Brenda Sauter- The Feelies
Brenda is a multi-talented musician, as she sings, plays bass, guitar, and piano. Brenda has been a member of The Feelies since 1983 and has recorded with them since their second album, The Good Earth in 1986. The Feelies have been a highly-influential band to such artists as R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Weezer, Wilco, and others. Some of the bands’ highlights are appearing in Jonathan Demme’s film, Something Wild, opening for R.E.M. in 1986, and Lou Reed in 1989. The Feelies currently play 10-15 shows each year (mainly along the East Coast) and have released six albums and several EP’s.
Brenda’s other bands
Brenda has also been involved in other bands associated with The Feelies. She began in 1982 by joining The Trypes, Yung Wu (with Dave Weckerman fronting the band), and the The Willies (a more ambient precursor of the 1983 Feelies lineup). These bands were and still are from Haledon, NJ. Brenda joined Speed The Plough in 1991 after The Feelies stopped playing. She joined other musicians, including future husband, Richard Barnes, in 1992 to form Wild Carnation. They have released two CD’s, and a third to come.
Video Interview With Brenda
Scott McDonald – Guitarist for the Fleetwood Mac Tribute Band- TUSK
Scott is a founding member of the highly successful band. He discusses the band, Lindsey Buckingham, and his upcoming solo album.
MUSICXPLORER asks what is the history on Tusk?
The band has been together for almost 12 years. Scott and Tom Nelson have known each other ever since they were toddlers. They were both mutual friends with Kathy, Kim, and Randy since the early 1990’s. A mutual friend of the band suggested to them that they form a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, and the rest is history. The band has been playing to sold-out theaters across the country, and will be going to Hawaii for the first time this April. Their Youtube video of The Chain has reached over two million views!
We did our interview with Scott at the Count Basie Theater in Redbank, NJ. The band played to an almost sold-out crowd of 1,400. In the video interview, you can see Bruce Springsteen’s guitars in a case as the backdrop.
The band recently had one of the rarest opportunities for any band, to be able to play with an orchestra.
Scott- “We did the show with a 65 piece orchestra. We met Jim Ross, a viola player with The Desert Symphony, who had played with The Eagles recently, and they were top-notch pros. It was a fantastic experience. We performed a 75 minute set to an audience of approximately 900 plus people.
New solo album to be released this year.
Scott is working on his latest solo album, and it is being produced by Brian Anthony, set to be released later in 2020. Tom from Tusk is on most of the album, while the other members of Tusk are on some songs. The album is going to be more hard rock than Fleetwood Mac songs, but will still have pop elements. MusicXplorer will follow up with Scott after his album is released,
Video interview with Scott McDonald
Critically Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter
Who is Marc Jonson asks MUSICXPLORER?
Marc Jonson, is a singer/songwriter from Merrick, New York. Marc got his start in 1972 producing his own album, Years, with Vanguard Records. He has worked with a lot of artists over the years, and a number of them have recorded his songs, including Dave Edmunds, Robert Gordon, Paul Butterfield, and many others. Marc has also co-written songs or performed with Willie Nile (appearing on most of his albums), The Smithereens, Lisa Loeb, Shawn Colvin, and Suzanne Vega to name a few. His latest recordings will appear on his upcoming album, When, to be released in 2020. Marc’s latest collaboration is with a band from Spain, Compañía de Sueños Ilimitada, and their first single together is, My Girlfriend Doesn’t Like the Ramones.
Rolling Stone Magazine Review of Marc Jonson’s “Across The Night”
One of Marc’s most recent songs, Across The Night, was written for the SS United States Conservancy to help raise awareness of the historic ship’s fate performed at the Union League in Philadelphia. David Dalton, author and founding editor for Rolling Stone Magazine, said this about the song: “So great! I felt like I was on that liner leaning on the rail looking out at the stars in the night sky, and the lapping waves.”
Video interview with Marc Jonson
The man, myth, and legend of Deerfield Beach Island…
MusicXplorer asks, who is Buddy Sparrow?
