All posts by Joey Farese

Shonen Knife – Overdrive

Shonen Knife Overdrive Album Review
by Joey Farese

Shonen Knife is an all-female indie rock group from Osaka Japan that has been accurately described as the indie queens of sunshine. Fans will be excited to hear that things just got a little bit sunnier as Shonen Knife released their 19th studio album, Overdrive in April  through Good Charamel Records.

If you’ve never heard Shonen Knife before, you’re missing out and their newest album is proof of this. It’s hard to describe their sound to the Shonen Knife Virgin; sure, it’s indie rock but it’s also so much more. The trio reminds me of Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. However, while their music is reminiscent of these 70’s metal icons, there is no doubt that they have made the sound their own. Founding member Naoko sings on eight of the ten tracks on the album while bassist Ritsuko, and drummer Emin sing on the two others. It these unique voices that separate Shonen Knife from the pack. Each member of the trio has a thick Japanese accent, which pairs perfectly with the band’s indie rock style. Their voices are gentle but their style is hard and when the two forces meet beautiful songs are made.

Previous fans of Shonen Knife will be happy to hear that the group has stayed pretty true to their original sound. Yet, the trio has tweaked their approach slightly, as maturing bands often do. Overdrive is slightly more grungy than previous albums. Track five, “Shopping” is a good example of this, as the opening guitar riff grooves its way, and the bass and drums are there to grunge things up right behind it. “Shopping” reminds me of a song Nirvana might have written if only they were girls and also Japanese.
Yet, while the group has progressed their sound slightly, they have stayed true to their roots in many ways. Fans of the group’s previous hit “I Am A Cat” will be pleased to hear that there is another song with hilariously feline undertones on the new album; track seven, “Like A Cat” is near flawless. The song is exactly what you would expect from a group like Shonen Knife. A quirky track that follows the adventures of a cat self-described as “queen of the night.”

The group has found a good balance of hard hitting rock songs with soft undertones throughout. I imagine that there must be a great deal of pressure for girls in the indie rock world to act a certain way but it seems that the girls of Shonen Knife releases songs such as “Like A Cat” that say they simply don’t care what anyone thinks, and in the end is there anything more rock n’ roll than that? I think not.

After hearing Shonen Knife for the first time, they quickly became one of my favorite bands; they’re just so easy to enjoy. I simply cannot start one of their albums without finishing it in the same sitting and for no album is this more true than it is for Overdrive. You will feel a lot of emotions after listening to their newest album but most importantly you will feel satisfied. Make sure to pick up the new album as soon as possible and be on the lookout for their North American tour this Fall. Shonen Knife’s Overdrive album is a sure win for any music lover.

Joey Farese

Interview with Adam Cohen of The Vinyl Kicks

Adam Cohen Interview
by Joey Farese

I recently met Adam Cohen, rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the Vinyl Kicks and he passed me a copy of his upcoming EP, Ambitions Don’t Age Well. I didn’t think much of the encounter at the time but once I listened to the EP my entire perspective changed. Adam and The Vinyl Kicks are doing something wonderful for the music world, and more specifically, the Florida music scene. After reviewing the album and listening to it countless times since, I decided to pick at Adam’s brain and interview him about the new album, his inspiration, and music in general.

(Editor: Make sure you check out Joey’s EP review here: Ambitions Don’t Age Well)

RARAs Farm: Adam, we know you’re the lead vocalist of The Vinyl Kicks and you are largely responsible for writing the lyrics. Where do you get your inspiration from when writing songs for the Vinyl Kicks?
Adam Cohen: I guess a lot of my inspiration comes from life experience. My main objective most of the time is to paint a picture in your mind of what’s going on in the song, I really try to write in a way that isn’t too direct to one specific thing, or one specific scenario so everyone can take it in a way that makes sense to them. Writing something that everyone can relate to but with an underlying message I think is pretty important.

