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Jams for Man
A history of the Northern Virginia music scene
Category: Music
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by Andy Keiler
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June 03, 2019 08:09 PM PDT

Ron Winters Jr. formed Branch Manager with Dave Allen on bass and Derrick Decker on drums in 1990. They went on to sign with Dischord Records and become the torchbearers for post-hardcore Reston. They released a self-titled debut in 1995 and Anything Tribal, their second and acclaimed final LP, recorded with the help of Ian Mackaye and Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studios, in 1997. Winters discovered a talent for writing young as the son of a schoolteacher. When added to his newfound dexterity on guitar and inspiration from 70s rock radio and the suburban landscape around him, Winters started to write songs and never stopped. Winters began to play live with his high school band Toolin' for Bovine, but went on to play with other Restonites in Foundation, Blood Bats, and Sons of Disobedience. He has toured with the likes of NOFX and Fugazi, and Branch Manager have currently reformed and are playing live and recording another album. You can find their music at https://branchmanager.bandcamp.com/

May 28, 2019 09:29 PM PDT

Soren Bakken played several Jam for Man shows singing and playing guitar with Urban Ethics alongside Dave Lash, Jamie Goode, and Michael Rohlfs. Inspired by post-punk bands such as New Order and early alternative bands like REM, and guided by Manassas band the Throes, they created a sound that was different than anything else coming out of Northern Virginia at the time. Bakken became a sound engineer, but also went on to work with guitarist John Ireland as the bass player of HeLO, which formed in May 2009 in Fairfax. Along with Ron Mitchell and Sean Owen, they bonded over their mutual love of science fiction to create their own technology and guitar-driven brand of indie pop. Bakken continues to make music in his free time with his family and still lives in the Reston area. You can find the music of HeLo at https://soundcloud.com/helotheband

May 13, 2019 03:25 PM PDT

Sam Gunderson is one of Reston's original guitar heroes. His knowledge of music and love of grooves allows him to navigate easily between blues, rock, hip-hop, go-go, and more. Gunderson grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Randy Rhoads, while also learning at the feet of other local legends such as Jon Rustad and Mike Davis of The Iceboxers and Joe Lawlor of Egypt. Gunderson jammed with keyboardist David Linsenmayer early on in elementary school, but it wasn't until they met drummer Gabe Kader and bass player Lefty Furr that they were able to form a real band. Those four came together, naming themselves Crunchy Water after the Dweezil Zappa song, and started writing the songs that would be the backbone of their sets at Jam for Man and beyond. At the same time, Gunderson joined Kader's brother, Tarik, in the diverse go-go band Split Decision. After high school, Gunderson formed the band Cactus Groove and has continued to play with those musicians off and on for decades. Gunderson eventually moved farther down south to Birmingham, Alabama, and continues to learn from the rich blues tradition there, while also marrying and forming a band with his wife, the SBG's. You can stay current on Gunderson's many projects and shows at https://www.facebook.com/samgun00/.

May 07, 2019 08:30 PM PDT

Pat Kennedy started the band Hostile Environment at age fourteen after first discovering punk rock through bands like Black Flag and Dead Kennedys and then listening to Teen Idles and thinking that he could have a band like that. Hostile Environment skated and played every party they could in Reston. They also put out a demo tape called Rite to Me in 1988. They were one of the first Reston hardcore bands and paved the way for many groups that followed. Then, Pat moved on to playing bass with the more rock-oriented band Remission. He played Jam for Man with them and they also released one demo album called Fix in 1989. After high school, Pat moved to Richmond with the band Avail and wrote several songs with them that wound up on their first official album, Satiate, in 1992. Pat continues to live in Richmond, and though he doesn't play in bands anymore, he uses the DIY skills that he learned in his music career throughout his life.

May 01, 2019 11:34 PM PDT

Jeff Berman now lives in Los Angeles and fronts the band Divided Heaven. However, unlike most of our guests, he was born and raised in the Amish country of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he started the rock band The Statiks (yes, with a "k") as a teenager. While still in Philadelphia and later during and after his time at American University, he played in the street punk band The Boils. After meeting Chris Suspect at a weekly soccer game in Washington D.C., he joined the band V.P.R. He toured all across the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan, but loves the DC area and has even kept his DC area code on his phone. Berman's latest venture is the acoustic singer-songwriter project Divided Heaven. The project finds Jeff singing, "stories rooted in history and politics, travel and experience, love and hope, with further lyrical influence coming from the cities he's called home." He wears his musical influences on his sleeves, from The Replacements to Green Day, Rancid, and Bouncing Souls. To learn more about his music and band, visit their website at https://www.dividedheaven.com/.

