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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good things come to those who wait

I'm not going to waste a lot space with an intro except to say that my love of music and musicians is well known. Music is good for the soul! This week we have a dual interview with two of my favorite musicians in the business, and if you haven't checked out their music yet, you are missing out!  Most folks know Brian Blush from his famous signature guitar licks and riffs with the '90's band "The Refreshments", who had their first big hit with the single "Banditos" and also wrote and recorded the theme song for the television show "King of the Hill" (which, btw, does have a title, it's called "Yahoos & Triangles").  Jamon Scott is the vocalist/guitarist for the Tennessee based band "The Toluenes".  Jamon has much of his music influence from '90's music and "The Refreshments" especially.  It's a dream come true for these two to hook up in a band together and it shows in their music! Perfecto :-)

Visit "The Toluenes" at www.thetoluenes.com where you can get more bio info and buy any of their great CD's.

I haven't edited any part of their responses to my questions, except as noted. And, now on with the show!

K: Tell us how you two hooked up to make great music. 

Jamon:  I was a huge fan of the music Brian made with The Refreshments.  He always says it makes him feel old when I say this, but those two records were a big influence on me as a writer.  Not to mention the fact that the band name comes from a song Brian wrote for “The Bottle & Fresh Horses” called “Heaven Or The Highway Out Of Town” – ironically, the one line in the song that he didn’t write.  Otherwise, we’d have been called The Gasolines.
Anyway, Dan (editors note: Jamon and Dan Crawley had been recording together many years) had left the band right after “Off the Wagon and On the Lam”, so “Cervezas, Senoritas, Etc., Etc.” was basically just me with a couple of studio musicians.  When I got ready to do the follow-up, I wanted to take a different approach.  I made a short list of musicians I wanted to work with, one of which was Brian.

Brian:  I was living in South Bend, Indiana where I had started a pretty cool band called "The Southslope Cutthroats".  The drummer in the Cutthroats told me that this band from Tennessee was interested in having me play a couple of solos on their upcoming CD.  I checked out their website and really liked what I saw and heard.  So, I contacted Jamon and had him send me the new material that he wanted me to contribute to.  The first song was called "Her Way Or The Highway" and it instantly reminded me of early Refreshments material and I loved the vibe.  I laid down a hook & some lead work on it and it was magic.  I felt right at home with the song and it just flowed.  The other song was called "Dead Horses". (Editors note: "South Slope Cutthroats" recorded one CD together, "Teets" and is available for purchase. Contact Brian @ brianblush_thetoluenes@live.com for details. I highly recommend it! It's an awesome CD) 

Jamon:  When I heard the rough tracks he did for those two songs, I sent him another one called “Kitty”. 

Brian:  As I worked up a guitar hook for the song I started to think about asking Jamon if he would consider having me JOIN the band.  Those first 3 songs impressed me so much and I really felt at home in the musical context of the band.

Jamon:  That was a pretty easy decision for me.

Brian:  Jamon invited me to come down to Nashville to jam with the other guys and go into the studio to track the parts I had written for those songs.  After a killer recording session with Jim Allison at the console and an incredibly fun jam with the whole band up on Boogertown Rd in Gatlinburg, I was totally prepared to join the band and move to Tennessee to start rehearsing & finish the new CD-"Quatro Hello".  The initial move was a little bumpy, but as time progressed, Jamon and I discovered that we definitely were kindred spirits and we were very much musically simpatico.  Since then we have continued to develop into a band that I am proud to say I am a member of.

Jamon:  I guess you could say Brian is the musical equivalent of the proverbial stray dog that never leaves once you feed it.  We asked him to play on a couple of tunes and he ended up joining the band. 

K: What has been the best part of getting together as musicians? 

Jamon:  For me, it’s been the instant chemistry.  I remember when I first heard that “Blush sound” on “Her Way Or The Highway”, I thought, “this just feels right.”  I mean, with three records behind us, we had pretty much established what we were about.  Brian was able to bring his distinctive style to what we do.  The result was unquestionably The Toluenes, but better. 

Brian:  There is always a new kind of energy and vitality created when you collaborate or even jam with new, “like-minded” musicians.  Working with Jamon has re-invigorated my desire to make fun and interesting music.  After a pretty brutal decade, it’s amazing to lay down a good hook riff to a killer story-based song.  Jamon and I aren’t exactly cut from the same cloth, musically or philosophically, but we compliment each other’s pathos.  He’s got a hella nitch for some great one-liners, but he’s deeper than some of the songs show.  I’m looking forward again, instead of back. 
K: Any surprises from each other after you started playing together in the band?

Jamon:  The biggest surprise to me is how easy it’s been to work together.  I mean, I’ve been told I’m not exactly the easiest guy to work with.  Then you bring in a guy with the body of work Brian has.  I was fully prepared for him to be an arrogant fucking asshole like me.  There was every chance that we’d end up killing each other.  Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had some arguments…but I don’t think any of them have been music-related.

Brian:  It’s true that Jamon and I don’t always agree on some items, but we have enough of a common thread to respect each other’s ideas and influences.  It’s good to not be too kissy face; it stretches both of our creative identities…and, for the record, he’s pretty easy to work with.  I’m always impressed by his wit and intelligence mixed with fun in his lyrics.  I almost always hear a hook line over his progression and that’s a great feeling. 

K: What's on your iPod, or mp3, cd player...turntable...lol!  What do YOU listen to? 