RARAs Farm: How would you describe the band’s sound?
Adam Cohen: It sounds like 5 people that come from mostly all different musical back rounds. You have a little bit of everything and It’s hard to explain, but I love it.

RARAs Farm: As a vocalist, who are some of your biggest influences? Why?
Adam Cohen: I mean I’m not so much influenced by other vocalist because I am very into doing what I want to do. To be honest I just kind of sing and, I feel it’s a very organic sound in a sense because I’m just up there doing my thing; if you like it, that’s awesome, and if you don’t… Hey that’s okay too!, but there are vocalist’s that I definitely admire, for example I’m a big fan of the classics like Robert Plant, Jimi Hendrix, Roger Waters, Van Morrison, and I have to throw in Mick Jagger, of course John Lennon, Don Henley, Tom Petty, going back even more Ray Charles is amazing, too. For the more modern vocalists, I have to say Alex Turner. He’s got it all in terms of originality, same goes for Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Of course Julian Casablancas, going back a little Thom Yorke, Luke Prichard of the Kooks, Russell Marsden, James Mercer,  again there’s so many awesome vocalists out there.

RARAs Farm: Do you think the band has matured since the release of The Vinyl Kicks first EP, Almost Young?
Adam Cohen: We’ve definitely matured in every aspect, I think we all just kind of put our influences aside, and played the music we want to play. As to the last record, we did our own thing, but we for sure had our influences in mind a lot more. We all have improved so much as musicians in this past year and I think I’ve matured as a writer. The lyrics in the first record were a lot younger sounding and light hearted. On this record the lyrics are a little played out better, and deeper.

RARAs Farm: What are some of the struggles you faced when putting together Ambitions Don’t Age Well?
Adam Cohen: Ahhh struggles… I know I kind of went off my rocker a little bit to say the least.. I just loved what we had been putting together. We didn’t really go into this record with the intentions of writing another EP. We just had that moment where we decided we need to record these songs; we were making because we loved them, and they were getting really good crowd response when we’d play them live. It just felt right. Going back to what I was saying about me going a little crazy; I was so passionate about this record that when I was going back and writing lyrics, tweaking different parts, I didn’t want this to be a sophomore slump; I wanted this to in our own eyes, and hopefully in the eyes of others for this to be a breakthrough, and transitioning EP as a group. I think we accomplished that for ourselves at least.

RARAs Farm: I noticed that the band has a strong online presence. How has the internet helped to get your sound out there?
Adam Cohen: The internet is everything now-a-days especially if you’re a musician. We promote our music every chance we get. I know for me I get the most fulfillment that people are actually just listening to our stuff, that to me is the coolest part. It’s pretty surreal when I see people at our shows singing our lyrics, and dancing around, but I guess the internet did a lot for us organically, too. It still blows me away when we get random “Likes” on Facebook from people in England, Australia, different parts of South America, I even saw one from the Philippines which I thought was pretty awesome. Technology still continues to blow me away everyday just how much we have to work with. It’s unbelievable.

RARAs Farm: I know you guys have a music video in the works; When will the music video be released and where can we find it?
Adam Cohen: Our music video for our single “Parachute” will be out in late May and it’ll be on YouTube, and Vimeo, and you know we are going to post it to Reddit. We love Reddit. Also it’ll be on our page for everyone’s viewing pleasure.

RARAs Farm: Do you guys have any shows booked or tours coming up to show case the new music?
Adam Cohen: We actually have a lot coming up gearing towards the summer. We are starting our tour with our EP release show June 28th in Miami, FL with Dinosaurs and Disasters, they’re awesome by the way definitely check them out. We are mainly doing the Southeast this summer trying to get up North a little, and out West but we are always down for adventures along the way, so stay posted because there could be a lot of unexpected shows along the way. We post everything on our Facebook page as far as shows, tours, everything and you can find that at facebook.com/thevinylkicks.

RARAs Farm: Tell me something about The Vinyl Kicks that most people don’t know.
Adam Cohen: Oh man… too many things, most people don’t know about our awesome Catapella side project. We kind of keep that to ourselves, You know??

