Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Jam On!

March 1, 2005

Jam On!

The jam band. You may know of a jam band. You may have heard a jam band once. But unless you’re into the jam band scene, it’s hard to find out much about jam bands. Even ‘established’ jam bands are under the radar to most indie rockers. The Independent Clauses has its jam band awareness meter on, and we’ve discovered Liquid Harvest. This interview with Chris King of Liquid Harvest provides some insight into the often invisible world of Jam Bands. Now, if I can just stop sounding like a bad PBS announcer….

1. First off, name me the members of Liquid Harvest and their positions in
the band.

Well, we have Patrick Turley on Rhythm Guitar and Vocals, Chris King on Bass and Vocals, Luke Mitchell Drums, and Rick Perdue on Lead Guitar.

2. So how long has Liquid Harvest been a band? How did you form up?
The band was formed in 2001. It was just some guys from college who got together and played acoustic guitar. As time went by we added and lost member until August of last year, when Rick was brought into the band. Now we are stronger then ever and this is by far the strongest lineup.

3. Did you just announce “we’re going to form a jam band” or did your sound
evolve into what it is today?

It actually started off with Pat on acoustic guitar and Luke on hand drums. From that
they brought in another acoustic guitarist. About a year later they brought in me on bass and another acoustic guitarist! At one time we consisted of three acoustic guitarists, bass, and hand percussion. After that we tried electric and finally worked into a full electric set.

4. How do you guys write songs?
The song writing in this band is very weird. Someone will come to practice with a song, and we will play through it once. You can tell if the magic is going to be there or not. We normally will not play the song again if it is really rough the first time. Rick needs to take most of the credit for songwriting. He is by far the most knowleged, theory-wise, so he can take a song and make it sound beautiful.

5. Does your town have a jam band scene, or are you reasonably on your own?
How has that worked for getting fans?
The scene around here is very weak, but at the same time we can travel 3 hours away
in almost any direction and the scene is just great. The good news is anytime a
national act comes through in the jam band genre, we are normally the ones who get
to open up for them. Last month we opened up for Acoustic Syndicate, it was just amazing to hear those guys playing live. Our fans are very loyal. They definitely mean a lot to me. It’s nice to see the same faces at each show. It also challenges us to not play something we have played before. This has lead to some incredible jams. I can look out into the crowd and see everyone singing with me, its just amazing.

6. Most jam bands change significantly from the stage to the studio- how do
you think your music holds up or changes in the transition?
Well, we have a few songs that don’t change and some songs that are almost
completely different. We try to keep the jamming down on the CD. Songs like “The
Umbrella” and “Déjà vu” are pretty much like they are live. We are going back into
the studio within the next month to record our EP and we have been cutting songs
to make them more of the standard 4-5 minutes. On one hand I like the 4-5 minute
songs because the fans can go to a live show and be blown away, but a lot of times
I want to give it all on the CD full jams and all. The music holds up great in transition. This is mostly again because of Rick. He puts great song structure into each tune.

7. How has your CD been received by your fans?
Liquid Harvest fans are just awesome. They come up and talk after the show. They see us out they will stop us and say hi. The best compliment I hear is “I was just listening to your CD in my car.” It’s nice to make music that people are listening to. We promised ourselves that we would earn our fans one at a time. I want to personally know each of our fans. I spend hours talking to fans online. It’s great.

8. What’s your favorite Liquid Harvest memory?
Oh man so many. I think my personal favorite was all of us in a hotel room in NC. Just all 5 of us (sound man included) in a TINY hotel room just goofin’ off. All the rest of the good times always involve Pat. He’s just like that.

9. Who’s the one person/place/thing that’s screwed the band over most that
you want to warn people about?

No one has really screwed us over, yet. I would warn people about signing contracts before having it looked over by attorneys. We have had friends who can barely pay their bills because their label makes so much money off of them.

10. Do you listen to jam bands? Who’s your favorite upcoming band, now that
Phish is gone?

I love jam bands. Obviously we are all big Grateful Dead fans. Rick is a huge fan of The Steve Kimock Band and Railroad Earth. Luke is really into moe. and Phish. Pat is into Zeppelin and Joplin, and I am a huge fan of Jack Johnson and Widespread Panic.

11. What have you been listening to outside of Jam Bands recently?

I personally am a big fan of Switchfoot. I know Pat is a big fan of the Deftones. It’s hard to listen to other styles once you get into the jam scene. The amazing solos these bands come up with hold to no other style. We are all fans of good music, no matter what genre, but for us 4 jam-band is like no other.

For more information on Liquid Harvest, go to www.liquidharvest.com .

-Interview conducted by Stephen Carradini by e-mail in the month of March.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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