Episode 14: Ruby Bones‘ Chris Fox Making upbeat music music for the summer season
Today on the podcast I’m chatting with Chris Fox the main singer and songwriter for the NJ indie rock group Ruby Bones.
We chat about the band’s new album Laser Tooth Tiger (out now!), the saxophone guy from Lost Boys, his love for acoustic music, his realist outlook on music, how they are becoming more professional as a band, his upcoming side project and how Bruce Springsteen has heavily influenced his music. Chris also gives a great history lesson about the rise and fall of the saxophone. Learn more about Chris and Ruby Bones in the episode below
Show Notes and Full Show Transcript
Jeanette: Welcome to the podcast, Chris. Do you want to tell everyone a little about yourself?
Chris: Sure, my name is Chris Fox. I’m the main songwriter and singer in a band called ruby bones from New Jersey. And happy to be here. We play indie rock.
Chris: The easiest way.
Jeanette: So where in NJ are you at right now? I was curious cause I know you used to be in New Brunswick, right?
Chris: Yeah, I went to school in New Brunswick
Chris: Actually right now I’m in not upstate NY but a little bit upstate NY.
Jeanette: Oh ok.
Chris: Yeah, my wife and I got a little kind of a mountain house. Up in, right over Saugerties. So we just came up here and that’s where I am. That’s why it’s all wood around me.
Jeanette: Very nice. How long have you been up there?
Chris: We, it’s just like a bit of a vacation house so we got a little bit 2 or 3 months ago.
Chris: So we closed and everything. And we when we’re not here. We are in Lyndhurst, NJ. Is where we have a condo.
So this has been like a 3 month thing. We actually bought a fire pit today. That’s our newest venture.
Jeanette: Nice. Now the weather’s finally getting to that point where you can be outside and not freeze (aughing).
Jeanette: Did you go to Rutgers? Cause you were saying you went to school in New Brunswick.
Jeanette: Ok, me too. I went to Rutgers (haha)
Jeanette: What year did you graduate?
Chris: yeah, I was just gonna say I graduated in 2010. What about you?
Jeanette: I was 2, 2004. So I was a little before you. But
Chris: Oh, ok cool.
Jeanette: I can’t believe how long it’s been. Even 2010. That’s crazy how long ago that was (laughing). Time flies
Chris: Time is flying by. I actually thought you were younger than me. So cheers to you.
Jeanette: Thanks. You know I”m such as bone head because I saw you guys. I Found out about your band like through Instagram and I was scrolling and that’s how I kind of found the song. And then I totally forgot that you were in Boxed Wine.
Jeanette: I was like “you looked familiar” and I was going through and I was reading. And I”m like “I’m such a bonehead, how did I forget that?” I don’t know how I missed. I actually I went back to school to change my career and I think that is what happened. I was in school for 4 years and then I kind of like stopped listening to music (laughing)
Jeanette: I think I
Chris: It happens.
Jeanette: I think I missed whole transition of your bands. I dont know
Chris: It’s no worries. yeah (laughing)
Chris: Yeah you know, we did that for awhile and it was fun. But I guess it naturally ran it’s course. That was a more right out of college band kind of thing. And then uh me and the main songwriter like 2 of us wrote everything. We lived together and you start to like have a lot of tension and but heads a bit. We are great now so like at the time it got stressful so we were like “alright for hte sake of like being and staying good friends let’s put the kabash on this for the time being.”
So that’s always. I have friends who are still like, “why don’t you get back together? Like just do it. We like your band.” And I’m like “yeah I want to but you know the world ah. We’re busy in different regards and we want to try to make music more authentic to each of us.
He got really into like more electronic stuff for a time and I was more of a folky kind of guy.
Jeanette: Oh that’s cool. It’s funny cause I know I remember I saw you guys play. I think it was Rockwood Music Hall. I don’t remember the year
Chris: Yea. If it was Rockwood Music Hall we played on stage 1 and it was so tiny.
Chris: The drums were like off the stage and we tried hard for stage 2. We were like we’re gonna bring 30 people. LIke were’ gonna. And they’re like “that’s not good enough.” Haha
Jeanette: haha. That was a fun show.
Chris: We had a good time. LIke all the shows were so fun.
Jeanette: Yeah and I jus remember like you guys had so much energy. I can’t wait to see the new band. I love the new music. I”m excited for that.