Joey Farese

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The Shackeltons – Records

shackeltons

The Shackeltons – Album Review

“Often it takes something tragic happening for something beautiful to be born…”

It’s been nearly six years since Mark Redding, vocalist and primary song writer for The Shackeltons first learned of his mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis and took a hiatus from music. Fans have been patiently waiting and are finally about to get what they have longed for, a new Shackeltons album. Those fans will be more than pleased with the new album, Records.

Six years seems too long a time to go without releasing any music but Records seems to boast six years’ worth of experience. Fans from years back will hear a metamorphosis in the new album. Redding experienced a lot in his six-year sabbatical and it really shows. Often it takes something tragic happening for something beautiful to be born. All the songs on Records are a testament to this but no song better exemplifies what I mean than the fourth song on the album, “Mum.”

The beauty and the shame in the new album is that many of the songs delve into emotions that the average listener may be able to sympathize with but not necessarily empathize. From the lyrics to the instrumentals, every song on the album is packed full of raw emotion. Many of those listeners who cannot empathize with the songs can almost take on the emotions behind the songs through Redding’s honesty in each and every offering. However, it’s no secret that The Shackeltons are somewhat experimental and their new album is no exception. That being said, there will be listeners who simply don’t take the time to understand Records for the beauty that it truly is, but who wants listeners like that anyway?

With the progression of the band comes even more experimental sounds. There’s plenty of dissonance on Records and the beautiful production quality sounds artfully dirty. The shallow listener who didn’t “get” The Shackeltons last album, will “get” this album even less. The fact is that great music has never been understood by everyone; and music understood by everyone has never been great. I would compare the sound on Records to a melting pot of sounds from Iggy Pop to Brand New’s Daisy album. Similar to The Shackeltons, not everyone understood Iggy Pop nor Brand New but perhaps that’s why they’re still getting mentioned today on rock blogs.

Similar to Brand New’s Daisy album, Records gets better and better every time you listen to it. You will hear or appreciate something new about it every time you give it a listen. It’s infinite like a piece of abstract art, you could take it in a thousand times and get something new out of it every time. A record with replay value is worth ten times more than a record good for a few spins and Records is proof of that.

The Shackeltons newest album isn’t for everyone but it’s for everyone else. By that I mean that the Katy Perry and Maroon Five fans of the world might not appreciate Records but hardcore indie rock fans will recognize the album for the rare gem it truly is. The bottom line is if you are a previous fan of The Shackeltons, you will be thrilled and if you’re a new listener looking for a deep record to sink your ears into, look no farther than Records.

Joey Farese

Keep it Civil – HSL

Keep It Civil EP Review

keepitcivil

The Tallahassee reggae band Keep it Civil consists of childhood friends Kevin Olivera (lead vocals/ acoustic guitar), Owen Pratt (lead guitar), Tony Norwillo (percussion/rapper), and newly friended Tristian Jones (bass/ backup vocals). The band has been cranking out music since they formed and they haven’t looked back since. With the upcoming release of their first official EP, Keep it Civil is destined for great things. The EP is titled after its first track, “HSL,” which stands for Hobe Sound Local.

The band knew what they were doing when they titled the EP after its first track because “HSL” is definitely the single on the EP. All the songs are enjoyable but what I like about “HSL” is what I like about the EP as a whole. The song just oozes good vibes; it’s upbeat, and best of all it’s simple and enjoyable without trying to be something it’s not. The opening line of the song goes “My girlfriend don’t smoke pot and she barely even drinks; Lord you know it drives me crazy, she’s always tellin’ me I’m lazy.” I think it’s endearing of Keep it Civil to say it like it is; they’re a reggae band that smokes a lot of pot. If this is shocking to you, you may not be familiar with the genre. A lot of people might claim that talking about marijuana in their music cheapens it somehow, but I beg to differ. I would rather listen to a group of potheads serenade me than a group of liars; they smoke and they’re not afraid to sing about it, for that I commend them.

