# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Peter Jeffries - Interview

  by Darrell Angus

published: 13 / 1 / 2002

Peter Jeffries - Interview


The Princeton Reverb Colonials have just released their fantastic new record 'The Princeton Reverbs Colonial...and the Flute to Float the Soldiers Sword' which is full of buzzing pop songs that relay

The Princeton Reverb Colonials have just released their fantastic new record 'The Princeton Reverbs Colonial...and the Flute to Float the Soldiers Sword' which is full of buzzing pop songs that relay a story of hope to the masses. I recently had a chance to chat to the band about their past, present and future. 1) LETS START WITH A HISTORY OF THE BAND Initially it started as an 8-track recording project around late '97 early '98. Up until that point Paul had been recording tapes under his own name and releasing them on Red Carpet Ring and with other tape labels. The Princeton Reverbs (note. the princeton reverb is a popular old amplifier model, since reissued that was made by the Fender guitar company) was a name he came up with for the 8-track stuff. He released an LP on Red Carpet Ring called the Princeton Reverbs "Christ on the Foreheads of 144,000.' Wanting to play the material out, Paul along with Darren Cloutier (who helps run RCR) and Jim Wood (ex- drummer for the Kirks, a garage punk group from NH) got together initially as a 3 piece group w/ keyboard, drums and guitar. In May of '99 RCR was getting ready to release the debut CD by Fablefactory and PRC was preparing to open for them on a handful of the tour dates that would follow. Darren wasn't able to make the tour but luckily a friend of ours, Drew St. Aubin who had played in previous bands with us was moving back to NH from Las Vegas where he had lived for a year. We asked him if he'd want to tour with us and he kindly accepted, filling in on Bass. When we got back Drew was a permenant member of the group and Darren switched from keyboard to guitar. With the new line up we began working on new material. The new record, 'The Princeton Reverbs Colonial "...and the flute to float the soldier's sword" is a lot of that material. 2) TALK ABOUT THE RECORDING OF THE RECORD When we toured with Fablefactory in the summer of '99 we had a little fantasy story about the band recorded on tape. We'd wear navy blue suits on stage and play each part of the story through Paul's amp in between songs. (this time period of the band is somewhat documented on a live cassette available from Kylie Productions (UK) called "A New Invitation of Boasted Ballads from the Princeton Reverbs Colonial." It is a live recording of a show we did at the 40 Watt in Athens, GA opening for Fablefactory.) Afterward people would come up and ask us if the story was on the records we were selling. Once we got back from the tour we decided that it would be a neat idea to tie a story and songs together to all tell one big musical story and have art that went along with it too. Paul re-wrote the story and from that time on, through to seeing the record released, was a time span of about 11 months. It took us about 11 months to re-write the story, write the songs to go along with the story, do the artwork, record the record, record the narration, create the musical/sound interludes that play behind the narration, etc... to all make up this one chapter of an on going musical novel made up of many chapters. Because our abilities with a 4 or 8-track are fairly limited we wanted to record the record in a studio. Chris from Fablefactory showed us his studio, Radium Recordings, when we were down there the first time. He played us some recordings he had done for the Gerbils, and the Wee Turtles. They sounded great, and we knew we'd feel comfortable being with Chris so we went down in January and recorded the whole record in about 4 or 5 days. Well we were there we enlisted the help of some friends of ours, Sean from the Masters of the Hemisphere and everyone in Fablefactory to sing some harmonies and stuff on the record. We also took Russ from Yars Revenge along with us ,who is from NH as well (since moved to Chicago) to play keyboard. When we got back Paul began working on the sound montages with his 8-track to accompany the narration. Paul's sister Jenny is the narrator. 3) THE RECORD IS CHOCKABLOCK WITH FUZZY POWERPOP. NAME SOME INFLUENCES As far as musical influences each one of us has different favorite stuff, but certainly the bulk of it is pop music so that probably has a sub-conscious effect. Paul grew up listening to records from the fifties and sixties on his Dad's jukebox collection, everything from Patsy Cline to the Hollies and now tries to stay on top of listening to a lot of underground pop bands also. Favorites at the moment: Destroyer, Soul-junk, In Gowan Ring, Songs: ohia. Drew claims to have spent hours and hours in front of a fuzzy television as a kid trying to mimic three piece jazz bands, the kind you see in a lot of old black and white films. Jim's favorites I think tend to be the classic underground bands like GBV, Sy, Superchunk, etc... but he also likes some punk and garage bands. Darren likes a lot of current underground pop bands as well. Of course we're all big Masters of the Hemisphere fans but Darren runs their fan page so he gets the title, at least amongst us More importantly the music and presentation are influenced by umbrella topics like: history, family, childhood/adulthood, creativity, world and spiritual stuff. We've gotten a lot of musical comparisons, everything from a new sounding Cheap Trick or older REM to the reviewers favorite, Guided by Voices. It's flattering to read that stuff but rarely do they ever say why we remind them of those bands? In all reality we just plug in and all play, trying to individually come up with something that as a whole will make something we like and something that seems to have some innovation. 