The March Divide – Anticipation Pop (Q&A)

Baby Sue writes: ‘Yet another album from The March Divide featuring cool, smart, credible pop. Jared Putnam‘s the main man in this band, and he never lets his listeners down. This talented fellow’s music just keeps getting better. Anticipation Pops is one solid spin. The album features ten smart guitar-driven pop tracks with a heavy emphasis on vocal melodies and lyrics. Over time, most artists tend to begin overproducing their music which in many ways detracts from their original sound. Putnam avoids this trap, opting instead to present his songs using only the basics. The stripped down approach works when there’s substance present. And you’ll hear plenty of substance here. The chord progressions are interesting and unpredictable. The arrangements for each track are precise and exacting. And once again the vocals are just perfect. Pops is yet another exceedingly entertaining spin. Cool reflective cuts include “I Don’t Care,” “Spinning,” “The One On,” and “Lucky.” Top pick.’. 










Sweet Sweet Music talked to Jared.


For every song you record, how many end up in the bin? 


I actually keep every song I record. The songs I don’t like, I typically give up on, long before I get to the recording phase. Recording is just too much work, to force a song you don’t like.


With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


I really try to get better, with every song. I’m not sure how much better I’m getting, but I’m always trying new ideas & directions, to hopefully improve on where I am.


As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?


It’s not at all comfortable, a lot of the time. But that being said, it’s usually very therapeutic, the more uncomfortable the topic.



What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?


Around twenty years ago, my band at the time opened for Modern English. It was the first really big show I had ever played. We were well rehearsed & did really well.  I’m never going to forget that feeling.


When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?


While I have yet to write a huge hit, I usually get the feeling that I have, ever so often… Most recently, when I wrote “I Don’t Care” for the new album ‘Anticipation Pops.’ I’m still very proud of that song, more than anything because I feel like it fits the mold of a perfect pop song. Short, sweet, & to the point. I have songs that I’ve written that I like more than that one, but for whatever reason, that song makes me feel very accomplished. I’m still chasing that big hit, though.




Crocodiles – Love Is Here (Q&A)

‘Wait Until Tomorrow’ is one of the big songs of the year so far. Post Punkers, Garage Rockers, and Power Pop lovers, Crocodiles just released ‘Love Is Here’.

… And this one has a particularly nice blend of sweet and noisy.




Brandon Welchez & Charles Rowell talk.







For every song you record, how many end up in the bin? 


I don’t usually finish a song if it’s not sounding like it’s going to be a good one. I guess for every idea that ends up becoming a good song I probably abandon five ideas.


With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


Yes, definitely. I think it’s important to never think you’ve “figured it out” or else you won’t continue to grow. I think it’s good to collaborate with other writers as well because everyone has a different perspective and process and it also helps you grow to see you this.


Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller?


If I had any ideas about that I wouldn’t be so fucking poor haha! Really I think it’s just luck and being part of the zeitgeist. It doesn’t do an artist any favors to worry about becoming rich or famous; just do your best work and be true to yourself because there is really no control over what happens.



Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Definitely. This new album took us a year to get out. We could probably do two albums a year if we had the financial backing to make it happen.



Which 5 records, that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?


I don’t know if you mean our time like 2019 or like the past one hundred years so I’ll just answer by telling you five power pop records I love since this is a power pop blog:


Howard Werth – Obsolete

NRBQ – Want You Bad

Incredible Kidda Band – You Belong To Me

Paul Collins Beat – Rock N Roll Girl

The Records – Starry Eyes








What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?


Hmmm. I would say that playing in Tangier Morocco was the most memorable. We had never set foot in Africa before let alone to perform. The crowd matched our enthusiasm, much to our surprise. They danced and even made a conga line. Some of them were wearing traditional head scarves also. It was a completely new and heartwarming experience.


When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?


Haha! There isn’t much that passes through my head besides are the lyrics good and does it flow well. I doubt that even if we had a big label and millions of fans that we would think in terms of hits. As a songwriter you are constantly chasing something deep within you; to match or beat that old familiar feeling. Perhaps it was the feeling you got when you first heard Television or The Modern Lovers. After it’s all written and organized with Brandon I always forget how the damn song was written anyways. It’s a curse. I can recall the bad ideas but not how the good ones came to be.


Which 5 records, that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?


