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NorthJerseyMusic.com http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog Northern NJ's Premiere Live Music Resource Thu, 10 Jul 2014 22:16:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Jason Link – Getaway http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/jason-link-getaway http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/jason-link-getaway#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:56:00 +0000 http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=143 Jason Link - The OneAah, country music.  For us here in the Northeast, it feels like country music went from ‘The Gambler’ to ‘The Thunder Rolls’ to Trucks and Beer on 92.7 NASH FM in the blink of an eye.  Like a left hook in a drunken dive bar, it seems that country music just found us, and we’re going to feel it for a while.

It’s been about 10 years since the big names in country music started to add the PNC Bank Arts Center to their touring stops. Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, and Kenny Chesney always make a summer stop, but in the last few years we’ve slowly grown accustom to jukebox nights of cowboy pop in our favorite watering holes.  Nevermind the road trips to the Colorado Cafe, I’m talking twang in our back yard.

The problem is, what we get is a show.  We get the polished radio rock, and the tailgate down Coors Light commercials.  Yeah, there’s a hint of the old outlaw era when the likes of Brantley Gilbert talks about running from the law with a jar of moonshine in his lap, but the reality is that’s all bullshit. For more on that, check out Shooter Jennings’ Outlaw You.

I think it was the great songwriter Harlan Howard who first described country music as “Three Chords and the Truth.”  Well, country music as we’re being fed up here is missing the truth.

That’s where I’d like to introduce Jason Link.  Jason was kind enough to send me a preview of his upcoming album ‘Getaway’ (iTunes Single ‘The One’). I first saw Jason perform in Nashville a few years ago and I was impressed. Lower Broadway in Nashville is a tourist whirlwind and a money machine. It is so much fun, you don’t realize what the hell is going on until you’re holding your throbbing head the next morning wondering where to find an ATM so you can buy breakfast.  In the Universe that is Nashville there is talent everywhere, but there is something about a star that shines above the rest.  Well, Jason Link is a star.

A few days after Jason sent me the preview of ‘Getaway’, he tweeted me and humbly asked what I thought.  I had three words for him.  “I believe you.” Jason brought the truth back to country music.

The hard work that Jason has put in shows.  He sings with a twang reminiscent of Tracy Lawrence. Although there is something for everybody on this record, it is not “radio pop”. This is country music!

For me there are a few standout tracks that just seem to resonate.  The album kicks off with ‘American Radio’ which is a flat out tribute to the way music leaves a mark on the milestones of our lives. I can’t wait until this track hits the airwaves, so I can watch you all sing along when Jason says “I can always find an old friend somewhere there on the dial, to sing me right back home, on American Radio.”

Jason goes on to touch on many traditional country music topics like watching a loved one disappear into the horizon and not knowing where to turn (‘I Want My Life Back’), the medicinal, yet heartbreaking role that a bottle of whiskey can play on a lost soul (‘Whiskey’), and the inability for some us us to turn off the wild ways of our youth (‘Wild Man’).

Two other tracks, ‘The One’ and the album’s namesake, ‘Getaway’ add to the overall feeling of the album, while touching on two different, yet instinctive emotions.  ‘The One’ is a heartfelt serenade, a true love song. While ‘Getaway’ makes you want to just grab your girl and escape.

My good friend Tim O’Donohue has a favorite genre of music he likes to call “Murder Ballads”.  Well, Jason has one of those too.  ‘Dressed to Kill’ is the story of a girl done wrong, and she’s not going to go quietly into this night.  Look out!

One thing is for sure, radio executives did not curate this album.  Jason has his own voice, and he uses it to do the one thing country music does best.  Tell the truth.

Check out Jason Link and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

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Why I NEVER Rarely Write Reviews http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/why-i-never-rarely-write-reviews http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/why-i-never-rarely-write-reviews#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:27:57 +0000 http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=146 So, I’ve been running this site for 11 years now and I have reviewed a total of zero records.  I have listened to local, regional, and national bands who I have loved, and some that I have not.  I have kept my mouth shut for one reason.  I don’t want to be fake.  I knew that if I only reviewed albums that I liked, it would seem that I was just promoting my own type of music, and if I gave a bad review of a hard working band, who put their hearts and souls into a project I would feel terrible.

It’s time to change gears on this site and frankly, I need your help.  I WANT MUSIC!  I want to hear what you’re putting out, and I have a handful of people willing to help me out to listen, review, and start a dialogue about what it being put out there.  We’re not going to like everything we hear and that’s okay.  We want to be real, and I’m sure you do too.

So, here’s what I propose.  Send your press kits to review@northjerseymusic.com, and we’ll take a listen.  We won’t slam you.  We won’t kiss your ass either.  We know what it takes to do what you do, and we appreciate everything you put into it.  If, for some reason, you send us something terrible….we’ll let you know privately and we’ll leave it at that.  No secrets, no lies, just the truth.

