Tag Archives: Speed the Plough

Speed the Plough: Still going strong 30 years on

An interview published Feb.16, 1996, in The Record of North Jersey, in advance of a Speed the Plough show at Maxwell's.

North Jersey rockers look ahead with 6 new tracks on retrospective out Sept. 17 on Bar/None, play Hoboken Arts & Music Festival Sept. 29

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)

I have to call myself a latecomer to Speed the Plough.

Sure, I knew them in the 1990s, and in 1996 even interviewed then-members Brenda Sauter and Rich Barnes for The Record, the newspaper then based in Hackensack, N.J. But by then the band was already 13 years into its career.
for a long time.

So, mathematically at least, that makes me a relative newbie. But, like most bands in the extended family of The Feelies, Speed the Plough has gone through many changes in personnel and has continued to make new, and often quite loyal, fans, throughout its three decades.

John Baumgartner joins The Feelies on July 8, 2013, during the band's final Fourth of July shows at Maxwell's. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

John Baumgartner joins The Feelies on July 8, 2013, during the band’s final Fourth of July shows at Maxwell’s. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

But this year, two years after its last album, STP is commemorating the three-decade mark with an album.  The Plough and the Stars, available for preorder now by clicking here, may be a box set, but it’s definitely no pine box ready  for burial.

STP has always marched to the sound of its own drummer (now, and often, a Demeski!), with its somewhat pastoral sound. But it’s also never stopped moving forward, however incrementally at times. 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

Rock out at Maxwell’s while you help young adults adapt to life after foster care

If you can’t picture yourself at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J., at 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, it’s time to make an exception.

Tomorrow, Aug. 13, that’s exactly where you should be. If you’re there, you’ll be helping young adults who have aged out of New Jersey’s foster-care system through the Roots & Wings foundation and listening to four great bands in the process: Speed the Plough, Yung Wu (a side project of Feelies percussionist Dave Weckerman), Wild Carnation (which includes Feelies bassist Brenda Sauter) and Charlotte Sometimes.

Of course this is just one of three shows, featuring 12 bands, being staged at the legendary Hoboken club this weekend as part of CamelFest 2011 in support of Roots & Wings. It’s sponsored by Great Meadows, N.J., -based Dromedary Records.

Photo by Katie Demeski

Speed the Plough (Photo by Katie Demeski)

Tonight’s show’s, which starts at 8, features Richard Barone, Robbers on High Street, Readymade Breakup and The Mommyheads. Tomorrow night, also at 8, it’s The 65’s, The Library is on Fire, Varsity Drag and Stuyvesant.

Tickets are $10 per show. They’re available online (click here for tonight, tomorrow afternoon, tomorrow night) and at the door.

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.)

It’s harvest time for Speed the Plough — and The Trypes, too

Speed the Plough: John Baumgartner, Dan Francia, Ian Francia, Michael Baumgartner, Marc Francia and Toni Baumgartner.

There are some big doings at Speed the Plough HQ. The latest incarnation of the band, a part of network of bands linked to The Feelies, has announced a deal for their new CD.

They’ve signed with Great Meadows, N.J, -based Dromedary Records, which will issue the band’s new disc, Shine, in August.  The lineup for the new album will feature the great guitar and vocal work of new Plough-man Ed Seifert (of Ed Seifert and the Stimulus Package, though you may also recognize Ed as The Feelies’ tech) and guest appearances by two former STPers and current members of Wild Carnation, Brenda Sauter (who’s also in The Feelies) and Rich Barnes.

What’s more, a compilation of tunes from The Trypes, another part of The Feelies’ family, is also nearing completion.

Click through to the jump for the full announcement. And be sure to check out the Speed the Plough website for updates. Continue reading