After dozens of Sundays filled with evil and dark soundscapes I’ve decided to lighten it up a little ;) Hackettstown, NJ’s ONLY LIVING BOY is a nice blues-infused rock’n’roll interlude from harsh, punk and heavy sounds I promote on pages of IDIOTEQ. After releasing one full length and 2 EPs they are already readying a new extended play covering more alternative rock and rock’n’roll with a pinch of good old blues.
Play their tune and check out my short interview with ONLY LIVING BOY below. It shall give you the idea of their approach to making music.
Hey! What’s up? How’s it going, guys? Which part of NJ are you?
Hey man Joe C. here. First off we’d like to thank you for your interest in all things rock and roll. Things are good on our end, and by that I mean busy. We just released a new EP and we’re in the process of finishing another. We are starting production on a new video and on top of that we are spending all of our free time in our jam spot in Blairstown, NJ writing the follow up to that and gigging our ass’s off all across the tristate area. It’s good to be busy.
That being said we are based out of a small blue collar town in Warren County, NJ called Hackettstown. It’s a busy little town full of landscapers, painters, plumbers and otherwise small town America “mom and pop” shops. We make M&M’s here and have plenty of places to have a shot and a beer after work. It’s a great place to raise a family, not the greatest place to start a rock and roll band. .
Cool. I love places like that.
Speaking of r’n’r, they’ve called you hard rock, psych rock, blues rock, post grunge, and alternative rock :) How would yuo label ONLY LIVING BOY? What other bands would you compare yourself to?
We have been called alot of things in the past from stoner rock to alt rock and blues rock. We’re happy to see the word “rock” in all of them, and that one word is how I describe our sound when asked. But if I tried to break it down to influence?
Well, we grew up listening to the classics like Jimi Hendrix, LED ZEPPELIN, PINK FLOYD and BLACK SABBATH. Bands like them were the spark that started it all. But our eclectic taste found us immersed in music spanning decades and crossing all genres like SOUNDGARDEN, NIRVANA, ALICE IN CHAINS, RADIOHEAD, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, THE BEATLES, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, THE STOOGES, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, MINOR THREAT, THE DEAD KENNEDYS, DEEP PURPLE, David Bowie, Paul Simon and SYSTEM OF A DOWN to name just a few.
I’m always interested in local music scenes. Tell me a bit about your musical environment, local bands worth checkin’ out and the general atmosphere over there. How vital it is?
Despite that fact we have managed to create a great scene here and will always have a blast plugging in and turning up here. We’ve met some incredible bands in the surrounding areas and always bring them to our home town to rock out at our watering hole. Bands like CROBOT, EMPIRE ESCORTS, RUBY THE HATCHET, and our Hackettstown brethren QUIMBY MOUNTAIN BAND are just some of the bands we would recommend checking out. “Hide Nothing” was produced in Asbury Park by Paul Ritchie of THE PARLOR MOB. If you haven’t checked them out already, do so. Bad ass Rock and Roll.
Which shows stand out as landmark shows that you have played? How was the SXSW experience? :)
To answer your question on notable shows I have to say that playing live is and always will be our bread and butter. We live for it and have played so many that remembering them has gotten quite difficult to be completely honest. We’ve had incredible experiences playing all over the country. Some that ring a bell are LA, Austin TX and Nashville TN. Having recorded “Hide Nothing” in Asbury Park, we have been playing shows there often and it has proved to be a really kick ass haven for Rock and Roll.
I can’t mention Austin TX without saying that the SXSW experience was something we’ll never forget. I dont think we’ll ever be so over stimulated and surrounded by music of all styles and skill levels as we were then. Well, not until next March when we return. Mother of God what a party!
Any plans to play some shows in Europe in support of the new music? :)
We have experienced so much of our own country over the years, 46 of 50 states I believe, and have almost satisfied that hunger. But there is without a doubt a hole that needs to be filled by a tour of Europe.
We are so ready to cross the pond and rock in your neck of the woods its crazy. If all goes as planned we will be there in the coming year. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. Ive always been told of Europe’s love and appreciation of rock and roll music and feel that being there is something we need to do sooner than later. Frankly I feel its getting a little lost here in the states.
So, you have a new EP out. Tell us the story of “Cool Collected Headcase” and the three EP project, how you came up with the idea of it and how you’re proud of it now. Also, who did you record it with? How did “outside-the-band-people” affect its sound?
“Cool Collected Headcase” was recorded at SST Studios in Weehawken NJ by Billy Perez. Let me tell you this guy is a mad scientist of sound. His laboratory has cathederal ceilings and vintage gear out the ass. His mastery of the equipment and room were really something special and we couldnt be more proud of the finished product.
We actually tracked this EP and the follow up in two days back to back and are finishing the second now.
The room was perfect for the larger than life, organic sounds we wanted and after visiting it once we knew instantly this was where we were going to record. Billy had some remarkable techniques for achieving such a large sound, like placing a mic 35 feet above the drums, and using up to 4 room mics to capture that “live” sound.
It was a real pleasure working with him.
Regarding songwriting, who writes the lyrics and what’s the general music making process in ONLY LIVING BOY? What is your creative process like?
All the songs had been written prior to going in, as they usually are. We are always 10 steps ahead of ourselves with writing. I usually bring the “seed” of the songs (lyrics, main verse, chorus) to the band and the three of us then mold it and work it into something all its own. Eric, Trevor and I are like brothers and have been playing together since we were kids. Its not uncommon for us to be working on a new song and not speak a word. We have a symbiotic creative relationship and often finish eachothers riffs or rythms.
Alright, before we finish it off, tell me… what inspires you to follow this path as a performer and a musician?
Plain and simple, we do what we do for the love of it. We would love to give what we’ve gotten from music to as many people around the globe as possible. To be able to play every night for people that love music as much as we do.
Thanks for your time, fellas.