So, there it is.  We’re now reviewing music and I really look forward to hearing what you’ve got going on.

Rock On!
Jon Berry

 

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Its All About The Music – 2nd installment http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/its-all-about-the-music-%e2%80%93-2nd-installment http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/its-all-about-the-music-%e2%80%93-2nd-installment#respond Fri, 19 Mar 2010 21:30:10 +0000 http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=118 V-Exchange-250x333
Add to the list… Here are some ideas on how to choose.
1-Impact/Impression Left
2-Memorable/Singable
3-Originality
4-Feel
5-Technique
6-Emotion
7-Diversity
8-Tone
9-Melodic content
I’m sure I can come up with another 20 aspects of what makes a good/great solo but that’s enough. Perhaps when all is said and done people will be introduced to new music!!!
Just HAVE FUN!!!!
01 – Crazy Train – Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Oz)
02 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Jeff Healey (The Jeff Healey Band – Hell To Pay)
03 – Ice Cream Man – Edward Van Halen (Van Halen – Van Halen)
04 – Rood Mood – Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV – MTV Unplugged on 12 string = SICK)
05 – Whispering – Les Paul (Les Paul & Mary Frod- The Hit Makers!/Time To Dream (1950)
06 – Lights – Neil Schon (Journey – Infinity)
07 – The Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix (Gypsy Sun and Rainbows – Live At Woodstock)
08 – Highway Star – Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple Machine Head)
09 – Love Power From The Mama Head – George Lynch (George Lynch – Sacred Groove)
10 – Lime Light – Alex Lifeson (Rush – Moving Pictures)
11 – Jessica – Dickey Betts (The Allman Brothers – Brothers & Sisters)
12 – Political Rain – Larry Mitchell (Larry Mitchell – Temptation)
13 – Surfing With The Alien – Joe Satriani (Joe Satriani – Surfing With The Alien)
14 – Synchronicity II – Andy Summers (The Police – Synchronicity)
15 – Big Block – Jeff Beck (Jeff Beck – Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop)
16 – Beat It – Steve Vai & Andy Timmons (Live At Meinl Festival & Van Halen the original cut)
17 – For Those About To Rock – Angus Young (AC/DC – For Those About To Rock)
18 – Time Warp – Brad Paisley (Brad Paisley – Time Well Wasted)
19 – Under A Glass Moon – John Petrucci (Dream Theater – Images & Words)
20 – Cowboys From Hell – Dimebag Darrell (Pantera – Cowboys From Hell)
21 – I’m A Believer – Dan Huff (Giant – Last Of The Runaways)
22 – Promises In The Dark – Neil Geraldo (Pat Benatar – Precious Time)
23 – Blues Medley – Prince (Prince – Rave un2 The Year 2000 Live)
24 – The Messiah Will Come Again – Gary Moore (Gary Moore – After The War)
25 – Just The Beginning – Kee Marcello (Europe – Out Of This World)

Hey Everyone! Here are 25 of my favorite guitar solos.

This was extremely hard to do since I like so many different types of music and have over 19,000 tunes in my iTunes Library! The way I’ve picked these were based on things other than flash. I believe a great guitar solo is one that combines many aspects. As many feel speed and flash are most important… I think its a few of the ingredients and are not high on the list or even necessary.

There really is no BEST guitarist (MY OPINION) since playing guitar or any instrument is like a fingerprint, DNA or cooking… no two are alike and what tastes good to you may be disgusting for someone else!

Add to the list… Here are some ideas on how to choose.

1 – Impact/Impression Left
2 – Memorable/Singable
3 – Originality
4 – Feel
5 – Technique
6 – Emotion
7 – Diversity
8 – Tone
9 – Melodic content

I’m sure I can come up with another 20 aspects of what makes a good/great solo but that’s enough. Perhaps when all is said and done people will be introduced to new music!!!

Just HAVE FUN!!!!

01 – Crazy Train – Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard Of Oz)

02 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Jeff Healey (The Jeff Healey Band – Hell To Pay)

03 – Ice Cream Man – Edward Van Halen (Van Halen – Van Halen)

04 – Rood Mood – Stevie Ray Vaughan (SRV – MTV Unplugged on 12 string = SICK)

05 – Whispering – Les Paul (Les Paul & Mary Frod- The Hit Makers!/Time To Dream (1950)

06 – Lights – Neil Schon (Journey – Infinity)

07 – The Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix (Gypsy Sun and Rainbows – Live At Woodstock)

08 – Highway Star – Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple Machine Head)

09 – Love Power From The Mama Head – George Lynch (George Lynch – Sacred Groove)

10 – Lime Light – Alex Lifeson (Rush – Moving Pictures)

11 – Jessica – Dickey Betts (The Allman Brothers – Brothers & Sisters)

12 – Political Rain – Larry Mitchell (Larry Mitchell – Temptation)

