Tag Archives: Glenn Mercer

Exclusive Interview: The Feelies’ Glenn Mercer and director Jonathan Demme talk about ‘Something Wild’

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild."

The Feelies in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild.”

Glenn Mercer of The Feelies and director Jonathan Demme did me the honor of talking to me about the special bond between the band and the filmmaker ahead of Sunday’s special screening of Demme’s cult classic movie “Something Wild,” which features The Feelies as a high school reunion band. Please tap or click here to READ THE INTERVIEW on lohud.com.

Here’s how it’s promoted on the front page of the Thursday edition of  The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y.:

Demme

 

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

Jonathan Demme (Photo by Bob Vergara)

The movie is being screened at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday as part of “Something Wild: The Films of Jonathan Demme,” a festival honoring the Rockland County-based director at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, N.Y.

The Sunday show is going to be extra special, though, because The Feelies,  a band that’s a special favorite of Demme’s, will be playing a set after the movie. It should be a wild evening.

Tickets for the special Sunday show are  $30 for nonmembers, and are available online here.  More information and directions to the Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, tap or click here.

 

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The Feelies rock The Bell House; Next up: New England

The Feelies at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on April 25, 2014. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies at The Bell House, Gowanus, Brooklyn, on April 25, 2014. (Photos © 2014 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

The Feelies may have lost their home base when Maxwell’s went out in style with a Hoboken block party last year. But they haven’t lost their soul, as they proved Friday night.

They took the stage of The Bell House in Brooklyn on Friday night and played two red-hot sets.

The Bell House is thee  closest thing to a home club the Passaic County, N.J., quintet has these days. Former Maxwell’s co-owner and booker, Todd Abramson has been booking bands at the first-class Gowanus music venue for some time now.

Guitarist Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

Guitarist Bill Million and bassist Brenda Sauter.

(Click through to the jump for more photos and info about The Feelies’ upcoming shows.) Continue reading

A foretaste of New Jersey rock without Maxwell’s: Speed the Plough, East of Venus play Mexicali Live

Speed the Plough performs at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, N.J. on July 18, 2013. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Speed the Plough performs at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, N.J. on July 18, 2013. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We know what it’s going to be like without Maxwell’s. We learned it pretty clearly at Mexcali Live in Teaneck, N.J., on Thursday, July 18.

Speed the Plough, a very Maxwell’s-identified band, ripped through an excellent headlining set after warmups by Lianne Smith and East of Venus.

Toni (Paruta) Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee of Speed the Plough.  (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Toni (Paruta) Baumgartner and Cindi Merklee of Speed the Plough. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Nobody in the audience crowded the edge of the stage, which is tradition at Maxwell’s. Not there’s anything wrong with that. It just seemed a little alien. But you had the distinct feeling that if you tried to stand in front of the stage, you’d be shouted away by the audience or escorted away by management. So it seemed better to keep a bit of distance.

Only one person in the crowd stood near the front of a rather cavernous room filled with tables, chairs and stools — and he was far, far from his usual front-and-center spot.

Never mind that the sound at Mexicali is crisp and the raised stage provides sight lines that are, to say the least, more audience-friendly than Maxwell’s. Continue reading

Speed the Plough joins Bar/None’s July 24 farewell to Maxwell’s

Speed the Plough at Maxwell's on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Speed the Plough at Maxwell’s on Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

STP is part of a promised ‘cavalcade of mystery stars’ joining Headliners Freedy Johnston and Band, James Mastro’s Health & Happiness Show and Chris Stamey with Anton Fier and Gene Holder

Myrna and the Hangar Boys (Human Switchboard’s Myrna Marcarian, Jared Michael Nickerson, Dave Schramm and Ron Metz) join lineup

WFMU to broadcast live from the lounge

Even before Maxwell’s closing was announced, Speed the Plough was gearing up get active again. The band, which can trace its lineage back to The Feelies through The Trypes, became active in 2009 after a long hiatus, but has been picking up steam lately in anticipation of a new album — a compilation of some of its long-out-of-print music from the early days plus six brand-new tracks.

But now they’re preparing to say goodbye to the venerated Hoboken club with one last gig there, on Thursday, July 24, as part of a Bar/None record label lineup.

Continue reading

The Feelies’ final Fourth of July at Maxwell’s

Maxwell's in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Maxwell’s in the dim light on Independence Day 2013. (Photos © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

It’s always a tough, emotional thing to get to Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.,  for The Feelies‘ annual Fourth of July show. You’re fighting for access to the Mile Square City with thousands trying to get to the waterfront to watch the Macy’s fireworks show in Manhattan.

But the Fourth of July 2013 was particularly tough, even with showtime pushed back to the throwback hour of 10 p.m. (Remember when rock shows didn’t really get started until nighttime had really settled in?)

