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.”
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
The Outcrops are a new band to hit the scene in New Jersey. Their album will be released October 13th.
MusicXplorer asks, who are The Outcrops?
Cassidy Rain and Bryan Schroeder are the founding members from Sussex County, New Jersey, both of whom are self-taught musicians. Cassidy is the lead-vocalist and plays rhythm guitar, while Bryan is the lead guitarist.
Prior to The Outcrops, Bryan was the drummer in two other bands. His father, a guitar player, was a big influence. Cassidy says she has always been singing, and took up guitar at the age of 14; playing a lot of open mic nights. In addition to her work in The Outcrops, Cassidy also plays in a female duo, Second Hand Smoke. Upon seeing the Allman Brothers Band, she was taken away and knew that their style was the inspiration she needed to hone in her own style.
The Outcrops formed in 2016. Their debut album, Peace of Mind, produced by Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth, is scheduled for release October 13, 2019. Their music is a flavor of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, old country, and jazz. Their influences include: The Allman Brothers, Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, BB King, and Buddy Guy, to name a few. Citizen Band Radio will be hosting their album release party at Bernie’s Hillside Lounge in Chester, New Jersey. The show starts at 6:00 PM.
Soul in the music
When Jay Jannuzzi of Blue Raven Entertainment, contacted MusicXplorer about interviewing Cassidy and Bryan to promote the band and the release of the album, it was obvious he was really excited about them. After meeting them and listening to their music, it was clear right away what he saw. They have a style of playing you don’t see everyday with new artists. Cassidy has such soul in her voice, and with Bryan’s skilled guitar playing, they are a great combination. With their songs Peace of Mind, Skeleton Key, and Lost Days, you get a true sense for what they are reaching.
Past gigs and future plans
The Outcrops have received great reviews prior to the release of the album, and won the Second Annual SOPAC Blues Challenge. They have shared the stage with John Ginty, Tim Carbone, and Grammy-nominated artist, The Alex P. Suter Band, among others. The band will be going on the road to support the album, and will be playing at Gypsy Sally’s in Washington, DC. They will also be at the Newton Theater in March, 2020.
Trailer video of the interview with Cassidy and Bryan of The Outcrops
Here are links to other items of interest related to The Outcrops
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.
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.
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
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.
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.