Alt-Nation: Joe Moody, Electric Six and Handsome Pete

When local studio owner Joe Moody passed away earlier this year it left a gaping wound in the heart of the local music community. Through his Danger Studio, Joe recorded hundreds of aspiring musicians across multiple genres.  He gave many artists the opportunity to give voice to their dreams by documenting their work on a recording. In Joe’s honor, a motley collection of Providence metal titans will be reuniting to play together for the first time since 1997. Some of these bands — like Shed — have never done a reunion show!  Kilgore Smudge vocalist Jay Berndt was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions on the show, Kilgore and what he is up to now.

Marc Clarkin: Can you talk about Joe Moody’s influence on your music career?

Jay Berndt: With all the recording studios I’ve been in, Joe was easily the nicest, sweetest guy to work with. He had this immediate way of putting you at ease. And let’s face it: Musicians can be delicate creatures, especially under the microscope in the studio. When we first recorded our Spill demo with Joe in August 1993, we had never been in a recording studio. The whole recording process can be incredibly intimidating and Joe really helped build all of our confidence as songwriters and musicians. He just made the whole process interesting and fun. We recorded, overdubbed and mixed the 10 songs on Spill in 14 hours, which is just unheard of.  It also fostered our love of recording because of that amazing first experience with Joe. We went on to record with him another six or seven times. And based on the songwriting as well as the quality of his recordings, we attracted A&R from Warner Bros. and ended up getting signed. So much of what we learned from working with Joe greatly helped us when recording Blue Collar Solitude and A Search For Reason for a major label. Even though I was only able to spend maybe a dozen or so times with him in the studio with Kilgore or other projects, I’m incredibly grateful for the time we spent with him.

MC: All these years later, what is it like revisiting the Kilgore material?

JB: It’s kind of like putting on an old pair of shoes … really comfortable and familiar. I mean, I’ve known Bill Southerland (drummer) and Brian McKenzie (guitarist/songwriter) since I was 16 years old. So it’s been great just hanging out with my really old friends. It’s strange though, because many of these songs are more than 20 years old and when those songs were written, I was a very different person. Since then I’ve grown as a musician, singer and lyricist. So it’s hard for me not to be critical of lyrics I wrote as a lazy 20-year-old kid. I suppose they’re part of our history, but it’s hard for me not to roll my eyes at a garbage line like “You can lick my f#cking rod, ’cause I believe in a merciful God.”

MC: You have a new hard rock band called the Bloodriders. How do you compare the energy and vibe doing the hard rock thing vs. nearly 20 years ago?

JB: Well the Bloodriders are me and the former members of local Providence band Kanerko (Anthony Palumbo on guitar, Kevin Marszalek on bass, Nick Iddon on drums). I’ve said it has this Danzig singing for Clutch kind of a feel. It definitely has a tremendous amount of energy and swagger. And I absolutely love playing with Bloodriders. I feel like I sing better and with more intensity than I did with Kilgore. (The next Bloodriders show is Saturday 9/10 at the Parlour with Pistol Shot Gypsy, Sex Coffee and Adaptor/Adaptor.) It’s just a different time now compared to the scene in the ’90s. It doesn’t feel like a unified scene to me. Back then, it seemed we had a bond with bands like Shed, Freak Show and Times Expired … and we had a bond with the fans. Maybe it’s my age, but when I go to see younger bands at clubs, the crowds just feel so weak. A band will be on stage killing it, and 20 people are looking at their phones. Considering the amount of old timers coming to the Met on August 20, I think we’re gonna see a lot of dancing out there. Many of us nursing our old backs the following day!

Kilgore Smudge, Times Expired, Shed, and State of Corruption will all reunite to rock the Met Café in Joe Moody’s honor on August 20.

Electric Six

There are few guarantees in life, but one of them for the last 15 years is that Electric Six has been getting people up to shake their asses all over the world.  Electric Six pair loud guitars with groovy beats and offbeat humor rhymes to create the perfect rock ‘n’ roll dance party. It is like the spawn of an orgy between the members of Kiss, Talking Heads and Abba. The Electric Six have proven over the course of 10 studio albums that they are the dance commanders in indie rock. For the uninitiated, check out the Electric Six’s debut album, Fire, and prepared to have your mind blown. For casual fans looking to further submit to Electric Six’s will, I recommend the albums Switzerland and Flashy.  But to miss them at Fete … that’s just crazy talk, hombre.

Electric Six, Math the Band, VulGarrity, and Eric & The Nothing will rock Fete on August 21. 

Handsome Pete’s Annual Birthday Shitshow

The end of August in the local music show means one thing – it is time for Handsome Pete Lima’s annual birthday shit show! The event has become beloved by offering things like one-off tribute bands with each year having a different theme. This year’s show is no exception featuring the first performance in over 11 years for 2004 WBRU Rock Hunt Finalists, Jagolinzer! Jagolinzer was like a mix of post-punk meets trashy garage rock, and their lineup had serious pedigree with members of The L.U.V.s and The Fantastics included in the mix. Handsome Pete will be doing double duty pounding the skins for both post-punks Civility and Jagolinzer. The Blue Album will headline the show playing my favorite Weezer album, Pinkerton, cover to cover.

The Blue Album, Jagolinzer, and Civility will rock the Columbus Theatre on August 27.

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