Chris: Yeah. I think honestly. I think the new band has a similar amount of energy without a doubt. The first record we did was a little punkier and I don’t want to say heavier cause heavier is not the right word. I personally detest like hard rock or antyhing super heavy. But it was definately punkier and like a little more fire.
And this one is like definately a little bit closer to the world of like Boxed Wine and energetic. Really brighten not super cheery but it’s something we were talking about where we went to college and stuff. Just like the record is a little bit like based on college and I tried to like write a little bit of the mindset like some of my favorite or our favorite records in college.
I’m like a really big fan of Born Ruffians and Tokyo Police Club and who are all still going and making great music. But yeah it’s like a little bit of that energy and like hopefulness back in the music that wasn’t on the first record.
Jeanette: Yeah, it’s funny you mention that cause I was listening to some stuff today and I did feel that. I felt like. I think someone had compared you guys to the Walkmen in that. LIke you said. Not heavy and dark
Chris: Yeah. Definately not heavy. It’s not like. Yeah, it’s definately. I would say. Dark but not heavy would be a little bit of a descriptor. We were pulling like sonically a lot from I want to say more angular, more minor key rock bands like the Walkmen could be minor key
Chris: Wolf parade or I’m not gonna go as far as to say Arcade Fire because we weren’t folky enough on that record. Definately a little bit darker side like Spoon, and stuff. That’s where my head was at. And this one it’s all like more like I don’t want to say Fidlar is like a punk band but a little energy of Fidlar and Like Wavves and more of the happier side of indie rock.
Jeaentte: I think with your new album. It definately has a nice upbeat. I was reading somewhere they were talking about you wrote an album not really about the pandemic but like kind of what you can do after once everything. once we can get back to normal life.
Chris: Yeah. We wanted to make like a really. Kind of accidentally, of course nothing is planned for you. You know the record has been in the works for like 2 years
Jeanette: Oh ok.
Chris: It made sense to release it now once everything is opening up and getting back to normal becuase it’s just like it’s supposed to be a bright upbeat summery record. I always think of like. I don’t know if you do this in any regard but I think if like every record I’ll just naturally assign a time of year. Like if it’s an Elliot Smith record. That’s a fall record. LIke a late fall record. You know different bands fall into different things. Like I always find I don’t listen to Thin Lizzy in the winter but I listen to Thin Lizzy in the summer.
A lot of like Bruce Springsteen would be summer music it’s just kind of built for like outdoor BBQ and stuff. That’s where I approach, I’ll build like whole records. The last Ruby Bones record was like I wanted to do more of an autumn record and now I’m like we’re doing a summer record and its all big and bright and cheery. So we we’ll see what we do next.
Jeanette: That’s neat. I like that.
Chris: I”ve been watching a bunch of your videos too online. I love the one where you. It’s kind of an animated lyric video for
Chris: Oh for “Rooftops.”
Jeanette: Yes. That was really cool. Are one of you graphic designers or did you have someone else do it for you?
Chris: Yeah we had. We actually had a cool guy uh. I think its Alejandro. A cool guys in Brazil actually put that together for us. My drummer did some work. He works in the music industry, James, and he works for different labels and they will outsource to different people they’re in touch with and you know you have the contacts and stuff so he just reached out and was like “hey we are thinking about doing.”
There is this never ending lyric videos. You remember? You remember when like that cool video were the words topography video like all the rage and now you can get one made for $2 on fivver.com and stuff.
That was like a big thing for a while. Yeah, no we wanted to do something and he was cool enough to animate the whole thing and put it together. Throw up the lyrics and put visual references. So that was like. We were lucky.
I feel like a lot of things with this record. Cause you know we’re not the largest band ever but we are like able to put together a very professional looking like record release
Chris: So it draws people in. We got nothing but comments. It seems everything we do there are three or four bands who I know and they’re always random who will be like “hey man, love the video. Ah How’d you do that? Where’d it come from?” (Laughing)
Chris: I’m always like “trade secrets man.” You know? Try to keep our resources tight.
Jeanette: haha. That’s awesome. And I love and how you guys are doing a lot of virtual playing together but not playing together. Are you guys able to get together? Have you been seeing each other or social distancing. Like how has that been working?
Chris: So our drummer had a baby last year and then so like me and him are able together no problem. Kind of like quarantine buddies. Like he’ll drive over and whatnot. So we’re able to work on music and work on marketing whatnot.
