Yes, they're brothers and no, neither is named Jeff. Instead, Jamin (drums) and Jake (guitar / vocals) Orrall of JEFF The Brotherhood picked a name out of thin air to go with the heavy Wipers-guitar-meets-Thin Lizzy-rhythms songs they use to turn punk houses and rock clubs inside out for 260 days of any given year. (They've also got some insane kraut-style freak jams, but they can't just be casual about those when they're not at home among friends.)
Their newest is We Are The Champions and they just got back from Moscow, which has nicer border guards than Canada. They play Detroit Bar on Thursday. (And for the credulous ... while they're pretty technical, they aren't exactly a children's jazz band.)
:What's the most terrifying border crossing you've ever gone through?
Canada. That's the worst border crossing in the world for a band. They are extremely mean! As soon as they find out you're in a band, they psychologically abuse you. Like ask the same question ten times in a row to try and fuck with you and break you down. Then they always search the van. We're a couple of longhairs, so we drive up and there's like five cops already laughing. You roll down the window and they're like, 'Where's the marijuana? Don't even smile--we know you have drugs!' I don't feel like most bands are stupid enough to bring drugs across the border, especially since they probably have much better weed in Canada! Coming back is just as bad, but the Americans aren't as intimidating. I think Canadians go through some school where they learn to intimidate you.
You're not of the 'smoke all your weed thirty minutes before you hit the border crossing and then just gliiiiiiide on through' school?
You can do that, too--I guess they couldn't really do anything to you.
You've called JEFF The Brotherhood 'total party music.' What's a total party like?
There's different kinds of parties. Raves, weird metal parties, just a house party--we try to take elements of every kind of party.
Like a super-Frankenstein party?
Yes--super-Frankenstein-party music. Sure.
What's the most challenging party vibe to overcome? The kind that really makes you work?
Children. If you're playing for a lot of children. If they're expecting a children's jazz group. Several times we've had to improvise children's jazz music. Like at children's jazz workshops. We used to have a booking agent and manager who didn't know that much--back when we were younger. If you've ever seen 'Flight of the Conchords,' he was a manager like that. Crinkle Bingham. He'd book us at a children's jazz workshop and tell us it was a rock concert.
Would he run off with all the children's jazz money?
No, he was fair. He wanted to be the best.
You've been recording for you and your father's label Infinity Cat music since you were pre-teens. What's the unreleased side project the world is least ready for?
We have our children's jazz album about to come out. But I don't know if the world is ready.
Tell me a title from it.
'Playtime Baby Excursion.' It's a children's jazz odyssey.
Have you considered children's jazz fusion? Like Mahavishnu Children's Orchestra?
We haven't quite gotten there. You have to start with classic children's jazz and work your way up. It'll be children's free jazz eventually.
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I know you just visited Houdini's grave. What one thing could JEFF The Brotherhood never escape from?
Why would you ever want to escape a place called 'party jail'?
OK--just put prison.
Do you really travel with a giant garbage bag full of clean socks and then discard dirty pairs as you go, leaving a trail of dirty punk rock socks across the United States?
Let's just say ... if you find a dirty part of socks in your kitchen trashcan, thanks for letting us crash on your floor.
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD WITH THE GREENHORNES AT DETROIT BAR, 843 W. 19TH ST., COSTA MESA. THUR., MAY 12. 9 PM. $12-$14. 21+. DETROITBAR.COM.