Simple. Catchy. Hilariously beautiful.
Twenty-six.. count them.. TWENTY-SIX, sickly-sweet melodies mixed with simple campfire sing-a-long guitars crammed into 49 minutes of pure awesomeness.
Campfire Cassettes 2014 release titled GosLebrock (a mix-up on Ryan Gosling and Kelly Lebrock), is lead by the vocals and strumming of Hollidaysburg kid turned Los Angeles TV Prop Master (see: Key and Peele), Jonathan Buchanan.
Campfire Cassettes sticks songs in your head like stick-um covered gumballs whacked out on MDMA. Each track bounces around your head for days with no means of escape.
Once the you get past the melodies and analyze the content, you get a full grasp of the dark and hilarious insight on growing up in rural Central PA or the seedy, big city party life of LA.
Goslebrock’s opening track of “My Sister Mary", is a jealous take on sibling rivalry. “Fuckin’ Do” inebriates your mind like a pimple-faced, 18 year old chugging cheap scotch from a Hawaiian Punch 2 liter before a local football game and it's a sexually charged ditty about S&M and monogamy. CC hits the acoustic glory with "Coke & Viagra", and “Thinking of You” explores sex with various rug cleaning home tools… and THEN get nailed right in the mind with the track “Diamonds”, where Buchanan sings softly “Who am I going to get high with?/Baby when are you coming home?”.
With so many tracks to listen to, its hard to choose your favorites, but “Ryan Gosling”. “My Sister Mary”, “Vampires”, “Diamonds”, “Her Dog”, “Gather Around”, “Your Mothers Bed”, ALL nod to Buchanan's pop sensibilities and tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
Each song hits so close to home, I swore I saw the story of these songs take place first-hand.
Campfire Cassettes: GosLebrock, takes you on prophylactic buying, drug-filled, candy store romp, where you'll pick up some penicillin and mouth "see ya" to your friendly pharmacist on the way out the door.
EightOneFour's Pick for Best Album of 2014.
Campfire Cassettes: Part II - Read the interview here.
Do you still party and hook up, as much as your songs reveal? Please say yes..
Ok, I'll say yes...but it's not true. I’m not a monk, but my crazier day are mostly behind me. Thank god.
How many of your songs are hummed creation (walking around putting lyrics
together for pure entertainment) vs real life experiences?
I write the words that serve the song; the words that make me laugh, the words that make me cringe .
If it's false but funny, great, fuck it. If it's true and uncomfortable, so be it. I don't consider myself an honest person in many ways, but when I write songs I feel a false sense of freedom.
I can attest to Hollidaysburg, PA being a really crazy place to grow up…there seems to be a lot of high school life embedded into your lyrics. Do you find that growing Hollidaysburg still has a strong hold on you,today?
Small town Pennsylvania has a mold for its young men. It wants hunters, athletes, and prodigal sons to raise families and take care of dying parents. Hollidaysburg will always be in my blood; it’s what I run from.
How has growing up in small town PA influenced your take on big city life?
Small town PA has pushed me toward city living. Like a lot of people, I needed to get away from my family, my friends, and my former self. I needed to have thechance to change, to take chances, and to make some big mistakes...in private. The city doesn’t know you very well or care about you very much, and I appreciate that.
Who recorded Goslebrock, how long did it take, what helped create the sound? Where they “one takes” with you and a guitar?
I recorded it alone in my living room using Logic and some modest hardware. It was my first project, so it took forever. I hadn't rehearsed enough, and I was writing new songs up to the last minute. I just didn’t have a plan, so there were never “one takes”. I wish I was that good or that comfortable with my own imperfection.
While I was mixing the record, I accidentally threw out half of the album. I tried everything, but couldn’t recover it. I lost a lot of time. In the end I bet it took 6 months.
You asked about “the sound” of the album. Is there a sound? I don’t know. Idoubled a lot of the vocals and panned the guitars pretty far left and right. I’m a terrible keyboard player, but with enough patience and timeI got to add some fun lines. The drum machine and the Monotribe were fun; they contrasted nicely with the acoustic guitars.
Do you find LA more fucked up than Hollidaysburg? I dont.. that's why im asking.
I doubt I had the same Hollidaysburg experience as you. I went to a Christian school through 8th grade and in high school I mostly hung out with my friends from church in Martinsburg. I was a “good” kid in a boring bubble...a boring kid in a “good” bubble.
You have enlisted the help of other 814 musicians living in LA… How did that connection happen?
In 2003, I was moving from Chicago to Brooklyn, but I had no money. None. All I had was a 1995 Dodge Neon; so I drove to my parents’ house in Duncansville. I figured I’d stay there for a few weeks while I came up with a plan to raise some money.
One night, after deciding I could make money shooting low budget music videos, I went to an all ages show in Altoona. That night I met the Lampshades. They were 15. They were amazing. Somehow, I convinced them to let me shoot a music video for them...at Canoe Creek. My Mom helped us. Over the years we stayed in touch. Dane Adelman, who I had also met that summer, eventually joined the Lampshades. I asked them to help me with the song Vampires. Dane agreed. He wrote and recorded the trumpet and bass lines for Vampires in PA and emailed them to me in Los Angeles. It was pretty cool.
Do you write all of the songs and the parts? Keyboards, bass, horns?
Angie Parrish sings harmonies on Fuckin' Do. She had just joined the band and I really wanted to get her on the album. I wrote and played the rest.
One-night-stands, drug use, girlfriends, bad habits, and break-ups seem to be the golden thread underneath Campfire Cassettes, are all of these closely related to the forming of your songs?
