", all of us got along so well, and he could understand where we were coming from with ideas, etc. We just clicked. So, that is why J will be the only one to record our albums as long as we are a band. At this point, he almost feels like the 5th member! Ha, ha!

Who else is on the album?

This record was a real collaboration between all of us. I still write the majority of the music, with Pezzati writing most of thew lyrics. But, this time everyone in the band contributed,as did J. He wrote the music for one of the songs on the record. J also did back ups on a lot of the songs too. Dan Yemin (Paint it Black, Lifetime) did vocals on one of the songs,as did Bob Nanna (Braid).

How long did it take to record "Speed is Everything"?

We recorded all of the music and most of the vocals in about six days here in Chicago at a studio owned by my friend Andy Gerber called "Million Yen". Then about a month later, Pezzati and I flew out to Baltimore to mix it and add some additional vocals at J's studio "Magpie Cage" I think we were there for five days.

What's next for the band?

We are actually doing a East coast tour at the end of Oct. with it ending at "The Fest" in Gainesville. Then Pezzati and I are flying out to California to play two acoustic shows on Nov.21 and 22. Its a benefit that my friend Joe Nelson is putting together. We are playing with HR from the Bad Brains, Walter from Quicksand/Rival Schools, and a couple other people. Everyone is playing acoustic, plus its an art show as well. Should be a lot fun. After that, we are going to try and do a European tour in the spring, then maybe work on some new songs.

Anything else you want to add?

I guess that I hope people check out the new record "Speed is Everything". All of us are really proud of it, and if you are a fan of our band or Naked Raygun or whatever, I think you will enjoy it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Dear Hunter Video

The criminally-underrated band Dear Hunter are about to go on tour.

Here's a video update from the band.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chicago Punk Rock Doc

The documentary You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-84 is getting great reviews and coming out on DVD shortly.

It's a look at Chi-town's underground music scene (note to NY and LA... you weren't the only ones).

Here's a the trailer:

You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk 1977-1984 from factory twenty five on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Westbound Train

Boston’s Westbound Train certainly didn’t invent ska and reggae, but they sure as hell have managed to put their stamp on the genres.

Four records and eight years in, the seven piece has figured out how to blend classic American Soul to the Caribbean genres, bringing the echoes of bands like The Specials and The Skatalites to a generation of kids who thought Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish were the Alpha and Omega of ska.

The band is about to release Come and Get It, an album that front man Obi Fernandez describes as his favorite so far.
Fernandez spoke with InSite recently about what makes this new record different from the others, new line up changes and a summer plans that include plenty of BBQ.
What can you tell me about the new album?

We are all very excited about the new album. Everything that went into making the record seemed to happen completely natural and organic. We recorded at Sea Side Lounge Studios in Brooklyn, NY and just fell in love with the place as well as the people there. Dave Hillyard of The Slackers came on to produce the album and that was just amazing. He knew exactly where we were headed and didn't let us lose any focus on the sound and the vibe of the record that. The record has tons of soul influence. Old Stax and Motown have always been a part of what we do but on this record we actually recorded some straight up soul tunes. Come and Get It has definitely been my favorite album to make. We did it live over the span of about two weeks. No matter what you are into this album has something for everyone. Fifteen songs that will hopefully get ya party feeling great.

This is your fourth record. Has writing the albums gotten any easier?

Well, you always try to keep writing but I think it does seem to get a bit easier as you go. I think with this record I've really found my voice and have a much easier time communicating what I want to say. The more you write and with each record you put out it seems like each record gets more and more honest. Probably because you've just seen more of the world, lived a little more life. Touring enables you to have this enormous canvas of experiences to paint about.

You guys were on the road a lot after Transitions. Did you take any time off before working on the new one?

We did take time off before making this record. We were just going non stop and needed to take a break. We needed to charge up and make a couple changes to our roster. We'd been spending so much time together and going through a bunch of rough times together that everyone needed to just step out of the situation in order to think about things a little more clearly. We needed to sit in a room and hash a lot of things out and at the end of look at one another and be like "Wait a minute these dudes are my friends first not my colleagues". After we were able to work out the kinks the next thing to do was start writing a new album. It was really great to go through that and start writing for a new record because it really just brought us closer together. We were stronger now, so we really went into this project together and focused on making great music. We didn't have to worry about submitting for tours, van calls, what were our next 10 steps... For the first time in a long time it was just purely about the music.

You mentioned some changes to your roster.

Yeah we picked up Eric Novod and Luke Penella since Transitions. Both people are incredible people and add to the dynamic greatly on and off stage. Eric is a huge soul and jazz fan and when he came into the band our sound just changed automatically. He played a really huge part in allowing us to go into that soul direction that we've been wanting to go in for so long. Luke is an incredible sax player and one of the funniest dudes you will ever meet. Having the both of them has allowed us to really step up our game. They both bring such an arsenal of talent that totally forces everyone to always bring their A game.

You guys have toured with some amazing ska and reggae bands like the Skatalites and The Toasters. Ever get intimidated at all playing with these bands?

I've been intimidated before but in the way that it just inspires you to want to give you absolute best. Bands like that that have really carved out a path and in all that we do we want to be completely respectful of those who came before us. The Skatalites are probably one of the bands we listen to the most. If it weren't for them we would be even further away from nailing the style of music that we play.

Anything else you want to add?

We just want to make music for everyone regardless of what you are into. We want to show people a great time and set off dance parties all over the world. Please pick up our new record Come and Get It. Be sure to keep visiting www.myspace.com/westboundtrain and http://www.westboundtrain.net/.