These are some records that I feel are not celebrated as widely as they should be 🙂


  1. Grant Hart – You’re The Reflection of The Moon On The Water (single)
  2. Greg Sage – Sacrifice (for love) CD
  3. Angel City – Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (single)
  4. White Sport – Learner Dancer (single)
  5. Lou Miami – Ghosts (single)


Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


Perhaps a psychologist would suggest that artists have a fear of death or of not being remembered and that’s why we create as we do. I do enjoy making albums because I know that they will last forever. They’re a window into the thoughts, ideas, and inspirations of a specific time; a specific artist(s). These eternal messages are passed along from person to person and quickly become apart of the listener’s memories too. It’s remarkable how much music plays an overlooked influence on our lives. For Brandon and I, we can look back at almost twenty years of musical collaboration through our albums. For us, it’s an ocean of memories.


Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?


I really enjoy your questions! Under the best conditions, you can share a very cool experience with the crowd. It’s different than making an album and sitting at home listening to your studio chops on the hifi. In concert, everyone contributes. It’s a chance to create an ambiance and inject a visceral element into your songs.



The Ego Ritual (Q&A)


Enter The Ego Ritual and this 5-track eponymous EP. It has everything one might expect from psych-rock revivalist over the years. The songs here groove and rock out, with the appropriate riffs and sounds that approximate the psych-rock agenda but more importantly the songs are well-crafted in their own right and do not simply function as mere pastiches.” – Kevin Mathews/ 

“Opener ‘Chakra Maraka’, is a sonic joy ride.  The sitar-esque intro lures one in until the thundering guitars land a sucker punch… and off we go on a melodic, guitar fueled roller coaster, moving at a pace that demands you hold on for dear life.  ‘Serenade the Ley Line’ is straight up power pop through paisley glasses, bouncing along into a catchy chorus that’s easy to remember even after a single listen.  ‘Days of Set’ shares a commonality with both of the aforementioned tracks – a bit more conventional, it’s melodic and carries a similar punch.  Catchy melodies and terrific songwriting carry the day, born from a decidedly paisley perspective.  And, it’s a guitar enthusiast’s dream. They’re gorgeous throughout the entirety of the record. This EP is a great way to start off 2019.  You’ll want to start writing 1968 on all your checks…. except the one to Internal Revenue! Not a good idea.” – Rich Rossi/  GREAT!!


Lots of praise! Let’s talk to James Styring and find out more!







With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


Yes, you’re always learning, always striving for that one special song. You’ll never get there, of course, but it’s that drive that keeps you writing, keeps you pushing. I’m sure most songwriters will say their best work is yet to come.


As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?


It’s not always comfortable, but I believe the song benefits if you do. You have to be honest. Even if the lyrics don’t make immediate sense, you can feel when the writer is writing from the heart. It’s quite often the only place a songwriter does show emotion and open up. There’s a kind of safety net in a song. If you feel it, the listener will feel it. It’s a shared experience. A connection.



When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?


We don’t set out to write hits, as such. There is no blueprint, the songs just go where they need to. It’s up to the listener to decide if they enjoy and get something from them. We’re always grateful if they do, but it certainly isn’t the priority when William and myself sit down to write. And our songs can always be taken on different levels, the deeper you dig, the more you may find resonates with you. I guess our definition of a hit song would be very different from mainstream media and pop radio, though pop music and hit songs have a valid place in the scheme of things, they always have.



Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


Being creative. Your ideas finally coming to life. You work tirelessly on these things, you get to breathe life into them. It’s not always an easy journey, but you stick with it and see it through. You made something happen from nothing. Sonic magic.


You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?


I’ve always said, it’s far more important what the listener thinks than what the writer had in mind. Our songs are open to interpretation on every level, make of them what you will. When I write the lyrics, I know exactly what I’m saying, but once the songs are ‘out there’ for people to hear, it’s up to the individual. No one’s right, no one’s wrong. We do our thing, firstly for ourselves, secondly, for anyone who wants to listen. Again, it’s totally out of our hands, once the song is released. If people find we have a unique sound, or whatever it may be, then great. We don’t set out to be anyone but ourselves.


Buy it at Kool Kat Musik

David Mead – Cobra Pumps (Q&A)




Music City Mike writes: Not totally silent, David has released two records since then with Elle Macho, his rocking trio with Butterfly Boucher and Lindsay Jameison. This somewhat tongue-in-cheek,  leather-clad combo has also managed to play the occasional local gig which kept up our hopes of someday seeing another David Mead record.