4) THE ALBUM AS A WHOLE TELLS A STORY. WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR THAT AS WELL AS THE SONGS COME FROM? Well relating this question to what was said earlier, the narration,artwork, and songs tell a larger story about the band. The Princeton Reverbs, travel the world singing songs to people they meet everywhere to try to brighten their day and give them hope. In order to help people on a grand scale you must travel the world, planes are too expensive and to get to other countries there's water, so we take a boat. Along the way, traveling from place to place the kings and aces of the world try to stop us from singing this sort of message to people and they do so by sending out a Giant Octopus to destroy us and our ship. We escape the Octopus by hiding behind some coral reef though and we get back to business at hand. A higher being from above opens the sky to give us some tools to help us along the way. The tools include: the traveler's map, the pilgrims staff, and the pilot's compass. After receiving these tools however the band is split on how to use them which brings us to some preverbial cross roads where decisions must be made. Because these decisions are important we decide to each look inside ourselves and our hearts to determine how we are going to move forward. We come to a decision after much soul searching and get back on board our ship to sail again. While on board we share our testimony and a drink with one another of how we came to the decision, each individually. The sea gets rough sometimes though and in this instance it sends us crashing into more coral reef. There we sink to the bottom of the ocean where the once angry Octopus happens to be, and we have no choice but to confront him. We do and in turn he tells us how his heart is acheing and in need of the message of hope that we sing. We help him and save him from the emptiness he once felt. There the spirits of the many other people who had fallen to the bottom of the sea like us come out of hiding for they see that the Octopus is no longer angry. They rejoice, we rejoice and the earth shifts into something more beautiful then before. We decide this underwater colony is truly utopia and declare it the Princeton Reverbs Colonial. 5) WHO DID THE ARTWORK AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE RECORD? Paul did the artwork for the record, he also does the art stuff that accompanies the band when we play live. The explanation of the story above probably clearifies it a bit better now for some. However if you listen to the record, following the narration along with the art hopefully people can piece it together pretty much. If you listen even closer to the words to the songs, even if you can't make them all out you will find that the songs themselves go along with the part of the story that you heard right before that song. In the end, by the time you've reached the end of track 16, "Salute of the Angel" you've heard one big story, which is the story of "the Princeton Reverbs Colonial ...and the flute to float the soldier's sword."The title of the record is actually a metaphor that when you break it down is supposed to mean ... the sound that leads someone's cause. You could very easily liken that to the tempo or beat of say a drummer boy leading an army into battle. 6) A LOT OF FOLK HELPED OUT ON THE RECORD. TALK ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS. METHINKS I SEE SOME FABLEFACTORY FOLK Yeah all the folks in Fablefactory came in and lent a hand with harmonies, particularly on "Our Feet Do Not Suffered to be Moved" and Roxanne also can be heard singing with Paul on "Father, Mother, Son of Man." That song is supposed to be a self-reflecting song, and because of that has elements of childhood/adulthood and maternity in it. Therefore it was only right to have a male/female vocal arrangement on it. In the end we liked how the voices came out sounding on that song so much that we decided to add an extra accapella version of it as a bonus track where the instrument tracks are completely taken out. Chris, who as mentioned before engineered the record, also played toy piano on another one of the bonus tracks on the record. It's not listed with a name on the record because the extra songs are there only as a surprise gift to the listeners who listen to the record the whole way through and don't want it to end ; ) But yeah the name of that song is actually called "Peter Pine and the Make- Believe Band." It's also available on a 7" (v/a) from Motorway Records (Japan) called "Thru Spray Colored Glasses" as part of their Carafate Roads series. It will also be available here in the States on the'Happy Happy Birthday to Me vol. 2'(v/a) CD from Happy Happy Birthday to Me records in the near future. Another friend of ours, Sean from The Masters of the Hemisphere and Kincaid came and helped out with harmonies too. He's actually on the opening track "We Sing the Blessings of Hope for the Weary" and again with some Brian Wilson falsetto stuff on "Not of the Belly, But of the Heart." 7) WHATS IN STORE FOR THE FUTURE? NEW MATERIAL? TOURING? Yeah we're getting ready to work on some new material now as we speak, we've got a lot of scattered material that doesn't really go along with the book that overtime all our records combined will create. These songs of course are just as important and I think we're going to probably go back into a studio to record them before the holidays. I know a few of them are going toward compilations, probably the others will become some more bonus tracks attached at the end of the musical chapters like on "...and the flute to float the soldier's sword." The next musical chapter we hope to start working on by October. "We can't be really sure quite yet when it will be ready to record however. We will definetly be touring again next summer for at least a month to support "the flute" CD as well as other stuff we have out. We plan on playing a set of dates in the North and Southeast regions of the U.S. and then playing another set of dates on the North and Southwest sides of the U.S. Of course there will be scattered shows in the U.S. before that time too. We're currently trying to get more labels interested in us as well. We're eager to play abroad but that means having a bigger budget then what we can afford in our current situation so hopefully we can secure something sooner then later to be able to reach more people. Darren is getting married next July. We know he wants to start a family also.Thank you for spending the time talking to us

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Peter Jeffries - Interview

Peter Jeffries - Interview

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