SEVEN BANDS TO TAKE NOTE OF IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
by A.J. Wachtel
All the participants in the New England music scene are on the same team. We just play a lot of different genres at a lot of variable venues throughout five separate states. Each of these assorted areas have their own special sound and unique characteristics. Check out what BEST NOT BROKEN, DOWNTOWN DAVE & THE DEEP POCKETS, RHYTHM METHOD, YOUNG FRONTIER, GRETCHEN & THE PICKPOCKETS, ANNA MADSEN and THE WHITEBOARDS all say about New Hampshire’s happening entertainment environment.
Noise: Where is your band located?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): We started in Manchester, NH. While our members have moved around the Southern New Hampshire/Greater Boston area, we still rehearse in Nashua, NH and do some gigging in Southern, NH.
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): My name is Cleveland Peterson III, aka “Pete Peterson.” I am the lead vocalist/rhythm and lead guitarist for the Portsmouth based band “Rhythm Method”. The band was formed in 1997 and has performed extensively in the New England area.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): I’m located on the Seacoast, Dan and Bethany both live in the Boston area. We consider ourselves based out of Portsmouth/Boston.
Anna Madsen: Concord, NH
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): We all met at UNH except our drummer who went to high school in Exeter with Gretchen and I. Two of us live in the Seacoast NH still and the rest are in Boston, with some going to school for music. We end up playing all over New England though, with a lot of our gigs centralizing in Boston and Seacoast NH.
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): The Keene area.
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets are based out of Manchester, NH.
Noise: What’s good and bad about your local scene?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): From our perspective, the biggest challenge locally is finding a broad audience for “original” pop/rock music. We’ve found pockets of fertile ground, although many of the bigger clubs in NH are cover-band oriented. That said, we’ve had lots of fun and great success introducing some of our original music to audiences at these “cover-band clubs” – mixed in with some cover music of course. We’re still always thrilled to see so many people out and engaged in Southern NH’s live music scene!
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): The best part about performing in the Portsmouth area is it is very artsy and music is a thriving part of the scene.The worst part is that the scene has changed from a time when Blues, Funk, R&B were more prevalent. that is Rhythm Method’s bread and butter.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): I’ll speak on the seacoast, as that’s where I call home. The amount of talent out on the seacoast blows my mind, and has done so for the five years I’ve been out here now. Everyone out here is creating what they want to create, and we’re all very supportive of each other, it’s a pretty great community to be a part of. I honestly don’t have much to say negatively in regards to the “scene”. The only thing that comes to mind, and this comes to me only because I’ve played a lot of solo cover bar gigs over the years, but I wish there were more thirst for original music from such venues. I think that comes with living in a touristy town though.
Anna Madsen: For the good, there’s lots of support and camaraderie among the musicians in the New England scene. For the bad, I’d say that New Hampshire is divided into lots of little scenes (Seacoast, Concord, Manchester, etc.). New Hampshire is a small state; we need to strive for a cohesive “New Hampshire scene.”
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): Everyone is always looking to help out the community and make it better in our area. Musicians are always helping out other musicians, local venues are taking chances on new bands who might not necessarily pack the house but play great music – there’s so much support for new and local art. There are also a lot of writers who spread the word about other cool people, places and things to check out that you might not otherwise be aware of, so that really helps to foster the scene and give everything its own spotlight. There’s just so much good about this area, we love it. The only bad thing is there are so many awesome bands out there it can be hard to get booked!
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): We have a lot of diverse, talented individuals in the area but local scene is a little limited from a venue standpoint
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): Our local music scene has it’s share of great venues that support live music and the artistry behind it. However, like most areas, DJ’s and karaoke nights have taken a big bite out of some potential venues. Another problem is the bands, or the musicians that play for food or drink which is basically playing for free. It sets a poor precedent and belittles the time, effort and passion put forth by true passionate, hard working bands.
Noise: Describe your band’s sound and how you fit into the scene?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): We’re an alternative pop/rock band – along the lines of Walk The Moon, Cold War Kids, and others. We try to feature strong melody and interesting soundscapes, using guitars and synthesizers on top of strong rythms and beats. We’ve been at it for a few years and we’ve tried to build a reputation for writing great songs, running a professional operation and being good citizens within our local and regional music scene.
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): The band has had to adjust to the changing scene…adding more classic rock, reggae and newer pop tunes to the repertoire. I personally have taken on more solo and duo gigs over the past few years. It’s easier to book and the money is better.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): Americana. Between the myriad of sounds Bethany can pull out of her cello and the range Dan can cover via guitar and mandolin, we’ve got the ability to stretch ourselves musically, but Americana is where we fit most snugly.
Anna Madsen: Ethereal indie pop with touches of orchestral, rock, and folk influences. I’m not really sure how I fit into the scene; I’m just doing my own thing and supporting others who are doing their own thing.