The new one is entitled “Cobra Pumps.” This marks his seventh record since his solo debut in 1999 after serving time as a member of local pop band Joe Marcs Brother. 


Sweet Sweet Music talked to David about this new release.



Buy vinyl or cd


Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’?


I am very proud to tell people that I am a musician. I think of it the way that some people think of a religion. It’s a world view, it’s a daily practice, it frames the way that I think of nearly everything. Most of my mentors are musicians. Music has been in my head for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine functioning without it.



For every song you record, how many end up in the bin? 


Good question. I don’t know if anything ever completely goes unused- they usually find their place somewhere else in parts or entirety, sooner or later. For COBRA PUMPS I wrote and demoed 17 songs and put 10 on the album. That seems like a fairly consistent average.




With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


Absolutely. And occasionally I seem to get worse!


As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?


It’s ok writing and recording because I am usually working in a small environment with people I trust. Once I begin playing the songs live it is less comfortable but that makes things more exciting as well.


Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller?


No. I think of myself as a boutique shop that serves a small and loyal clientele that demands a high quality product.


When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?




You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?


I like that question. The older I get, the less interested I am in trying to influence how people hear my music at all. I am trying to make music that invites people into it so they can have their own experience with it. Neil Young said something like “Writing a good song is like building a house- You build a good house, but you shouldn’t decorate it, shouldn’t furnish it- let people come into it and do that themselves.”



Cassettes – Wild Heart (Q&A)

From the inescapable riffs of “She Gets What She Wants” to the victory lap of “Huey Lewis and the Blues” the deceptively understated rhythm section and pristine mix by Vince Ratti (Brand New, The Wonder Years, The Menzingers) make every song shine as Cassettes turn the radio dial with each track. Their relentless hooks and youthful energy are backed by a live show to match and when they take a rare moment to breathe (“Love Songs On the Radio”, “Ruin Your Night”) Cassettes prove they do 11 as well as any other number on the amplifier.








Meet Matt DiStefano.


For every song, you record, how many end up in the bin?


We have a pretty solid track record with every song that has made it to the finish line and been recorded being released into the world. We are incredibly honest with each other during the writing process and are generally able to weed anything out that we all don’t believe in 110%. With our most recent album, we even re-worked a song from the ground up during the recording process because it was stylistically a little different from the rest.





Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller?


Does Taylor Swift want to take us out on tour? Does Apple want to make a download of our new album required with any new iPhone purchase? We’re game!



What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?


We recently played a sold-out record release show for our new album, Wild Heart, that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. Being surrounded by our friends and family and playing the album front-to-back in our hometown was a great feeling. The energy of the crowd really made the songs come alive. We were fined $100 for using confetti cannons but it was well worth it.



Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


With the advances in technology recording, an album in the modern day has become easier and easier. You can record and mix an album on your phone! Even with technology, songwriting is the lynchpin of making something that stands out. Recording a GREAT album is still a challenge and we are glad we made the decision to work with Ace Enders & Nik Bruzzese at The Lumberyard Recording for this album. Technology has really leveled the playing field across the board so getting heard is somehow both easier and harder than its ever been. Getting your music out to the world can be done with a couple of clicks but making it stand out from the rest is the true challenge. Taking a creative, unorthodox approach to how you share your music is the key to reaching new listeners.


Which 5 records, that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?


I don’t think anyone will ever forget any of the following albums but I think they do a pretty good job of defining our band.

The Cars – Self Titled

Jimmy Eat World – Futures

Journey – Escape

Rick Springfield – Working Class Dog

Weezer – Weezer (The Blue Album)



Matt DiStefano: Vocals/Guitar
Jim Fox: Guitar
Chris Hill: Keys/Vocals
Joe Robinson: Bass
Sean Ward: Drums

Peter Holsapple – Game Day (Q&A)

‘“Game Day” is the epitome of a “solo” effort. Peter not only sings and plays “99 44/100%” of the notes on this record, eliciting help assistance from Susan Cowsill, Webb Holsapple on trombone and Jeremy Boomhower and trumpet and trombone, he also produced the record himself.,

                More than 45 years since he popped up on the musical landscape with Rittenhouse Square, Peter Holsapple’s music still manages to surprise, delight and resonate. He manages the neat trick of wrapping everyday concerns, joys and disappointments in gorgeous and indelible melodies.’ writes Coachella Valley Weekly.