Buddy Sparrow/Nobuddy Famous, is a talented singer/guitarist from New Jersey who was very active in the 1980’s and 1990’s with his band, Direct Touch. Direct Touch was a popular local act in the New Jersey club circuit, and released several albums that received radio airplay. During the late 1990’s, Bud moved to Deerfield Beach, Florida. He continued to write songs and perform, and he was involved with several bands that also played his original music. In the early 2000’s, Bud decided to go under the moniker Nobuddy Famous, releasing an album in 2016 called “Deerfield Cay” to help support the Surfers for Autism, as well as getting the Deerfield Beach area’s attention. The album was produced by Tom Root in his home studio in New Jersey. Buddy is working on the follow-up to Deerfield Cay, to be released in 2020.
Trailer video of the interview with Buddy Sparrow
If you would like to be involved with this great organization, please click the link below to their website.
Below is the video of “Freedom Ride,” a song from the Deerfield Cay album. This song is dedicated to the children that have autism, as well as the organization, Surfers for Autism. “It really is an amazing, beautiful thing to see these kids surf on surfboards and their symptoms disappear,” said Bud.
“Freedom Ride” — Buddy Sparrow and Surfers For Autism
Here are links to other items of interest related to Buddy Sparrow
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A man of many talents with a Brooklyn attitude. Johnny discusses his music life and his album, Johnny Pisano’s Punk Rock Pizzeria.
MUSICXPLORER —We caught up with Johnny Pisano last year when he was playing with Willie Nile at the Outpost in the Burbs in Montclair, New Jersey. We talked about his musical adventures, the people he has met and played with, including, Ryan Adams, Woody Harrelson, Marky Ramone, Willie Nile, and jazz guitarist, John Pisano, whom he has never met. We also talked to Johnny about his album, Punk Rock Pizzeria-Everybody Gets a Slice.
Johnny, you are not related to the jazz guitarist, John Pisano, are you?
Johnny—No. I’m not. His name is spelled the same as mine, but he’s John and I’m Johnny. It’s funny you ask because I do have a story about that. Sometimes there’s a story behind everything.
Johnny —In 2004, I was recording with Ryan Adams for his Rock N Roll and Love is Hell records. When the record came out, under the credits for the songs I played on, it said John Pisano. I prefer it read Johnny. I didn’t think anything of it, however, I called his management to see if they can change it to Johnny for the second pressing. Then they asked, if I received my check for the session. I said, “No, I didn’t.” They said they sent it and asked, “Don’t you live in Sacramento, CA?” I said, “No, I live in Brooklyn.” I’m pretty sure they made the check out to John Pisano, because he’s in the Universal Music Database, so I assume that is what happened.
Did you ever talk to him about it?
Johnny —I wanted to get in touch with him and joke about it, but I wasn’t able to reach him. I would love to though.
Did you get paid?
Johnny —Yes, they cut me another check. I don’t care what happened. It’s good he got the money. If a check comes in my name, I’m going to cash it, it’s fine. Can you imagine if I ever got to play with him? That would be really cool. He’s an amazing guitar player.
When I Google your name, he comes up.
Johnny —You know it’s funny, when I look at his face, he does look like members of my family. So maybe, I mean, you never know. We could be related.
Johnny —And I’ve even got another story about him.
Lets hear it!
Johnny — I got a phone call once, because, I’m in the Musicians Union, so they called me and said, “Hey there’s this guy who wants to interview you.” I said, “OK, sure, whatever.” The interview guy calls me one day, “You’ve played with Patsy Cline, right?” and I said, “No.” and he goes, “But, you played with…” and he’s naming all these old school people from the 50s and 60s, and I said,” No.” you must be thinking of John Pisano, the jazz guitar player. They replied, “Yeah.” and I said, “Well, you got the wrong guy. First of all, I’m a bass player, but tell him I said hello.”
Sounds like you’re destined to meet him.
That’s enough of John Pisano. Let’s talk about you…Johnny Pisano. Your main gig is with Willie Nile, but you’ve got a long history of playing with a lot of people. For starters, story has it, Woody Harrelson saw you playing at the Bitter End in NYC one night, and he asked you to be in his band. Was he the first well-known person you came across and played with?