However, Keep it Civil is a multidimensional band and refuse to let something as insignificant as marijuana define them, they smoke and sing about it and that’s part of who they are but it’s not all of who they are. Some of the songs on the EP are about partying, beautiful women, and beaches. If you didn’t know Keep it Civil was from a college town, their lyrics could help you figure it out. Most of the songs on HSL are relatable to the twenty-somethings of America. This is a time between childhood and adulthood, a time where it’s easy to lose yourself to growing up, but Keep it Civil reminds its youthful listener to slow down and enjoy life, while it reminds the seasoned listener of good times had.

I really like the EP as a whole, it sounds a little like Pepper, a little like Sublime, and a little like The Dirty Heads. In reflection I am left wishing that Keep it Civil sounded more like Keep it Civil and less like their influences, but the band is still finding their sound and I think there are white hot flashes of pure originality found in the EP that I believe will shine brighter on the band’s next album.
Yet, the band does one thing exceptionally well on this EP that I’m sure they will do on the next, they sing the way they were born to sing. A lot of times, when reggae bands form with a white vocalist, there’s a false pressure for the vocalist to make an attempt to sound more exotic, and it never works. What this leaves the listener with is something that borders the line between awful and possibly racist. If you are a white kid from the suburbs don’t try to sound like a Jamaican from the Island; it doesn’t work. Keep it Civil went down the right road and chose to sing with the voices they were given. I love how clean all the vocals on the EP are, and the harmonies on track five, “Hobe Sound” are flawless.

If you’re a fan of upbeat honest music, you’ll be a fan of Keep it Civil’s first EP, HSL. This is one of those offerings that marks the start of something great. Keep it Civil is a relatively new band and they’re still finding their sound but they’ve done a pretty good job of identifying their sound for now. Pickup HSL on Soundcloud and let the good vibes takeover.

Nate Currin – You and I Are Ghosts

Nate Currin Album Review

Up until this point working with RARASFARM, I have almost exclusively reviewed albums formed by bands in their youth.

Being in my early twenties I feel a certain draw to bands composed of people my age. The lyrics are strong, emotional, and generally surround things I can relate to. Bands in their youth are a wonderful thing; their lyrics and sound often personify the uneasy and awkward transition between childhood and adulthood. These bands are experiencing many things for the first time and these new experiences and transitions make for powerful songs. However, eventually young bands grow up and if their lucky they become something like Nate Currin.

It’s hard to make a good album but it’s even harder to make a better follow-up album. Nate Currin’s 2013 concept album The Pilgrim was nearly flawless and listeners will be happy to hear that his follow up album You and I are Ghosts is equally if not more pleasing.

Music is such a subjective art that it’s hard to call any one album perfect but Nate Currin has come as close as possible, twice in a row. His latest offering is a blessing to the music world. I respect young artists depicting their growing pains through their music but what I respect even more is a seasoned artist’s understanding of life.

Nate Currin has been through it all and what’s better is he is so clearly able to express his emotions and life experience through his music. You and I Are Ghosts covers issues from relationship and friends to lifestyles and places. The concept behind the album is that everyone goes through phases in their lives and everything we leave behind are ghosts. Nate has an incredible understanding and a vastly inspiring outlook on all aspects of life.

On “Our Fading Numbered Days,” Nate says “I’ve no regrets the things we all forget lost and gone in distant haste.” The album is all about taking the best outlook on all facets of life; it’s a textbook on the best way to view life. Not all of life is wonderful but Currin reminds us all that life only exists as we view it.

The message and lyrics on the album should be looked at as a bible for growing bands but the mighty shadow that the album’s message casts does not block out the other amazing elements of the album. Not since Yellowcard have I heard a violin incorporated in rock music so well. Given, Nate Currin is in an entirely different genre of rock but it makes the violin on the album no less enthralling. Nate knows when to bring in the violin and when to let the acoustic guitar do the talking.