Sweet Sweet Music talked to Peter about Game Day and about a whole lot more.




Buy here


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


I think that it goes without saying digital recording has made making records far more accessible to people who would have, in prior generations, either had to pony up thousands of dollars to get into a pro recording studio, or who would have been priced out. My newest record Game Day was recorded at home by myself (literally) at no cost except for having purchased a ProTools subscription. The prior record which was a 45 cost a few thousand dollars for studio and mixing time and the presence of its producers. Now there’s definitely a sonic difference between these two sessions, and you can sense that when you play Game Day and get to the two single tracks at the end. Bad? Good? Hard to say.

It also is a fact that by no longer having to go through the old process of demo submission/A&R evaluation/getting signed/preproduction/recording with engineering staff/mixing/ mastering at a lab, it has allowed probably thousands more inspired amateurs to put out their own music on their own. Which means there are lots more people vying for ‘the brass ring’ on the carousel, and which also means that some of the elements that make a better sounding product are no longer in play. So you have more music available, but the question would be: is it all good music? Is there more sub-par stuff out there? Are people self-editing, or are they releasing whatever they damned well please? Would the music have been better served had the artist gone through the old process? Would it have even seen the light of day? And then also, does that even matter anymore? Do we mix for sub-fidelity mp3s played over computer speakers? Questions questions questions….

My record Game Day came out on a label (Omnivore Recordings) which meant that I didn’t have to pursue distribution and pressing and publicity on my own. Did it get heard? That’s really hard to say. It’s not like an Ariana Grande or Florida Georgia Line record that has umpteen gazillion dollars in promotion behind it. And the number of radio stations that would play it are few and far between. So, in the words of my friend Dave Catching from Eagles of Death Metal, “don’t think of it as failure, think of it as ‘limited success’” which has been my credo for decades now.




Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?


You caught me at a good moment, having had a fantastic show with the Peter Holsapple Combo in Wake Forest NC last night. It was a receptive, listening crowd first of all; in recent years, I’ve tried to focus on getting lyrics across, and that happened last night, despite any ‘rock volume’ we might have applied beneath it. The band was spot-on, and any mistakes any of us may have made were recovered from quickly and seamlessly. I sang in tune, always a deciding factor. And I played some of the best lead guitar I’ve ever tried. So there are so many factors, enjoyment on the part of the performer being among the top priorities. It also doesn’t hurt to have some old treasured friends come gush about the show after it’s finished!


Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’?

Having had a several-year period when I left playing music full-time and worked at an administrative job at a Broadway theater, I feel fully proud to answer that these days, especially with my new-found energy and excitement about my record and new band. I remember when I started putting that as my job on my federal income tax forms and feeling like I was absolutely telling the truth.


With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


I sure hope so. I’ve been writing songs in earnest since I was around 11, which is over fifty years ago. I’d like to believe that I have more songs in me. Every song is not going to be a great one, or, heaven help us, a ‘hit.’ But the muse hasn’t departed and I have new ideas every day. That aforementioned ProTools rig has been a godsend for taking an idea and fleshing it out. I just purchased a loop pedal (I’m so cutting edge…) and am trying to use that as a songwriting device, which has led to some very interesting new results. My son bought me Tunesmith by Jimmy Webb, and I plan to devour that soon and try to pick up some of his tips too. You’re really never too old to improve what you’re doing, and I have no plans to do anything but better myself and my craft in the time I have left on the planet.

As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

Well, I think, when you sign on for this career, it comes with the territory to expose your insides. But certainly, there have been plenty of times when I was physically ill or severely depressed and had to go onstage and make a go of it. So no, it’s not always comfortable, but on the other hand, I’m not sure rock and roll if done right is supposed to be comfortable for either the performer or the audience, you know? Dangerous, threatening, energetic, persuasive, aggravating, consoling… all of that you get from a Little Richard record or a Who record or Kris Kristofferson or pretty much anyone out there. I have found that getting out there and making records and playing in front of people is cathartic and can be a great spiritual assist to any flagging emotions on my part. So there’s that payoff, too.


