For the past five years, come the holiday season, The Bouncing Souls have sold out four consecutive nights at the Jersey Shore’s most storied music haunt, the Stone Pony, to adoring fans who are honored merely to share a mosh pit with a frenzied mass that was concocted by the sounds emitting from Pete Steinkopf’s stack.
The legendary axe wielder and his compatriots have torn up basements in New Brunswick and graced ballroomsin Brussells, and not once has this traveling band of Punks forgotten where its come from, and who’s helped along the way…and there aren’t too many people who understand those facts more than Angie Sugrim, front-woman of The Obvious, who has spent a lot of time in The Pete’s presence while cutting the outfit’s 2010 debut, Bringing Wreck, as well as recording its sophomore release, Maybe She’s Bored With It, at his own Little Eden Studio in Asbury Park.
“The Pete, and The Bouncing Souls, including their manager Kate, I hold them in such high esteem,” Sugrim expressed. “They’ve always done things their own way, by their own rules, and have one of the longest careers in independent music, with no end in sight. That’s a HUGE inspiration to some little Punk-Rock kid like me.”
“And what’s cool about their punk rock community is that anyone can be a part of it. How many bands can you think of that you can run into around town, sit down with them and have a beer, and then see them play four sold out nights in a row at The Pony? It’s like rock and roll fantasy camp.”
If it is a fantasy then Sugrim and her crew of Grunge-Punk artisans (“Big” Mike Smith on Bass, lead guitarist Daniel Astorri, and the monstrous beat farmer Rob Blake) are living the dream having worked with one of their greatest influences on both of the band’s productions, a process Sugrim described as being “The best experience a girl and her band could ever hope for,” and “One hundred percent completely comfortable from beginning to end.”
“We were recording some guitar tracks of mine, and it was just me and him in the studio, me sitting on a stool about three feet from Pete and this little voice in my head starts going ‘Oh my god, I have to play guitar by myself in front of Pete Steinkopf, who is a sick, amazing guitar player, and he’s listening with a critical ear.’ I screwed up a few time, and he was like, ‘Angie, relax, that happens to me sometimes, too.'”
“I remember before we were recording vocals,” continued the songstress on another spree of reminiscence, “he put like a funny hat on me and was like ‘Drink your whiskey. Angie, are you drinking?’ So it’s really cool that he’s willing to go through great pains to make sure you’re comfortable, because he knows what it’s like to have engineers pressure you in a way that makes recording uncomfortable. And the looser you are, the better of a performance you give, every time.”
However, its not only what Steinkopf can provide as a producer, and manager of emotions, that makes the experience so special, but how the guitar maestro’s song writing prowess can affect a piece of music.
“What was cool was that while we were recording, he would unobtrusively offer an idea for a quick edit, or a small change in a vocal melody that would end up making the songs even better. To have the benefit of his critical ear and years of songwriting at our side, that was just so huge for us.”
Check out one of those numbers, “Mile High,” a slow building bomb shell of the melodious sort, complete with an explosive scream along refrain, below and be sure to head out to Asbury Lanes tomorrow night (Saturday April 28th) where The Obvious will release Maybe She’s Bored With It alongside Lost In Society, Chemtrail, and Give Me Static. Doors are at 8 p.m. with a cover of $8 to be paid upon admission.