13 – Surfing With The Alien – Joe Satriani (Joe Satriani – Surfing With The Alien)

14 – Synchronicity II – Andy Summers (The Police – Synchronicity)

15 – Big Block – Jeff Beck (Jeff Beck – Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop)

16 – Beat It – Steve Vai & Andy Timmons (Live At Meinl Festival & Van Halen the original cut)

17 – For Those About To Rock – Angus Young (AC/DC – For Those About To Rock)

18 – Time Warp – Brad Paisley (Brad Paisley – Time Well Wasted)

19 – Under A Glass Moon – John Petrucci (Dream Theater – Images & Words)

20 – Cowboys From Hell – Dimebag Darrell (Pantera – Cowboys From Hell)

21 – I’m A Believer – Dan Huff (Giant – Last Of The Runaways)

22 – Promises In The Dark – Neil Geraldo (Pat Benatar – Precious Time)

23 – Blues Medley – Prince (Prince – Rave un2 The Year 2000 Live)

24 – The Messiah Will Come Again – Gary Moore (Gary Moore – After The War)

25 – Just The Beginning – Kee Marcello (Europe – Out Of This World)

Be well and keep the music flowing!

~ V ~

Vince Genella is a musician based in Northern NJ with a 24+ year career playing guitar, teaching, recording & producing. For more info about Vince please visit www.VinceGenella.net.

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Its All About The Music – 1st installment http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/its-all-about-the-music http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/its-all-about-the-music#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2010 03:22:54 +0000 http://northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=77 V-Exchange-250x333Hey World! Vince Genella here. Since I’m going to be frequently writing here at NorthJerseyMusic.com I wanted to take this time introduce myself. In this column I will be sharing all kinds of stories from my now 32yrs of playing guitar. I’ll cover everything from gigs, lessons, gear, studio work, retail, traveling with an instrument and more! I’ll even try to answer email questions in a topic.

So a bit about myself? I started playing guitar in 1978… 32yrs ago! Yiiks!!!! Thats a long time ago! I remember at first I had mixed feelings about playing an instrument… It looked like fun, sounded great, made some really cool sounds & noises but it wasn’t easy… you had to practice! My dad also insisted I learn properly and take lessons from a pro so off I went to guitar lessons. Practice at first was horrible! It hurt my fingers!!!! And 10 minutes felt like 10 hours!!!! But looking back now I wish I had practiced more! Even when I got to the point of practicing 8-10hrs a day that didn’t feel like enough! Thats when I knew I was in for the long haul. I truly loved it!

So now this installment has turned into “The Importance Of Practice”

Now as a teacher I hear a lot of the same things I went through as a beginning student. The frustration involved with practice along with my parents frustration to get me to practice! I hear from students that  practice is boring or it hurts their fingers (usually due to a poorly set up instrument purchased at a non-music store such as Target = story for another time). All this can change with regular practice and it doesn’t have to be for hours on end! Just a few minutes a day!

After a while I began to enjoy practice because I stuck with it long enough to get passed the boring, tedious,  and slightly painful elements. Painful for both my fingers and those who had to listen! The hard part is to get past the fundamentals necessary to actually make music!

Once I started to play songs and riffs that I enjoyed and most importantly people recognized, all the hard work was worth every minute! It got to a point when I didn’t even count the hours… they just flew by! I took my guitar everywhere! Vacation, friends houses, visits to relatives… not because I wanted to play for them but because I wanted to take advantage of every minute I had to play. Oddly enough I was very shy and didn’t like to play in front of others. But that too got easier with time.

I got into a band and we played at the drummers house and invited friends. Then private parties and school dances. That wasn’t so hard since most of the people there were people we knew from school. So when your friends tell you your good thats great, but they’re your friends and sometimes you can’t really gauge where you’re at since they know you. I also got to play at some of my cousins weddings and that was a bit scary since there was a whole new family & set of friends that I never met before that day! The real test is when you play in front of complete strangers!

I remember my first time playing in a bar situation and it was very different! I knew two people! A friend invited me to go play an open mic night at bar in Hackensack called The Foxes Lair. Since I wasn’t old enough to get in my dad came with me and assured the bar owner I wouldn’t drink and he would stay to chaperone. I think I was 15, 16 or 17 at best. So I sat in and we did some blues tune I never heard and I was unsure of what to do so I just played what I practiced at home and when I finished the place went nuts! That was the best feeling ever!!! Knowing that complete strangers thought I was good and that confirmed that every minute of practice was well worth it. They asked me to stay up and do some more tunes and I figured I winged that one so I’ll stay up until they kick me off!

So whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player regular practice is the only way to accomplish any of your goals. Get a great teacher, investigate different styles of music on your own (even if you have a teacher) and always set reasonable goals. Complete them and set new ones. Even if its for your own enjoyment. And thats really the key! ENJOYMENT! To get to a point where its enjoyable, fun and rewarding! Even if you’re jammin’ to your favorite CD in your room!