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): We are a blend of rock’n’roll, soul and jazz. It’s a big mix of all the music we listen to on our own time as well as what we naturally like to play. It’s also the product of us continually crafting our sound. It’s something that will always be a work in progress.
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): Alternative country rock, blues and ’60s psychedelia. We offer something different than typical radio rock.
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): We are an up-tempo band that mixes the traditional old school blues sound with current creative covers we choose. We are a band that loves to get people up and dancing, one or two slow songs, and the rest is straight forward driving groove.
Noise: What’s your best song?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): Depends who you ask. We like a couple that we haven’t released yet (coming soon on our next album) – ha! We had some radio success with a song called “Tell Me That You Want Me’ which was played nationally on SiriusXM, and we had great on-line (YouTube, etc.) success with our last song called “What The Night Has Left”.
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): I think our best song as a band is our Original song “Do What You Want”… but that is just MY opinion.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): That’s like asking someone to choose their favorite child. In that I have a favorite, but won’t admit it publicly. We enjoy whatever song we happen to be playing or working on.
Anna Madsen: I’m not sure what my best song is, as they are all different and interesting pieces on their own both musically and lyrically. Crowd favorites are Palm Reader and Madame Laree. Personally, I also like Cimmerian, Soldier Song, and Devil’s Garden (last two are on the upcoming record.)
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): Depending on the time of day or who you ask in the band, you will get totally different answers. I think everyone in the band loves our new stuff, which we plan on recording sometime soon. Although we have songs like “Sweet Sweet Love” that really let us showcase our soul/rock blend, we always feel ourselves gravitating towards a more atmospheric sound like on “Old Souls.” And then there are some people who love the first song we ever wrote together, “Free Sailin,” but everyone in the band has their own opinions on that track.
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): “You and Me.”
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): Favorite song? That’s a tough one. I would say one of the original tunes probably “Bill Playing Blues.” It’s a song that everybody can identify with. No getting away with paying them bills!
Noise: What national act’s influence is most evident in your sound?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): It changes every time we go into the studio so it’s pretty hard to pick one. Right now we’re trying to draw from both contemporary alternative pop bands and producers as well as classic bands. Lately we’ve been listening to some of the old 80’s synth rockers for influence. The Police have been an eternal favorite.
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): I think we are influenced by lots of band since we play a lot of different genres but probably most influenced by on the funk side probably bands like the Commodores or Robert Cray and similar acts…there’s also some influence from bands like The Allman Bros.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): We draw from a whole bunch of influences. Ryan Adams, The Lone Bellow, The Wood Brothers, Jason Isbell, Dawes, Father John Misty are four acts that we dig and keep coming back to when we’re traveling. Who knows if that is apparent in our music, but we’d hug anyone who said it was.
Anna Madsen: Lana Del Rey, Imagine Dragons, Civil Wars.
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): We love White Denim, D’Angelo, Amy Winehouse, pretty much anything that grooves. We also love And The Kids, My Morning Jacket, stuff that rocks. Lake Street Dive is one that comes to mind because of instrumentation, but we don’t really want to be a copy cat version of them.
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage.
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): The most influential act for The Deep Pockets would have to be The Red Devils. Long disbanded after the death of Lester Butler but still influencing us every night we play. Other acts that have influenced us are: Jason Ricci, Kim Wilson, Tab Benoit, Freddie King, Albert King, B.B.King, SRV, Duke Robillard, William Clarke, James Cotton, Jerry Portnoy, Steve Guyger, Gary Primich, Rod Piazza, Junior Wells, Little Walter, Ray Charles, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and The Rolling Stones.
Noise: What are your plans for the future?
Eric Jackson (Best Not Broken): We will keep writing, recording, performing and promoting. We love it and can see no better way to live!
Pete Peterson (Rhythm Method): Personally, my plans are to continue booking and playing as a leading member of the band, and as a duo and solo artist.
Joe Young (Young Frontier): We’ll be at Atwood’s in June, then a whole bunch of stuff: We’re releasing a music video for our first single “Waste of My Time” in June, followed by a vinyl and digital pre-order for our debut album due out in July, with release shows booked in Portsmouth and Boston. Follow along on our Facebook page.
Anna Madsen: : Plans for the future include touring, with the possibility of Europe in late 2016/early 2017, new video(s), and a new EP by the end of the year.
Mike Klempa (Gretchen & The Pickpockets): We all love traveling and experiencing new things. We would love to make this a full time gig and just tour and record and make a living out of it. But until then, we’ve got an album to record later this year and a new music video coming out for “Old Souls,” so stay posted!
Glen Lamothe (The Whiteboards): We will be releasing a CD later this year.
Dave Glannon (Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets): We have gone through some recent personnel changes . The resulting changes have given the band a new focus and musical energy. I look forward to expanding our reach and gaining new fans as we do so. Downtown Dave & The Deep Pockets is a band that makes people feel good, from deep down in their souls.