Then our guitarist matt has been like lock down. He was just like. He’s on a zoom call with us in a mask being like “just in case.” (laughing)
Chris: You know everyone has, everyone has personal safety levels with it and you can never be too safe is his motto. So yep yeah I haven’t really seen him but like through zoom an the internet and stuff I don’t think it’s any excuse or any creative band to stop doing things. Sure we can’t practice and there are no shows. There will be soon but not just yet.
Well thank god all the songs and the drums and everything was recorded. So all we have to do is like mix and maser and we’ll have a record. Now all we have to do is to plan and get videos and stuff together. So it was kind of helpful.
Jeanette: That’s great. So what’s the next song that you’re gonna release.
11:28:06:20 – left off
Chris: Well we just put one out. Yeah. I don’t know when exactly this will come out but like uh we just put one. I guess the last single before the record out called “Drink All Night.” So we should if the cards fall in the right place like a video and stuff done for that might be a little bit last minute. Because we were in talks with a brewery to shoot something there but I think cause of the pandemic things got crazy and whatnot so we’ll see if we can pull that off. But um “Drink All Night” is our recent single.
And I think the record is going to be out at the end of the month. And we’ll see cause I like a lot of these songs and my favorite song is now the last song on the record which we got to do a little bit of like early Bruce Spingsteen like send up. And did a whole. Call it a La Bamba Rosalita part of the song. This big end with saxaphone and stuff so I was like really happy with that. So now like that’s my favorite song.
Unfortunately, it’s four minutes long so its a little bit harder to do a music video to keep people’s interest. We had like a 2 and a half minute song that’s just easier and cheaper to film and stuff.
I would like to do a live version that would be fantastic. We might do a live studio session after. But we’ll see.
Jeanette: Nice. I love songs with saxaphones. I don’t know why.
Chris. I do too.
Chris: Do you have any people in your life who hate saxaphone? Cause I now have like 4 people I know good friends who are like “yeah I like your music but sax is the worst” and I’m like “you’re crazy.” It’s like my favorite instrument.
I want it in everything.
Jeanette: That’s. Yeah. I never heard. Never heard of people hating sax. It blows my mind.
Chris: You might have to poll your friends.
Chris: You will have to poll your audience when this comes out. That will be the main question. “Do you like sax?” And everyone’s gonna think you made a typo and
Jeanette: Yeah (laughing). I think I like it to because it always reminds me of like 80’s music. Or 80’s movies.
Jeanette: You remember the vampire one. I can’t think of the name
Chris: The Lost Boys?
Chris: The greasy sax guy?
Chris: You know it’s weirdly. He’s on Cameo. Do you know Cameo. That celebrity website.
Jeanette: Yeah. Yeah. He’s on there?
Chris: Yeah greasy sax guy is on there. He’s only like 50 bucks so I’m like “we can get him playing along to the sax part in the song like that would be good promotion”
Jeanette: Does he. So he really plays? Cause I thought because. I have a friend who plays sax. She was saying like in the movie maybe he was faking it. Maybe he does play or maybe in the movie he’s faking it. Cause she was saying the thing wasn’t attached to his saxaphone. Like the neck thing and she’s like “there’s no way that he could play without attaching the neck” So it looks like super fake in the movie (laughing).
Chris: His muscles. Like maybe he’s just playing it out of pure like force and like (laughing)
Jeantte: That is true I didn’t think about how muscular he is. You know it’s funny I had actually one time. I went to California where they fillmed the movie on the beach and I was like “this is so cool” I was there and like they still have a stage. I guess they put stuff like concerts on that
Chris: I was just thinking. You made me think of a scenario where he didn’t know how to play saxaphone for the movie but he became. He’s like defined. That’s his defining role cause that’s like he now like 35 years later is like yeah “I”m the saxophone guy in Lost Boys” and that’s like the main credit.
Imagine a world where he got that role didn’t know how to play but then played it and everyone like who saw him for years was like “you’re the sax guy in Lost Boys” and like if that was me and I didn’t know how to play saxophone I bet I would have learned how to play saxophone. Everyone knows me as saxophonist and I don’t know how to play like this is embarrassing. So I have to learn how to play saxophone.
Jeanette: No, I like that rationale. That’s a good story. I like that
Chris: Someone just publisehd an article I was reading. It might have been Vice. Just about the downfall of the saxophone. Just people don’t use it or like appreciate it anymore becuase it became so ubiquitous in pop music.