Be well and keep the music flowing!

~ V ~

Vince Genella is a musician based in Northern NJ with a 24+ year career playing guitar, teaching, recording & producing. For more info about Vince please visit www.VinceGenella.net.


Hey World! Vince Genella here. Since I’m going to be frequently writing here at NorthJerseyMusic.com I wanted to take this time introduce myself. In this column I will be sharing all kinds of stories from my now 32yrs of playing guitar. I’ll cover everything from gigs, lessons, gear, studio work, retail, traveling with an instrument and more! I’ll even try to answer email questions in a topic.
So a bit about myself? I started playing guitar in 1978… 32yrs ago! Yiiks!!!! Thats a long time ago! I remember at first I had mixed feelings about playing an instrument… It looked like fun, sounded great, made some really cool sounds & noises but it wasn’t easy… you had to practice! My dad also insisted I learn properly and take lessons from a pro so off I went to guitar lessons. Practice at first was horrible! It hurt my fingers!!!! And 10 minutes felt like 10 hours!!!! But looking back now I wish I had practiced more! Even when I got to the point of practicing 8-10hrs a day that didn’t feel like enough! Thats when I knew I was in for the long haul. I truly loved it!
So now this installment has turned into “The Importance Of Practice”
Now as a teacher I hear a lot of the same things I went through as a beginning student. The frustration involved with practice along with my parents frustration to get me to practice! I hear from students that  practice is boring or it hurts their fingers (usually due to a poorly set up instrument purchased at a non-music store such as Target = story for another time). All this can change with regular practice and it doesn’t have to be for hours on end! Just a few minutes a day!
After a while I began to enjoy practice because I stuck with it long enough to get passed the boring, tedious,  and slightly painful elements. Painful for both my fingers and those who had to listen! The hard part is to get past the fundamentals necessary to actually make music!
Once I started to play songs and riffs that I enjoyed and most importantly people recognized, all the hard work was worth every minute! It got to a point when I didn’t even count the hours… they just flew by! I took my guitar everywhere! Vacation, friends houses, visits to relatives… not because I wanted to play for them but because I wanted to take advantage of every minute I had to play. Oddly enough I was very shy and didn’t like to play in front of others. But that too got easier with time.
I got into a band and we played at the drummers house and invited friends. Then private parties and school dances. That wasn’t so hard since most of the people there were people we knew from school. So when your friends tell you your good thats great, but they’re your friends and sometimes you can’t really gauge where you’re at since they know you. I also got to play at some of my cousins weddings and that was a bit scary since there was a whole new family & set of friends that I never met before that day! The real test is when you play in front of complete strangers!
I remember my first time playing in a bar situation and it was very different! I knew two people! A friend invited me to go play an open mic night at bar in Hackensack called The Foxes Lair. Since I wasn’t old enough to get in my dad came with me and assured the bar owner I wouldn’t drink and he would stay to chaperone. I think I was 15, 16 or 17 at best. So I sat in and we did some blues tune I never heard and I was unsure of what to do so I just played what I practiced at home and when I finished the place went nuts! That was the best feeling ever!!! Knowing that complete strangers thought I was good and that confirmed that every minute of practice was well worth it. They asked me to stay up and do some more tunes and I figured I winged that one so I’ll stay up until they kick me off!
So whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player regular practice is the only way to accomplish any of your goals. Get a great teacher, investigate different styles of music on your own (even if you have a teacher) and always set reasonable goals. Complete them and set new ones. Even if its for your own enjoyment. And thats really the key! ENJOYMENT! To get to a point where its enjoyable, fun and rewarding! Even if you’re jammin’ to your favorite CD in your room!
Be well and keep the music flowing!
~ V ~
Vince Genella is a musician based in Northern NJ with a 24+ year career playing guitar, teaching, recording & producing. For more info about Vince please visit www.VinceGenella.ne
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Jam for Janice – Benefit and Music Festival http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/jam-for-janice-benefit-and-music-festival http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/jam-for-janice-benefit-and-music-festival#comments Thu, 10 Sep 2009 16:38:25 +0000 http://northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=22 jam_for_janice-2

This is the first anual “Jam for Janice” benefit and music festival featuring 10 bands and 8 hours of music!

Sunday September 27th, 2009

11am-7pm @ Lurker Park Field, East Hanover, NJ

Ticket prices are $15 advanced / $25 at the door, so don’t miss this chance to save!
Enter the code NORTHJERSEYMUSIC to save an additional 15% !!

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS GREAT CAUSE TO FIGHT THIS HORRIBLE DISEASE!

Visit http://www.jamforjanice.com/ now to buy tickets!

