Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jesse Leach Referencing Jay Berndt, Gotta Love it

There are times when you reflect on the past and think on the defining moments in which an event became a game changer. We were forwarded this article written by Jesse Leach, who used to sing for a "decent" sized band called Killswitch Engage. You ever heard of them? Yep, thought so, and who now fronts his killer new project, Times of Grace, also with Adam from Killswitch Engage. Jesse recounts one of those moments in time and guess who he happens to reflect on? None other than our hombre Jay Berndt. Ol' Jay used to sing in a well known metal band called Kilgore and made a lasting impression on Jesse, funny how some things work out. Read an excerpt from the article below or just click the link and read it in entirety.

Excerpt below is from the full article posted on Gun Shy Assassin

"There are no guarantees that this will last, as with anything in this life, it is fleeting. So all of that being said, I am going to just pay some respects to a place, a scene, a people who were my teachers and peers. Without the influence and struggles of the Providence, Rhode Island, area “music scene,” I would not be who I am today.

I was 15 years old; I just got my first pair of “combat” boots, was just getting into Fugazi, Minor threat, Operation Ivy and various other popular punk/hardcore bands. I was so excited and eager for this music I knew little about. I would soon learn the ethos of DIY and the terms “scene,” “scenester,” “poseur,” and “show,” among many other things. It all started with a show at the rather locally famous “Club Baby Head.” The bill included various local bands but my memory fails me to name them — but the band that was most memorable to me was Smudge (who later became Kilgore Smudge and then Kilgore).

They were a great mix of the new sound I was really liking but a sound I was already aware of; bands like Faith No More, Alice in Chains, etc. The lead singer had a beard, long hair and a flat cap on. His voice was huge and his stage presence and humorous banter in between songs was all-consuming to me. I was in my first “pit” and got kicked in the head as well as lost my breath from being sucker punched by a flying fist. I could barely sleep that night — I was hooked. Little did I know this was for life.

Back then, Providence had various venues to see local and national acts: The Living Room, The Met Cafe, As220, Lupos and The Strand, among others. My new drug was “shows” or concerts, as I would call them before knowing the “lingo.” I made it my business to get out to as many shows as I could, meeting all kinds of interesting and eccentric people. I bought fanzines (underground magazines written and produced by fans), 7 inches (45 vinyl record singles). There was a hang out that everyone would go to before and after shows called “Thayer Street.” Thayer Street was the mecca of underground and counter culture back then. On any given day there were punks, psychobilly/rockabilly punks, skins, rude boys and ska kids, hardcore kids, ravers, crusty punks, peace punks, goths, alterna-teens and old school rockers. I would hang out there whenever I could and after shows, my friends and I would be there until the cops told us to go home.

"There were great independent record stores that helped feed my new addiction as well; In Your Ear Records, Toms Tracks, Contrast Records and more that escape me. It was an incredible place filled with so many opportunities and people willing to share their experience and love of music. Providence, back then, was a place where for the first time in my awkward teenage years, I felt I had a place and a “scene” to call my own.

As much as I could sit here and reminisce about the glory days of my youth and for the sake of keeping this a column and not a short book, I will just bullet point bands and people that I owe a thank you and a nod of respect to for helping raise and inspire me:

Jay Berndt – Lead singer of Kilgore and currently an amazing rock country blues singer songwriter as well as an engineer/producer: here is some archive footage of the band that started it all for me and Jay present day."

Check out Jay Berndt and Kilgore back in the day....