THE DOUGHBOYS
Front Street Rebels
(RAM Records)

 

New Jersey based rockers The Doughboys reunite in style for the 2017 CD release of Front Street Rebels. Clocking in just over half an hour, the twelve track disc was produced by Kurt Reil—leader of rockers The Grip Weeds. From start to rocking finish, Front Street Rebels is a stellar showcase for the music of founding Doughboys members Myke Scavone (lead vocals), Richie Heyman (drums, guitars, vocals) and Mike Caruso (bass), in addition to Gar Francis (guitars, keys, vocals) who joined the band in 2004 following the passing of original Doughboys guitarist Willy Kirchofer. Heyman, of course is NYC rocker Richard X. Heyman, who released his excellent solo album Incognito in 2017 and he slips back into his guise as drummer / composer of The Doughboys with ease. The CD for Front Street Rebels sports liner notes by founding member and drummer of The Yardbirds, rock genius Jim McCarty. It’s quite clear that fans of McCarty’s historic rock work in The Yardbirds will enjoy Front Street Rebels. In a twist of fate, Myke Scavone is also a member of the current lineup of The Yardbirds—adding in blues harp, percussion and backing vocals and touring the planet and spreading the word about the historic Yardbirds songs McCarty co-wrote with the late, great Keith Relf. With one killer rockin' track after the next, the fifth album to date by The Doughboys, Front Street Rebels is their finest one yet. Honing their music since they were teens in Plainfield, way back in the mid 1960s, The Doughboys take their NY/NJ rock & roll sound to new heights with Front Street Rebels. www.facebook.com / www.thedoughboysnj.com

 




mwe3.com presents an interview with
THE DOUGHBOYS


mwe3
: Is Front Street Rebels a current state of the art album in the career of the Doughboys in 2017? Is this the same lineup that was around back in the mid 1960s and how does the Front Street Rebel album compare with the other Doughboys albums?

Mike Caruso: Yes it is… We recorded Front Street Rebels during 2016/2017 with Kurt Reil at the House of Vibes in Highland Park, New Jersey. Kurt has great equipment—excellent vintage gear for a warm classic sound, along with up-to-date stuff to keep us in the 21st century. The title refers to Front Street in Plainfield, New Jersey, where we grew up. It was the place to be on Thursday nights, and there were all these cool shops like Gregory’s Music, the Frontier Diner, Brooks Records, and the Strand Theater, which is pictured on the CD cover.

The Doughboys’ lineup is almost exactly the same as it was in the 60’s. Richie and I formed the band as The Ascots in 1964 and Myke Scavone joined in 1965. Our guitarists back then were Willy Kirchofer and Mike Farina. Mike moved to California but Willy was in the reunited band from 2000-2005. He very sadly died before his time. Gar joined in ’05. He used to see us in Plainfield as a kid, and later was in a band with Willy, called Willy & The Wranglers.

As for how Front Street Rebels compares with the other Doughboys albums—we like to think it’s the best yet! We’re constantly learning and growing and perfecting our sound. Check it out!

mwe3: With Richard X. Heyman’s solo album Incognito recently released is the time right for a Doughboys pop-rock renaissance?

RXH: One can only hope. We’re all just trying to do the best we can. I welcome fans of my solo stuff to check out The Doughboys, and vice versa. In fact, we welcome everyone to hear all of our music, including extraterrestrials, which is a vast untapped market.

mwe3: How did the Doughboys team up with Kurt Reil for the Front Street Rebels album and what did Kurt bring to the album sessions?

Myke Scavone: We have been working with Kurt since around 2002/2003. We've done all of our releases with him with the exception of our last album, Hot Beat Stew, which didn't fare as well as all the others. So we got smart and went back to Kurt to do Front Street Rebels. He gets what The Doughboys are about and knows how to bring the best out in each of us.

mwe3: What brought on “Sink Or Swim”? Does it pretty sum up our lives in 2017? Swimming with sharks or sink like a stone is a pretty grim reminder of life in these modern times.

RXH: “Sink Or Swim” is actually about optimism. When there doesn’t seem to be any hope left, you either go down with the tide or keep your head above water and try to persevere. Of course, there are times in life when you run out of options. But if you have any choice left, even when the odds are stacked up against you, then it’s up to you to take it.

mwe3: Does “Fool For Your Love” go back to the Doughboys 1960s roots? Does it remind you of The Seeds or some swinging ‘60s vibe to it?

Gar Francis: No, it reminds me of The Doughboys 2017. All of the songs I write for the Doughboys have roots in the 60's with modern overtones.

mwe3: “History” is pure 1960s psych-pop but ostensibly it’s about divorce or how would you describe the song? It’s pure angst in a rock song!

RXH: “History” addresses the question, is love real or a myth? Is it a bill of goods sold to society by advertising copywriters or does true love really exist? Many romantic relationships invariably implode, so the song rushes through a litany of scenarios that lead up to the point where the rest as they say is history.

mwe3: Is “Manic Reaction” a kind of “Psychotic Reaction” for the 21st century? It’s the perfect song to expel the psycho-demons!