It is in an unbelievable amount of 80’s pop songs that like charted. So they actually went through and tracked the saxophone’s rise. Cause it came from jazz straight into rock ’n roll. It was like blues melding into rock.
You know it just carried over right with it. Then it became like a lead solo instrument. That was the early part of the guitar. So they were like still. The guitar was more like a rhythm based element and of course it became what it is. Before you had what do you call it. Ah pedals (laughing)
Before you had pedals. The whole idea of the Rolling Stones finding the sound for “Satisfaction” Keith Richards stole the idea from I forget what band it was. It might have been the Kinks that started. Literally they would stab the speaker cone in their amplifer. Their guitar amplifiers to get that sound. To get like a tearing up of the breaking sound that became distortion.
Which they eventually put in the pedals. So to get that they had to stab the cones of the speaker which would ruin you know. Ruin the expensive speakers just to achieve that. But just before any kind of crazy lead was able to be done with that before that you had the saxophone as a lead instrument.
That was able to blast and be massive and people know that. So that was what it was and then it grew and grew. It dipped in the 70’s but in the 80’s it all of a sudden became like the hot new thing because honestly synthesizers didn’t sound that different from it. So they blended really well. It became on every song it got into.
Then after that grunge happened and grunge was like “saxophones not cool.”
Chris: And then like 4 years later ska was like “saxophones really cool.” But then everyone was like “forget about ska and forget about sax.” And it just dropped.
Jeanette: That’s sad.
Chris: And that’s my history lesson.
Jeanette: No, I love it. I thought. That’s great. Well speaking of other music movies. Did you know that today is Rex Manning Day?
Chris: It is Rex Manning Day. I had like 3 people I saw like post that on Facebook. Can’t forget about that special day.
Jeanette: I love that movie. Did you like that movie. Was that one of your?
Chris: I did like that movie. I think I like “High Fidelity” more but I also like “Empire Records.” Yeah. I started watching the Netflix or Hulu. One of them did a reboot of High Fidelity with Lenny Kravitz’s daughter.
Jeanette: Oh yea. I think I saw that. It was like a show, right?
Chris: Yeah, it was a show. It just did the one season and unfortunately, it got cancelled. I liked the episode I saw so I was gonna keep watching it but makes me think if it did get cancelled people weren’t watching it. So I wonder how many people were just like me who watched one the first episode and were like “that’s cool maybe I’ll see more later.”
Jeanette: I know it alwasys stinks when they cancel shows that you like. Cause you’re like “I would have went back and watched that.” Haha
Chris: Yeah it happens. I dont know. I’m lucky cause. We watch a lot of anime and anime will usually wrap up the season so you get the whole story they are trying to tell for a lot of them. Some of them have continue on and whatnot. A lot of times they will finish the story if people like it.
Jeanette: So at least you have a clear cut ending and you’re not left hanging. I feel like there are so many times you watch tv shows and then they end and sometimes they end before the series and you’re just like I need the information.
Chris: Yeah. It looks like that’s a little bit on the downtrend mostly becuase of network tv not being the powerhouse it obviously used to be. I do remember things would get cancelled mid season and then if you want the episodes would have to buy the DVD and it’s like “alright well.” I’m glad that part of humanity is over now.
Chris: We don’t have to worry about that
Jeaentte: You guys have a lot of accoustic stuff also. I was kind of stalking out your youtube page (laughing) today. And I was looking over things.
Chris: I”m just happy you’re prepared (laughing).
Chris: Like that warms my heart. Cause we do a lot of interviews. I even like answered questions today for something that was just like. At the same time I should preface and say I”m always happy to answer any questions. Especially like you need press. You need people to write about you and you ask them.
And it’s always wonderful when anyone’s like yeah I’ll take the time to like write something about you or share, or do a podcast or anything like its good. Then sometimes its you know you start a thing and obviously it’s not the case here.
I can say the first question will be like “so where’d your band name come from?” And it’s like oh so “who’s in the band?” And it’s like come on little website anyone reading this already knows like they like the band already (laughing). So I don’t know my dream is to get to the point where people just immediately know and have like questions and like my music enough to just know cool quesitons and just shoot them right away.
But you’re doing it so.
Jeanette: Ok. Good. That makes me feel better cause whenever I do research and I’m always like, “are these stupid questions?” Or I feel like now with the quarantine I tend to. I feel like “am I asking everyone the same questions?” Or am I asking everyone the same thing? But I guess..We’re not really doing much anyway. So I don’t know. Haha.
