Most album release parties are so predictable. Bands secure a location, round up fans, hope for a decent drink special and sell some CD's. But throwing an EP release party on a riverboat with a full bar? Things could get interesting. Quickly. While the majority of OC bands clamor to venues with a reputation for hosting these events, local stomp-rockers Jeramiah Red plan on shaking up expectations by releasing their new EP, The Winter Tick, on 'The Grand Romance Riverboat' while sailing into the sunset.
Working alongside manager and Secret Chief founder Bill Bennett, the group agreed the quirky Long Beach venue was the only choice for releasing their sophomore collection. And while Southern California continually builds on various communities of music--from punk to reggae--J Red's bluesy, southern tinged style is arguably sustaining a roots rock revival that's manifesting in Orange County. Rounding up a slew of local opening talent, Jeremiah Red tapped acts including Ranger (Nicole Vaughn), Moonsville Collective, The Devious Means and Robert Jon and The Wreck. Sitting down with bassist Tim Miller and guitarist/vocalist Ian Cullen, they contemplate the risks of performing on a riverboat, their decision to bypass making a full length album, and why they chose to make their voyage a family affair.
OC Weekly (Heidi Darby): So why a riverboat?
Ian Cullen: We had a band meeting and [our manager, Bill Bennett] brought up a boat show and said 'yeah, lets do it on a boat.' Bill swears it's going to be the party of the summer, so we might as well make it that way.
Tim Miller: Bill likes to do original stuff. He joked about a pirate ship at first.
Let's be honest. What are the odds that someone goes overboard?
Cullen: I've been seriously, actually contemplating whether or not somebody's going over. Probably one of the fans. But you never know, it might be [keyboardist] Steve Maggiora from Robert John and The Wreck.
Tim: I'm actually scared we won't get to play. I'm afraid it's going to get too rowdy and they're going to have to turn us around and dock the boat.
Cullen: Our luck we'll end up playing in the parking lot.
You're bringing together a long list of local bands for the show, and it looks like you had a bit of a progression in mind?
Miller: Part of the reason we booked everyone, aside from knowing them and loving them, is that they all are amazing musicians. Nicole Vaughn and Moonsville are great and energetic, but there's also room to progress into harder rock.
Cullen: We didn't want there to be any moments where it's like 'ok, time to go have a cigarette so we don't have to hear this band.' We want everybody to have a good time the entire time they're in the crowd.
Okay, we have to ask. You already have one EP under your belt, why not take the next natural step and make an LP?
Miller: The number one reason is that we want to release more material more often. Rather than working really hard and disappearing for a year, hopefully this way we can come out consistently with more music.
Cullen: EP's are better because if we did a full length, we'd come up with something organically and be like dammit, that belonged on our last album. So if we release our stuff more often, six songs, five songs, people will stay excited and interested... When we did our last album it was our freshman release. Our classic rock and southern rock influence was there, and we had the whole moose thing going on. We really tried to grow on this new one. So 'the winter tick' is a bug that kills the moose.
Miller: It's the number one killer of moose. There will be thousands of these things covering the moose. Meese? Mooses?
It's apparent you were trying to do something different with this gig. What's really behind choosing a Long Beach riverboat for this show?
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Miller: I would hope to make this a yearly thing. More than anything I'm hoping that everyone who's a part of it enjoys doing something different and getting out of their comfort zone. And even though we love our community, we're hoping to branch out of Orange County and get some new fans.
Ian: We love Orange County, we've played here a long time. We'd never say it's not our home. A lot of bands will say they're from LA, even though their from Orange County and what not. But we'll always call it our home. Fans are now friends. For this show I hope we get some new faces too, and get our name out there. Hopefully it's a moment.
While Cullen admits that the release party is essentially a booze cruise, there's no denying the paddle driven, southern-inspired riverboat carries a grandiose ambiance that's hard to come by in Orange County. Jeremiah Red Album Release Party, Friday August 2nd at The Grand Romance Riverboat, Long Beach. Tickets $30.00, 21+