What band(s) are you currently in?
Have been in, in the past?
Growing up I never really played in any bands, I would just jam with friends at parties or in garages, but never anything serious. It wasn’t until I was 21 that I started hitting open stages and meeting local musicians. I was probably 22 when I joined my first “proper” band. It was a band called “The Tony Jones Band”. Lots of covers and some originals. We were bad, but it was fun and I met a lot of good friends from playing all over the city. After that band, I formed Mojo Filter and we’re still jamming a few times a year.
What is it about the Pittsburgh Scene that keeps you working at your craft?
The Pittsburgh Scene has changed so much since I started playing. Lots of great venues are gone now. It’s kind of depressing, but I do see some new places popping up every once in a while. I just try to keep playing wherever will have us.
How hard is it to juggle the schedules of your bands and life in general?
Surprisingly not as tough as you’d think!! I keep my calendar updated, and it helps that almost all of the bands I’m in share at least 1 member with another band I play in, so it’s rare that my schedule gets screwed up. I think I’ve only double booked myself once in the last 5 years. The hardest part is just getting the stars and calendars to align for rehearsals. Some of my bands don’t need to rehearse as much as others, but I’ve had the same rehearsal schedule for a couple years, and it’s been working out great. The other part that has been tough is remembering all the songs from all of the different bands. I played 4 full sets with 4 different bands in 5 weeks, so it’s definitely been a challenge, but one that I really enjoy. And luckily I have a wonderful family that supports my ridiculous schedule.
Can you name 5 unsigned bands from the scene that you absolutely love, and tell us why?
- Stoneslinger. They aren’t from Pittsburgh, they are from Canton, OH but they are hands down one of my all-time favorite bands period. We played a ton of shows with them over the years, and they are always fantastic. Check out their album Solar Outlaws on iTunes. I play some hot lixxx on a song called “Magnet”.
- Action Camp. Bengt Alexander is a badass mofo. Great guitar player and songwriter. I love all of their stuff. They don’t fit into any musical box. They play heavy stuff, they play electronic stuff, they play surf stuff, and it’s all great!
- SuperVoid – Unfortunately these guys are on an indefinite hiatus, but they are still one of my favorites. Killer riffs and grooves from these dudes. Top notch musicians! They are one of those bands that you hope you never have to play after them.
- Horehound – These guys and girl keep getting better every time I see them. Super doomy riffs and Shy Kennedy has some really interesting vocal melodies. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already.
- Monolith Wielder – This is one of those bands that I wish would play out more often. They are absolutely crushing when they play live. Their album is insanely good too.
When did you know you were destined to be a musician?
My parents took me to see my brother’s band play at the Foggy Bottom Inn back in 1985. I was 12 years old at the time, and I’d never seen a live rock band before. The place was packed, it was loud, people were drunk and the bands had big hair….Well everyone had big hair… I vividly remember watching the band on stage and thinking. “I need to do that”. That Christmas I got my first guitar and here we are 33 years later… I never did get to play at the Foggy Bottom.