The instrumentals have a very solemn sound to them that compliment Nate’s voice exceptionally well. The album stays true to its pop rock/ folk genre but leans more to the folk side. Nate’s voice naturally lends itself to a folk twang; he has the voice of a weathered man, a man who has seen the world and has something to say about it.

After listening to You and I are Ghosts nearly 1000 times, I am left wondering how it is possible that artists like Nate Currin exist outside of the top forty charts. His style isn’t the kind you’d normally hear blasted on the radio over and over but it is the kind you listen to once and get hooked.

If you have time on your hands to reflect on your entire life, I highly recommend you download Nate Currin’s You and I Are Ghosts from iTunes immediately. Even if you don’t have time for all that, still download the album because I promise you it will instantly become a new favorite.

Joey Farese

The Vinyl Kicks – Ambitions Don’t Age Well

Vinyl Kicks EP Review

The Vinyl Kicks came out with their first EP less than a year ago and fans will be happy to hear that a new release is on the horizon. Their first EP, Almost Young, established The Vinyl Kicks as a band and is still experiencing growing success. However, where Almost Young was good, the band’s upcoming EP, Ambitions Don’t Age Well is great. Listeners will be pleased to hear growth in the band lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally.

The quintet is comprised of Adam Cohen on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Justin Andrews on bass and backup vocals, Hope Finlayson on keys, Sean Acosta on lead guitar, and Jason Davis on drums and backup vocals. A band with so many elements is not easy to manage but the Florida natives, all under the age of twenty three, have great synchronicity, especially on the upcoming EP.

Instrumentally, the EP sounds somewhat reminiscent of Pink Floyd, or rather what I imagine Pink Floyd would sound like if they were born forty years later. Similar to Pink Floyd, The Vinyl Kicks are experimental, they’re groovy, but most of all they’re not afraid to be themselves. Where a lot of current bands are afraid of extended instrumental intros, The Vinyl Kicks tip their hat to Pink Floyd and let their intros take their time, building up sweet anticipation and letting each song unfold as it was meant to.

However, it’s not fair to only compare The Vinyl Kicks to Pink Floyd instrumentally, because they also sound like a lot of other things. At times the EP sounds a lot more like The Strokes than Pink Floyd, yet at other times it can best be compared to The Killers. The band has fused new and old really well on the upcoming EP. They remind me of bands from forty years ago, while simultaneously sounding like current bands. The band seems to have used forty years’ worth of albums as their textbooks and it’s clear they’ve been studying because Ambitions Don’t Age Well sounds like a collection of the best parts of indie rock over the last half decade.

The vocals on the EP are just as good as the instrumentals and I love them for the same reason that I love the instrumentals. They are what they are, and while they may take notes from some of the big names that came before them, at the end of it all they put their own spin on everything they do. At times, the vocals remind me a little of Pink Floyd, The Black Keys and Kings of Leon. Yet, to be honest the vocals on the EP don’t sound enough like the vocals from any of the aforementioned artists to be directly compared to alone. After I listened to the EP for days trying to figure out just who the vocals remind me of, I finally came to the conclusion that while The Vinyl Kicks sound a little like a lot of things, they really only sound like the Vinyl Kicks and their upcoming album is proof of this.

If you didn’t know that Adam Cohen, the lead vocalist had a hand in writing the lyrics, you’d figure it out just by listening to him sing. He has one of those voices that is emotionally in sync with each song and its lyrics. While Cohen has a cool, silky voice through most of the songs, there are parts of the album, like the chorus on “Broaden the Odds,” where he showcases a more raspy tone as he breaks into a yell. This works great for the EP, it’s just one of the subtleties that sets The Vinyl Kicks apart from other bands with a similar sound.

