Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Interview with Jeremy Dubs
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How you first got into music ? What was the first instrument you started playing?
My first memory of realization that music was what I wanted to do is when I was a young child in the early 80's listening to some song on the radio on vacation with my family. I was bopping along and my mom told me I had a really good beat. And I remember thinking, "yeah that's right, I do." My second most vivid memory is when I was about 9 or 10, my brother gave me a cassette tape of The Beatles' 1967-70. He told me that they would probably be my new favorite band (at the time it was The Monkees). He was right. From that moment, all I wanted was to be one of The Beatles. I dabbled in keyboard and ukulele as a kid, but the first instrument I really learned how to play was the drums. My parents bought me a drum set when I was in 8th grade. In high school I played percussion in marching and concert band, and also sang in Chorus. My senior year, I decided I wanted to learn how to write songs so I sold my drum set and got my first guitar.
A little more about me and how I got into music: I am 33 years old. I grew up in a wheelchair, in and out of hospitals because of a genetic disorder I have called Osteo Genesis Imperfecta. Not being as mobile as other kids, I adapted by learning how to live in my head to keep me happy. Music was the perfect outlet for me to feel like I belonged in the world. I am lucky to have had an amazing family who taught me how to find joy during hard times. I found that this was always the key to surviving. Speak! is the closest I have come, musically, to communicating this message. The genius and spirit of Harry Nilsson helped me discover that inner joy and my ability to express it.
So tell me about other music projects you are or were involved in? Also I read you are originally from Pennsylvania how did you end up in Northampton ?
Yes I am from central Pennsylvania originally. My first rock band was The Bennies. I met Frank Black after a FB and the Catholics show in 1998, gave him a tape of some of our demos. He liked it, and he and I became friends/pen pals. In 2000 I asked him if we could open for the Catholics at the Trocadero in Philadelphia and the 9:30 Club in D.C. He said yes and those turned out to be the first of many shows we would play together. The Bennies toured the whole east coast with the Catholics in 2002, and then we opened 7 shows for the Pixies in 2004. That's what brought Jack Godleski (best friend/bass player) and I to Northampton. When the Pixies got back together, we were still living in Pennsylvania. We knew that if we were going to have the opportunity to open for them, that we better get our shit together. We had no drummer at the time, so we moved up to Western Mass to find one, and we ended up loving the area so much that we didn't want to leave. In 2005, Jack and I were very serious about making our band better. We enjoyed all the fun we had in Bennies, but after the tour, we knew it was time to really start expanding and growing as a band. Suddenly we felt fearless and adventurous, and wanted to go as far out as possible while still remaining a tight unit. This became Bunnies, a science fiction project full of weird and big ideas. We recorded an album with Mission of Burma's Roger Miller as producer, called Music for Dinosaurs By Dinosaurs. Currently, we're writing another album. This one is Devoted to the Process of Action.
Since moving to Northampton, I've developed a lot of awesome friendships which have led me to other musical projects, such as... Rabbit Rabbit, in which I play the drums and co-write songs with the band's creative force, Louise Chicoine. And most recently I have been playing double drums (alongside Bunnies drummer Matthew Newman-Long) in the Albany band Severe Severe.
Tell me about the cover art to your cd "speak"?
The cover art for Speak! was done by my friend Amanda Michael Harris. She is the girlfriend of Nico, who is in Severe Severe. I was very familiar with her work and a huge fan. Another one of her paintings is on my living room wall. I knew she would do a good job. I didn't know exactly HOW good though until she showed me the front and back cover paintings. I had only sent her 2 songs and told her to do whatever she wanted. She described where the album is coming from perfectly. I was already thinking of it as a place where Harry Nilsson and I were able to meet up and make these discoveries together. Amanda showed me what that place looked like.
What work do you do outside of music ?
It is not exciting work. I have a part-time job as a research interviewer at a calling center. I perform health surveys and opinion surveys over the phone. The reason I like it is because it's flexible and is an easy way to earn some income while being busy in 4 bands. Haha.
If you could live in a parallel universe ... What would it be like ?
My parallel universe would probably look similar. The people in my parallel universe would be the same as the people in my life now. You know, come to think of it, my current life happenings are similar to what I would have wanted my parallel universe to be like.... I'm all about making dreams come true. My biggest dream is to meet Paul McCartney. Can you help me make that happen?
In my parallel universe we would all be a lot more in tune with the cosmos, like Carl Sagan, maybe even more in tune than Sagan. We would all be happy because we would be in constant awareness of how amazing life is, all the time. Does that mean it would be a constant party? Yes it does.
What will be some of the things we can expect from you in 2012 and beyond?
Well, all four projects I am involved in are working on new material for new albums. I am 8 songs into the sequel to Speak! Bunnies plan to complete Devoted to the Process of Action in 2012. Rabbit Rabbit is busy writing a nature album. Matt and I just joined Severe Severe recently, but there is already talk of recording.
As far as Speak! is concerned, expect a new music video for "Listen, the Snow is Falling", directed by Matthew from Bunnies and SS. We filmed it last week and it will have an internet release very soon. The next album will continue where the first one left off, and go even deeper into the Speak! world.
CD Available here ->The Bureau Records