Meet Jonny Polonsky

UNRELEASED: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018 is the new album by renowned rock musician Jonny Polonsky. With a musical pedigree comprised of collaborations with Johnny Cash, Puscifer and Frank Black (The Pixies) among others, Polonsky has assembled a collection of songs that, for some reason or other, did not fit on their respective albums. While the collection is comprised of tracks spanning over twenty years of Polonsky’s recording career, the cohesiveness of the album should not be understated.





Meet Jonny Polonsky.



Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?


I don’t know if I can recall the exact moment music became important to me. But I very clearly remember being five years old and stealing my parents Beatles album and taking it to my room, playing it over and over again on my portable record player. It was the red album where they were looking down at the viewer. I was completely transfixed by She Loves You. I would listen to it on repeat. Please Please Me, All My Loving, so many incredible songs that moved me from that early age.


Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?


There are so many songs I wish I had written. I just listened to Velvet Goldmine by David Bowie. I love that song so much. It’s just a great melody, really interesting and strange words. I love the groove. It sounds more like a song from the Weimar Republic days than a pop song from the early ’70s (the chorus does anyway…) I also really love All Flowers in Time Bend Toward the Sun by Jeff Buckley and Elizabeth Frazer. I love the chord progression, the melody and how they weave together in such a unique and satisfying way. It’s just a beautiful song.


If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?


I would work in a really nice studio with a producer and really take a lot of time to make the record. I’ve done that for other people’s music, like with Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond or the Dixie Chicks. But I’ve never had that experience with my own music. I think it would be a cool experience. No one really does that anymore, it’s too expensive and everyone knows they’re most likely not going to make a fraction of that money back.


I don’t have a problem making a record on the cheap like I’ve been doing the last several years (using a studio just for a day or two if at all, recording mostly on my laptop and most of the money goes to the mixer). But making an old school big budget record would be cool.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Definitely. Quite literally everyone with a laptop or a smartphone can make a decent sounding recording on Garage Band. And Pro Tools is super affordable too.

Getting heard costs a lot of money for publicity, and maybe a bit of good timing.



So what about putting your ultimate band together? No restrictions. No limitations. If you want David Bowie on backing vocals and Prince on guitar, go ahead. What would the band look like? And what is the song you will start jamming on? To find out it if this really works?



Marc Bolan on vocals and guitar,  Diamanda Galas on vocals and piano, Bootsy Collins and John Entwistle on bass, Budgie on drums, Vangelis on synth, Steve Vai on guitar, Fred Schneider on Fred Schneider.



Click to listen at CDBaby

Source: ♫ Unreleashed: Demos and Rarities 1996-2018 – Jonny Polonsky. Listen @cdbaby

Meet Richie Parsons

Richie Parsons’ New Album is called “Black-Throated Blue”. It’s produced by Ken Stringfellow. It Rocks, with moments of Melancholy & Pure Power Pop!





She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?


The Outlets – Best Friend

GOD – My Pal

Modern Lovers – Girlfriend

3 Colours Red – Beautiful Day

Real Kids – Common at Noon

Richie Parsons – Mix Tape (explains all above)


The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?


When I get some reviews and airplay ….sales would be nice too.


Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?


Music was in my home from day one. My dad loved Easy Listening and had thousands of records ( I got ‘em now) 78’s Sammy Kaye, Russ Morgan, and Big Band stuff and Jackie Gleason.

My older brother ..Hendrix and Beatles etc.

The first time I saw Live music was in my neighborhood in Dorchester was the “moment”.

Frankie Blandino played outside at a neighborhood church. I remember them playing “Ohio” by CSNY, Woodstock was a year or so before, I DUG IT.


Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?


Wichita Lineman …cuz it is the best


If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?


Miss Chain and The Broken Heels and Eric Martin



Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?


Aunt Jenny, I was in a Punk Rock Band in the ’70s but I am not 18 years old anymore and I no longer have teenage worries or ignorance. I am 59 and have new worries and am a little less ignorant.

Uncle Clive, you will dig it. Kinda 60’s Pop and melancholy but with a Boston Rock background.



Painted Doll (Q&A)




PAINTED DOLL is the new band formed by heavy metal legend Chris Reifert (Autopsy, Death) and comedian/guitar shredder Dave Hill (Valley Lodge, Cobra Verde).

‘Poppy psych with a serious sixties vibe’.

Please meet Dave and Chris.




What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?


