It’s Old News, Man Press, Reviews, Interviews 2002 through 2004
Keeping it Real review
by Dana Pinnock
Got my CDs and checked them out finally!!!!! After the first album, hearing the new CD was a great improvement for the band’s sound. I think the lyrics have gotten better, the words have become more “real” (hence my liking the name of the album as much as everything there is to it) and the overall sound and music itself is outstanding. I liked the first album and I like this one even more. Favorite lyrics: Broken Promises. I felt that song, a lot. I absolutely love it. Airport Road brought me “memories.” I’ve heard Hemingway is Drunk before and I think it sounds even better now than it did when I heard it before. I’d recommend the cd to anyone, no matter what kind of music they like. Its not in the genre that I listen to at all and I still think its great.
The Disgruntled Sherpa Project releases Keeping it Real
by Janet Vasquez
After the success of their album Farm Living, The Disgruntled Sherpa Project is back with their follow-up album, Keeping it Real. Guitarists Joe Boylan, Dan Perry, Bassist Walt Mamaluy, Guitarist George Wright, and Drummer Wayne Lee depart from the country-influenced songs of Farm Living and, according to the band, the new album has a more a “rock” feel to it, that wasn’t quite ready in the previous album.
“This is much more of a rock album whereas Farm Living was closer to country. It was a conscious decision and we added George Wright and Wayne Lee who are much more into hard rock than country. I spent a lot of time listening to Weezer and Metallica and started writing more songs using the drop D tuning which adds to a heavier sound,” adds Boylan.
In naming the album, Perry explains: “Keeping it Real is a phrase that is thrown around so much, that it has become more of a joke than anything else. I’ve always used that phrase in that sense and we’ve said for years now that that would be a great album title.” The title reflects the album as well, as far as the music goes,
“The album brings you everywhere from hard rock, stripped acoustic, mid-eastern flavor, acoustic country blues, and acoustic/mandolin heavy drunk tune. I don’t think it’s very predictable, therefore always keeping it interesting for the listener,” adds Perry.
Independent Alt-Ccountry that leaves the listener satisfied.
Farm Living review
by Edward Lanza March 2003
The CD kicks off with a killer guitar lick on a country-blues song called All Soul’s Day that seems to be about anger at religion and a loss of faith. It continues on with a beautiful sounding acoustic guitar/mandolin driven song On a Clear Day. These two songs set the tone for the sometimes humorous sometimes heart-breaking CD that I noticed stays along the Country-Rock path until ending with a psychedelic jam called, Captain Quaallude. For me, the highlights of the CD include the absurd Monkey Knife Fight at Sea which is a rollicking sea shanty and the Indian-influenced anti-war song the Jihad Blues. The guitar playing on the CD is phenomenal especially the acoustic leads on She Always Does It and the Wah-Wah heavy lead on the CD’s only hard rock song, Burn. Also of note is the haunting emo song Room and the whistle solo on the sh*t kicking country romp, Country Wedding. All together the band is sounding better and writing better than I’ve heard from them before.
Terrific Farm Living made me crave the Simple Life
Farm Living review
The thrill of listening to the Disgruntled Sherpas is like hearing the anti-establishment blah blah blah lyrics and sound of Bob Dylan’s classic “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” but not nearly as profound. The group’s melodies mark impudent haunting ballads, mixed with schizophrenic word salad love songs, all meant to stretch the listener’s soul to its limits. Remember the Byrds? Well…this album has one song “Burn” that is too cool for words, even while the uneven vocals reverberate with all the power of the former band’s pre-electric funk. On occasion, the Piano Man plays guitar. But really, Joe Boylan plays Joan Baez on a love song that is a love song that is a love song. A tribute to one and all of us who have left the taint of small town life behind us-furious love and Curious George marry to create unhappy monkeys. By far the most visceral band playing these days, the Disgruntled Sherpa Project’s songs prove that their talent can definitely grow to fit into a very large garage–band. Perhaps Jerry Seinfeld’s multi-million dollar Upper West Side automobile hanger. Throw in a little Oriental flavouing and you have another tune with all the angst of Philly street life and a tribute to all coming-of-age stories. Another song, “Country Wedding”, a comic improvisation set to music calls to us to have a ball, “a party where the river cuts through the woods.” THIS is a musician’s musician’s song. Bread rises. But only when yeast is added. “Captain Quaalude”, the disappointing last track however, could use a little leavening.
Dana Pinnock interview with Joe Boylan concerning Double Fisted Misery
DP: What happened with the second disc [Double Fisted Misery]?
JB: Well that was a disaster. Dan quit a month into recording it. Things were going okay for awhile. We mixed and mastered that CD in chronological order. In other words, the first song on that CD [Something Else] was recorded, mixed and mastered first, then the second and so on. By the time we got to the fourth song or so we had had it. We were sick of each other. So, we get to whatever song it is and I just said, “That’s good. Put it on the CD.” Just to get it over with so I could leave. So, if you listen to that Cd you’ll notice the production quality starts off good then goes to shit as the CD progresses.
DP: I noticed that.
JB: And then at the CD release show Walt finally got the balls to pull the plug on the whole operation. We basically broke up onstage…in order to reform three months later with the lineup we always we wanted. So, yeah, that CD is weird for me to listen to. “Scene of the Crime” or “Returning to the Scene” whatever we called it, really was the pinnacle of that lineup working together.
