Tag Archives: Katie Demeski

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.)

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The Feelies feeling independent

The Feelies at Maxwell's on Night 1 of the 2011 Independence Weekend. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

The Feelies kicked off Independence Weekend, as they’ve been doing for ages, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken last night (Friday, July 1)

It was a homecoming as always at Maxwell’s since that was the band’s home club for its entire existence.

Last night was the first of a three-night stand. The hometown crowd was not disappointed, with The Feelies starting just a bit after 9 p.m., the posted showtime, and playing until almost 12:30, with just one short intermission.

Click through to the jump for more photos and info about the first night show. Also, check out a great Paste Magazine slideshow of a day in the life of The Feelies from their recent Philadelphia show at World Cafe Live.

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The Feelies gear up to play

The Feelies at Maxwell's in Hoboken, N.J., in 2009. (Photo copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Now who could possibly know better what The Feelies are up to than the daughter of one of the band members? (Well, maybe her dad, but don’t tell her that!)

With that in mind, I reached out to the delightful Katie Demeski, daughter of the great New Jersey band’s drummer Stanley Demeski and his wife Janice. One of Katie’s blogs, How Strange, Innocence, is a leading source of reliable information about what the band is up to. It’s not the quantity so much as the quality of her information that makes the blog worth checking.

But a day or two ahead of the release of Here Before, the band’s first new album in 19 years, I checked in and realized she hadn’t blogged about The Feelies since last Sept. 8, when she reported the band was going into the studio. Granted, she’s in college and holding down a job, so it’s not like she has a ton of free time.

Luckily, when I messaged her, she was just about to do a quick update. It’s live on her blog now, with pretty much everything you need to know about their upcoming shows, plus some info about Speed the Plough, a band that’s part of The Feelies’ extended family. .

Suffice it to say The Feelies aren’t in any huge hurry to hit the road simultaneously with the release of their album. In fact, the band’s first public show (not counting a students-only gig this month at SUNY Purchase) comes at The Bell House in Gowanus, Brooklyn, on May 13, a full month after the album’s release! That show, not surprisingly, appears to be sold out.

Please go to Katie’s blog for more details, including some tantalizing information about an outdoor gig in Brooklyn. I don’t want to spoil it for you.

New Speed the Plough — live on the Fourth of July

True fans of The Feelies will remember Speed the Plough fondly, given that many Feelies played in Toni and John Baumgartner‘s band during its existence in the early 1990s. Like The Feelies, STP is back making music. Earlier this year, the band released its first album in 15 years, Swerve.

On the Fourth of July, before heading to Maxwell’s in Hoboken for the third and final Feelies show of the holiday weekend, the members of STP visited the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan. There, tucked away on the plaza surrounding sculptor Greg Wyatt’s Peace Fountain (1985), the band gathered around the public piano that was one of 60 installed around NYC as part of the Play Me, I’m Yours art project. The Fourth of July was the last day of the installation, and the members of STP thought it would be fun to take advantage of it as a group. (STP wasn’t the only band to think of this. The Bill Murray Experience did something quite similar, as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? reported previously.)

They did an acoustic rendering of “Kentucky Moon” that was captured on video by Katie Demeski. Enjoy!

Catching up with The Feelies

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The Feelies

Since you landed on this post, you’ve probably already checked out the Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? post about The Feelies‘ Fourth of July weekend shows at Maxwell’s.

But if you’ve fallen behind on your Feelies news, here’s a collection of great items on the web about the shows, the band and the NEW ALBUM, for which the band has been writing new songs for a couple of years. Production is supposed to start any day. Read on for more.

Jim Testa‘s known The Feelies since Day One, so his voice in Jersey Beat is authoritative. Click here for his review and his insights about the new album.

Katie Demeski, daughter of Feelies drummer Stanely Demeski, blogs about a number of things, but mostly ruminates on her dad’s band. She posted some videos of her dad practicing here, gives her impressions of The Feelies demos here, talks about the in-the-works Feelies album here and weighs in on Feelies offshoot band Speed the Plough‘s new album here.

And The NJ Underground, a site aimed at younger music fans, did a good piece on The Feelies. Perhaps this accounted for the rather high percentage of young people in the audience at Maxwell’s last weekend.

An insider’s view of The Feelies

Glenn Mercer and Stanley Demeski.

Glenn Mercer and Stanley Demeski.

Katie Demeski

Katie Demeski

Katie Demeski, daughter of The Feelies drummer Stan Demeski, has come through as I hoped with a fastastic post on her blog about The Feelies’ Fourth of July Weekend shows at Maxwell’s. I’ll let her tell the story and try to get out of the way. Go, Katie:

So the Feelies shows came and went and, again, they were amazing. On the first night, three of my friends came. One of them, Matt, was even at the sound check. The sound check itself ran a little late, but in the first hour or so, Glenn started playing “Billie Jean”. Then Dave started singing in falsetto and playing his snare to the beat. It was absolutely hilarious and kind of made my day.

Anyway, so we ate at Maxwell’s and my other friends, Dan and Liebold arrived. It was pretty packed that night, but we were able to get pretty good spots. As for the actual show, this year the Feelies started things out with some more mellow songs like “When Company Comes,” and a cover of “Sunday Morning.” New additions to the lineup included “Egyptian Reggae”, “Moscow Nights”, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey,” and “Invitation” (although, as mentioned in a previous entry, they added that song on New Year’s Eve). There was even one new song, “Bluer Skies” on which Brenda’s husband, Rich Barnes of Wild Carnation, even played keyboard on it while sitting on the little crate that is used as a step to get to the stage at Maxwell’s.

Friday night I went to the sound check with my dad because my mom and my brother were going to take the train after my mom got out of work. Anyway, Dave again started singing Michael Jackson when Andy the sound man told him he could sing into his mic if he wanted. So he sang “Thriller” and I felt the need to text Matt and inform him about it. I just chilled at Maxwell’s for most of the afternoon, reading Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer. The show was pretty much the same as the day before, except I was standing next to a particularly obnoxious tall drunk man who got more and more drunk as the night progressed. Regardless it was fun.

On the Fourth of July, I took the train to Hoboken with my mom and brother and it was pretty damn crowded especially for the Hawthorne train station. My dad had asked me earlier in the week if I would help Bill’s nephew, Ben, film for his Feelies concert movie. Ben and his friend (Nick, I think?) had attatched a camera holder-thing to a pole and I was instructed to put the end of the pole in my pocket and film from a little farther away than I had been standing, using the screen on the camera to keep track of the shot. Ben also had all of the Feelies go into the dressing room alone and he filmed each of them for five minutes, not asking them any questions or anything. When Bill came out he said, “I feel violated.”

Thanks, Katie. You are awesome. Click here to read the rest of Katie’s entry.