NUMBTONGUE at Jam Room Music Festival by Bria Barton

The Jam Room Music Festival is set to open Saturday, October 14, and one act in particular, NUMBTONGUE, is preparing to perform independently for the first time at the event.


Inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Emily Dickinson, and David Bowie—to name only a few of the countless creative minds that influence him—Bobby of NUMBTONGUE is an entity whose music and talents stretch beyond experimental. They’re bordering on the side of transcendental.


A self-described sugar addict with a tendency for sleepless days and nights, Bobby infuses and binds his music with pieces of deeply personal, historical, and natural.


He sat down with Jasper to discuss his recent album as well as his much-anticipated performance for The Jam Room Music Festival.



Q: A lot of your music on Exhumation had to do with your son and your feelings upon becoming a father for the first time. How has that dynamic been maintained (or not) now that he is a little older? How has that affected your writing process?


NUMBTONGUE: Becoming a father is certainly a sliver of what light Exhumation casts about me, but a sliver in a prism.  The theme thus far in the song that is NUMBTONGUE is largely one of self-fragmentation.  These songs are less an attempt to gather those fragments in a manageable whole as they are a building frustration at being unable to do so, mostly especially in a vacuum, alone. 


“The blind man blindfolded shuts his eyes, in the deepest cave, and it gets him high…” I say at one point.


So I fear saying that being a new dad is a dominant theme, as it may confound and confuse someone unaware of my aims. A hovering reality to be sure, that may help some listeners to know about me, but not required to understand what’s going on


Strangely most, if not all, of these songs began before I became a father. Records are about folding oneself inside out for all to see, and inevitably that part of my identity spills over, but often only as metaphorically parallel to the larger themes present. 


 I’ve said before in relation to this record that I haven’t fully processed becoming a father yet (not that one ever does), but it’s largely my inability to process such a blinding weight of self-identity (among many) that grips the other threads of me, each of which begin their own unspooling in the process. 


Who am I as a child and son?  

Who am I as a husband?  

Who am I as a citizen? 

Who am I as a sentient creature?

Who am I when truly alone?  

“Who am I that you would consider me?”


There was also an unexpectedly prescient tone of cynicism (for my personal life that is) present on the record, from a time when I was seeking merely to be more honest with myself, as someone prone to hope to a fault. 


Yet now I feel more fragmented and disillusioned than ever.  I told my mom recently that, “It’s not that I’m hopeless, I’ve just never hoped less.”  Which is an odd thing to say now as a father of two. 


But the year 2016 was a bleeding year for me for a number of personal reasons I won’t go into, and the burden of completing the nearly conceptually finished ‘Exhumation’ at the time without it becoming tainted by that dark year nearly killed my desire to complete the project entirely. The album was delayed for over a year.


It’s almost as if I’m only just now consciously processing what I was saying on the record without knowing I was preparing myself for an unforeseen fallout.  I finished it because I needed to begin the next chapter before anyone had even heard the first. So I’m grateful to have made this record for my future self to perform as an unexpected solace. It’s become quite the table of contents of things to come.



Q: Describe the logistical and creative differences between the experimental music you’re doing now and the “artrock” music you wrote with The Sea Wolf Mutiny.


NUMBTONGUE: In many ways Numbtongue is a culmination and continuation of the ideas explored in The Sea Wolf Mutiny. That may manifest itself in some unsatisfying ways to fans of that former project, but they shouldn’t necessarily be surprised.


The name NUMBTONGUE in part suggests this, in that I feel like I am saying what I was always saying, and in some ways it feels I’ve said nothing at all. I’m numb to the truth of it all because it’s all too real and overwhelming. I can’t feel it but I know it’s there, at once an inability to speak both from atrophy & overuse.


The primal idea of NUMBTONGUE, oddly enough, is actually pulled from a quote the very first drummer of TSWM Joel Eaton told me once. He left early on to live in NH but it always stuck with me.  He mentioned it in relation to some lyrics we were writing at the time during a rehearsal. I messaged him about it when crafting Exhumation trying to hunt down this quote that eventually inspired Track 6 “Disjecta Membra” as I couldn’t locate it on my own and never asked about it further at the time.


