Speak Into My Good Eye

Monday Conversation: Eastern Anchors Talks Dad-Rock, Rocking As Dads, Fathering Songs ++ More

Chris Rotolo September 8, 2013 Features, Interviews No Comments

Eastern Anchors (Photo: Roderick Angle)

Speak Into My Good Eye is proud to announce that we’ll be joining the Wonder Bar’s Christine Feola, as well as our good friends at Little Dickman Records and BandsOnABudget, in presenting the annual free music event we’ve come to know, and adore, as Happy Mondays.

SIMGE will act as the primary media partner of the forthcoming Happy Mondays events, bringing to you in depth interviews with those upcoming bill-toppers, while helping to construct future Monday-night lineups.

The first installment of our “Monday Conversation” Series features the Red Bank, NJ based Indie-Rock outfit Eastern Anchors, who will be joined on September 9th by fellow Red Bank Punks Corina, Corina, on the Wonder Bar’s hallowed planks.

SIMGE’s Chris Rotolo caught up with Eastern Anchors to discus the Dad-Rock classification, how recording and performing liv meshes with family life, the state of our scene and more.  Check out the interview, and stream Eastern Anchors’ latest LP Drunken Arts & Pure Science, below and be sure to join us on Happy Monday where doors for the free event will open at 8 p.m.

CR: For those that may not be privy to the sound of Eastern Anchors’ Rock offerings, can you describe what will be heard this Monday at The Wonder Bar?

Walt: In my mind, we are still a band that plays Indie-Pop, but we’re louder and maybe heavier than most bands you might associate with it.  Ken always says that for every show we play, we are either the poppiest band on a heavy night, or the heaviest band on a poppy night.

CR: I’ve seen you classified as Hard-Rock, Indie-Rock, and Alternative…but the classification that most intrigues is Dad-Rock.  It’s a label that’s being tossed around in greater volume these days but I, personally, am at a loss.  I read that Dave is only the only father in the band, so is Dad-Rock a state of mind, a musical styling, a way of approaching the songwriting process?  Please educate me on this.

Dave: Jim Testa from Jersey Beat actually threw that term at us a couple cats ago but our songs are indeed like our children. We do have our favorites and audience and fans theirs so we try to be conscious of that barometer. We also have a tendency to abort or ignore many of them for the new song of the month. So in-some respect we have a tough love mentality in the song writing process which is on-going all the time.

Ken: I think we always threw that term out more as a self-deprecating reference to our advancing years rather than the band’s sound.

CR: After doing some research on bands like Aviso’Hara, The Slow Wire, Clydesdale, and the early forms of Eastern Anchors, it’s apparent that you own a perspective on our music scene few others do.  You’re qualified to make such a statement about the state of our New Jersey music community…how are we doing compared to two decades ago? Do we have a true music community in the Garden State?  What are your thoughts?

Dave: We’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of the Hub City, Hoboken and Jersey Shore scenes over the years. We rarely used to play with any bands we liked down the “shore,” now it seems it’s the opposite problem. Which is good problem to have. I think there are a lot more choices for kids to seek out live music. Labels come and go but I definitely think there needs to be more record stores. We were very sad about Maxwell’s because that was one of our homes away from home and we could always rely on the place but with it’s current absence it’s forcing music to sprout up and prosper in places like Asbury, which actually resembles the old Hoboken or New Brunswick scene in many ways. So you are doing fucking great.

Ken: I know I’ve been guilty of being the grumpy guy in the back of the club, talking about how things were better “Back in the day.” But truthfully, I think the New Jersey scene is just as strong today as it was back when we were starting out. All music scenes are fluid, Bands and venues come and go, but there will always be creative talented people keeping the NJ scene going.

CR: I always find it interesting to ask the musicians who have operated prior to and during the social media boom what there thoughts are on promotions and marketing now versus then?  Are Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr just Skynet in it’s various forms that are destroying interpersonal communication and will eventually sic the machines on us, or are they important tools for musicians and society as a whole?   

Dave: We used to lick a lot of stamps on envelopes, write hand written notes and send out cassettes (non-ironically) and then actually talk to people on the phone to book shows. So there would be actual relationship of some form. Now we rely on people hiding anonymously. Funny, the first electronic filter was call-waiting so when a booker did not want to pick-up the phone because they didn’t recognize your number they would let it go to VM. We’ve always embraced technology and are constantly using it when we have the time. So from PR point of view I love it. Aviso’Hara was one of the first New Brunswick bands on emusic and epitomic.com but there weren’t not enough users. Now it’s cool for us because everybody is connected 24/7 and on their phones.

Walt: I’ve used twitter once.

Ken: I think it’s great that bands can use social media to get their music heard without having to depend on record labels or distributors.

CR: Given the obligations that come with growing older, being a father for example, is it harder to be Eastern Anchors, in terms of limiting the time you have to play shows, writing and recording music, and promoting?  If that’s the case, does it make the chance to get out and perform at an event like Happy Mondays that much more rewarding?

Dave: Yea man we like special gigs like this. I always tell people this is our “sports night” and we are practicing rock-athletics. We try to keep it down to two gigs a month in the tri-state but always have kept in mind that we’re there to entertain the audience as much as ourselves. Funny these days though we have been turning down more gigs than we can play not because we’re dicks just we have actual lives in order to support this rock habit we can’t seem to shake.

CR: Drunken Arts & Pure Science is your latest LP and amongst it’s contents is a concluding piece, and my favorite amongst the bunch, titled “James the Viking”…who is James the Viking and why did he inspire Eastern Anchors to pen such a head banging Rock concoction about him?

Walt: James was my friend and neighbor who passed away very unexpectedly the day we started recording the album.  So he loomed large in my mind during the whole process.   James was a guy who really knew how to enjoy life and for the three years I knew him, all the time we spent together was a blast.  He was way into home brewing and a connoisseur of beers.  One of the last times we were all together was at a micro brew/ restaurant for his birthday.  Everyone was at this long table and he was at the head, and the table was just filled with food and more types of beers then I can remember.  But I do remember thinking, as he was holding court, how he looked like a Viking with his spoils before him.

At first I thought to dedicate the album to him, which we did.  Then I thought that if we had just a great, fun song dedicated to him, that would be something I think he would have liked.  So it’s become our constant closer and we always do a little toast to James before we play it.

CR: What’s on the horizon for Eastern Anchors?  Is the follow up to Drunken Arts & Pure Science on it’s way?  Any more shows on the horizon?  What is Eastern Anchors up to?

Dave: We have booked some studio time with Tom Beaujour who recorded Drunken Arts again to start to work on the follow-up. We hope to have a new single out by end of year at least while we demo and write some more tunes we’re all happy with.  We will be playing a bunch of new tunes at the show husker du style. For motivation we have challenged the Wrens (again) that we would have an album out before them in 2014. Charles Bissell took the bet again which he lost last year. He even told us over twitter he’s borrowed words from Walt from the Rockumentary so it’s not helping the race.

NOTE: Eastern Anchors’ Drunken Arts & Pure Science is available for free download below, while physical copies can be acquires for the “nice price” at Asbury Park’s own Holdfast Records.

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About The Author

Chris graduated from The College Of New Jersey in May of 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in both Journalism/Professional Writing and Communication Studies. He's held down a position in the Asbury Park Press’ Sports Department since September of 2010 and is a contributor to the outlet’s Arts & Entertainment section as well as Consequence of Sound (http://consequenceofsound.net).

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