In 1998 I moved from small town Indiana to Chicago. I had become an activemember of the Southern Baptist Church. I had a nice girlfriend and a decent job. By the summer of 2000 I was single, unemployed and had left the church for good. I walked away from everything; it was pretty exciting. I had this rare opportunity to reinvent myself.
So I let myself go, let myself get fucked up. I explored the city. I found the film world and I found alcohol. It was amazing. It would later become terrifying. Alot of my songs are informed by this time in my life.
Would you say that Goslebrock has a deep concept of shallow life in Los Angeles or a shallow concept of deep life in PA?
I think this question is better than any answer I can provide. GosLebrock is by no means a concept record. It’s just a collection of songs written without regard for one another.
Kelly Lebrock, XTC, Ryan Gosling.. Kill one. Fuck one. Marry one… go:
XTC? The band or the drug? Both are great...in moderation...marry.
Kelly Lebrock was the hottest woman alive in 1985, so….fuck. I’m 100% certain that I will meet her some day; so I hope she never reads this.
As for Ryan Gosling….kill. Sorry sexy.
Is there a true story behind Yah’s Revenge? The lyrics press a lot of buttons toward religion and personal thoughts on the subject, can you elaborate?
I wrote Yah's Revenge after Sandy Hook. Following most tragedies in the US, certain politicians and preachers like to give god credit for the carnage. They say he’s getting revenge on the United States for turning their back on him. These men are assholes.
I know there is a true story behind Your Mothers Bed… do I want to know about it?
This song was originally called Best Head. True story.
CC is such a 180 from your other band The Holy Angel Fire… How hard was it to do an musical about-face?
Because I've only played guitar for 3 years it was easy. I had no choice. The Holy Angel Fire was the brainchild of Michael Berge. He played guitar; I was just the singer. So Campfire Cassettes had to be simple, because I was so new to the guitar and songwriting. Eventually I'd like to get Mike to join the band, but right now I'm too embarrassed to ask.
"Her Dog" is one of the best takes on "sudo" relationship pet ownership that ive heard. Have you ever loved something so much that seems to have hated you so much in return? Whats Her Dogs name, and where is Her Dog, now?
I think if you love any person too much, they will eventually grow to hate you. I doubt this applies to dogs.
Anyway, Her Dog is about a mutt named Lucy that my ex wife brought home one day. She said she was going to take care of it; I wouldn’t have to do a thing. Itwas “her dog”. Bullshit! It became my dog. My problem. My pain in the ass puppy. I loved it. I hated it. I hated my ex for making me deal withit. Thankfully I got divorced and lost both.
Whats on the horizon for CC? New releases?
Over the past year Campfire Cassettes has grown from a lonely singer-songwriter, to a full, four piece band. I stole our drummer BobbyWoo from my old band, The Holy Angel Fire. Then I met Angie Parrish at a party; she told me she sang in her parents’ folk band as a kid and played the spoons. That was a no-brainer. And recently I convinced Will Stagg Schulz to be our bass player. Our sound is evolving; It’s exciting.
As for the new record, we have 10 solid songs with more on the way. We should have another album out by summer.
This is a simple song written about a girl I was in a long distance relationship with. It was my way of saying “I miss your face”. The drugs and guns were just added for fun.
Have you ever seen the original Bucket of Blood? It’s a Roger Corman movie. The loser tries to be popular by being an artist. This desire leads him to kill the people he is trying to impress. It’s amazing! Vampires has a similar plot.
My Sister Mary:
Originally this song was about a beautiful girl and her jealous brother. The brother was jealous because his sister was born a female and he was not. That was fun, but then I changed it to two sisters. The beautiful sister who is loved by all and the ugly sister who is loved with the lights off.
Fuck You Like A Ukelele:
“Closer Nine Inch Nails Ukulele” on YouTube. No matter how cute, I imagine she has a suicidal roommate or significant other.
Ladies and Gentlemen
From Seattle, WA. Weighing in at 428 lbs... SANDRIDER
I am a QOTSA fan. I say it loud and proud. Josh Homme has a good bead on music. He operates his band in a state of flux. Constantly changing members to suit his needs.
He's a jerk, he's funny, he's a great musician, and he's uncompromising. Naturally, I dig his style.
I was, however, strictly bummed when I heard he replaced Joey Castillo two years ago with Jon Theodore.
Joey Castillo is one of my top 5 favorite drummers of all time (that list includes Matt Forrest (The Dragstrip Syndicate), Scott Nurkin (Birds of Avalon), Matt Tarpley (Captain Bigwheel), and Super Dick - Stewart Coplend.) Wanna fight about it?
Anyways.. now that I've confessed my drummer love..
Dig on this:
Valeint Himself sports the Pretty Deece Cheap Trick style t-shirt at a Carolina Hurricanes game
Over the years EightOneFour has had the chance to hangout with some of the most talented people. I've rubbed elbows with some of the big wigs.
Not too bad for a kid from small town Central PA.
Name drop time: Valient Thorr.
I met Valient Thorr back in 2004 when they were just about to hit it big time with Volcom Records.
They have since embarked on a whirlwind 1500 career shows over the past 8 years. They also spend more time in Europe than Stella Atrois. They tour with Motorhead, They party Mastodon. That my friends is awesome stuff.
Pick up Valient Thorr's latest album "Our Own Masters" on iTunes.
Jam it loud. Feel the rad stuff.
There are TONS of talented people out there doing their own thing. My take: do your own thing and feel great about it.
For EightOneFour, its always been about where you are from and where you are going. Get out there: Do something pertinent and dont forget to get some pictures.
Get on the cool kids bus with a Pretty Deece t-shirt, just like Valient Thorr - Here.