BAND LINEUP:

Split Point 11:00a.m. – 11:30a.m. – www.myspace.com/splitpointmusic
Xeromore 11:45a.m. – 12:15p.m. – www.xeromore.com
Fuel Daddy 12:30p.m. – 1:15p.m. – www.fueldadz.com
Mean Venus 1:30p.m. – 2:15p.m. – www.myspace.com/wwwmeanvenuscom
Seventh Story 2:30p.m. – 3:10p.m. – www.myspace.com/seventhstoryrocks
Our Black Friday 3:30p.m. – 4:20p.m. – www.myspace.com/ourblackfriday
Christine Martucci 4:30p.m. – 5:00p.m. – www.myspace.com/christinemartucci
Adrenalize 5:15p.m. – 6:15p.m. – www.myspace.com/adrenalizerocks
Black Dog 6:30p.m. – 7:30 – www.myspace.com/blackdogzeppelin

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS GREAT CAUSE TO FIGHT THIS HORRIBLE DISEASE !!

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Mark Karan of Jemimah Puddleduck (part 2) http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/mark-karan-of-jemimah-puddleduck-part2 http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/mark-karan-of-jemimah-puddleduck-part2#respond Wed, 09 Sep 2009 22:55:22 +0000 http://northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=10

Mark Karan of Jemimah Puddleduck by Robin Tamburr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are Mark Karan and Jemimah Puddleduck?

Interview by Robin Tamburr … Part 2 of 2

RT: I’d like to ask you some questions about your experience with songwriting. How involved are you with writing music and lyrics?

MK: Hmmmm… good question. I have at various times been extremely prolific, but recently Ratdog has been so much of my focus that I haven’t written much. It’s really hard to engage Bob in a partnered writing effort and nearly impossible to encourage him to finish anything… and, since I don’t sing in Ratdog and usually write best for myself, I haven’t really written much of anything since I’ve been Bob’s guitarist.

RT: Well your originals rock (imho). Tell us about your songwriting process. As you start out writing, what is your goal?

MK: I don’t know that I have a conscious goal as much as a desire to get out of my own way and allow something to come THRU me. If I have a “goal” chances are I’m too attached to my preconceived notions to allow much inspiration to come thru…

RT: So something inspires it… or does it just happen naturally?

MK: It happens both ways… but usually SOMETHING triggers it… a lyric phrase idea, a melodic phrase, a chord progression that I stumble onto…

RT: Do you find as you write more songs that it comes more naturally… that you get in a zone?

MK: Definitely. That’s exactly why I haven’t written much, because I haven’t been writing much (confused yet?).

RT: Not at all~LOL! As an artist, (formerly at the moment) I can totally relate to what you are saying. Do you have any favorite songwriting memories?

MK: My favorite songwriting era was when I was living in L.A. and the folks at “Studio 56” dug what I was up to enuff that they kept me on salary for about three years as a writer/producer. I wrote a LOT of toons during that era and was really encouraged to blossom. Sometimes people don’t seem to want people to be the most they can be… It’s nice when people show support for your art and individuality.

RT: Referring back to your bio again, one thing that is not covered is that you are a producer too. How did you get involved with that?

MK: I’ve always loved records, arrangement, recording, “sounds”… and that’s pretty much what production’s all about. I’ve produced a lot of song demos and a few independent records (Janet Robin, G-13).

RT: What’s going on with your roll as a producer these days?

MK: Right now I’m mostly concentrating on getting to work producing Jemimah Puddleduck and/or “Mark Karan” but am always looking for interesting people to get creative with…

RT: Are you working on a JP studio recording?

MK: Yes. We’ve had some tracks “in the can” for about two years! It’s just hard to get us all together between Phil/Fogerty for Molo, Brucie for JT and of course my own busy Ratdog schedule…

RT: Can any new originals be expected?

MK: Absolutely… both my own, some group efforts and a few more originals to the public by writer friends of mine… along lines of “Memphis Radio” and “Annie Don’t Lie”.

RT: Excellent. OK so when you’re working on new material, how do you work things out? Are you all in the studio together, working w/Pro Tools, both?

MK: Working in pro-tools doesn’t mean we’re not all in the studio. It’s just today’s alternative to tape… but to answer the question- both together AND separate seems to be the deal. Sometimes it’s best to improv and react to each other, sometimes it’s about exploring and refining some of that material in a more single minded fashion.

RT: What do you consider an invaluable tool in the studio these days?

MK: Ears and imagination. The rest of it are just the means to actuate those things…

RT: Shifting a bit to your live gigs. Have you ever gone out there and just choked? What happened and how’d you work through it?

MK: Yipes! I just sorta did that with Ratdog. We went to play “St. Stephen” in Central Park and I just had a total brain-fart on the intro figure. I know it deep in my subconscious as I’ve heard it since I was like- twelve… and I just choked… and once I screwed it up I never caught it. Totally embarrassing… but you HAVE to just instantly get over it and be in whatever moment is NOW cause that one’s already passed. So, that’s it… learn to let it go. We all screw up. It’s human. It’s ok.