It was the very last Independence Day that The Feelies would be playing the venerated Maxwell’s music club.

For fans and newbies alike, the night — the first of the band’s three-day holiday stand — was a touching one.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell's on July 4.

Glenn Mercer, Bill Million and Brenda Sauter onstage at Maxwell’s on July 4.

For their part, members of the band — Glenn Mercer on guitar, Bill Million on guitar, Brenda Sauter on bass, Stan Demeski on drums and Dave Weckerman on percussion — didn’t get maudlin and sentimental. They just did what they always do, playing a solid, well-planned set of crowd favorites, mixing their own turns — the older, nervous one and the new, slightly more melodic numbers — with a bunch of rock covers that they’ve added to their bag of tricks over the years.

They brought up a longtime friend and associate, John Baumgartner (of The Trypes and Speed the Plough, and also involved in a graphics business with sister Janice Demeski), to join them on “Bluer Skies” early in the evening.

They ended with three encores, featuring a surprise guest in the first set: Glenn Morrow, a longtime partner in Hoboken’s Bar/None Records and a member of Hoboken heyday bands like The Individuals, Rage to Live, and A, the band that later morphed, without Morrow, into The Bongos. Morrow joined The Feelies for The Monkees hit “I’m a Believer” and the Feelies favorite Beatles track, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey,” to cement the simian theme.

There were no surprises. But that’s not what Feelies fans want at the band’s shows. They want the satisfaction of a rock-solid set of favorites old and new. And that’s what they get.

And that’s a better tribute to the soon-to-be-gone club than a bucket of salty tears and maudlin speeches could ever be.

Click through to the jump for more photos. Continue reading

Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo at Maxwell’s in Hoboken — Sunday and Monday

YLT 2

Yo La Tengo jammed with Fred Armisen on a second drum kit. (Photos © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Yo La Tengo continued its massively wonderful holiday tradition, kicking off the first of eight shows — one for each night of Hanukkah — on Saturday night. The proceeds from tickets and most merchandise goes to charity. (This year all the charities support Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.)_

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? managed to score tickets to four of the eight nights — not an easy thing to do the way TicketFly is set up.

Our first night was Night 2, when the amazing Sun Ra Arkestra (imagine a DOZEN musicians on the tiny Maxwell’s stage!) was the opener and Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and “Portlandia” was both the comedian and a musical guest.

Night 3 featured Hoboken’s hometown heroes The Feelies, which opened with a very strong set, and the members of which sat in at various points of YLT’s set. Guitarist and vocalist Glenn Mercer was absolutely on fire all night. And Brenda Sauter did a great job on vocals for “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” “SNL” writer John Mulaney was the comic for Night 3.

We’ll be back tonight, but wanted to share some images of nights 2 and 3 with you now.

This is a tradition that has been going on for 11 years, YLT’s Ira Kaplan pointed out last night. We hope it continues for many years to come.

Click through to the jump for lots of photos from Sunday and Monday nights’ shows.

Continue reading

Jersey Fresh: Speed the Plough, Wild Carnation and The Thousand Pities

Photo by Katie Demeski

Speed the Plough (Photo by Katie Demeski)

It’s a great weekend for New Jersey rock and roll. In one fell swoop, three Jersey bands, all with links to The Feelies, are performing on a joint bill in NYC tonight and New Jersey tomorrow.

Shine is due out Aug. 16

Speed the Plough is using the shows to preview the sounds of its wonderful new album, Shine, which as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been telling you, is due out on Aug. 16. STP is a real family affair, fronted as it is by the husband-and-wife team of Toni and John Baumgartner and includes their son, Mike and STP co-founder Marc Francia and his sons Ian and Dan. New member Ed Seifert, another fixture on the New Jersey music scene,  is the only person in the band who, as far as we know, isn’t related to anyone else in STP.

 You can get a sample of the warm, rhythmic and familiar sounds of STP’s new work with the first single, “Something to Say,” which is streaming on the band website and on the Dromedary Records site.

STP is inextricably linked to The Feelies, in part through former member Brenda Sauter, who’s the longtime Feelies bass player and also a member of Wild Carnation, another band on this weekend’s bill.  STP grew out of the ashes of another legendary band, The Trypes, which also included Feelies members.

Wild Carnation bills itself as “the best Feelies spin-off band you never heard of,” is also on the bill, along with Montclair’s The Thousand Pities — which includes Michael Carlucci, who plays with Feelies singer Glenn Mercer.

Shows are 8 p.m. today (Friday, July 29) at at Piano’s, 158 Ludlow Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side ($10, tickets available here), and tomorrow (Saturday, July 30) at 8:30 pm tomorrow at Tierney’s, 138 Valley Road, Montclair, N.J. (No price announced.)