On one of those days, I weirdly had horrible allergies where I had a runny nose and was sneezing nonstop. And I was recording with our friend Tom Beaujour’s prized 1963 Gibson SG, so it was fun watching him try to conceal how horrified he was at that the whole time even though I felt really bad about it. I don’t know how he got that thing clean when I was done. It must have taken a team of specialists in a lab somewhere. Also, Chris’ mom made me cookies, which were awesome! Thank you again, Mrs. Reifert!


If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?


Chris and I would both dress in historically accurate Viking costumes and record the album live only we’d each be on a different mountain top the whole time. Also, there would be a build-your-own burrito bar and a guy who would make a fresh guacamole and stuff whenever we wanted. And every fifteen minutes or so, some smoking hot naked chick would ride by on horseback for no apparent reason whatsoever. Oh, and we’d do everything analog.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Totally. But fortunately, there are enough music freaks just like us out there willing to hunt down what they like.


The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?


The fact that we made the record is a success to me. That’s what matters to me- doing stuff. I don’t worry too much about what happens after that. Then again, if a dude in an El Camino rolled up next to me at an intersection while cranking our record and then after I look over at him, he just blew the red light and sped off down the road while giving me the finger, that would be pretty cool too. That’s the sort of scenario I like to envision when making a record.





Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?


I tell them I have a band with my friend Chris, who also plays in a death metal band called Autopsy. It takes me about 45 minutes to explain what that means. When that’s finally over, I tell them Chris and I have a band called Painted Doll where we like to write catchy rock songs to glorify our lord Satan and then sometimes we get pizza or something afterward.












What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The short answer would be jamming and recording with Dave. That would be accurate, but there’s other stuff too like the actual hanging out part, which is how this thing started to begin with. Eating lots of cheap (but good!) pizza, going to the bar down the street from the studio after recording, even though I don’t remember all of it. Haha! Little things like that. Tom Beaujour, who recorded the album was awesome to work with. He’s a great dude who knows his shit and had a ridiculous amount of cool instruments and gear at the ready. He also knows more about Cheap Trick than just about anyone else, so points for that. Overall, watching and hearing our crazy idea of a band actually come to life was pretty damn cool. Sometimes in life you find yourself in Hoboken, NJ recording the debut Painted Doll album and you think “Whoa! This totally fucking rules!”

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

For me, before we even figured out what we were going to be or sound like, I knew it would be special. We’re both pretty busy and live on opposite coasts of the country to top it off, so the fact that we decided to go for it despite those obstacles confirmed in my mind that something definitely needed to happen and that it would be awesome.

The whole inception and creative process have felt pretty fuckin’ magical to me, from the crude home demos we traded to the few rehearsals we could squeeze in, to making the album and doing the live shows. It’s all been a blast and I can’t wait to see what we end up doing this year.

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?I think we’d do it the same way. Maybe with a little more time just to not be in too much of a rush, but not too much more as that can be a trap if you’re not careful. You can overthink, get lost in gear possibilities, lose momentum, overproduce, any number of things. It’s better to go for it while the iron’s hot and see it through. As much as I hate trying to beat the clock in the studio, it also adds a healthy sense of urgency that comes through in the listening. Sometimes you can hear a record and tell the band took 700 takes or whatever to get it down JUST right and that can be a vibe killer, ya know? We wanted our album to be tight, but it also needed some rock swagger to it.

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

That’s putting it mildly. Anyone can make a record these days with all the technology and whatnot that’s available, even at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good record. Or you can make the best record in the world in the best studio in the world and it’s possible that no one will ever hear it. The biggest challenge is cutting through the glut of the monolithic everything that’s out there. It’s a big ocean of noise and with this internet thing, it can all be heard any time all the time. If I think about it too much it’ll freak me out so I just keep my brain to the grindstone and power forward with everything I got.

Every family birthday, same story. Again, you have to explain what kind of band you are in. What’s the story this time for aunt Jenny and uncle Clive?

The story goes as follows:

Aunt Jenny and Uncle Clive (somehow in unison): Sooooo, what kind of music does your band play?

Me: Well now, I just so happen to have a copy of the Painted Doll album right here on the dining table. I’m surprised you didn’t notice it sooner. Shall we have a listen? I’d love to enlighten you.

Aunt Jenny: That sounds lovely! I’m in the mood for something zippy!