Jamon:  Okay, I have two mp3 players.  One of them has mostly new music from bands like Rooney, The Shins, Phoenix, La Roux.  The other one has almost every song that ever hit the pop charts in the ‘80’s.  I’m a huge fan of Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Wham!, Culture Club…and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Brian:  I LOVE Phoenix.  That’s my new fix.  I’m also a HUGE fan of the Old 97’s – any of their records at 11!  Ryan Adams – Rock and Roll, Slaide Cleaves’ “Brokedown”.  I gotta give Jamon some real credit for introducing me to some stuff I probably wouldn’t have stumbled onto on my own.  He’s got me listening to the new Rick Springfield…and liking it! 

K:  Is this the best time in life for you?  Are you having the most fun ever? 

Jamon:  Well, I can’t speak for Brian, but I’m having a blast.  We’re planning to hit the road this fall, but I can’t imagine that’s going to be any more fun than the past few months playing right here at home.  As much as I love the energy of the band shows, nothing can compare to the intimacy of the acoustic shows Brian and I have been playing this summer.  There’s just something about the connection we can make in that setting.  It’s actually less of a show and more of a party.  We get to meet and talk with practically every single person at every single show.  The added bonus is that Gatlinburg, TN is this amazing little place that draws visitors from all over the world.  We can literally play the same bar every night and meet people from all 50 states and every country in the world.  I remember one night we met a couple of lovely ladies from Ireland.  Did you get their phone #’s, by the way?

Brian:  Every waking day is the best day of my life.  I’ve been dead twice – way overrated.  I’ve met great people over the years and I’ve fallen from grace at least more than once, but without going through all of my fuck-ups and selfish bullshit I wouldn’t, couldn’t have become who I am today.  Maybe not the “most” fun ever, but life is good and I’m smiling more each day. 

K:  "Quatro Hello" was so well received by both seasoned "Toluenes" fans and fans of Brian's from "Refreshments" and his former bands/solo days.  How can you top that?  What's up next?  Give us a teaser of what's coming up! 

Jamon:  Well, for one, we’re working on a Christmas song.  It’s a tune called “Hola Santa”.  I wrote it a few years back and have meant to record it every year since then, but I always wait too long.  I think this year is going to be the year, though.  We’re hoping to get into the studio in the next couple of weeks to lay it down.  We’re also in the process of narrowing down a huge pile of new songs into what will, ultimately, be the next record.

Brian:  It’s a slice o’ Heaven laying into some of these new tunes.  I got some sass back in my fingers and Jamon’s a top-notch lyricist & songwriter.  I’m grateful people still give a damn to hear ol’ Brian.  Makes me smile.  Next record will be incredible.  Can’t wait to get it cookin’.

K:  I asked fans if they had any questions to ask.  A fan at RCPM message board "Detroiter" asked this of Brian:

I'm pretty sure Brian grew up in the metro-Detroit area, and I know he played in a two piece band here in recent years called Luck and Trouble.

At any rate, I'm curious what his fonder memories might be of the Detroit area when he was younger. Did he play with any local bands in the area? Did he have any favorite local bands in the area? Favorite venues he played or visited?

Brian:  As a kid I grew up on the east side of metro Detroit and what I remember fondly of my younger days was going to BOBLO ISLAND on the famous BOBLO BOAT. I also was a big Tigers fan and going down to Tiger stadium was always great. Of course the music of Motown to Iggy and the Stooges had a huge impact on my musical psyche. As far as favorite venues, I loved SMALLS in Hamtramak and THE LAGER HOUSE in Detroit. I loved going to see THE REFERMEN @ Fifth Ave Billiards. Detroit is a kick ass music town and I have so many fond memories of living there. 

Much thanks to Jamon and Brian for going along with my adventure.  I appreciate your time, guys, and we'll be working together soon!  I've got lots of irons in the fire for road trip dates for them, so all you "Refreshments" and "Toluenes" fans be on the lookout.  They might just be partying in your town, or near your town, very soon and you won't want to miss the fun!


Wasn't this worth waiting for?  Music is such a huge influence in my life and it's fun to get to talk with the musicians that make the music we love so much.  And, getting to know more about bands that I work with is a real thrill for me.  I spend so much time working on the details, that sometimes I miss the personal aspect of getting to know them behind the music. 

I'm still open for any other bands, musicians, artists of any kind to be featured here.  If you have an indie CD, a self published book, an art gallery showing, any art of any kind would be welcome here.  I do have several authors to feature in the near future, my problem has been finding the time to read their art before I can even begin an interview. With "Bright Lights" in the can now and just waiting for release at Amazon and the usual e-reader outlets, I'll get to that hopefully in the next couple of weeks. 

Next week, I'll be off as I'll be in Vegas for "Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers" show and my next blog September 11 will feature a complete review of that event (including other great fans we meet up with) and hopefully the official release of "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey". 

I'm still throwing in a copy of "LifeLoveLust" if you order "Random Encounters" at my website and one lucky person will get an advance copy of "Bright Lights, Money & Show Biz, Honey".  It'll be random, of course, so get your order in and you might get lucky! Shux...I'll even autograph it for you  :-D 

Hug somebody today!

Lyrically yours,

~ K


  1. What an awesome interview, Kathleen! I love how much the guys opened up to you. It's great for the fans to get this kind of "inside look." I can't wait for the new record (and "Hola, Santa!"). Great to hear BB is doing well and still making kick-ass music.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Kim. Those of us who got hooked on BB guitar a long time ago still anxiously await new music from him. I can't wait for the new CD, too, and "Hola Santa". We could use a new rock 'n roll Christmas song :-D