That track eponymously refers to the archaeological term for pieces of pottery recovered from ancient civilizations at dig sites, and he told me that disjecta membra poetae (or “scattered truth” if you will) was a phrased once used by a theologian-philosopher J. G. Hamann from his essay Aesthetica in Nuce: “The fault may lie where it will (outside us or within us): all we have left in nature for our use is fragmentary verse and disjecta membra poetae. To collect these together is the scholar’s modest part; the philosopher’s to interpret them; to imitate them, or – bolder still – to adapt them, the poet’s."


I would say that passage has been one of the key motives behind the themes of self-fragmentation explored in The Sea Wolf Mutiny and NUMBTONGUE.  I actually almost called the record Self Storage in light of the location it was recorded in. 


But the word ‘exhumation’ implied a resurrection of sorts, and ‘exhaustion’ as well, and I liked that it almost sounds like the word “human exhaust” in a sense.  More importantly, it is a rarely used form of a word normally saved for the context of exhuming a body, usually when investigating a crime or an archeological dig.  


In many ways, TSWM were trending in these NUMBTONGUE directions even before its hiatus, so this project was and is more an attempt to grow and stretch that sound we had found.  One with any knowledge of previous TSWM work will hear it’s hallmarks in NUMBTONGUE both lyrically and melodically.  


The themes of alienation; the shattering of the myth of self; yearning for a home I’ve never been to before; “do I actually control what I believe?”; searching for what ultimate reality we can all grasp as true together; and decrying my utter failure to gather the shards of us all to do so; “if heaven is there what is it like and who walks there? These are just a few things wrestled with here.


There is a meditation on Exhumation where I wonder “sometimes I wish we really could be born again” in a song that wanders in the dark while blindfolded hoping to bump into some kind of quantum god (Constant), and my son coos and whines in the background of a song about the flaws in our definitions of intimacy (Mirabal) that is as much about being a husband as it is being a bad friend or lover. These are very The Sea Wolf Mutiny subjects.


From a logistical standpoint, I decided to seek stylistic choices that pulled from my roots as a drummer at heart, learning to craft a song towards its moments of silence more effectively than I had before, seeking to serve that silence and space between the notes.  So I let songs be born from the drums and bass guitar more often then the process allowed in the previous band. This was as much about being different for it’s own sake as it was to serve the theme of fragmentation by starting with grooves only and almost no tones.  


I would also ask myself: “What can I get from almost nothing? What does it sound like to have just excavated guitar distortion like an artifact?” Because tonally I wanted to explore the more primal languages of rock and roll even further than I had so far.  This meant recording no guitar amps and plugging directly into an audio interface preamp, not only to keep quiet around my family but to get in touch with the raw electricity before any pedal or amp could touch the signal. I learned later this is called ‘console distortion’. 


I used to devote myself to a single instrument (piano) and single role as wordsmith and lead singer, but I decided I wanted to wear all the hats this time. Sometimes it’s easier to color inside your own lines instead of outside someone else’s. I decided to flesh out and build upon each rough draft layer by layer until I liked what I heard and it felt complete. The whole record sounds as if it’s a Salvador Dali painting drawn on notebook paper. 


It was interesting living into such a disembodied recording process: a bedroom holding my one year-old son recording vocals, a climate control storage crafting one song for seven hours straight, tracking back up vocals into a Mac mic while parked in my minivan as a train drove by. The list goes on.


For many of the more abstract moments, I felt like a foley artist for a movie sometimes in my gathering of sounds via my smartphone, specifically sounds of a scattered metallophonic quality: clanging children’s toys or wind chimes while some kids played by the pool. 


Technology available now makes one feel limitless, and I was interested in limiting myself within those limitless possibilities.  One way was to use only instruments nearby that I already owned, not buy anything new.  There was one element that nearly scuttled the whole thing: I recorded all synthetic drums save one tambourine.  However, I felt compelled to use one drum kit in logic pro to aid in my ‘sophisticated rough draft’ approach by keeping it intentionally boxed in, almost like it was the only drum machine I owned, so that anything that bloomed from it had believable roots. Since I had no drum machine and loved this one kit so much, I leaned in. 


