The Smithereens for the State Theatre show, left to right: Jim Babjak (guitar), Robin Wilson (lead vocals), Dennis Diken (drums), and Mark Mesaros (bass) (Photo courtesy Lappen Enterprises)
Power pop aficionados think of the ’70s and ’80s as the genre’s heyday — an era that included performers like Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, years that saw the emergence of bands like Big Star and Cheap Trick, and a time that culminated with the Gin Blossoms and Matthew Sweet.
For many music lovers (myself included), The Smithereens captured all the salient characteristics of a classic power pop band: the jangly ringing Byrds-like guitars, the Beach Boys’ high harmonies, the Beatles melodic lyricism… and perhaps the crunching heaviness of Black Sabbath? But The Smithereens added an East-Coast, Jersey Shore roots-rock sensibility.
Mark Caicedo of Parklife DC recently chatted with Jim Babjak, guitarist of The Smithereens, in anticipation of the band’s show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 18.
Jason Bonham (Photo courtesy Lappen Enterprises)
Any music lover will tell you, rhythm is an essential ingredient of a song. Any musician will also tell you that percussion was the first musical instrument. Ancient peoples discovered that banging on things would create patterns and melodies one could move to and feel deep inside. Since those first humans struck a piece of bark or a stretched animal skin, the tympani, the gong, the dulcimer, and the piano, among other percussion instruments, have become central to orchestras, jazz combos, pop groups, and marching bands.
When it comes to drummers, one of the greatest modern drummers ever to play was surely John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Recently, ParklifeDC had the pleasure of speaking with drummer Jason Bonham, John’s son, in anticipation of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening appearance at The Fillmore Silver Spring this Sunday, Nov. 25.
Brent Smith and Zach Myers participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Oct. 20, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
On a picture perfect autumn day, beneath a partly sunny sky, over 3,000 people showed up to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to express emotions of love, support, and hope. On Saturday afternoon, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held their Out of the Darkness Community Walk in the Nation’s Capital. Saturday’s walk is just one of hundreds that take place all across the country this year to help bring awareness and raise money, to work towards changing the culture’s approach to mental health.
This year, Brent Smith and Zach Myers, the lead singer and lead guitarist of Shinedown, participated in the walk.
Martin Barre (Photo courtesy Lappen Enterprises)
In the pantheon of rock guitar greats, many familiar names come to mind: Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Santana. For many of us, the name Barre resides on that list as well. Martin Barre was the long-time lead guitarist for blues-turned-progressive rock band Jethro Tull from 1969 through 2012.
His intricate playing, unique style and iconic solos are well known to millions of fans. Parklife DC had the opportunity to chat with the guitarist in anticipation of the Martin Barre Band’s appearance at Jammin’ Java on Sunday, Oct. 14.
The Damned (Photo by Steve Gullick)
In 1976, Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible formed The Damned, the innovative post-punk band that has rocked England now for decades. The Damned released Evil Spirits, their 11th studio album, in April via Search and Destroy and Spinefarm. The record was a smash, hitting #7 on the UK Albums chart and catapulting the always vital band back into the public eye.
While Dave and Captain Sensible have worked with a number of musicians over the years, Monty Oxymoron has been the keyboardist for The Damned since 1996, recording on their last three albums and touring globally with the band. And he will play with The Damned again in DC at Black Cat on Saturday, Oct. 20. Parklife DC chatted with Monty about the new album, his history with The Damned, and what makes the band so unique and well loved for more than 40 years.
Hudson Taylor (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)
It has been a busy 12 months for Irish pop-Americana duo Hudson Taylor. Brothers Alfie and Harry Hudson Taylor have been true road warriors, living out of suitcases, while selling out shows in Ireland and across Europe. North America will be the next leg of their seemingly nonstop tour schedule. The band will open for Hozier on Oct. 2 at DC’s Lincoln Theater (its sold out) and headline Songbyrd Music House on Thursday, Oct. 4. Alfie Hudson-Taylor talks to Parklife DC about his experiences as a young musician.
Town Mountain (Photo by Sandlin Gaither)
Appaloosa Festival returns as DC’s top roots music festival on Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal, Virginia. Festival hosts Scythian, your favorite DC Celtic rockers, present a strong lineup, including Gaelic Storm, Mandolin Orange, Six-String Soldiers, Aoife Soctt (Irish folk artist of the year), and Town Mountain, the talented string band from Asheville, North Carolina.
Parklife DC recently caught up with Town Mountain banjo player Jesse Langlais via email to get the latest news about the band and to find out more about their upcoming sixth studio album, New Freedom Blues, due for release on Oct. 5.