RT: Do you have any rituals or routines you have while on tour?

MK: Finding the nearest Starbucks and the nearest CD store… looking for Indian or Thai food (especially in areas where that food is not as common as in the SF area)

RT: Who are some of your favorite musicians that you’ve played with over the years and why?

MK: Wow… you do realize this is one of those questions where if you leave someone out… ahem! I mean, I’ve been really lucky to have been able to play w/several of my actual heroes… Delaney Bramlett, Bobby, Phil and the Boys… Paul Carrack was always one of my fave singers… say what you will, I was a Rembrandts fan long before I got the gig…and yes, they had a lot going on before and besides the “friends” theme.

RT: What’s your favorite venue that you ever played… why?

MK: I think it’d be the “Great American Music Hall” in SF. It has so much great musical history and is such a beautiful, classy place too… other than there, it’s likely either the “Fillmore” because of it’s significance in my own young musical life or “Sweetwater” because I learned and played a LOT of music there. It’s a place with an amazing history of really great music… Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello, Etta James, the Radiators, and on and on…

RT: Yes, the Sweetwater is a great venue! I recently saw Mark Karen’s Buds there and you guys put on an AMAZING show, absolutely kickin (imho). That show made me wonder… You play a festival like Bonnaroo for like 150,000 and then you play in a Saloon for 150…compare the experiences for us.

MK: They’re SO different. Truthfully I don’t enjoy the “big deal” shows nearly as much. The sound is usually not great at the sheds and I’m a sound snob… and it’s hard to make a very “intimate” connection with either your fellow musicians or your audience when it gets that big. The teeny places make it hard to make a living but I love the closeness of the sound, the bodies, just the visceralness of the whole experience…

RT: I’m with ya on that. Unavoidable double edge I suppose, but you seem to be making it work for you. Delving into your personal music preferences, who/what are you influenced by now?

MK: That’s always changing. I listen to so much different stuff I can’t really put a finger on any one thing. I have around 5,000 CDs at home and I actually listen to all of them in random rotation so it might be reggae classics one day, new trendy alternative artists another, bluegrass, blues or jazz the next. It totally varies…

RT: What music or sound has caught your ear lately? What’s in the CD player/iPOD?

MK: See above. I’m an eclectic MF!

RT: LOL~ What album or artist you wouldn’t admit is in your CD player/iPOD?

MK: I dunno. I’m kinda proud that my tastes are as diverse as they are… so I admit to the Four Seasons or Tommy James being in there alongside Coltrane, the Band, Bowie, Soundgarden, Bill Monroe… to me, “good” music is “good” no matter what the style.

RT: If you had to pick one, what’s your all time favorite song?

MK: Not possible.

RT: LOL~ What is your goal as a musician?

MK: To express myself, create a space for others to connect to and find themselves in, to explore, to create joy & movement… to share the gifts that we’ve all been given among each other. I’ll offer my muse, my fellow musicians offer theirs and hopefully our audiences return that energy and we create a “thing” together that is joyous and unique.

RT: Excellent answer! Let’s talk about Jemimah Puddleduck. Who…What is Jemimah Puddleduck? I’m familiar with the children’s book by Beatrix Potter, but is there a story behind you guys choosing the name or was it one of those things in your head before the band materialized?

MK: It’s something a friend of mine thought of when we were young, but never got used. It’s kind of a grisly story but I just like the sound of the name. It’s fun to say…

RT: What brought JP together?

MK: I got asked to do an opening set for Merl Saunders in Ventura, California and I didn’t have a band… so I called my friends and we jammed and, while it was s’posed to be a one-time thang, we all dug it so much we decided we wanted to do more.

RT: In general, what can JP fans and newcomers expect to hear and see on this coming tour?

MK: Some guys playing GREAT music together, doing actual “songs” with lyrics and melodies (ingredients there are far too little of sometimes) and having actual FUN!

RT: One final question Mark. Along with music fans, there are a lot of musicians who visit this site. What tidbit can you offer to someone trying to break in to the business, whether it be playing, writing and/or producing?

MK: Do it because you LOVE it, because it’s WHO and WHAT you are. Then it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a “success”, YOU will have succeeded in doing that which you were MEANT to do.

RT: And there you have it…well said, Mark. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you all the best with the Jemimah Puddleduck east coast tour and all of your other musical ventures. Thanks for continually rocking the house with what ever band you happen to be playing with!!!

Mark and Jemimah Puddleduck will be on the east coast soon! Shows are scheduled from October 14-22, in MD, NJ, NY, and PA. The final shows are at the Fireside in Denville, on October 21 and 22, with the John Ginty Band opening (www.johnginty.net). Tickets are on sale now!

If you miss JP you can always catch Mark with Bobby Weir’s Ratdog (www.rat-dog.com) coming back east in November.