There are drumbeats and melodies on Exhumation that date back to middle school for me.

I always dreamed of making a record alone: writing, recording, mixing, producing, mastering. I tend to write songs in a manifold way in terms of instrumental composition, but rarely would I complete them to the degree. So this record sounds like all of my private demos always sounded in my last band, I just decided to release them. So in a way my process is no different and this just where I’ve evolved to at this point.  It just so happens I needed to stop tinkering with it and release it into the wild, so here we are. 


I think of TSWM as it’s own experiment in deconstructing rock and roll, working out whatever my worldview was back then in broad daylight, meditations and prayers outsourced to other ears. All of which are present in NUMBTONGUE.  Another contrast was I wrote nearly everything from guitars and drums and almost nothing on the piano except for two tracks for the better part of 2 years. There was a comfort zone I wanted to challenge there in order to expand how I thought about rhythm, timbre and tone, since I didn’t have to feel trapped on a piano. I have however found my way back to the ivories of late. 



Q: You’ve never played JRMF with one of your own projects. How are you preparing to showcase NUMBTONGUE?


NUMBTONGUE: Practice, practice, practice.  I am eternally grateful for Danny, Steve, Phil and Adam diving headfirst into this abstraction of my self with me, as this music is interminably difficult to evoke live, even for it’s author.  I’m beyond proud of our efforts over the past 7-8 months to reify three years of work.  



Why did you want to be a part of JRMF?


JRMF has consistently honored the local scene next to many an indie juggernaut, and it seemed as good a time as any to finally present one of my own projects on it’s stages.  It’s actually odd it hasn’t happened yet.


What aspect of JRMF are you most excited about?


Performing on the same stage as GBV and HGM is pretty amazing. And sharing a bill with so many talented friends and scene mates (Valley Maker, The Lovely Few, King Vulture, Barnwell, Fat Rat) and having a chance to hear us all in a bigger way than normal always excites me. There’s no place like home.


What I’m looking forward to the most though is finally playing almost every track off of Exhumation in a live setting. And also, debuting a brand new song no one’s heard yet, a song you know is great, is forever my happy place.


What can the audience expect from JRMF and your performance?


They can expect a robust and sophisticated oeuvre from almost every artist performing. I can’t wait. As far as NUMBTONGUE, for those that have seen us live so far, there will perhaps be more keys present than usual from yours truly.  I’ve found myself returning to that home of late.  And it feels good.




Art Bar Rocks for the Jam Room Music Festival by Jake Margle

Art Bar Rocks The Jam Room is hosting a barbecue fundraiser this Sunday, September 13th at the Tapp’s Arts Center, with all proceeds benefiting the Jam Room Music Festival. The festival is in its fourth year and the Jam Room’s Linda Toro has hopes that the fundraiser could help double the number of attendees they had at the first festival. Toro says that the first year of the festival saw about 5,000 attendees, and she would love to see such a large increase in just four events. “We’re always hoping for more people! We’d like to see about 10,000 down on Main St. this year,” Toro says.


The fundraiser will be held at the tried and true Tapp’s Arts Center located at 1664 Main St. The barbecue buffet is being provided by Joe Turkaly Catering with beer and wine supplied by The Whig. Tastings will also be provided by Columbia’s own Crouch Distilling Company. Owned by Phil and Jessica Crouch, they’ve been making whiskey, bourbon, and ryes in small batches since 2014. Our non-carnivorous friends will also be catered to, with plenty of vegetarian options on the buffet.


Tickets are still available for the fundraiser for the price of $26.87 with all proceeds backing this year’s festival.


The Art Bar Rocks Lineup includes: Italo and the Passions Bully Pulpit Boo Hag Due east and more ...

Doors: 6:00 p.m.

This year’s festival is back on Main and Hampton streets with acclaimed alt-rock band Blonde Redhead head-lining for what’s always been an eclectic lineup of artists from around the southeast.