Chris: Yeah. But uh. Oh yeah. You said there were a lot of accoustic videos. Oh yea. You left off with you were stalking our uh
Jeanette: Oh yeah. No, I was saying. I was gonna say you guys have a lot of accoustic stuff on your web, on your Youtube page. Is accustic something you like to do? Is it easier cause of quarantine or?
Chris: It is something I super like to do. I’m actually in the process of recording a bunch of new material for like a solo side project which is mostly accoustic based.
But um yeah at the end of the day for like Ruby Bones like I definately want to pull the band into a little more folkier territory as time goes on. But for right now big rock is what we’re doing. And what everyone likes so in terms of I would like to definately do at some point.
We were actaully thinking about taking some of the videos you watched and I mixed these really quickly just to put them on the internet but maybe we can actually rego in and redo a little bit of it like touch them up a bit and put out an actual accoustic release. I would love to do that. So that’s one of the things on the back burner
But yeah everytime you having a website and writing about music doing like its. You have all these ideas and then all of sudden 2 months go by and you have like 15 other things to do first so that always unfortunately, as much as I want to do it. It fall on the back burner a little.
Chris: But we’ll see. If I have enough time. Hopefully.
Jeanette: Yeah that would be awesome. So the side project are you doing it by yourself or you doing collaborations? Or is it just a solo thing?
Chris: It’s like a solo thing and yeah. It’s a solo thing but I’m trying to do. Trying to get a lot of different musicians I know to just play on things. It’s not like uh. There are not. I don’t plan for there to be any centralized band for it. Cause I’m focused on Ruby Bones and I love those guys and that is what like I do. So that’s the main project and the one we push. We push hard and want to go somewhere with. In terms of just ah. I don’t know. I write a lot of songs.
And like you know. I don’t necessarily want to be a guided by voices. Like Robert Pollard like put out 1,700 songs like he has but which is insane and I can’t even listen to them all if I tried. The man has like three days worth of music that exists.
Chris. It’s crazy.
Chris: Yeah so like Robert Pollard has all that music and whatnot its just like I just want to put out a bunch of stuff and it’s hard becuase in the world of music promotion. I did even a quick stunt of toying with the idea of PR with bands and whatnot. It’s a tough world. Nothing but praise for anyone who has the time and patience for it. Cause it’s a lot of unfortuantely, the way the world. It’s just a lot of negative feedback unfortunately, and it’s hard to get somewhere.
Making music and being great at it, it’s just tough because you have to like now especially in this day and age you have to continually have to be putting out music but you also like you have to spend time and focus on one song at at time and focue on pushing a song and like I am. I want to use this side project to be like “alright we pushed the singles and like the video and stuff for Ruby Bones.” Like we do that and we can do 5 songs over the course of a year or whatever it is but at the same time I want to be like “oh here’s just like an album. Here’s a record I made and like I don’t want to like try to create a space and be fulfilled by like “I made this. Here it is. Listen to it or don’t. I don’t care.”
And just like that’s it. And I want to do it faster without worrying about the promotion and trying to I don’t know play bigger shows and be on festivals and stuff. I just want to make music to. Cause I enjoy making music.
Jeanette. And I think you enjoy it more. when you enjoy it. Sometimes the business part of things can be frustrating.
Chris: Yeah it can be dragging like bring you down a bit. But I don’t know you have to stay in a positive mindstate and like we’ve tried to adopt this. You know I’m not a huge fan of like Instagarm influencers who pedal this never ending like positivity stuff.
Jeanette: Yeah (laughing)
Chris: Just like “live live to the fullest. Be you’re best self. Live laugh love.” LIke never ending yoga mommies I called them.
Chris: But that being said I try to be a little more realist about it but we have tried as a band you like no more focusing on negative. No more focusing on what we can’t do. Let’s just focus on what we can and push towards it and like that actually happened a few months ago and it was just a mental change in the band.
And we just put out a lot of. You know becuase I”m friend’s with so many bands. They’ll constantly be like oh I was trying to get this and it can’t happen. It’s like let’s not dwell let’s keep pushing foward and let’s move forward and that’s just it. And that I feel like with this record and like the release of it and stuff. It’s actually had a little bit of an effect.