For more info about Mark, the JP tour/ticket information and purchasing CDs go to www.markkaran.com

Photos provided courtesy of Alan Hess / Shot Live Photo www.shotlivephoto.com

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Mark Karan of Jemimah Puddleduck (part 1) http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/mark-karan-of-jemimah-puddleduck-part1 http://www.northjerseymusic.com/blog/mark-karan-of-jemimah-puddleduck-part1#respond Wed, 09 Sep 2009 22:15:12 +0000 http://northjerseymusic.com/blog/?p=4


Mark Karan of Jemimah Puddleduck by Robin Tamburr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are Mark Karan and Jemimah Puddleduck?

Interview by Robin Tamburr … Part 1 of 2

Mark Karan plays lead guitar with Bob Weir’s RatDog, in his down time he plays with his own band Jemimah Puddleduck with John Molo (TOO, Phil Lesh & Friends, Fogerty) on drums, John “JT” Thomas (Bruce Hornsby) on keys and Bob Gross (Albert King, Delaney Bramlett) on bass. Mark brings his blues-based vocals and inspired guitar work to Jemimah Puddleduck, a band who delivers a soulful mix of rock and R&B, with a taste of folk, blues, reggae, jazz.

Over the years, Mark has worked with Dave Mason, Paul Carrack, Delaney Bramlett, the Rembrandts, Huey Lewis, Jesse Colin Young, Sheena Easton, Alex Call and Sophie B. Hawkins among others. Since 1998, Mark has toured with members of the Grateful Dead, including The Other Ones and Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum and Bobby Weir’s Ratdog. He also plays from time to time with Mark Karans Buds.

I had the opportunity to interview Mark so we can learn more about him, his music and Jemimah Puddleduck before they head out on their first east coast tour. I’d like to start by thanking Mark for doing this interview on his day(s) off from playing with Ratdog and to also give huge thanks to his staff for making it happen…

RT: Mark, you sound like you’ve been a pretty busy guy over the years. How did this all start for you? When were you drawn to music and playing?

MK: Oh, since I was a kid. I picked a guitar at around 9 years old… “Where have all the flowers gone”, “If I hadda hammer” etc… then the Beatles happened and I was hooked.

RT: You have a great bluesy voice. Have you always been a singer?

MK: Yes and no… I’ve been singing since I was a kid. I was in the San Francisco Boys Chorus… we even did opera and some shows with the Vienna Boys Choir! And I sang a lot in my youthful bands… but in my early 20’s I started getting a lot of work as a sideman type guitarist and there was less “need” for my vocal skills… LOL! Then when I moved to L.A. I started getting a lot of session work as a singer and was staff writer and producer… so here I am playing with a guy who’s best known for singing/writing & rhythm guitar… so in Ratdog I stick pretty much to guitar and in Jemimah Puddleduck I get to stretch as a writer and singer as well as indulging my muse on guitar.

RT: In the beginning, who/what were your strongest musical influences?

MK: Beatles without doubt… then I guess the Dead, Ray Charles, early-ish blooze- BB King, Albert, etc… Hendrix, Cream, Allmans. I’m 50, so I was a kid during all the “classic rock” thang. Between that, being nine when the Beatles happened and my Mom & Dad being Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and be-bop folks I had a pretty good “leg-up” in the influences department.

RT: So were you encouraged to pursue music as a profession or did your parents have something else in mind for you?

MK: Mom was pretty supportive of music, although I think my taking it as my “living” scared her… and she was right! The music BIZ ain’t for the faint of heart… LOL! It’s tough to make ends meet out there… but you gotta be what you are… period.

RT: You play so many diverse styles of music, what is the evolution of your musical education?

MK: Well, I took a few lessons as a kid but mostly my education is the result of a LOT of listening, copping stuff off records, playing with a lot of different people in a lot of different styles so I got exposed from actual “trial by fire” participation in funk, harder rock, country rock, blues, ol’ school R&B, country, oddball pop, some mainstream pop… and now, hopefully I’m able to draw from all those different experiences as my “musical education”.

RT: Do you know what you are doing in regard to theory?

MK: To a point. I certainly understand the basics and some more advanced stuff… but I tend to try to forget all of it when I’m actually playing. I don’t want to think. I want to intuit… so I risk getting lost and hitting wrong notes by just following my ears and fingers a lot of the time… but I’d rather make a few mistakes and be genuine than be calculating everything I’m doing…

RT: Sounds like it’s working to me. Do you play any other instruments?

MK: Some piano but just enough to sorta sound things out and write. I enjoy writing on piano because it forces me to do things I wouldn’t naturally gravitate towards on guitar… because my familiarity with guitar tends to make me go for “what I know”.

RT: What are your limitations or should I say, what are you refining in yourself as a musician?