April 23, 2019 09:14 PM PDT

Barry Cover has played drums in a lot of bands, from Northern Virginia to Richmond. He started out playing Jam for Man with a band called Lake Cocytus, moved on to gigs with JarHead at the local spots like Music Store and Dharma Coffee House, then branching out to Asylum, Memory Lane, and the Loft. When he moved to RVA, he was in high demand, joining Wiseacre, Dimestore Hoods, and Wheelbite. Later, he continued his career with Amoeba Men, Immortal Avenger, Municipal Waste, and the Goons. Finally, he got back to his metal roots with Volture. He's focusing on his career as a chef right now, but he's such a great dad that he set up a band and rehearsed for a month just so his young son could live out his rock dreams of writing songs about Minecraft and fronting a band on his birthday. It's difficult to find JarHead's music, but you can see them playing at Jenkins Hill here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFCULg1gPaI&t=527s. You can also check out Volture too at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ly-OvEPukQ0&list=PL-vT9tpqwdEex6CPaJJhO4oa1b0W5CRBb.

April 12, 2019 08:53 PM PDT

Ben Mellott runs his own studio, Nothing But Noise in Fairfax, VA, where he has recorded over two hundred bands. He is also a live sound engineer at Farm Brew Live and Cox Farms as well as the Audio Director at Grace Community Church, but before all that he was the bass player for the screamo band Positive State and drummer for Churner. Positive State released one full-length album, The Bullshit Initiative in 1997. In addition, they put out one 7" called Label Me in 1996 and two split 7" records with Majority Rule and the Twenty Two's. His bands toured as far north as Connecticut on down to Georgia. He has lived a life in music, including working for an internet radio station and manufacturing cassettes and CDs. He loves all aspects of music and has had fun using his ears to earn a living. You can find some of this music thanks to Punk Guy at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Fxf1LTmhcw, https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Sn5O4NtiU28, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gvo9IyH5n0
and live performances thanks to Evan Keeling at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFO60ikEGOE, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7VW113odX4, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZJa_LcW4ME, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxsu7xyTZHo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut_Fp-COcec
or book studio time at http://www.nothingbutnoise.com/

March 29, 2019 09:52 PM PDT

Ahmad Johnson grew up in Reston playing music with his family and continued to record songs with his brother, certified gold and platinum producer and engineer Justice Johnson, throughout his two-decade career as P-Soup. Once Ahmad aka Ahmayzin stepped aside from high school football and concentrated on his burgeoning rap career, doors started to open for him. He met successful artists such as Montell Jordan, DMX, Naughty By Nature and Missy Elliot, and released his first solo album, Suburban Legend, in 2002. Though he admits there were some missteps along the way, including a project with Mya and some missed tours, P-Soup's music always tried to restore Hip Hop to its original form and "show these newjacks what an MC is supposed to be." His last album, Untouchable, from 2012 continued to represent for Reston and the whole Northern Virginia Hip Hop scene, showing his versatility in rapping over fresh beats for a new millennium while still maintaining his signature humor and flow. His music can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKAuxFB-9Sk&list=PLOCbdCt066Btkn3Gj9v_8uQIcOg9zoypj or https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/PSoup2.

March 18, 2019 09:10 PM PDT

Andy Keiler hosts this show but, for those that aren't familiar with his music, has also put out almost 50 albums as AndyK. Born in Reston, VA, he grew up in a musical family obsessed with record collecting. He started playing piano and keyboards at age 5 and took up guitar at 14. After attending Jam for Man and numerous shows in DC, he formed his own funk rock band called Blotter Otter with Mike Tarr and Dennis Hoy. In college at Emory University, he continued his musical education and expanded his repertoire with turntables and a sampler, DJing parties and putting out his first solo albums. He explored several genres at once like musical heroes the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing a blend of rock, punk, funk, and hip hop. After moving to Los Angeles, he continued to produce music for his students while also collaborating with other musicians in bands such as Ramona and the Red Lights, the Singularity, Junior Blind, Danimal, and currently Los Angelenos. Special guest Derek Douglas interviews AndyK as he describes his musical journey that has always been heavily influenced by Northern Virginia and explains why he started the Jams for Man podcast. You can find more of his music at https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/andyk/319141795 particularly his newest album Gun n Bass. He also has a Bandcamp site at atothek.bandcamp.com and a Soundcloud page at https://soundcloud.com/user7308315.

March 04, 2019 06:59 PM PST

Sun Monkeys played a blend of rock, go-go, jazz, hip-hop, and punk that was, "funkier than James Brown's socks." This group spawned out of a jam session by kids that went to both South Lakes and Osbourn Park High Schools in Northern Virginia, and the lineup that recorded their landmark album, Brotherhood, featured Zack Larkin on vocals, Aaron Platt on bass, Thomas Brady on guitar, and Pete Van Allen on drums. They went through many different lineups during their years booking every show they could get, from DC Space to Dharma Coffee House, but especially as the nominal house band at Bender's/The Cave in Manassass. Other members include: Ari Kirschenbaum, Tom Young, Matt Goodspeed, Lara Platt, Stevie Treichel, Josh Scalero, Rashaad Jones, Mike Margolis, and Crick. Their second album, Love American Style, expanded their sound, with keyboards, samples, and a more laid-back style. They were known for their sexually explicit lyrics and posters, original artwork designed by percussionist Kirschenbaum, and lengthy sets filled with exuberant, sweaty dancing. Sun Monkeys were contemporaries of and played shows with bands such as AVAIL, Mary Jane, Vehicle Birth, and Dismemberment Plan.

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