Eleven other bands, ranging from the blues-rock of The Distributors to Mississippi-turned-Nashvillian Cory Branan, who rides a wavering line between punk and country.


The JRMF has become something of a Columbia staple since its inception, and seeing as it only had 9 bands on the roster in 2012, we’re excited to see this labor of love grow steadily.


Here's the lowdown on this year's fest.

The Jam Room Music Festival returns to Columbia's Main Street for it's fourth year!

Don't miss South Carolina's biggest FREE music party featuring:

BLONDE REDHEAD Hiss Golden Messenger Cory Branan The Distributors Patois Counselors Junior Astronomers Rev Matthew Mickens and The Highway Travelers Debbie and the Skanks Colorblind She Returns From War Stefanie Santana Grace Joyner

Not only is this incredible all day show FREE, but admission to Columbia Museum of Art is FREE as well.

FOOD: Village Idiot Pizza and Pub The Wurst Wagen Drip on Main Happiness Bomb Boiled PNUTS Crepes & croissants KC Hotdogs Lowcountry Rocks Lobster K&K Gourmet Sweets

BEER GARDEN by @weirdbeerguysc Featuring: Palmetto Brewing Company Widmer Brothers Redhook Goose Island Kona and more.

Community Talk: Jam Room Music Festival 2015, with Tracie Broom on Headliner Blonde Redhead

My 20-year Love Affair with Blonde Redhead, Jam Room Music Festival Headliner And why I screamed out loud when they were announced

By Tracie Broom


I’m in a magical long-term relationship that is continuing to roll strong, thanks to the Jam Room Music Festival. While friends know that I connected with my super-wonderful partner Scott at the 2014 festival, resulting in a really rather phenomenal LTR, I’m actually talking about my two-decade love affair with this year’s JRMF headliner band, Blonde Redhead.

Before getting into music nerd territory, I’d like to go ahead and lay down my top 5 reasons why Oct. 3 on Main Street in Columbia, S.C. is going to be amazing:

  1. It is a miracle that a band of the international stature and coolness of Blonde Redhead is playing in Columbia, S.C. – at a free festival, no less. I cannot overstate this.
  2. It’s their only Southeast gig on this tour. Total booking coup! (That in mind, if you are a fan, consider donating what you would have spent on gas and hotel to the nonprofit Jam Room Music Festival. I did, and it feels GREAT.)
  3. They are the best, and most consistently excellent, live band I’ve ever seen. Like many of you, I have seen tonzzzz of great bands, so this is a pretty big deal. They combine technical virtuosity with a dreamy, melodic, and very modern sound based in the math rock and post-punk electro-indie thing of the early 2000s, now transmogrified into the kind of highly-produced, creamy-but-ultra-cool music you can listen to while working on the computer or cleaning the house. Live, they kill it all.
  4. The JRMF is the best festival in the Midlands for combo of high-quality indie bands, very chill street scene, and the fun of running into a frillion people you know and like very much from various eras throughout your life here.
  5. The organizers don’t do it for the money; they do it because they love music and they love their community. This is powerful juju and it works.

I first heard about Blonde Redhead when I was an undergrad at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. A Brooklyn-based band, they were playing in the basement of WestCo dorm. I wish I could remember more about the show, but suffice to say that it was during their noise-ish days, probably 1994, the year they formed and released their self-titled debut, or maybe 1995 when they released La Mia Vita Violenta. To be honest, I don’t remember much about the show, but I went on to follow them throughout my years living in San Francisco, seeing them just about every time they performed live between 1997 and 2009, which was only maybe five times.


A Blonde Redhead show was a rare treat, even in a major market like SF.

Japanese singer/guitarist Kazu Makino is not only the definition of the term “hauntingly beautiful” and wears the most remarkable designer outfits, but the Milanese twin brothers, Amedeo and Simone Pace (guitar and drums, respectively) are wildly salt-and-pepper handsome. They make quite an impression hitting the stage. Then they start playing one of their rolling, wistful yet badass songs, she takes the mic, closes her eyes, starts swaying, and then unleashes the most ethereal singing voice in all of the indie music world, breathy yet unconcerned: the perfect formula. The whole audience tends to be transfixed at this point, having fallen in love with all three of them.

