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Contrary to popular belief from our northern neighbors (I’m looking at you NYC), Philadelphia has a fantastic music scene. Maybe you just don’t know what venue to check out, what local bands/artists to catch, whatever the reason is know the good people here at What’s Protocol? are looking out for you.
Ruby The Hatchet is a psychedelic rock outfit from the city of Brotherly love (and cheesesteaks, pretzels, and Duck Boat tours..) who put on one hell of a show all of which Daryl has no problem further detailing for you lucky readers below. Tonight they will be playing under The El line at the notable Kung Fu Necktie. Make sure to grab your tickets online to secure a spot on the list, show starts at 8pm!
Additionally, they were kind enough to partake in a little interview sesh with Daryl, read on:
How did each of you get into music?
Owen: My dad was a drummer for a 70’s rock band called Cats, so growing up I was surrounding by music. I never had any real drum lessons..just started banging on pots and pans as soon as I could. At the same time that I was learning my brother got a guitar and we started to play together.
Johnny: I grew up in a musically inclined family. My dad and uncle were both in multiple bands growing up and my grandfather was a piano teacher. Music was just always around. It wasn’t until college that I actually picked up the guitar. After seeing so many of my friends play in bands I got kind of jealous and made it a point to teach myself. I wanted to join in on the burnt jam sessions.
Mike: Growing up I used to watch my father play acoustic guitar in the living room for hours. I started playing various instruments: cello, guitar, harmonica–but it wasn’t until i was 18 that I realized the bass lines in a song was what I payed attention to most. I saw it as a calling. Plus it seemed like no one else wanted to play it. Now I don’t want to play anything else.
Jillian: My mom was a wild flower child so she passed down all her 60’s and 70’s records to me. I was singing all day, every day as a kid. I wouldn’t shut up. I sang in church choirs and did chorus and musicals in high school. When I met Johnny we started writing acoustic songs. We’d go to his mom’s house and I would have to go in the other room to sing. No one was allowed to look at me and Johnny had to listen through the door and try to piece the songs together from his brother’s room.
How/when/where/why did you guys decided to form the band?
Late 2009 there was a super heavy snow storm up our way. Jillian and Johnny wanted to go sledding down some hills in the backyard. We met Owen that night through mutual friends. Once we got on the topic of music he was complaining about not knowing a good blues guitarist to jam with. So we brushed the snow off, went into Johnny’s basement and jammed on a really stripped down blues-rock riff. We got five songs together pretty fast and threw a big house party for Halloween as our first time playing for people. We played as a three piece that night but we really wanted to add bass. Owen knew Mike as a local musician so we invited him out to a practice. Everything just kind of fell into place after that. Everyone was comfortable with one another. Then we just started booking shows.
Besides the Monkees, who are your major musical influences?
Owen: Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath and Mountain. Cream is one of my all-time favorites. The Kinks. Zeppelin. John Bonham is huge for me.
John: The classics – Sabbath, Zeppelin, Grand Funk and Steppenwolf. As far as new bands – Dead Meadow, The Black Angels and The Black Keys. I’m also influenced by the music my friends make – The Bailey Hounds, Scott Liss & the 66, The Black Jesuses, Desoto Jones, New York Rivals, Wreaths, The Parlor Mob, etc.
Mike: Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Doors, The Who and Rush.
Jillian: Janis Joplin is my all-time favorite. Older artists like Sabbath, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, The Animals, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Jefferson Airplane and T Rex constantly inspire me. More modern groups like Soundgarden, The White Stripes, Nirvana and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs do it for me now.
Who writes the lyrics, who comes up with the melodies, and what is your production process?
As far as song structure goes it’s pretty democratic. Every song is different and everyone has their own part. Johnny comes up with a guitar riff and he’ll jam on it with Owen–they live together at the house where we practice so they can flesh out an idea and then show it to us. Owen dabbles in guitar and actually wrote the riff for our song “River Soot.” Sometimes Jillian will have a vocal idea and the band will write around it. Mike just lays the bass down and no one argues. Jillian writes the lyrics and vocal melodies for the songs, then Owen lays vocal harmonies over them.
Where is everyone from?
Owen, Mike and Johnny are all from surrounding Philly suburbs. Jillian is from Asbury Park, NJ, and then moved to South Jersey for a while, then back to AP.
Are you guys working on an LP?
Yes and no. We’re writing new songs all the time but we haven’t sat down to write an album yet. We cut our first EP with our friends at Retro City Studios in Germantown, PA. Then things started progressing quickly so we started cutting singles. We recently recorded two new songs with Paul Ritchie of The Parlor Mob. We released “The Lean” a month ago for free download and “Taking Sides” will come out within the next month or so. An LP is on the horizon, but in due time. We’re still young.
Who is your favorite pro wrestler of all time and why?
Owen: Superfly Jimmy Snuka. It’s the animal print onesie.
Jillian: The Ultimate Warrior. Best hair in pro-wrestling ever.
Johnny: Stone Cold Steve Austin. Best lack of hair in pro-wrestling ever.
Mike: The Macho Man. Although I don’t know what he did best ever. I’m sure it was something.
How would you describe your sound?
We like to let people listen and decide on their own. When someone speaks to us about our sound they all say something different, which is probably evidence of our diverging influences. Our most recent review said we were “face-melting indie hard rock,” which made everyone in the band smile. We’ve also been described as retro-metal psyche rock with muddy/fuzzy throwback tones. We don’t feel like we subscribe to any of these descriptions 100%. I guess if we were to describe our sound…we wouldn’t.
A Testimonial from Daryl
I have been lucky enough to catch Ruby the Hatchet not once, but twice! The first time was at the M-Room when they played a show with the Bailey Hounds, the second time was at the Rathaus and Jillian got bit by a bulldog while singing! My friend Dion from Indonesia really dug them live, too. He said they reminded him of Led Zeppelin. So I guess they are like Led Zeppelin with the female version of Scott Weiland as their lead singer. The Weiland comparison comes from my friend Vince(Bailey Hounds, Johnny Showcase). So if you like rocking hard and you like bands like Led Zeppelin you will probably like seeing Ruby the Hatchet. Oh, and before I sign off, I bought their CD and it’s great for driving and working out to. So if you like doing those things, grab a CD at the show. I’ll leave you with a free song from them so you can take a “test drive”.