Lyrically, the EP is very poetic. It’s full of songs that show instead of telling. By that I mean that instead of coming right out and saying what they mean, The Vinyl Kicks paint the listener a picture and let the listener feel how they feel. One of my favorite lines is found at the beginning of “Broaden the Odds,” “slow she goes, slow she goes, tie me up some tangled souls.” Lines like this abound throughout the EP and paint abstract art in the listener’s mind. Ambitions Don’t Age Well features powerful enough lyrics that each song could be read in a monotone voice at a poetry event and it would still go over well.

All in all, The Vinyl Kicks have created something truly great on Ambitions Don’t Age Well. Everything about the EP just works – it’s everything their last EP was but better. Whether you’re a fan of the indie rock classics or the genre’s modern day hits, you’ll love Ambitions Don’t Age Well. Do yourself a favor and pick it up when it’s released on iTunes, May 15th of this year; you won’t be disappointed.

Joey Farese

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Insights from Band Manager, Todd Forcellina

Interview With Todd Frocellina
Insights on Managing a Rock Band

I’ve always been as interested in music as I am in writing; and in the summer of 2012 I thought I would do my best to combine my two interests. At the time, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the Polk county based band, Chasing Thrill, and I knew I wanted to write about them. Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet the guys in the band and we hit it off pretty quickly. I knew that I wanted to write a piece on the band but hadn’t decided what exactly it was that I wanted to write until I learned that the band was about to make a road trip to New York City to stay with their manager and play a show at the legendary Gramercy Theatre.

During the trip, I met Todd Forcellina, Chasing Thrill’s band manager and was instantly fascinated with the way in which he managed the band. Todd was precise and calculated in everything he did, but he never forgot to have fun. I think I was most surprised to see how much work goes into making a band successful. It was when I met Todd that I learned that making good music is only half the battle to becoming a successful band.

It only seems natural that when I sat down to compose an interview for RARASFARM, Todd would be the first person I would turn to with questions about the rock industry.

(Q) What first got you into managing bands?
(A) I have been on the performance side of the business since I was 16. But I have always had an interest in the industry itself. One of my best friends who had been working for a major label asked if I would be interested in starting a management company with him to see if we could help bands along this very difficult business to navigate; something we never had when we were trying to land a deal.

(Q) What are some of your responsibilities as a band manager?
(A) When a band doesn’t have the luxury of multiple departments at a label taking care of everything, my job basically includes doing EVERYTHING except performing! It includes booking shows and trying to gather interest in the band from venues to booking agents who can help spread the fan base. It includes working on merchandise, promotion, and just being a general cheerleader to make sure they are doing everything they need to do on their end like, practicing, writing , promoting, performing or even getting enough rest.

(Q 1) Can you list some of the bands you have managed?
(A) Sure, International recording artist PJ Pacifico who I also drum for, Chasing Thrill a band out of Orlando, The Third Rail, a cover band and a new band called The Broadcast Hearts out of Connecticut, who we are looking at possibly taking on. They produced a very unique video that has gotten some great response.

(Q) How would you describe your personal relationship with the bands you manage?
(A) They are like my family. The bands that I have played in personally are still to this day my best friends. The bands that I manage become like my own kids. I have had multiple bands stay at my home for weeks at a time while they are out on tour in the East Coast area. I am honest to a fault with them always telling them exactly how I feel. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. I guess it is no different than having real kids.

(Q) What advice would you give to someone looking to start managing a band?
(A) It is a lot of work! If the band is looking to get farther than just playing the local scene, it should be someone other than the friend who can’t play an instrument, so he or she decides to be the manager. It is a rewarding job but you better be able to multi-task and be able to deal with different personalities. Also, be able to deal with record industry types who are generally looking to try and take advantage of hungry young kids. I would say a must read for anyone looking to get into this part of the industry is “All You Need To Know About The Music Business” by Donald Passman. It was given to me to read before I started out and it is invaluable.