Which brings me to a fun fact: Kazu and Amedeo’s romantic relationship.

From Stereogum, who explains it best:

“The real heart-swelling moment [of the album Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons] comes from ‘This Is Not.’ Makino and Amedeo's romantic relationship is not a band secret and it gives them a palpable chemistry during their live performances, but you can hear it in her voice with this song. Lyrically straightforward, she describes the silver linings of a failed courtship in a love letter to both Pace twins: "She left everything/ traveled to the other side of the world … a series of meaningless movements/ And then by chance she met/ You and your brother/ The moment she saw you/ She knew you were made for her."

I mean, it’s pretty compelling stuff.

I remember when Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons – my favorite of all of their albums – was released in 2000. It was the height of the dot com era in San Francisco, I had extra cash from reviewing cell phones for CNET, and I’d already gotten to see the band live at Bottom of the Hill once, maybe twice. I want to say that I nabbed that record from Napster, as well as a live recording at Bottom of the Hill at one of the shows I attended – I still have it and love it when it comes up in my iTunes shuffle. (I have since paid full price for all of their subsequent albums; it took a year or two for me to grasp that illegal download portals were killing artists more than they were killing “the Man.”) I get excited whenever they release a new album, such as the most recent, 2014’s Barragan.

My top 10 Blonde Redhead songs to look up and give a listen:

  1. This is Not,” Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, 2000
  2. Elephant Woman,” Misery is a Butterfly, 2004
  3. In Particular,” Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons, 2000
  4. Falling Man,” Misery is a Butterfly, 2004
  5. Missile,” In an Expression of the Inexpressible, 1998
  6. I Still Get Rocks Off” (their breakout hit), La Mia Vita Violenta, 1995
  7. My Impure Hair,” 23, 2007
  8. Futurism vs. Passeism,” Fake Can Be Just As Good, 1997
  9. Dripping,” Barragan, 2014
  10. Penultimo,” Barragan, 2014

I could go on and on about Blonde Redhead and their history, or you can just Google them and discover for yourself what an enormously huge deal they are internationally and in the States.

I screamed out loud when Jam Room Music Festival founder Jay Matheson announced them as this year’s headliner at a festival kickoff party at The Whig this summer. Tears followed. Kind-of accidentally made a scene. I don’t really get hysterical in public, because I am supposed to be all grown up and such, but it was just such an exciting shock that somehow, quite magically, these guys had landed one of the rarest birds in indie rock royalty, ever.

Let’s go see this band together! They will play the final set of the Jam Room Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Main and Hampton Streets in downtown Columbia, S.C. Free! There will be good beer by The Whig, bike valet by the Cola Town Bicycle Co-op, progressive local food vendors and more.

You can check out the rest of the lineup and donate funds to the nonprofit Jam Room Music Festival at


Community Talk: Jam Room Music Festival 2015 Announcement, Cory Branan Edition

11732033_708312529272830_1273592294353685023_o We here at Jasper are stoked for the 2015 Jam Room Music Festival, a free all-day concert that is celebrating its fourth year on Main Street this year. But rather than us telling you how awesome some of the bookings are, we thought we'd ask some community figures about their personal experiences with some of the bands booked. We started by asking American Gun's Todd Mathis about his history with Nashville singer/songwriter Cory Branan, one of the most celebrated under-the-radar Americana acts around.



