Jimi Alan and Eddie Territo of Bubba Grouch
What is the history behind the band? MusicXplorer finds out.
Jimi Alan and Eddie Territo are the founding members of Bubba Grouch, they have been playing together for over ten years. The band emerged from the connections they had while in the band, Our Black Friday. MusicXplorer talked to Jimi Alan about his life in music and about his recording studio, Rockslide Studios, in a previous article, so this is our opportunity to get to know Eddie and how he and Jimi created Bubba Grouch.
Hi Eddie, MusicXplorer did an interview with Jimi, and we have his background; but what’s your story?
Eddie — I’m from the Succasunna area of NJ. I started playing drums and writing music at a young age and was in a band in high school with Jay Miller, who is the bassist for Bubba Grouch. My band mates weren’t receptive to hearing a drummer writing music and didn’t really want to hear my ideas all that much, so I started writing my own songs and recording them myself. I play drums, but I taught myself to play guitar and keyboards, nothing fancy. I was recording my own stuff, and then I brought Jay Miller into the studio to throw some bass tracks down. I didn’t have a singer, so I started singing myself.
So you have been with Jay since High school?
Eddie — Yeah, Jason got more and more involved in the band I was creating. We called the band, BitterSweet. We put out demos. We practiced a lot, but never really played out a lot. It never really went anywhere, but we did put out of an album together. In the end, the project all fell apart.
Who are your influences
Eddie — I have very eclectic tastes in music, especially the 90’s. I love both versions of Van Halen, they are two different bands. My first concert was Van Halen on the 5150 tour. I listened to Van Halen with David Lee Roth, but I never got to experience that until I was much older.
5150 is a great album.
Eddie —Yeah, I love Sammy and I think a lot of my style lately has his influences. I’ve been hearing from people that I sound like him. I never really realized I do, but I think I do. I also love Mike Patent of Faith No More, and I love the early Mr. Bungle. I just love the energy to it. I think he’s a very talented vocalist, as some of his stuff that he does is way out there. I like to listen to try and find new music. When Pearl Jam came out, I loved them right away. I also love Chris Cornell. I never considered myself a singer, though.
Jimi —You are now!
Eddie —I was a drummer, but vocally, I started singing and trying to find my own style. I try to keep my singing a little soulful.
Jimi —I gotta cut the brakes on the hoeky stuff.
How did you become comfortable singing?
Eddie —I just started singing my own songs, because I didn’t have anybody to sing. People said I sounded pretty good, so I just kind of kept working on it. I never really wanted to be a singer, I just wanted to make music. I started singing out of necessity and by accident, it just developed over time. I kinda know what my limits are, and how I can use my voice to make it sound a little more interesting. I hear a lot of singers that might have great pitch and can hit the notes, but don’t have character to the voice. I think that’s what one of my strengths, is that I give character to the voice.
So what happened after you did the album with Jay?
Eddie — I got married and had some kids. I didn’t really play for a long time. Many years later I started dabbling again.
What did you do?
Eddie — I did some drumming in bar bands. I put an ad on Craigslist to start a band. I was running a lot of demos of my own stuff again. I joined a website in 2003 called Song Fight, and every week they would post a title of a song and these nerds from all over the world would write a song. Everyone got one week to record it and submit it, and everybody would vote for a winner. I did it for two or three years. I was doing it all the time because I was just really into it, and doing it all by myself. It really helped me develop my craft.
I never heard of Song Fight. Sounds pretty cool.
Eddie —It just helped me develop as a songwriter and see myself in a different light. I put out a CD called EddieBangs, but it is nothing great.
Where did EddieBangs come from?
Eddie —It was EddieBangs, ’cause I play the drums. That kinda stuck with me. I used it as my moniker on Song Fight.
What happened with Song Fight?
Eddie — I had all these songs, and I just wanted to try and put a band together. I wanted to play live and get out there and play my stuff, so I put an ad in Craigslist and Scott Williams responded and liked what he heard. He sent me some of his stuff, but I was not really into joining a band. He was trying to create a band like I was, which he turned into Our Black Friday.
Our Black Friday was an original band?
Eddie — Yeah.
How did it work out with Scott?
Eddie — I ended up doing some recordings with Scott. So we got together, and we did some demos of his songs. I played some of the drums and vocals. We put a couple of them together and that’s what Jimmy ended up hearing. It just didn’t work out, and Scott had his own vision, so I left and then later on they called me back when Jimi got involved with them.
How did you get involved Jimi?
Jimi — Scott had an ad, and I was just looking for a gig, so I called him, and when I got down there to meet him, he didn’t really have a band. He was building a band.
Not what you were looking for?
Jimi —Yeah, and I was like, “Well look man, I’m not really into building a band, but the demo sounds great, so where is that singer?” and Scott said, “Well you know, we kinda had a falling out,” and I said, “I’ll do this if you get that guy on that tape.” He wasn’t sure, you know, he’s like, “I don’t know.” I was like, “Well suck it up and call him.” He did, and Ed came back.