(Q) A lot of band members look up to legendary performers. Are there any legendary band managers that you looked up to?
(A) Sure first one I can think of is Brian Epstein who managed the Beatles one of my favorite bands of all time. Also I would say Bill Aucoin who managed KISS for many many years. Today there is Doc McGhee who has managed everyone from Bon Jovi to Motley Crue to KISS. They are very successful at what they do or did and are just in the spotlight enough, but not so much to take away from the artist they represent.

(Q) I know you’ve worked closely with the central Florida based band Chasing Thrill. How did you first discover that band?
(A) My partner in Blitz Management has a relative from their hometown. She had told us that there was this popular local band and wanted to know if we would be interested. She then sent us the CD and press kit and we kind of took over from there.

(Q) Once you discovered Chasing Thrill, what attracted you to them?
(A) I will never forget, we listened to their debut EP “Promises” in my partner’s office. It wasn’t like the music was so ground breaking or different that we thought this band was a no-brainer, but we could not get over how well the songs were produced with having no backing from a label, plus the vocals were so strong, the melodies and hooks were unbelievable, the guitar playing and drumming was so solid, plus they had “the look”, the look of a band ready for the road. My partner went to go see them when they were in the Connecticut area. He told me that Josh (the lead singer) was sick and that the sound system in the club was awful and that they didn’t sound that great that night. But he did speak to the entire band after they were done and he felt they all had the right attitude and there was something there we could work with. When they got back to Florida at a venue they played all the time, we flew down to see them. The place was packed, the kids knew the words to every song, the band was super tight and sounded incredible and the energy in the room was undeniable. We knew we wanted to sign them and within a month we did. The problem with Chasing Thrill was that I think they thought because one of their managers was a big deal at a major label it was going to be a walk in the park signing a label deal. That is not the case. It still takes hard work, building a fan base and constantly writing new material until something sticks. At some point in time it became apparent that we wanted it more than the band did, and when that happens you can forget it. They are still to this day some of the most talented kids I know and the songs are still what I listen to on a regular basis. I just wish they could all take their heads out of their you know what and realize that they had something very special.

(Q) What role does social media play in band promotion?
(A) Social media is HUGE. I will be the first to admit I don’t know all the ins and outs of the latest things that media has to offer. Once again when a band gets on a label so much of that is taken care of for them. Hell, back in the day when I was playing 3 or 4 shows a week there was no Myspace, Facebook, Twitter. No Pandora, iTunes, Youtube….NOTHING. We would sit around a coffee table in our band house printing out flyers and spent days driving around town hanging them up everywhere to promote our gigs. We would print up hundreds of postcards that had our gig schedule on them and stamp them ourselves spending all our money on hundreds of stamps to send out to our mailing list! To get a label to listen to you, you had to actually send you material to the label in hopes that someone would listen to it and not just throw it in the trash or a pile with hundreds of other cassette tapes. It has changed so so much. It is so much easier now to build a fan base, but that is still the most important thing for a band, maybe even more than the quality of their songs, is building that fan base so a label can’t ignore you.

(Q) Fill in the blanks with words that you believe describe your overall experience working with rock bands.
(A) Satisfying, tiring, fun, enlightening, and rock n’ roll.

(Q) I think there’s a general belief that front men are prima donnas. Any truth behind that?
(A) I guess. I can only say that with Josh (Chasing Thrill) he needed the most attention. He is a strange guy for sure, but a real sweet guy. I still believe he could be one of the best front men in rock if he would just go for it.

(Q) Would you rather have managed Guns n’ Roses or KISS? Why?
(A) KISS. I could not deal with all the drugs that came with Guns. KISS had in the past a couple members who had issues with drugs and alcohol but for the most part Gene and Paul just always had a vision and never lost focus on what they wanted and how they were going to get there. Don’t get me wrong, GNR was a great band and I am sure would have been fun to manage as well, but KISS are more than a band, they are a business, a franchise and have taken what started as four guys from NYC starving to make it to becoming basically a part of the American fabric. Think about it. There is nowhere you can go in the world and if you show the KISS logo or the makeup that someone doesn’t know who it is.

