Pop-Preview: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Lovely Rebels at The Saint

bill bodkin interviews tara elliott, jo wymer and bebe buell…

On Friday March 30, the Jersey Shore’s red rocker Tara Elliott (along with her band The Red Velvets) will be presenting a one-of-a-kind rock ‘n’ roll show — a triple threat of female rockers, melting faces and changing lives with their own written words, electric riffs and thunderous bass lines and back beats. The show is called Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Lovely Rebels and it will be taking place at the famed Saint in Asbury Park, N.J.

“I don’t feel like anyone’s doing something like this, said Elliot, “This [show] focuses on a [sub] genre that is deserving of more attention — female rockers who write their own music, performing together live.”

Photo by: Lauren Ferrara

While tours and festivals like The Lilith Fair have highlighted female singer/songwriters, Elliott commented “Lilith Fair has definitely influenced this idea, but this tour is more of the music that I think people tend to feel is more owned by men.” And it makes sense, Elliott produces a raw, blues-based proto-punk sound that one would associate with sweaty, shaggy and shirtless dudes thrashing about CBGB’s. “Rock belongs to everyone,” Elliott stated, “It’s the ultimate expression of freedom for me.”

The tour, which is debuting at The Saint, has, according to Elliott, DIY designs on heading overseas in the near future. “I’ve partnered with Angie Surgim of The Obvious. We’ve done quite a few shows together. We’re the perfect match [in terms of] mentality, working together, lifting each other up, helping each other realize our goals.” The dynamic duo plan on going across the pond to the UK in the near future and doing a total DIY “to the core” tour. “It’s a hotspot for female musicians. Look at everyone’s who broke from there recently — The Gossip, Florence and The Machine, Adele, Jesse J. All very recent with huge breakthroughs. I think the UK audience is very hip to female musicians.”

Bringing it back to The Garden State, we wanted to know why she choose Buell and Wymer to be a part of the first show of this tour.

“Bebe Buell and I shared the stage at a Main Man Records event at the Brighton Bar [in Long Branch, N.J.]. We ran into each at a Christmas Party by pure happenstance. We go to talking and she was very complimentary of my talent. She then gave me some advice — she said I was too talented to talk the way I do onstage. Sometimes I curse on stage and it’s part of my onstage persona. I speak my mind and I never hold back.” Elliott went on talk about how she felt so touched that a talent, as legendary as Buell would take the time to give her praise and advice like that — in an almost maternal type of way. She then went on to say that Buell was brought in because she’s such a strong female presence, that she perfectly reflected what Elliott had envisioned for the theme of this tour.

When it came to Jo Wymer, Elliott said “I wanted to bring in someone who was a strong, local female. She’s an Asbury Music Award winner. I had heard she sold out her record release party at The Wonder Bar. And my good friend Alex Biese told me just how great she was. Plus she plays the blues and that’s what my music is steeped in and where I began my career, so it fits well with the show.”

Elliott also told use that since we last spoke with her on Pop-Break she had added three new band members to The Red Velvets…

Photo by: Lauren Ferrara

Joe Rowley (lead bass): “We met through a mutual friend from Dramarama. He totally understands and appreciates my songwriting and musical direction like no else else. When he heard our new material, it didn’t take much for him to get it. He was born to play lead on bass. He’s better than a lot of lead guitar players out there. He’s a storyteller in terms of playing bass — and his stories are never too long … I mean I wish they were longer, because they’re so good.”

Lou Vito: “He’s our utility player. He plays various instruments — percussion, lead guitar, keyboards, organ. He and Joe are like BFF. They met at a record store and Lou was the seller and he told Joe to get lost. Somehow they became friends. No matter how chaotic our sound can get Lou just adds this control to our sound. He doesn’t play solos that last forever — he understands structure.”

Steve Buzbee (drums): “He’s my Ginger Baker. He plays so instinctually — he can hit hard but he also knows cymbal work. It’s hard for a jazz drummer to hit hard and for a rock drummer to do cymbal work and arrangements — but he can do both.” Note: Buzbee will be debuting at this show.

Pop-Break then spoke, via e-mail with the rest of the performers on the tour…

Jo Wymer

Pop-Break: This Friday, March 30th, you’ll be performing on a show that’s loaded with top flight female rock ‘n’ roll musicians — can you talk about what excites you about performing on this bill and what originally drew you to sign on to perform on the show?

Jo Wymer: Live Opportunities for Women in Rock and Roll are few and far between. It’s always exciting to play the stage at the Saint. With such great female rockers….what more could girl ask for??

PB: Can you talk about the show’s organizer Tara Elliott (of Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets) and what your feelings are of her as a performer?

JW: Exciting … energizing … hard rockin’… love her.

PB: What’s your opinion about women in rock ‘n’ roll in today’s current music scene?

JW: There are not enough…too much auto tune.

BEBE BUELL

PB: This Friday, March 30th, you’ll be performing on a show that’s loaded with top flight female rock ‘n’ roll musicians — can you talk about what excites you about performing on this bill and what originally drew you to sign on to perform on the show?

Bebe Buell: I’m always looking to support local venues with history. I’ve played The Stone Pony, Brighton Bar and now I’m dipping into another legendary Asbury Park venue. What attracted me to The Saint was what I’ve heard is one of the best sound systems in the area. I’m eager to build my fan base in the area, too. I adore the Jersey shore.

PB: Can you talk about the show’s organizer Tara Elliott (of Tara Elliott & The Red Velvets) and what your feelings are of her as a performer?

BB: I’ve only seen Tara one time at The Brighton Bar and she certainly has a great voice. It will be fun to play a show together. I’m always eager to support female talent. I’ve got two women in my band for the night- Sarah Tomek on drums and Louisa Bradshaw on back-up vocals.

PB: What’s your opinion about women in rock ‘n’ roll in today’s current music scene?

BB: I try not to look at it as women vs. men. It’s important for music to be about the music- gender should make no difference. I love playing with MUSICIANS who are dedicated and have it in their souls. I just hope that anyone who wants to do this for a living realizes it is a commitment and takes a lot of hard work. I’ve been doing this for 33 years now. It’s in my DNA — my blood.

Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Lovely Rebels will start a 9:45pm sharp on Friday, March 30th at The Saint $15 at the door.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites