The first ever Jonesing Jams took place 20th of April at London’s 93 Feet East, and saw Matt Reynolds (guitar and vocals in HECK & HCBP), Ben Kenobi-Marflar (bassist in GNOB), Jonny Halifax (lapsteel and harmonica in Honkeyfinger and The Howling Truth) and Marco Ninni (drummer in Swedish Death Candy) get together on stage for a heavy improv psych jam in front of an audience, all supported by Norwegian psych connoisseurs Shaman Elephant. Now, how did this go down? Check out the video above, or have a look here to read a full review.
We’re excited to be teaming up with The Jonesing Jams, a new live music concept in London where musicians are hand picked from different bands to form a ‘one night only supergroup’ for a heavy 70’s psych rock jam – guitarist from one band, drummer from another – that whole shebang, ya know?
The first Jonesing Jams will take place at London’s 93 Feet East this upcoming Thursday 20th of April, and features guitarist Matt Reynolds of ‘general extreme noise’ band HECK and rock ‘n’ roll two piece HCBP, bassist Ben Kenobi-Marflar of eastern inspired psych band GNOB and psychedelic doom band Sonic Mass, Jonny Halifax of greasy noise and distorted blues bands Honkeyfinger and Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth on lapsteel and harmonica, and powerhouse drummer Marco Ninni of psychedelic experimental rock band Swedish Death Candy. Together they’ll bring a whole specter of genres and influences, which resulted in the night being called ‘Worlds Collide.’
The idea behind’ The Jonesing Jams’ came from late nights spent at friends rehearsal spaces where everyone would tune in and jam, and all this amazing music would come out of it – all this amazing music that no one ever got to hear, so now we’re taking the jams out of the studio and onto a stage in front of an audience, and who know’s what’ll happen? To get in the mood for the jam, each artist as well as support band Shaman Elephant picked ten of their favourite tunes which has resulted in a gooey and great mix of genres and generations;
So, if you’re in London and fancy coming down for a free gig, heavy riffs and psychedelic jamming, doors open at 7pm, and things kick off at 8 – see you there!
There are oh-so many awesome bands out there and nothing pleases me more than finding new ones. Here I’ve shared some of my current favourites, eight great bands that might be tucked away in smaller or DIY venues, dingy dive bars, dead end towns or whatever. Hidden gems that shouldn’t be hidden, as they’re all en route to greatness in my opinion. Heavy rock / psych rock / hillbilly blues and stoner rock, here’s a bit of guitar goodness for everyone in their right mind, and for those out of theirs.
‘Sensational’ isn’t a word I use lightly, but while describing ‘Sacri Monti‘ I feel it’s pretty damn spot on. Based in San Diego, which seems to be the mekka for music within this genre, the 70’s psychedelic rock five piece are signed to Tee Pee records alongside fellow San Diegans and psych rock connoisseurs ‘Earthless‘ (among others), and released their self titled debut album in 2015. The album is, needless to say, an absolute killer – sensational, even.
‘The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ is living proof that Norway is a hell of a lot more than black metal and church burnings. With a profound love for the good ol’ heroes of blues combined with a passion for punk, rock, country and metal, ‘The Devil and the Almighty Blues‘ recorded their debut album live in studio to preserve that raw, natural energy, and they’ve created, as they say it themselves, «A new take on blues-based rock, heavy without becoming metal, slow without being doom, bluesy without being straight up and boring, and all this without losing the almighty blues without of sight»
While at it on the blues, here’s another one for you – ‘Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth‘, heavy hillbilly blues with distorted vocals and a lot of lap steel. That said, some of the Howling Truth songs becomes so heavy that they almost stop by stoner or doom town, a perfect example of this is ‘In the realms of noble savagery’ from 2013’s ‘The Bestial Floor’.
A dark and gloomy Saturday night in 2015, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Norwegian band ‘Shaman Elephant‘, as I caught the last of their set at legendary Bergen venue Garage while spending the weekend in Norway. At the time they barely had any online presence and no music to be found either online or on record, but the name stuck, and by summer 2015 they graced us with the presence of an EP, ’More’, and I’m stoked to say they’ll be releasing their debut album next month, which I’m sure will be absolutely killer if the EP is anything to go by; Progressive psychedelic rock with elements of jazz and heavy riffs.
‘Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters‘ – rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? I’ll admit it took a while before I actually managed to learn this name by heart, but my god it’s a good one – 10/10. Dressed in tie dye t-shirts, black metal corpse paint and bandanas, you dont really know what to expect when these guys takes the stage in a cloud of smoke and bubbles, but they’ll hit you in the face with a wall of stoner fuzz, beefy bass and the occasional cowbell.
«Because it’s bong backwards.»
Another psychedelic one, this time it’s London based trio GNOB which sounds like an eastern acid trip gone great. During their intense live performances they play heavy psych rock you can kinda dance to.