(Q) I know that you recently had your first kid. Has that affected your band managing at all?
(A) Having my son Jett has made my life complete. He is already a little rock and roller. The only thing that it has affected with anything I do in my life, not just band managing is that HE comes first along with my wife, everything else comes 2nd. End of story.

(Q) Do you have any exciting things in the works for the rest of 2014?
(A) Musically I am just playing my drums and happy to be able to do it with my busy schedule. Spend as much time with my wife Emilie and my son Jett, do some traveling, etc. I will also say again I have my eye on this band The Broadcast Hearts from Trumbull, CT. they are making some noise up around this area. They got their video on VH1 And MTV with no help from anyone including me. They are young, determined and focused and that is exactly what I look for in a band that I might want to get involved with.

Rock On!
Joey Farese

Get Busy Living EP Review

Get Busy Living – All Good Memories Fade EP Review

Get Busy Living band

The Manhattan, Kansas based band, Get Busy Living has been busy living since their debut EP, Won’t Back Down. Fans of their first EP will be pleased to hear that the band has released their second EP, and if you were a fan of the first, you won’t be disappointed by the second.

I have mixed feelings about the band’s most recent EP, All Good Memories Fade, but at the end of the day I love the new EP for all the same reasons that I loved the original EP. Get Busy Living just plain kick ass and I truly believe that if the band had started making music five years earlier, a lot more people would have heard of them. They remind me of a time when pop punk ruled the world; a time when bands like Four Years Strong and Mayday Parade were thought of as gods and everyone’s pants were a little bit tighter. However, it’s Get Busy Living’s commitment to their genre that I enjoy so much. This is a band that refuses to sellout and their latest EP is cold hard proof of that.

All Good Memories Fade is the stuff that mosh-pits are made out of. It’s hard not to jump around when you hear the heavy guitar riffs throughout the album. Just like the band’s first EP, All Good Memories Fade is not afraid to bring it hard with every instrument. The drums kick, the guitars wail, and the bass matters; it’s the band’s willingness to play each instrument as hard as they can that really embodies the soulful pop punk feel throughout the EP; Not to mention the dual vocals that reminds the listener of the band’s heavy influence from Four Years Strong.

The lyrics on the album are light and simple in the best of ways. The band knows how they feel and they’re not afraid to put it out there. It’s the feelings behind the lyrics that remind the listener that it’s pop music, and it’s the simplicity behind them that remind the listener that it’s punk music. The fourth song on the EP, “The Last Five Years” carries perfect examples of this “This girl is not to be trusted, so boys watch out. Just keep your guard up, she’ll rip your heart out”. If that line alone isn’t enough to remind you of Forever the Sickest Kids, the rest of the song will be.

However, it’s the bands reminiscence of their predecessors that I both love and hate. Get Busy Living’s first EP reminded me of everything I love about pop punk. I couldn’t listen to it without thinking about the gods of pop punk. I absolutely loved that about the first album and I love it about the second. Yet, somewhere deep down I was hoping for some maturity or progression, and I don’t know that I hear any of that in the latest EP. It’s really difficult for me to listen to Get Busy Living without thinking of these other pop punk gods. But even as I type these words I realize that my complaint is a hollow one. Sure, the band chose to cover Lil Wayne’s Lollipop on their latest EP, and yes, I’ve heard a very similar cover years prior by Framing Hanley; but who the Hell cares? Get Busy Living is committed to a genre at its purest form and no one can fault them for that.

All in all, I think the success of the latest EP comes down to the individual listening to it. If you like old school, loud, pure pop punk music, than you’re going to love All Good Memories Fade; and if you don’t like that particular kind of music you flat out will not like the EP. At the end of the day Get Busy Living knows what kind of music they’re trying to make and follow through with their vision, quite successfully. Get Busy Living is a band that I don’t think will ever sell out and for that pop punk salutes them; pickup All Good Memories Fade,  today.

Joey Farese