That’s friggin’ funny!
Eddie —Scott and I had strong feelings about the direction of where the band was going, and it wasn’t a good split.
What was your reaction when Scott called?
Eddie —A year or two had gone by, so I was like, whatever, OK.
So that was two years later until Jimi heard the demos?
That’s a long time. What did the band name become?
Jimi — Our Black Friday was the name of the band. We did some good things in Our Black Friday. The band went through a few iterations after Ed split. Manny Cabo did some stuff. We opened up for Great White.
Manny Cabo from the Voice?
Jimi — Yeah, I played with him recently. We also did some recording with Ben Elliott at Showplace Studios in Dover.
I saw that Manny did some photos for you in the Aquarian article from 2015.
What happened after Our Black Friday?
Eddie — I left, but Jimi stayed for a while, and actually he’s still in the band. The band really didn’t do anything after I had left. Manny came back to fill in for the Tantric show, but that was about it.
Jimi — I still play whenever they call. So Ed and I started writing together and my influence had changed. I started to get a little more true to myself. I was just letting whatever naturally to came out. In fact, a lot of the Bubba Grouch stuff were demos of stuff when I was learning to record. So whatever actually came out we wrote, and then fine tuned everything, and that’s pretty much how the band got started.
Did Black Friday release anything?
Jimi —It never got released. That was another thing that that was part of the problem. We did all this work and there was no hype and nothing in the future planned. There was no goal. The goal was to get that recording and that was it. We had spent a lot of the time getting everything at least packaged as a formal CD as opposed to just the studio master, and that’s all I ever got. In fact, I still have the actual master disc somewhere.
Eddie —So I said to Scott, “There’s some good stuff that we should finish it, and put it out.” I would love that.
Then what happened?
Eddie — Well, Jimmy and I wrote a song called Disaster. It was the first song we wrote together. Scott liked it, so we brought it into the band, Our Black Friday, and recorded it at the Showplace in Dover. We wrote another one.
Eddie —Oh yeah, OK, that’s two that we did with Our Black Friday. We wrote another one which was Broken But Home, but by that time, I kinda knew I was gonna leave the band, so we didn’t bring it in.
Jimi —I just felt that it didn’t belong to Our Black Friday. It was totally different and more me. You know what I’m saying?
Eddie —Disaster is pretty heavy too.
Jimi — Broken but Home was the first one that we kind of kept to ourselves.
Broken But Home and Whiskey are radio friendly.
Jimi —I don’t know if it holds up today,
Eddie —Whiskey is the Fans favorite, but we did not do that by design. It just kinda morphed.
So then you guys decided you had something?
Jimi —Yeah, we had moved on from Our Black Friday and started to write together.
Eddie —We already had written a couple songs and we were sending stuff back and forth.
Jimi — I said one night, “Look man, I’ve got all these demos,” and I started popping stuff to Ed, and he was like that’s cool, that’s cool. He just kind of went to work and put great lyrics to everything. The most interesting thing to me was just what he would put in the lyric content. He has this way with words.
You guys had the same vision?
Eddie — We clicked immediately.
Jimi —Yeah, sometimes I don’t know what I’m gonna expect from Ed. Sometimes we go back and forth, but for the most part, everything is like spot on right away, so there’s very little work to do.
Eddie —When Jimmy and I started writing, I learned to stop trying to write a song and just let it come and let my own voice come through and be honest, not forcing it.
Jimi — I think that shows, the honesty in it you know. That’s what’s in the music, I wanted to be honest. I don’t wanna try to pawn something off and make a cheap copy of something.
Eddie —The Tin Whiskers album was the first time I ever did a project, where I am still proud of it. It’s four years old now, and I listen back to it and there’s nothing I am embarrassed about.
Jimi — From an engineering perspective, there were so many things I would have done different. But I’m really happy with the songs.
So Eddie, you were hearing what was in Jimi’s head?
Eddie —Right. I don’t write the music. I mean, I don’t have any preconceived notion when he sends me songs. There is only one song on the first CD that I wrote music to, which I was surprised that he wanted to do, because it’s got a synthesizer which Jimi put a double delay on the guitar to duplicate it.
That was Brand New Deja Vu?
Eddie —Yeah, I had this for Song Fight, but I never submitted it, and then I changed the lyrics, so that’s the only one I wrote music on. Other than that, usually it’s Jimi who writes the music.
The solo at the end just kicks ass!
Jimi — We had built a ton of songs, and I thought it was time for us to get a band. So we called in the monkees.
I guess we will leave it there and continue this story on the creation of Bubba Grouch in the follow up interview. In the meantime, check out Bubba Grouch and the fan favorite- The Whiskey Song.
“The Whiskey Song” — Bubba Grouch Live at The Stanhope House
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