HCBP consists of singer/screamer/guitarist Matt Reynolds and drummer Tom Marsh (both of HECK), and may or may not have been a result of the rest of the band being late for practice, I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m glad it happened. While moving away from the road of ‘general noise’ they’re on with HECK, they’re still sticking to their guns of loud and energetic live performances, with their dirty blues and hillbilly hardcore. Their second album is due to launch early next year, and having had a few cheeky listens I can assure you it’ll be a banger.
Oak‘s another case of me randomly stumbling across a band in a bar as I found them nearly naked at East London venue The Birds Nest, and I dont know if it was the smell of sweat and beer, the shirtless, longhaired, hairy men, the heavy riffs, the energetic live performance or all of the above, but they pretty much had me straight away. As they say it themselves, they «Take retro blues rock riffs influenced by the likes of Cream, make it filthy and down tuned and then get an actual mad man to yell over the top of it. For fans of: Cream, Mountain, Kyuss, Black Sabbath, and being shouted at.»
That’s all for now, kids. Play ’em loads and play ’em loud.
Photo: Jennifer McCord
Hey dude, who are you and what are you about?
Hi, I’m Jonny Hall, the one with the bigger beard in HECK. I play guitar and bleed on things a bit.
How would you describe HECK’s music and live performances to a stranger?
Musically, HECK are an intense beast. We have always seemed to thrive off relentlessness. It’s like that moment when you have that secret scream at the mirror to purge your frustration, except very public. The live shows are essentially an arena for everyone to sack off inhibition and join us in accepting that most of real life is bollocks, ‘so let’s do whatever the fuck we want for an hour’. It’s chaotic, extreme and powerful, and it’s fucking fun.
You released your debut album ‘Instructions’ earlier this year, how has life been ever since?
It’s been difficult but rewarding. Self releasing the album means there was no one to do our dirty work for us, so we plunged headfirst into a world we knew nothing about and we’re thankfully still afloat! We’ve done some amazing tours and played to thousands of incredible people. We’re frankly amazed by the response we’ve had, people seem to have really ‘got’ the album, bizarrely. The only downside is that everything awesome that you do only makes you hungrier for more. I’ll never be completely satisfied.
Can you tell us a bit about your history and experiences with Orange?
When I was a nipper just learning to play orange amps seemed like some unobtainable relic of guitarness. Pro’s played Orange, I couldn’t play it too, as I was clearly not good enough. I played about with a few different amps in my youth but nothing ever gave me the huge sound I’d been after. I wanted something with balls. Preferably several sets. The more superfluous the better.
When I started jamming with Matt (the smaller beard in HECK) he had a Rocker 30 running into a PPC212. It sounded to full that, despite the fact that my rig was considerably more powerful than his, I genuinely couldn’t hear my guitar due to it being made to sound so thin by his. I immediately applied for a credit card because clearly, owning an Orange rig was more important than any hint of financial security. Totally worth every penny of debt.
What’s your set up?
I currently run a Rocker 30 into a PPC212 and PPC412, drive channel only, with a ProCo RAT as a ‘death’ pedal before it. When i kick that in, it sounds like the amp-apocalypse.
Back to the band – if you were all zoo animals, who’d be what animal, and why?
Paul Shelley would be a walrus. He’s mighty, girth, stubbly and wise, with a touch of class and an air of authority. The rest of us would be the shitty pointless grubs they feed to the lizards in the reptile house. We’re there out of necessity.
You recently did a massive co headline tour with Black Peaks around the UK and Europe, how is it being back home after a month of madness on the road?
It’s rubbish. It’s difficult being in a touring band as it’s like getting post holiday blues every time you get home, but from the best holiday you’ll ever have, where you feel like you’re actually achieving something with your life, but it’s actually your job, that you love, and you want to do forever. Then one day it stops and you find yourself sitting in your pants eating microwave Tesco Value macaroni cheese and dry bread, watching six consecutive seasons of Friends because you can’t be bothered to click ‘back’ on Netflix. I do get to see my girlfriend though, which is nice.
Top ten songs played in your tour van:
Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo
During the first night of their two sold out co-headline shows at London’s Boston Music Room, I caught up with Black Peak’s Andrew Gosden and HECK’s Matt Reynolds to find out how life on the road is, and how it is sharing the spotlight. But more importantly, what their weapon of choice would be during a potential zombie apocalypse.
How is it being on a co-headliner tour compared to touring on your own?
Andrew: This tour has been great so far. It’s really interesting and exciting playing a co-headliner, you get the opportunity to play in front of people who may not necessarily buy tickets to see you, a bit like playing at a festival. It feels like the audiences have been open and accepting of both bands. I think it is a great mix of music with something for everyone. You can have a sing and rock out to our songs, and also experience the pure insanity and awesomeness of HECK!