Gar Francis: “Manic Reaction” was inspired by The Blues Magoos. Have you ever been in a club when you see someone get so overcome by the music that they just start dancing frantically? That's what “Manic Reaction” is about. The title is a play on words between “Manic Depression” and “Psychotic Reaction”.

mwe3: Is “Exit Homestead Enter Endless Road” the blues song on the album? Is there a kind of southern rock influence or is it Savoy Brown style blues played in a NYC influenced style?

RXH: “Exit Homestead Enter Endless Road” was originally in a I-IV-V blues idiom. I incorporated a 7-chord instead of the 5 for the chorus to fit more with the band’s style. Though we did leave in the 5 chord twice, just to mix it up a little bit. Kind of garage meets the blues.

mwe3: “Queen Of Bizarre” has a great driving beat. How did Queen come about? It’s an excellent song title too. It has a kind of Strawberry Alarm Clock type vibe to it.

Myke Scavone: Gar sent me the instrumental track with the title and asked me to write some lyrics. It wasn't hard to conjure up memories of many of the women I've known over the years who fit the title and incorporate some of those memories into the song.

Gar Francis: I started the groove to “Queen Of Bizarre” based on “Pushing Too Hard” and came up with the title and rough idea for the melody and Myke did the rest.

mwe3: “Ready Or Not” would make a great single. Nice tone of defiance to it. Any cool story behind “Ready Or Not”?

Myke Scavone: Yes, it's a basic mantra for those of us who don't see life as ‘Oh Yeah me too’ and fall in the line with the rest of the lemmings just because something is considered "hip" or "cool". My view of life is quite a bit different than most of my peers. Coming from the "rebellious generation" of the 1960's I feel like most of us have lost our way and aren't rebelling against the things we should be against.

Gar Francis: As usual for me when recording an album I always come up with a riff or song idea at the last minute. Again I came up with the title and Myke ran with it. We almost called it “Radio Rot”.

mwe3: Is “The Atomic Wavelength Transference Device” a Doughboys take at sci-fi? 67,000 miles per hour is mighty fast! Thank God for gravity. I like the message in it but society seems obsessed with self-destruction these days so evolution can’t come soon enough for me.

RXH: With so much negativity swirling around, I wanted to write something positive. I was thinking how if everyone could read each other’s thoughts, maybe we could start to understand each other and be less antagonistic toward one another. Just a wishful thought.

mwe3: How about “Bow To The Man”? Is that political as in buyer’s remorse ala Trump or just a thumbed nose to overarching tyranny in the 21st century?

Myke Scavone: See my answer to “Ready Or Not” for clarity. This has little to do with Trump, per say, since I wrote these lyrics long before he came on the political scene. The culture of celebrity, or ‘Cult of Personality’ if you will, has overcome our basic ability to see straight. This could apply to Trump, Obama, Clinton or Bush from a political point of view. It could also apply to Hollywood elites and other celebrities who have the charismatic ability to lead people down a path of thinking that may not really be their own. I see too many people falling in line behind "what's happening now" and very few people who really think for themselves. It is part of what has created such a wide chasm between us as human beings.

mwe3: I like the Beatles quote in “Done There Been That”. Lennon was at his most brutal on “You Can’t Do That”. Is “Done There Been That” kind of Lennon inspired?

RXH: Of course The Beatles were very inspiring; still are, for that matter. I never actually think too hard about where the song ideas spring from. I’m just glad and relieved when I finish one up. But yeah, all my musical heroes are in my mind when working on music and John Lennon is right up there at the top.

mwe3: How cool is having Jim McCarty writing the liner notes for the Front Street Rebels album? If this happened 50 years ago, having a member of The Yardbirds writing liners for your new album would have been worldwide news in the music biz! One thing is clear is that Jim and his amazing music has aged better than fine wine. And now with Myke singing in the 21st century Yardbirds, what is that like and is Jim still touring?

Myke Scavone: Well of course Jim is still touring, otherwise, how could I be in the 21st Century Yardbirds? Jim's a great guy, a typical "English Gentleman" in my view and a lot of fun to work with. At 74 his energy and his unique drumming style is still what propels The Yardbirds on stage. The whole lineup is full of great talent. I feel like I am the most blessed man on the planet to be part of the Yardbirds’ legacy and be the lead singer in The Doughboys. There aren't any other group of guys I'd rather be affiliated with. The Doughboys are my musical heritage and will always be first. When I asked Jim to write the liner notes, I wasn't sure if he would but we're quite grateful to him. It's another cool link between The Doughboys and The Yardbirds.

mwe3: What’s the plan to spread the word about Front Street Rebels and will there be any live shows or other things to help further promote the album?

Mike Caruso: We played a couple of record release shows this past fall, in NYC at Arlene’s Grocery and in New Jersey at The Record Collector in Bordentown. We’ll be at the Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park on January 13, and we’re planning to book a bunch more shows in the spring. The album is being played on a slew of radio stations and we just bagged another “coolest song in the world” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage – our 8th! It’s the leadoff track, “Sink Or Swim.” We’re hoping to film some videos soon, too.

mwe3: If you have free reign, what kind of album would the Doughboys like to make next? What musical mountains are there left for the Doughboys to climb?

Gar Francis: Between all of us, we come up with a lot of new songs very fast. If it was up to me, and we had the money, I would love to do a double album with a few more acoustic type songs in the mix and a bunch of songs with a killer horn section. We'll have to wait and see.




 

 
   
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