The first time I heard the name Cory Branan was in the song “Tears Don’t Matter Much” by Lucero.  Ben Nichols sings:

“Cory Branan’s got an evil streak

And way with words, that will bring you to your knees

He can play the wildest shows

And he can sing so sweet”

Not long after, while browsing around Acme Comics, Randy Dunn suggested I buy The Hell You Say, Branan’s debut album from 2002.  I listened, thought it had some good songs, “Ms. Ferguson” and “Skateland South” being my favorites, but was overall unimpressed.  I thought Lucero was much better and the production on the album was scattered.  Sometime later in 2005 (the exact dates from those days blur) I saw where Cory’s manager, Brian, was looking to fill some tour dates and I decided to try and help out.  The Whig had just opened so I asked Phil Blair if I could book Cory to play there.  Phil agreed and I got in touch with Brian and we booked the date.  I lugged my band’s PA equipment down the stairs to the Whig, set it up and had it ready.  I sent out emails to Uncle Gram (at WUSC) and rounded up as many of my friends as I could and Cory played for the first time in Columbia.

After seeing that show I realized why Ben Nichols had thought enough of Cory to put him in a song.  Cory was great live, and it was just him and a guitar. Charismatic, spastic, tender, and thoughtful were a few of the descriptions that ran through my mind.  His debut album had not done him justice. (And actually, none since have done justice to the live show.)  This guy was madly talented and anyone that saw him had to crack a smile at some of his stories and tunes. There were maybe 20 people in the audience that night, but I think everyone had a good time.  Cory drank some whiskey and followed me back to my house where I left him sleeping the next morning.  I went to work and was surprised to get a call from Brian (the manager) that afternoon asking if I had Cory’s phone.  I found it on the back of the toilet and Fed Exed it to Cory’s next show.

About a year or so later (again, timeframes here blur) I booked Cory again in Columbia, this time being at New Brookland Tavern.  I got Rob Lindsey to open, and I think I played a few songs too, and we had a better crowd.  Things were going pretty good that night until soundman Benji had a heart attack and died in the club.  Cory’s set was cut short and we all moved to the Red Tub where most sat in disbelief.  It was a pretty sad scene, Benji being such a great, nice dude.  Again, Cory came back to the house, and again, I got a call later in the evening asking about Cory’s phone.  I found it under the guest bed.

After those two shows in Columbia, Branan didn’t need my help booking him anymore.  He moved on to a better booking agency and traveled back through Columbia a few more times where he always played amazing live shows.  I even caught him in Nashville once with a full band and a near-packed house, something he hasn’t quite been able to do here in Columbia.  I’ve suggested Cory to the powers that be for the Jam Room Music Festival since its inception and was thrilled to see him on the bill this year.  I’m sure more than a few folks will come away saying, “Dang, that Cory Branan guy put on a hell of a show.” -Todd Mathis

Here's a link to Todd's new project, Interruptions of the Mind, along with some Cory Branan tunes:

Superchunk Headlines Columbia’s Jam Room Music Festival


October 11 festival brings 12 bands to Main and Hampton

From amped-up, power pop and gospel to banjo metal and dirty guitar, the third annual Jam Room Music Festival is bringing 12 bands, two stages and an all-around street party to downtown Columbia on October 11.
The festival at Main and Hampton streets in Downtown Columbia, kicks off at noon on October 11. In addition to a diverse musical lineup, the festival features various food vendors, craft beer and a children’s area on Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.
The eclectic musical lineup is headlined by Superchunk. Since releasing their first 7-inch in 1989, the  Chapel Hill-based quartet Superchunk has run the gamut of milestone albums: early punk rock stompers, polished mid-career masterpieces, and lush, adventurous curveballs. After 10 albums, Pitchfork says, “Superchunk’s best songs have always been the spastic ones…[frontman Mac] McCaughan’s nasal yowl can’t help being anthemic.”
Other bands joining the lineup include:
•   Southern Culture on the Skids, best described by The Echo: “Long the bards of downward mobility, Southern Culture on the Skids have always embodied a sleazy, raucous, good-natured, good-time take on the culture of the South.” •  The Love Language, a small army of collaborators led by Stuart McLamb making music that is gorgeous and unashamedly fun. •  Rookie says, “Listening to Adia Victoria’s haunting Southern Gothic tales is like being dropped right into a Tennessee Williams play, but one that’s been updated for right now. “ While currently based in Nashville, Victoria is a native of Spartanburg, SC. •  Keath Mead, a local singer-songwriter of “pop slightly off kilter with a side of fuzzy and buzzy.” [Chunky Glasses] •  Shehehe, purveyors of  “new American jet rock” that Flagpole says inhabits “…the camp first established by The Ramones, The Stooges and The Runaways.” •  E.T. Anderson, a local singer-songwriter readying his first release. Other previously announced bands include: •  Nashville-based band, Leagues. Named in the 10 best acts of SXSW in 2013 by Paste Magazine, Leagues displays a penchant for memorable, anthemic lyrics and a mix of dirty guitar tones with catchy, indie-pop harmonies. •  The Defibulators will join the lineup showing off their eclectic mix of musical styles that push the boundaries of country music. •  The Whisky Gentry’s latest album Holly Grove, infuses elements of country, bluegrass, folk, rock, and punk with a mix of poppy and poignant lyrics, fiery vocals, honesty, edginess, and entertainment. •  Megan Jean and the KFB will bring their brand of washboard and banjo metal from 1927. •  The Reverend Matthew Mickens and the New Highway Travelers, a local high energy gospel group, will open the show.