Matt: At the very start of the tour I imagined it was going to be incredibly nerve wracking going up against Black Peaks every night. They’re such an enormous sounding live band that it was a daunting prospect. After a few days of the tour that all faded away, although we’re both very different bands it became very evident quite quickly that we play off each other very well, both of our fan bases have come together in a wonderful way too. Having four guys that we now consider our brothers in Black Peaks side stage every night only spurs us on and feeds our appetite for carnage. I’ve been in the pit for Peaks nearly every night… Having said that, that bass guy, Guss or something I think they call him, he’s a bit of a prick.
Where did the idea of the tour come from?
Matt: We made friends over the festival season, both Black Peaks and us were playing a lot of the same stages and I guess subliminally it just made us want to recreate that dynamic between us on a tour. It just seems to make sense, it’s like kicking an audiences ass in two very different ways every night.
Andrew: The idea of doing this co-headliner had been floating around for a while. As soon as the opportunity to play with HECK became a reality we jumped at it. We are all huge fans of the band and thought it would be great fun. They are such lovely guys!
You’re both in pretty heavy bands, is there any bands or artists you’ve been influenced by that plays music completely different to the one you play yourself?
Andrew: I listen to such a varied mix of music that I guess even subconsciously I will be taking influence from so many different genres. I am a huge fan of 70’s prog rock. Bands such as Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull are in constant rotation on my iPod. I am also a huge fan of bands like Autolux, Young Widows and Bjork who are very different to the music we play.
Matt: LOADS! Our van playlists are pretty much entirely made up of wonderful, luscious, over-produced pop, Steely Dan and Hall and Oates are particular favourites. Our van is chock packed full to the rafters with wall-to-wall bangers! Influences wise I’ve always listened to tonnes of blues music too, which has definitely shaped the way I write and play
Any guilty pleasures?
Andrew: I own a copy of Madonnas ‘like a virgin’ record. It’s such a great album. I guess that can be classed as a guilty pleasure..
Matt: I’d argue to the death that You’re the Voice by John Farnham is the greatest song ever written. It’s also unfollowable, there’s not a track in the world that can be played after that doesn’t then sound flat and lifeless. Robbie has been creeping in an awful lot recently too, the cheeky badger.
How does a day in the life of HECK and Black Peaks on the road look like?
Andrew: At the beginning of the tour it started off quite civilised. Now it has descended into a torrent of passive aggressive abuse and sarcastic banter.
Matt: Toil and bedlam. With a pub lunch at Weatherspoons for an hour at about 6pm-ish.
Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange, whether it was seeing it or playing it yourself?
Matt: I just remember seeing them on stages and in videos as a kid and thinking that they were just so damn cool and iconic. All of the coolest bands seemed to use them, it was only a matter of time until I took the plunge and got one too, I’ve played through nothing else since. When I was old enough to have a full-time job I spent my entire first month’s wages on a Rocker 30 and 2×12. I bunged it in my tiny box of a bedroom and used to give the neighbours and my ear drums hell, it was really dumb and definitely too big for my bedroom, the door couldn’t even open fully with it in there, I just had to kind of side step my way through. But I loved it and I’ve not looked back since!
Andrew: The first time I really noticed Orange amps was when I saw Converge for the first time. That iconic look and sound gripped me and I knew they were the amps I wanted to use from then on.
What do you look for in an amp?
Andrew: Something that sounds great is simple to use and reliable.
Matt: Yeah, something that sounds huge and can withstand the horror that I throw at it! With Orange it’s all about crushing bottom end and unashamed ballsyness.
What’s your current set up, amps and pedals?
Andrew: I am currently using my AD200 and a Thunderverb 50, each running through an Orange 4×10 cab. I run the AD200 relatively clean and have the Thunderverb running really dirty. I am using the Orange amp detonator to split my signal between the 2 amps. I have the AD200 running all the time and kick in the Thunderverb for heavy sections and parts where Joe is soloing or playing lead lines.
Matt: I currently use a Thunderverb 200 (the greatest and most ridiculous guitar amp ever made) through a 2×12 and 4×12 loaded with V30s. I have a fairly simple pedalboard, but some absolutely choice little bits of wizardry on there. My favourite of which is my original Russian big muff, built like a tank and flattens like a steamroller. I couple it with a Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer to achieve some ridiculously gnarly square-waved sub bass madness. I also use a EHX pitchfork and a Disaster Transport modulated delay by Earthquaker for gentler moments.
It’s the zombie apocalypse – choose your weapon of choice and explain your reasoning.
Andrew: It depends what kind of zombies we are talking about?! I think I would have to go for a crossbow. You don’t have to worry too much about ammo running out as you can reuse the arrows, you can pick them off at a safe distance and use it as a melee weapon up close. I’d like to think I’d be a badass like Darryl from The Walking Dead. In reality I don’t think I’d last too long……
Matt: I’m going with (Dillinger Escape Plan’s) Greg Puciato’s eternally punching arms. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, I guess I’d just attach them to my chest and let them punch away. They’re like a horse’s legs with hammers attached. I can just imagine them relentlessly punching away reducing zombies to rubble. No one would fuck with a guy with hammer-horse-legged arms sticking out of his chest. I’d shit ’em.