Johnny —Yeah. Well that’s an interesting question, because I didn’t actually get to play with him. He walked up to me after a gig I did with Crispy Brown and said, “I’ve been looking all over the City for a good bass player and would like you in my band.” He told me to come to his place in upstate New York. We had fun, but I was afraid to quit my job at FedEx. I went home and I was not sure what to do. I was going to claim a fake back injury with work. I was trying to figure out how to make this thing work, but instilled with in me are my parents’ work ethic. I felt I was compelled not to quit my job. Like an idiot, I never went back with Woody. I think back now man, I should have jumped at the moment when opportunity knocked.
When was that? Were you kicking yourself in the ass?
Johnny —Yeah, it was 1995. I think I was 27.I was so upset with myself when I told Woody I couldn’t do it. It was the first time I ever met anyone famous. Opportunity knocked for the first time, and I slammed the door in its face. He told me, “I’ll pay you a weekly salary. We’re going to go on tour.” But I just couldn’t do it. In the end, it was a quick passing fad for him. So, I told him no, and I went home with my tail between my legs.
It hit you pretty hard, huh?
Johnny —Yeah, then he haunted me.
Johnny —I had to go to work every morning and take the train, and I saw these big billboards on the platforms along the way. They were advertising for the Natural Born Killers movie that was coming out, and they all showed his bald head on all these billboards. It was haunting me.
Johnny —Now it is, but it wasn’t then. It took months to get over it, and I was really depressed.
How did things work out for you after that?
Johnny —Within six months, in April of 96, I joined Marky Ramone of the Ramones’, with his band,The Intruders.
How did that work out?
Johnny —It was great while it lasted, and I got a lot of experience; but then Marky realized that he could make more money playing Ramone’s songs, and ended it in 2000.
Did that set you back? Were you angry?
Johnny —I don’t blame him at all. I would have done it. We are still friends to this day. I still had my Fedex job because Marky wasn’t playing out all the time. I then hooked up with Jesse Malin a few months after that and did some recording with him.
How did that go?
Johnny —Great. I played and recorded with him through 2005.
Didn’t Ryan Adams produce his first record?
Johnny —Yeah, he played on it too. The record was called The Fine Art of Self Destruction.
What happened in 2005? Did you still have your Fedex job?
Johnny —In 2003, I said, “Fuck it,” and gave up my Fedex job. I decided I was going to be a musician full time and was always finding work to do one way or another, including working at Jesse Malins’ bars.
So, you then hooked up with Willie Nile?
Johnny —Actually in 2005 with the help of my friend, Leah Lax, helping me, I auditioned and got a bunch of gigs that turned into other gigs and I was spreading myself pretty thin. In 2007, Willie was looking for a bass player and asked Jesse if he knew somebody. Jesse gave him my number and told him “You gotta call this guy.” This is your guy.
And you’ve been with Willie since?
Johnny—Yeah, it’s been great.
So, let’s get on with your record. Why did you call it Punk Rock Pizzeria?
Johnny —Its a quirky title, yeah. Willie, Jesse, and others call me Johnny Pi, kind of poking fun at my uber Italian name. So I came up with the title, “Johnny Pisano’s Punk Rock Pizzeria-Everybody Gets a Slice.” It’s a long title, but I thought it was funny.
What made you want to do the record?
Johnny —I always wanted to do my own record, and I already had this Reggae version of Willie’s One Guitar in my head for three years. It was just looping in my brain, and I knew I had to record it. Finally, one day I got Alex Alexander and Matt Hogan in the studio with Dave Steckert, and we cut it at Dave Vogel’s studio. It came out great, I even had Willie sing on it. Dave Steckert, did a video slideshow and put it on YouTube. It then wound up sitting on a shelf. One day, I decided, if I don’t do a full record now, it’s never going to happen. I had this fantasy of putting up my own record for many years, and I was determined to do a punk rock record. I didn’t care if people liked it or not.
That is pretty cool that Willie did it. Did he like your version?
Johnny —He did. There is a good story about the song, One Guitar, where Tom Morello was involved in a march in NYC with at least 500 people playing that song with acoustic guitars, during, the Occupy Movement and they’re all singing it marching down 5th Avenue.(Check out the Video)
That is awesome!
Some of the songs on the album aren’t punk. Like you said, you have a Reggae version of One Guitar.