Jim Esch: Turk’s Head Review
August 2002 Review of TallTrees Fallen
“There’s a sloppy, dirty fingernails, trashy garage vibe going in favor of Philadelphia’s the Disgruntled Sherpa Project on their new album TallTrees Fallen. At first listen, it’s unimpressionable, but continued plays show some interesting stuff happening. The band pulls influences from many sources: The Ramones, Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, The Kinks, The Stones, even Pink Floyd — all wound through a garage rock meat grinder.
“Silver Spoon” cops a pretty good Lou Reed vibe. And “Zeno’s Lullabye” is inscrutable, but lyrically fascinating with its references to Van Gogh’s ear, Santa Claus, and Larry Fine. The most successful songs are the ones that verge on a punk ethic.
The Disgruntled Sherpa Project will take some time to gel and define a signature sound. Until then, you’ll have to revel in their jagged-edged rawness.”
The Sounds of TallTrees Fallen
Origivation Magazine Summer 2002
By Guinevere Shockey
The recently formed Disgruntled Sherpa Project just released their first CD, TallTrees Fallen, on June 11th out of Buddha Zen Records, a new Indy Label and recording studio located on South Street in Philadelphia. The band celebrated the release of the album on June 16th across the street from the studio at the Tritone with other musicians from the studio in a music festival that lasted well into the early hours of Monday morning. Wondering what this newly born band sounds like? Well, as I sat listening at the Tritone that Sunday night in June I heard a whole array of genres being debated. “They sound kind of like… the Descendents meets Pearl Jam… or maybe The Velvet Underground with a Metallica influence. In this writer’s personal opinion they had a more punkish-metal sound that blended seamlessly with guitarists Dan Perry’s and Joe Boylan’s blues based leads. After asking lead singer Jason Jeffries what he would define the band as it seemed the problem was solved- but not in a way any of us in the audience would have imagined. He looked up to the ceiling thinking it over a moment then summed it up saying, “We are a rock band that feeds on the energy of diversity. Each individual tree has different musical roots that help define the sound of the [band]. All five of us are just trees alone, but together- what a forest of sound”. Boylan had a similar, but less metaphorical opinion, “Basically, you have a singer who’s heavy into reggae. You have one guitar player who believes treble and the lead guitar is the be all and end all in music, a bass player who disagrees, a jazz drummer who got roped into this mess-and me. I’m just faking it. So, what we wind up with is a gigantic compromise of a bunch of different influences. David Grisman called in Dawg Music. We haven’t figured out what we’re gonna call it.” The Tritone show was the band’s first “official” show together, but nobody would have known it from watching the performance. Lead singer Jason Jeffries has an amazing stage presence. For the first song he was the only one that did not appear to be glued to the floor. However, by the last song of their set Jeffries had both the band rocking and the crowd jumping out of their seats. The band kicked off the show with “Silver Spoon”, a very heavy, pounding song about pampered children and their parent’s unfulfilled ambitions. The metallic song segued directly into the bluesy “Jesus Help Us” showing instantly the diversity of the band’s material. The highlights of the show were the very jammy “Just a Girl” and the finale “Malingering” which had an impressively cooking jam at the end that brought the house down. The Disgruntled Sherpa Project are going to be doing more shows this summer in the Philadelphia and Lancaster areas and are already beginning work on new songs. Drummer Chris Garafalo is excited about the busy months ahead saying, “It’s very rare to find a group you can create with and have common goals with. So, we’re very lucky”.
The Disgruntled Sherpa Project: Anger Inscrutable.
TallTrees Fallen Review
by Ed Lanza
The Disgruntled Sherpa Project is a band slugging it out on the Philadelphia club scene, if there is actually a Philadelphia club scene. From what I could see they were six guys who gigged around town, built a following, then headed to the studio. The results are interesting to say the least. According to the information the band provided me their first CD TallTrees Fallen was made in a state of flux. Original drummer, Mike Davis, was leaving the band to (as they put it) fight crime in Montana. So, the band (lead singer Jason Jeffries, guitarists Dan Perry and Joe Boylan, bassist Walt Mamaluy, percussionist/pianist Joe McBride and the aforementioned Davis) was recording a document to the breakup of (at least) the original line up. While it may not be the most polished CD ever released, the actual substance of the work must be admired. Lyrically, the band writes amazingly deep songs (unlike most bands lyricists Boylan and Davis can string an actual sentence together) and musically they shift from Balls Out Heavy Metal to Classic Rock to Emo, all within the span of a half an hour. The CD starts out with “Silver Spoon” a tune that moves like sludge before exploding into blistering lead guitar. From the get go the listener knows this is definitely a band driven by lead and rhythm guitars. Over the next seven songs the band hop-scotches through different genres apparently undecided as to whether to be a blues rock band like Seven Mary Three or a new wave (Emo) band like the Replacements. There is also a ragged, angry garage band punk song called “My Savior” that shows the band could blast out Sex Pistols/Clash style anger with the best of the three chord wonders playing underground clubs throughout the world. There are some lapses and the flip-flopping from blues to punk leaves one feeling a bit schizophrenic. And there are times when the band’s expectations exceed their reach. The closing track which starts building into an apocalyptic finale never quit reaches those levels. However, high points like the extremely catchy Bass driven “Malingering” and the Pixies-ish light and dark of “Zeno’s Lullabye” make the entire journey an enjoyable if mysterious one.