The six of us have lovingly labored on this project. I’ve personally practiced with this band more than any other I’ve played in, and I really enjoy making music with this crew – in general I’m stupid privileged to play all kinds of music with all ~20 of my talented bandmates.
J-Council definitely puts the time in. Especially Jon (vox), waking up daily around 6:30 a.m.(! – even if he was at, say, Déjà Vu the night before…!) to work on songs or any other band stuff. Jon’s a phenomenal singer, and it’s nuts that he’s never sang lead for a band before; so cool to witness crowds witness his talent. He’s also the best electric bass player I know – present company absolutely included, which pushes me to be better, but that’s the case with all these players.
Steve, Jon’s dad, is just aces on guitar, having logged crazy hours on stage, even some with his older brother’s excellent garage band The Golden Catalinas; superb jammer. Sam’s gigged on guitar since early on, too, encouraged by his dad who likewise shreds, but he’s also a really good singer (lead vox for The Lately) with great range; he’s also got the ear of an engineer cuz he, like, totally is one. Alex rules on keys, can really play anything, and sing spot-on harmonies, too. Ryan grooves harder on drums than maybe anyone, and he’s got ridiculous knowledge of old music.
It’s a unique mix, and we’ve gotten some outrageous gigs and opportunities already – like San Francisco last weekend – but because of how much we put into the project we’re not altogether freaked out; the cool stuff positively blows our minds and keeps some teenage dreams alive, but our effort keeps us grounded.
It comes down to the songs, though. They’re direct and distinct, even when they’re abstract. They’re catchy and rhythmic, even when they’re devastating. (Other than an arrangement suggestion here or there I haven’t written for J-Council; probably why I’m comfortable saying this stuff.)
If you’re reading this I hope you make tonight’s show, which I’m considering our formal GB debut. We did get to open for JD McPherson at Badger State and Caroline Smith at the Meyer’s Backstage last year, but those would’ve been decent covers to pay just to check out our then-new band. And we had a great slot at ArtStreet at the end of August, but that was a several-hour, cover-heavy affair – not super representative of what we do.
But tonight at Lyric Room, ho-HO! We’re playing our original set, following two gracious opening bands spawned from Harvey Brown, The Short Timers and Alley Cat — $7 cover. I just got to see Short Timers for the first time at Frets, and although their drummer had been hospitalized that day, Chris and Jake played a strong set of tunes. Definitely more singer-songwriter than the freaky-styley HB jams, but really interesting stuff. I’ve yet to see Alex and JD as the Alley Cat; looking forward to that.
If not tonight, hope you can check us out soon; we’re proud of this mess!