Johnny —Right. There are certain songs that aren’t really punk, but I have the punk rock attitude on the whole album.
Johnny —Maloveilove, is not a punk song. It’s rock, but not every song on the album is catered for everyone to like, and I don’t care, so there’s my punk rock attitude again.
MaloveIlove definitely sounds like the hit off the album. It’s pretty cool.
Johnny —I’m proud of the bass line on that one. It sounds like a synthesizer, but it’s an envelope filter, a pedal. It’s kind of like a backwards Wah.
I never heard of that pedal. Sounds cool.
Where did Maloveilove come from?
Johnny —The name, Maloveilove, is kind of a pet name you would say to your girl. My love, I love, but I made it into one word.
Right. What about MusicXplorer. It’s one word?
Johnny —I love it. It’s art.
What about the song Pilicious Bitches?
Johnny —Pilicious is another word I made up. That idea really came from Matt Hogan. Willie and Matt always tortured me about my name because of Pi. “With anything, you got Wi-Fi. Oh, you mean Wi-Pi.” Matt would say, “Hey, have you heard that song it’s Pirific,” instead of terrific, or Pitastic instead of Fantastic, and it just went on on and on. I said, “You know, I can make a song out of that.” But, I can’t write a song about myself. That would be narcissistic, and I’m not ego headed. So then I came up with Pilicious Bitches, and knew I had to make a song about pizza.
Pilicious is definitely a new word.
Johnny —Another cool thing about this, is that my friend, Alex Coletti, who is one of the inventors of MTV unplugged, said, “Listen, I’ve got this reality show. I’m not sure if we’ll ever do it, but if we do, it is about a pizza delivery guy, and we can use your song Pilicious Bitches.” The song I thought no one would care about, and I put it on as kind of a half a joke, could be the one that makes it into a reality show. That shows any song could be a hit. A song you would never think twice about, and be the song that actually makes a splash. You never know. I’m not getting my hopes up. We all know how these things go.
Johnny —Some of the songs have curses in them, like Maloveilove. But I have clean versions of the songs with no curses, in case somebody’s kids are around, or more importantly, a DJ wants to play it.
How did the other songs all come about?
Johnny —Some of the songs were supposed to be on the 3rd Marky and The Intruders record, but Marky wanted to stop before we finished it.
Johnny —All Fucked Up From Growing Up and The Streets of Sao Paulo, which we were already playing in the year 2000.
How about Superhero? That is funny that you have the Mighty Mouse theme song in the beginning.
Johnny —Yeah,I loved Mighty Mouse when I was growing up. I went to my friend, Arlan Fieles, and we created all the instruments in his home studio. I’m singing it with him, and he did all the instruments on samples of harps and then at the end, there’s the Superman flying sound. I had the Mighty Mouse part squashed sounding in the beginning, like it was coming out of a transistor radio, to make it sound like it was coming out of a TV from the 50s. But at the end of the record, after One Guitar Mon’, there’s a hidden track, and it’s the longer and better sounding Mighty Mouse.
Johnny —I didn’t write anything political on the record like some artists do. The strongest song on their regarding that would be the Know It Alls. Assholes who think they know it all. Basically, it’s about when you have to work for a boss that really breaks your balls all day, but you can’t quit. You’re stuck with this shit, and it’s about how they treat you. So this about anyone. It could be your boss, could be manager of the band you’re in, etc. Anybody that treats you shitty.
What’s your favorite song?
Johnny — I think between Maloveilove and Superhero for different reasons. Maloveilove has become everyone’s favorite, a close second seems to be Superhero, All Fucked Up, or The Know it Alls.
You’ve got a lot of good stories, and a lot more history to talk about. So much in fact, we are gonna have do a follow-up video interview. I’d love to interview Willie some time.
Johnny —Sure, I’ll talk to Willie about it. I’m sure he’d do it.
Here are links to other things related to Johnny
Video slide show of One Guitar Mon’. Johnny’s reggae version of the Willie Nile song.
Johnny playing with Willie Nile and Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen
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An all-new rock band from Edison, NJ
Who are Jacob Daniels & The Rounds?
