Jersey based rockers The Doughboys reunite in style for the
2017 CD release of Front Street Rebels. Clocking
in just over half an hour, the twelve track disc was produced by Kurt
Reilleader of rockers The Grip Weeds. From start to rocking
finish, Front Street Rebels is a stellar showcase for the music
of founding Doughboys members Myke Scavone (lead vocals), Richie
Heyman (drums, guitars, vocals) and Mike Caruso (bass),
in addition to Gar Francis (guitars, keys, vocals) who joined
the band in 2004 following the passing of original Doughboys guitarist
Willy Kirchofer. Heyman, of course is NYC rocker Richard X. Heyman,
who released his excellent solo album Incognito in 2017 and
he slips back into his guise as drummer / composer of The Doughboys
with ease. The CD for Front Street Rebels sports liner notes
by founding member and drummer of The Yardbirds, rock genius Jim
McCarty. Its quite clear that fans of McCartys historic
rock work in The Yardbirds will enjoy Front Street Rebels. In
a twist of fate, Myke Scavone is also a member of the current lineup
of The Yardbirdsadding in blues harp, percussion and backing
vocals and touring the planet and spreading the word about the historic
Yardbirds songs McCarty co-wrote with the late, great Keith Relf.
With one killer rockin' track after the next, the fifth album
to date by The Doughboys, Front Street Rebels is their finest
one yet. Honing their music since they were teens in Plainfield, way
back in the mid 1960s, The Doughboys take their NY/NJ rock
& roll sound to new heights with Front Street Rebels. www.facebook.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: Is Front Street Rebels a current state of the art
album in the career of the Doughboys in 2017? Is this the same lineup
that was around back in the mid 1960s and how does the Front Street
Rebel album compare with the other Doughboys albums?
Caruso: Yes it is
We recorded Front Street Rebels
during 2016/2017 with Kurt Reil at the House of Vibes in Highland
Park, New Jersey. Kurt has great equipmentexcellent vintage
gear for a warm classic sound, along with up-to-date stuff to keep
us in the 21st century. The title refers to Front Street in Plainfield,
New Jersey, where we grew up. It was the place to be on Thursday nights,
and there were all these cool shops like Gregorys Music, the
Frontier Diner, Brooks Records, and the Strand Theater, which is pictured
on the CD cover.
The Doughboys lineup is almost exactly the same as it was in
the 60s. Richie and I formed the band as The Ascots in 1964
and Myke Scavone joined in 1965. Our guitarists back then were Willy
Kirchofer and Mike Farina. Mike moved to California but Willy was
in the reunited band from 2000-2005. He very sadly died before his
time. Gar joined in 05. He used to see us in Plainfield as a
kid, and later was in a band with Willy, called Willy & The Wranglers.
As for how Front Street Rebels compares with the other Doughboys
albumswe like to think its the best yet! Were constantly
learning and growing and perfecting our sound. Check it out!
mwe3: With Richard X. Heymans solo album Incognito
recently released is the time right for a Doughboys pop-rock renaissance?
RXH: One can only hope. Were all just trying to do the
best we can. I welcome fans of my solo stuff to check out The Doughboys,
and vice versa. In fact, we welcome everyone to hear all of our music,
including extraterrestrials, which is a vast untapped market.
How did the Doughboys team up with Kurt Reil for the Front Street
Rebels album and what did Kurt bring to the album sessions?
Myke Scavone: We have been working with Kurt since around 2002/2003.
We've done all of our releases with him with the exception of our
last album, Hot Beat Stew, which didn't fare as well as all
the others. So we got smart and went back to Kurt to do Front Street
Rebels. He gets what The Doughboys are about and knows how to
bring the best out in each of us.
mwe3: What brought on Sink Or Swim? Does it pretty
sum up our lives in 2017? Swimming with sharks or sink like a stone
is a pretty grim reminder of life in these modern times.
RXH: Sink Or Swim is actually about optimism. When
there doesnt seem to be any hope left, you either go down with
the tide or keep your head above water and try to persevere. Of course,
there are times in life when you run out of options. But if you have
any choice left, even when the odds are stacked up against you, then
its up to you to take it.
mwe3: Does Fool For Your Love go back to the Doughboys
1960s roots? Does it remind you of The Seeds or some swinging 60s
vibe to it?
Gar Francis: No, it reminds me of The Doughboys 2017. All of
the songs I write for the Doughboys have roots in the 60's with modern
mwe3: History is pure 1960s psych-pop but ostensibly
its about divorce or how would you describe the song? Its
pure angst in a rock song!
History addresses the question, is love real or a
myth? Is it a bill of goods sold to society by advertising copywriters
or does true love really exist? Many romantic relationships invariably
implode, so the song rushes through a litany of scenarios that lead
up to the point where the rest as they say is history.
mwe3: Is Manic Reaction a kind of Psychotic
Reaction for the 21st century? Its the perfect song to
expel the psycho-demons!
Gar Francis: Manic Reaction was inspired by The
Blues Magoos. Have you ever been in a club when you see someone get
so overcome by the music that they just start dancing frantically?