Uncle Clive: Sure, let’s get nuts! And can you please pass the potatoes?

Me: Alrighty, let’s just make sure the volume is up as far as it will go and…….

(Just over 30 minutes later….)

Aunt Jenny: I need to get a clean soup bowl. It appears my face has melted off into mine.

Uncle Clive: Drools and mumbles incoherently, just like the end of every other birthday dinner.




RONNY TIBBS – Lone Fry (Q&A)

The 2019 standard for Indie Pop has been set. By Ronny Tibbs. ‘Lone Fry’ is HUGE!




Looks like you were able to turn 10 ‘good reasons’ into 10 great songs. Does that make sense?

Yeah, if by that you mean each song is really its own thing, its own entity – then yes I did. I worried a little about the continuity of using songs that spanned years of writing, and a few different genres of music. However, at the end of the day, I wanted to put my best foot forward and deliver the best possible songs that I felt I had to share – which is Lone Fry. Also, I realized that the one constant throughout all of them is in the time and space in which I recorded them. It didn’t really matter if one song was written 6 years before another, the fact that they were performed in the same month on the recording gave it the constant thread that makes up the record.




You go all over the place (please, take that as a compliment). Everything was allowed?

Nothing should be off limits. If the song has a hook, conveys a feeling, sparks something for someone, then it is fair game. The reaction so far has been really positive and I love hearing which track people enjoy the most – it says something about them to me. Picture of Us is this Midwestern country tune in some respects, and Sunlight is a total 360 – it has this sort of droning Blade Runner (original) feeling to it, so it’s cool to hear which track people resonate with initially. And then I hope some of those other tracks start to bleed into their playlists/heads as well. All it takes is a hook!

The outro of Watching Annie Over is a thing of beauty in itself. How?

I’m guessing you mean the intro? The beginning of that song itself is so powerful that I wanted to build a little bit of tension before it takes off. When we were previewing it beforehand, the song prior would barely be ending, and Annie would kick in while you were still singing the song before. So, I did some searching and found some mid-50’s teaching tutorial videos and pulled a sample from that. When I cut it into the opening it made when the actual song kicks in even more jarring – which was perfect.

Can you elaborate a bit on how the record came together?

It started with 30-Year-Old Boy, I recorded that song with my great friend and producer, Ryan Castle in LA. We had worked together on other projects in the past, but this was the first set of songs we’ve done together solely us. We spent 2 months or so recording all the parts on weekends. From there I started digging back into songs, new and old, literally hundreds of demos – many of them in a crude voice-memo form, and just pulled out hooks and favorites and started re-working them. Some were obvious, and some were shelved again. From there I picked the best 15 or so, tracked all the drums, then got to work filling in all of the instruments and cut it to 10 tracks. Every week I’d send Ryan some updates in LA while I tracked here in Detroit. The album came together across the country one emailed track at a time.

Now it’s out in the big wide world. Scary?

Not scary, no. More like a relief. As a songwriter, it can be really frustrating trying to put out content without any type of support – and I’m not just talking about financial support. You need a team to design your cover, shoot promo pictures, email venues, and writers, edit, mix, master, pick colors and fonts, the concept a music vid, shoot the music vid, find an outlet to release it, upload to all of the streaming platforms, etc… At the end of it all, writing the damn song was the easiest part – and the most fun. But you do it for the challenge, I want to leave this piece of art that 100 people might like, or hell a million. It doesn’t really matter to me, it exists now and forever, and nobody can take that away.

How many questions about Justin Timberlake do you expect?

Expect or get? I usually get it once a day, and it’s been that way since the 90’s so it’s all good. And I’ll say, in the bleach-blonde N’SYNC days I was a little worried, not really into the comparisons at all. But he’s really turned out to be a pretty lovable dude, whether you like his music or not, so keep up the good work JT! Let’s grab a beer next time you play LCA and confuse some people.

Writing, recording … is one thing, getting it heard is not that easy nowadays. Is your marketing machine fired up?

Marketing machine, I suppose so. It feels like it’s the last leg of the race and you really need to kick yourself in the ass and finish strong, which I’ve been trying to do, but I’m sure you can see how it can feel overwhelming. Writing a song (let alone a good one) is probably 20% of the whole process for most artists right now – and that’s the best part! But hey, Detroit wasn’t built in a day, right?