MK: I’ve been working on finger picking… a skill that’s thus far eluded me… LOL. I have also been listening to a lot of old Caribbean melodies and trying to expand what I do in a “one chord” jam. I tend to get bored without chord changes and a melodic basis for a “jam”.

RT: Looking forward to hearing that develop. Your bio contains an impressive body of work. In the beginning, what kind of jobs did you have before music became a full time gig?

MK: I’ve pretty much always starved for my art… LOL. I had a job as a seafood cook when I was 19. I worked as a custodial worker (janitor!) at an ol’ folks home, cut some wood for a minute… but mostly I, frankly, played a fair amount of music that wouldn’t have been my first choice, because it was a paying job PLAYING! And a lot of that is what helped make me more well-rounded than if I’d only followed my own interests.

RT: So what would you consider your first real break into the industry?

MK: Hmmm… the other ones in 1998 was a HUGE change for me… before that I’d done some cool stuff but it was here and there with a lot of time in between doing demo sessions, blues gigs around town, etc, etc… I did tour with Paul Carrack in 1988 and that was my first “real” tour. Before that I, believe it or not, did some funny stuff like lip-sync appearances on Solid Gold & Soul Train with Sheena Easton!

RT: LOL~ My next question was going to be… Soul Train?  : )  What’s that about?

MK: See above… LOL!

RT: You’ve played with and met many accomplished musicians over the years. Was there ever an instance when you were star struck?

MK: I’ve been intimidated sometimes by celebrity but it usually depends on the other artist’s attitude too. If someone’s open to being “real” I’m usually pretty comfortable. If they act all “star-time” then I usually can’t be bothered playing that game. Music isn’t sports. It shouldn’t be competitive. I hope to always come to any meeting with other musicians with a good attitude and a genuine desire to share something cool.

RT: That’s a great attitude and sheds light on why you’ve had success with such a variety of musicians. Was there anyone that really changed the way you looked at music, or your approach to music?

MK: Hooking up with Bobby and the Boys in ’98 was a blessing musically, in that it re-kindled a desire to do music for music’s sake and not to be so record deal/career focused… so in that sense, the GD boys… Other than that, no… there’ve been too many different people and situations that helped shape me to single any one person out… maybe Sarah Baker. When I was pretty young I was her lead guitarist and she showed me a lot about being an artist and being true to that and to your song/muse… playing to that stuff, not to the ego gratification side of the fence.

RT: Switching to your gear for a moment. I see that you’ve collected a few guitars over the years! Do you have any special stories about any of them?

MK: Not sure what would make a special story… I found my Fender 1951 Nocaster in Seattle with my wife. We went “browsing” at a vintage guitar shop (Emerald Guitars) and I saw this guitar. I wasn’t gonna buy anything but I picked it up and strummed one chord. Maile, my wife looked up from across the room and the look on her face said it all… HADDA have it!

RT: That’s great…I’d call that a special story!

MK: Other than that I don’t know that the acquisitions have been nearly as interesting as what they’ve been thru since they’ve with me…

RT: Hmmm… we’ll have to get back to that at another time ~LOL. What’s your gem?

MK: Can’t really choose just one. Maybe for GD stuff it’d be my “Strat”… but, along with the “Strat”, the “Nocaster”, the “SG”, the “Goldtop” and the “Gretsch” are my top five definitely.

RT: And what’ll you have out on the road with you?

MK: See above and add my Santa Cruz “Tony Rice Professional” acoustic.

RT: What other gear are you using these days?

MK: Got a few hours? LOL… that’s one of my favorite subjects. I’m afraid I’d likely bore your readers with too much detail. I have been using “Two-Rock” amps for a while now and recently started using an amp by a new company called “65 Corp”. I love toys… pedals… ways to give the guitar different textures, but without removing the actual “voice” of the guitar itself… I use hemp “Tone Tubby” speakers… I recently discovered some GREAT attenuators that allow me to maintain the “sweet spot” on my amps at any volume… lovin’ that.

RT: Cool! I’d like to ask you some questions about your experience with songwriting. How involved are you with writing music and lyrics?

MK: …to be continued.

I asked a lot of questions and Mark was kind enough to answer them all! Please stay tuned for part 2, to be posted in about a week.

Mark just finished up an east coast tour with Bobby Weir’s Ratdog and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, followed by “Comes A Time” – A Musical Tribute to Jerry Garcia at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Ca. He’ll be back east October 14-22, with Jemimah Puddleduck to rock us again with an intimate tour of clubs in MD, NJ, NY, and PA. The final shows are slated for Jersey’s own Fireside in Denville, on October 21 and 22, with the John Ginty Band (www.johnginty.net) as the opener. Tickets for all shows are on sale now!

For more info about Mark, the JP tour/ticket information and purchasing CDs go to www.markkaran.com

Photos provided courtesy of Alan Hess / Shot Live Photo www.shotlivephoto.com

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