Published on The Deli Philadelphia – Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
– by Annamarya Scaccia
In February, a freak car accident put Bandname frontman Jeremy Jams out of commission, and in a back brace for three months. Jams and the rest of the North Philly trio – consisting of 24-year-old Cat Park (bass/vocals), 27-year-old Jams (guitar/vocals), and 28-year-old Greg Labold (drums) – hung up their performer caps, formed a stronger bond of friendship, sharpened an already-tight sound, and focused on writing and recording their next record. What resulted from that is Bandname’s debut full-length, Breakfast – a fierce garage-torched pop tart that sways and slams like nobody’s business (it will be available on vinyl via North Carolina’s Self-Aware Records as well as on CD via Soft City Records and on cassette via UK’s Eat a Book Records). To celebrate its release this weekend, the band will hold a FREE album release party at The EL Bar this Saturday that’s sure to make some mouths salivate – dubbed “BYOB = Bring Your Own Breakfast”, fans who dress like or bring breakfast foods will receive a limited piece of artwork from a band member. The Deli had a chance to talk with the gang about their full-length debut, why cassettes are classic, and their favorite breakfast dishes.
The Deli: Bandname’s music can be defined as very candy-coated pop fuzz-meets-wild, howling garage-rock, and your debut, Breakfast, which drops on Saturday, is definitely an extension of that. What or who influences those sonic characteristics?
Jeremy Jams: I’m glad that is how our music is defined. I think the biggest influence at the moment is the ‘70s.
Greg Labold: Really tight jeans, flannel shirts, and beards.
Cat Park: Jeremy got naked. Then he sat in a chair. We stared for hours, then days. Our retinas simultaneously felt pain and pleasure. A record was born.
TD: What inspired the songs on your first full-length?
JJ: I guess I’d have to say self-pep talks, day dreaming, relationships and more fantasy.
GL: I wouldn’t know…I play the drums.
TD: Why name it Breakfast?
CP: Reign in Blood was already taken.
JJ: Breakfast is just what we do. It brought us together as a band, and it feels good to share with friends new and old alike.
GL: Most important meal of the day…most important record.
TD: Now that it’s completed, is Breakfast everything you set out for it to be when you started working on the album?
JJ: For sure! The main goal we had in mind for the record was for it to sound bigger and more rocking than our demo, and it definitely does that. This is our first record as a band, and I think it opens up possibilities for everything after.
GL: I would have liked there to be an avocado on my breakfast.
TD: The band worked on Breakfast during the first few months of Jeremy’s recovery from a freak car accident in February, which landed him in the ICU and left him with a broken back. What changes did you make to your writing and recording process to work around his recovery? Or was it business as usual?
JJ: We were touring and playing lots of shows. My accident forced us to stay at home and work on our songs. The songs we wrote after the accident are definitely different and reflect me sitting at home not being able to do anything but think and read. I wore a back brace for about THREE months, and it was really hard to play guitar for a while.
GL: Jeremy’s accident pulled us closer together in a lot of ways. Along with his recovery, the music only got tighter, stronger, and more awesome than ever.
CP: We had him rebuilt faster, stronger, and much better looking. The problem was, was that we weren’t expecting him to be this good looking. We’ve had a hard time looking in the mirror ourselves. Greg and I actually had to remove all the mirrors in the studio. Other than that, business as usual.
TD: How did that accident affect the band and your outlook on life? Did you think you were going to lose Jeremy at any point?
GL: Bad things do happen to good people, but good people know how to get through the bad. It was a wakeup call to us all. Jeremy’s spirits were always high even during the worst parts of his recovery. It’s insane to think the boy broke 3 vertebrae! We were worried for the first two days that he wouldn’t be able to walk again. Amazingly, he was walking within three. Moral of the story…you only live once…but you can almost die every day.
CP: The old Jeremy is gone. Only the J-1000 remains. He will restore life when the J-2000 fails us in the future.
TD: Bandname also didn’t play any live shows during his recovery period, but did return to the stage in June. How was that first performance back? Since your shows are always high-energy and semi-aerobatic, did you alter the way you played on stage to accommodate Jeremy or was there no need to?
CP: The first performance back was incredibly impromptu. That’s what made it fun. There were no malfunctions.
GL: When we first came back, there was less kicking and jumping. Now it seems there is more than ever!
TD: Did taking that needed break from playing live help the band put 100 percent focus on crafting Breakfast?
CP: We always put 100 percent focus into crafting Breakfast.
GL: All this talk about breakfast is making me hungry…
TD: You’re releasing Breakfast on vinyl, CD and cassette. Why release it in all three formats, particularly cassette?
JJ: Our record was made to be on vinyl! We will always release our stuff on cassette because tapes are really fun and cheap to make. I only have a cassette deck in my van and driving and listening to music is the very best way to do it.
CP: The first music I ever bought was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom on cassette. If vinyl can be a collector’s item, why can’t cassettes? There’s something sweet about a tiny reel of tape (with music on it) that can fit in your pocket. Also they are as cheap as we are broke.
GL: In 100 years, MP3s won’t be for sale at the flea markets and antique stores. Vinyl and cassettes will…I’m thinking about the future consumers and their interest in the early 2000s.
TD: SONY just retired its iconic, game-changing cassette device, The Walkman, after 30 years – becoming now a product of nostalgia and many “I remember when I was listening to the Dicks on my Walkman.” Doesn’t that just kill?
CP: They just retired it? …wow…
TD: Will Breakfast on cassette help fans relive that nostalgia – or, at least, open up the iPod generation to the Walkman culture of the late 20s+ music lover?
CP: Usually, whenever people want to buy our music they look for vinyl or cassette. It’s a collector’s item. I assume they have a hefty collection going. It’s just like any collection of anything. I’m changing the question to “What did you collect when you were younger?” Rocks, beanie babies, and salt and pepper shakers.
TD: To celebrate the release of your debut full-length, you’ve made your release party at the EL Bar on Nov. 20 a BYOB: Bring Your Breakfast. Anyone who brings or dresses as breakfast food that night will receive limited original artwork from a band member. What are the various pieces of artwork they’ll receive?
JJ: We can’t ruin the surprise!
GL: I can ruin the surprise.
TD: Think there’s a chance of all-out food fight? And would you mind?
JJ: We wouldn’t mind, but The El Bar might.
CP: I really hope that some guy dressed as an egg fights with a guy dressed as bacon.
GL: Bandname is a food lover not a food fighter.
TD: What’s your favorite breakfast food?
GL: BandName’s Huevos Rancheros!!!
JJ: Everything Bagel with cream cheese, eggs, and tomato.
CP: As it stands: lemon ricotta pancakes is in the lead with sunny side up eggs in a close second, followed by sausage biscuits and gravy (a real woman’s breakfast).
TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?
JJ: Tofu Hoagie from Fu-Wah.
GL: Deep fried Chicken Gizzards…
CP: 5N M – an awkward stare by the dude behind the bulletproof glass.