Jacob Daniels & the Rounds is a new band that has emerged from the Edison area. Well, not that new. Jacob Daniels and Dan Neary are the brains behind the band and have been playing together for over 10 years. This band is their latest collaboration. Jake, the lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist, and Dan who plays electric guitar as well as background vocals. The pair also perform in the Jake & Dan duo and trio. Dan is also in the popular cover band Event Horizon. Well, that’s enough of that. Let’s get on with the MusicXplorer interview and see what these guys are up to with the new album that is in the works.
MUSICXPLORER — Let’s get some history on you guys. How did you meet, and how long have you been playing together?
Dan — We met in 2007 while we were working at the Middlesex County College at the college book store. We went to from the same high school but didn’t hang out with each other.
Why was that?
Dan — Because Jake was a dumb-looking Dude. (Dan laughs)
Jake — Yeah, and Dan looked like a Bill or a Ted type from the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure movies.
When and how did you start making music and collaborating?
Dan — I started playing at a young age and had a band in high school. We played the talent show, and I have had my band, Derailer since 2008.
Jake — I started playing prior to 2008 making my own music, but I was doing it in my basement and was too scared to go out and play. I didn’t think I was good enough to play out.
Jake — We started talking about music at the book store and I told Dan that I had written songs on my acoustic, so we got together and I showed them to him.
How did your playing styles work out? They are a bit different, especially with Dan doing electric.
Jake — I have a Richie Havens playing style. He is definitely a main influence for me, and I even got to meet him and gave him a CD of my music.
That’s so cool for people to get a chance to meet their inspiration!! So Dan, how about your style and influences?
Dan — I have a metal, 70’s and 80s style. My influences are a mix of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, and Slash.
So, how did you guys make it gel?
Dan — We tried figuring out how our two styles would work together, and it sort of balanced itself out after trial and error. Once we got this figured out, we started doing the open mic thing as a duo around 2008.
Jake — It took a few years for us playing the open mics to get it down right and for us to harmonize. By 2012 we felt good enough to really start playing out at regular gigs.
How did Jacob Daniels & the Rounds come about and who is Jacob Daniels?
Jake — A name like Jacob Schneck doesn’t sound too cool for a band name. Daniel is my middle name and it sounded a lot better. Jack Daniels is my favorite drink, so it just fit.
Dan is the one that did the push for us to do the album. If it weren’t for him, quite honestly, we wouldn’t be here right now.
Dan — Aw man, that’s so nice.
Jake — Stop right now, I’m about to trash you. (Dan & Jake laugh)
Have you guys been in the studio before or is this your first time making an album?
Jake — I’ve never recorded in the studio before, but I did a video a few years ago for my song “All Gone Away” but I really don’t know anything about the musical equipment side, the PA, and stuff. I have no clue how that works.
Dan — I was asked by Roy Brunston to come and try out for his Audio Empire band and they seemed like a great group of guys, so we went into the studio to record the debut album with Joe DeMaio at Shorefire Studios in Red Bank. I gained a lot of knowledge from that experience. Since I had no idea how to make a record, I pushed Jake to make an album. Jake had so many great songs that were not professionally recorded, so I flat out told him he really needed to make one. It was overdue.
Tell us about the album. Who are the musicians on it and when you hope to release it.
Jake — Right now we have 10 years of songs that we are picking through and we are also writing new ones. We are recording at HiVoltage Studios in Long Branch with Tony Lewis. We also have Kevin Krueger on bass and Andy Herschman on drums. We have been playing with these two guys for some years now when we needed drums and bass for the four-piece band. During the recording, I give the band the freedom to be creative. We hope to have the EP out by early 2019.
We’ve heard you play the song “Little Bird” with the duo. That’s an original, right?
Jake — Yeah that song has been around a while and it is on the album
What’s that song all about?
Jake — That’s my favorite song! It’s about Twitter, social media, Facebook, etc., and how relationships never really go away. Unlike the old days, when a relationship was done, it was done and you never saw that person again. But with social media today, people are always visible.
Thanks Dan and Jake for spending time with us. We look forward to the release of the album, and will catch up with you guys after it’s debut.
As we wait for the album to come out, check out some videos below and links to their sites.
- Check out their music on REVERBNATION