Back to Rockafellas' - This Weekend




Back_to_RockafellasJasper Magazine wanted to know what the deal was with this weekend's big Jam Room fundraiser at Rockafellas', so we pulled aside Jay Matheson, owner of the Jam Room Recording Studio and asked him. Here's what Jay had to say:







Jasper: So what are we calling this very cool fundraising event and how did you come up with the concept?


Jay:  When I met the new owners of Jake's I could tell that they wanted to embrace the musical legacy of the bar, where the previous owners seemed to want to distance themselves from the building's heritage. I’m constantly coming up with crazy ideas, but this one just seemed to actually be good enough to put into operation. It’s called Back to Rockafellas' because we all finally get to go back, not to reminisce but to actually re-experience it. And hopefully, we'll raise some funds for this year's FREE Jam Room Music Festival, so we can bring Columbia the best show possible.



Jasper:  What’s the line-up look like?


Jay:  Since it’s a benefit for the Jam Room Music Festival we had to keep budget in mind, but I think it’s going to be a great gig and I think the bands will be glad that they played it. We got a strong bill together and we’re very happy with it. The first night has a Rock ‘n’ Roll theme with a country-ish opener. The second night more indie, and the punk matinee and acoustic Sunday evening speak for themselves. It’s basically an exact copy of the format of a normal weekend from the heyday of the old Rockafellas'.


Steve Gibson, the original owner of the bar said that he preferred to have fresh, current new bands, rather than trying to have defunct bands reform. I agreed and feel that Steve’s input is essential in doing the most appropriate event that we can. This show was designed to appeal to younger people, but also to be something that the older Rockafellas' crowd will like.



Jasper:  What do you think is going to be most surprising to folks attending?


The most surprising thing will be the vibe that the place still has and the sense of camaraderie and community.



Jasper:  How are things going with plans for this year’s Jam Room Festival – can you give us a little preview of what’s in store?


Jay:  We're already working hard on planning the event for September 21st. We'll have two stages set up at Main Street and Hampton Street, with an eclectic mix of  bands, just like last year. We're planning on bigger and better, and we're talking to a number of great artists but no specific details are  available just yet.



Jasper:  Anything else you want to share with Jasper’s readers?


Jay:  The Jam Room Music Festival is always looking for volunteers and sponsors so I’d like to encourage anyone with interest to contact us through our website or through Facebook. I really hope that both this fundraiser and the Jam Room Music Festival will inspire some other people to get off the sidelines and get involved with creating some new music events or even improve our current music venue variety. We’re hoping to help put Cola back on the map as an important music city


Jay Matheson


Jasper:  Finally, what dates should we mark on our calendars for both the Rockafellas' Fundraising event and this year’s festival? 

Jay:  Back To Rockafellas' is the weekend of May 17 -19. We have a number of other fundraising events coming up later this summer. One is a Ladies of  Country Music show at Trustus Theater on Sept. 6th. The others will be at the Whig and at Jake's, with more details to come on those later on. The Jam Room Music Festival happens on Sept. 21st on Columbia's Main Street.


jasper listens