That's what Manic Reaction is about. The title is a play
on words between Manic Depression and Psychotic
mwe3: Is Exit Homestead Enter Endless Road the
blues song on the album? Is there a kind of southern rock influence
or is it Savoy Brown style blues played in a NYC influenced style?
RXH: Exit Homestead Enter Endless Road was originally
in a I-IV-V blues idiom. I incorporated a 7-chord instead of the 5
for the chorus to fit more with the bands style. Though we did
leave in the 5 chord twice, just to mix it up a little bit. Kind of
garage meets the blues.
mwe3: Queen Of Bizarre has a great driving beat.
How did Queen come about? Its an excellent song title
too. It has a kind of Strawberry Alarm Clock type vibe to it.
Myke Scavone: Gar sent me the instrumental track with the title
and asked me to write some lyrics. It wasn't hard to conjure up memories
of many of the women I've known over the years who fit the title and
incorporate some of those memories into the song.
I started the groove to Queen Of Bizarre based on Pushing
Too Hard and came up with the title and rough idea for the melody
and Myke did the rest.
mwe3: Ready Or Not would make a great single. Nice
tone of defiance to it. Any cool story behind Ready Or Not?
Myke Scavone: Yes, it's a basic mantra for those of us who
don't see life as Oh Yeah me too and fall in the line
with the rest of the lemmings just because something is considered
"hip" or "cool". My view of life is quite a bit
different than most of my peers. Coming from the "rebellious
generation" of the 1960's I feel like most of us have lost our
way and aren't rebelling against the things we should be against.
Gar Francis: As usual for me when recording an album I always
come up with a riff or song idea at the last minute. Again I came
up with the title and Myke ran with it. We almost called it Radio
mwe3: Is The Atomic Wavelength Transference Device
a Doughboys take at sci-fi? 67,000 miles per hour is mighty fast!
Thank God for gravity. I like the message in it but society seems
obsessed with self-destruction these days so evolution cant
come soon enough for me.
RXH: With so much negativity swirling around, I wanted to write
something positive. I was thinking how if everyone could read each
others thoughts, maybe we could start to understand each other
and be less antagonistic toward one another. Just a wishful thought.
How about Bow To The Man? Is that political as in buyers
remorse ala Trump or just a thumbed nose to overarching tyranny in
the 21st century?
Myke Scavone: See my answer to Ready Or Not for
clarity. This has little to do with Trump, per say, since I wrote
these lyrics long before he came on the political scene. The culture
of celebrity, or Cult of Personality if you will, has
overcome our basic ability to see straight. This could apply to Trump,
Obama, Clinton or Bush from a political point of view. It could also
apply to Hollywood elites and other celebrities who have the charismatic
ability to lead people down a path of thinking that may not really
be their own. I see too many people falling in line behind "what's
happening now" and very few people who really think for themselves.
It is part of what has created such a wide chasm between us as human
mwe3: I like the Beatles quote in Done There Been That.
Lennon was at his most brutal on You Cant Do That.
Is Done There Been That kind of Lennon inspired?
RXH: Of course The Beatles were very inspiring; still are,
for that matter. I never actually think too hard about where the song
ideas spring from. Im just glad and relieved when I finish one
up. But yeah, all my musical heroes are in my mind when working on
music and John Lennon is right up there at the top.
mwe3: How cool is having Jim McCarty writing the liner notes
for the Front Street Rebels album? If this happened 50 years
ago, having a member of The Yardbirds writing liners for your new
album would have been worldwide news in the music biz! One thing is
clear is that Jim and his amazing music has aged better than fine
wine. And now with Myke singing in the 21st century Yardbirds, what
is that like and is Jim still touring?
Scavone: Well of course Jim is still touring, otherwise, how could
I be in the 21st Century Yardbirds? Jim's a great guy, a typical "English
Gentleman" in my view and a lot of fun to work with. At 74 his
energy and his unique drumming style is still what propels The Yardbirds
on stage. The whole lineup is full of great talent. I feel like I
am the most blessed man on the planet to be part of the Yardbirds
legacy and be the lead singer in The Doughboys. There aren't any other
group of guys I'd rather be affiliated with. The Doughboys are my
musical heritage and will always be first. When I asked Jim to write
the liner notes, I wasn't sure if he would but we're quite grateful
to him. It's another cool link between The Doughboys and The Yardbirds.
mwe3: Whats the plan to spread the word about Front
Street Rebels and will there be any live shows or other things
to help further promote the album?
Mike Caruso: We played a couple of record release shows this
past fall, in NYC at Arlenes Grocery and in New Jersey at The
Record Collector in Bordentown. Well be at the Langosta Lounge
in Asbury Park on January 13, and were planning to book a bunch
more shows in the spring. The album is being played on a slew of radio
stations and we just bagged another coolest song in the world
on Little Stevens Underground Garage our 8th! Its
the leadoff track, Sink Or Swim. Were hoping to
film some videos soon, too.
If you have free reign, what kind of album would the Doughboys like
to make next? What musical mountains are there left for the Doughboys
Gar Francis: Between all of us, we come up with a lot of new
songs very fast. If it was up to me, and we had the money, I would
love to do a double album with a few more acoustic type songs in the
mix and a bunch of songs with a killer horn section. We'll have to
wait and see.