We have gotten some better press. Our numbers, we sold more records. Our numbers are like growing. We are nothing massive yet but like it is. It is positive. And it’s like I feel like the mentality is a lot of that without going too far into you know being a life guru haha.
Trying to be an Instagram model or influencer
Jeanette: No, I like that mantra. For a while I was always like motivation, motivation, motivation. But at the same time I think it’s also having the pandemic happen itls like ok, we can be motivated but we also have to be realistic and kind of you know.
Chris: Yeah. Haha. I’m much less of the live laugh love and more of the just like let people enjoy what they enjoy kind of thing. Yeah. That’s what it is. But if you listen to a lot. I don’t know. I’ve realize this recently just through different groups of people when the band is together we really are, we are just naturally not negative but just shit talkers and we like (laughing) we rag on everything but then its all for like, it’s all like I don’t know I like to say it’s from a place of love and trying to be funny and just enjoy each other.
Jeanette: It could also be. It sounds very therapeutic (laughing). In a way
Chris: A little bit. You definately. There is some stress relief to be found in taking the piss ouf of things in some kind of form or fashion
Chris: I meant to ask you where do you live?
Jeanette: Where do I live? I’m in Asbury Park. I’m like right outside Asbury Park so I live uh
Chris: Oh cool. So we should grab a drink the next time Im down there. Do you go to Rebel Supply?
Jeanette: Where is that?
Chris: The clothing store.
Jeanette: Ok (laughing)
Chris: It’s on Cookman. Might be on Cookman. Yeah. I was told it’s on Cookman.
Jeanette: Oh ok. Now. Yes. Now I know what you’re talking about. We have. We’ll take walks up and down. We’ll go into town. It’s really. Have you been there recently? It’s really cool what they’ve done with the outdoor dining and eveything.
Chris: Yeah. I haven’t I guess I haven’t really been there in like a year. I don’ think I’ve been there since and I have a lot of friends in the area. But like everyone is staying in and kind of being safe. I’m happy. I’m proud of a lot of my friends and are like “cool you’re not all crazy.” Like you’re safe and smart and like I don’t know.
Trying to protect people. But uh yeah now that it’s like getting back. I hope. I’ve been to some of the dining in Brooklyn and NY city and in my head I’m like I hope they keep some of this stuff. It’s like a cool thing but uh yeah we’ll see. we’ll see if that happens.
Jeanette: Yeah it’s the same way in Asbury cause like. So basically they blocked off a portion of Cookman Avenue and like all the restuarants they have outdoor dining and it’s really. If they do it it would be great because it gets really busy down there. It’s kind of nice that there’ s a spot to like go and hang out
Chris: It’s like the. It’s like the Jersey City thing. I watch a lot of videos about kind of like how they structure cities and where cars came from and how they took over industrialization of cars going into every single place.
They now. It was videos on like urbanization and how they build suburbs and how suburbs are like purpusefully built so you have to have a car to get anywhere verses like a city where if you’re in NY city you can walk everywhere. It’s not that difficult. So everything you need is 2 miles away. LIke it’s not. It’s all a grid.
Yeah suburbs don’t have that but now there is a thing that is happening. Jersey City is a prime example where they blocked a huge part of the main. One of the main roads in Jersey City and they made it a little enertainment district and this is what a lot of European cities do.
Like this is all over Paris and Britain and there are just like stores and almost like not an outdoor mall that’s not it but it’s better than that. It’s just like you get to walk and there’s you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car and like you can just ride a biccyle and go through and like people just navigate themselves and go shop and it’s so much better.
With like Cookman did they shut down part of the road. Or did they.
Jeanette: Yeah.They like
Jeanette: You know where Talula’s and um that other The Asbury Ale House it’s like that big restuarant?
Jeantte: So they like. Right in front of those. That’s basically the area where they like blocked everything off.
Chris: Gotcha. Yeah. Rebel supply is across the street from uh The Ale House.
Chris: Yeah, so that is what it is. You create all this outdoor dining and stuff and it’s just like so much more comfortable and convenient for people to like relax and like it might be a little tougher with garbage. Like garbage trucks but they figured it out.
Jeanette: Yeah I know. That’s the one thing. I’m sure you know from coming down and you know you could go to the boardwalk and listen to bands playing at the Stone Pony and summerstage and
Chris: Oh yeah.
Jeanette: It’s just. It’s eerie like now without that.
Chris: I dont know. I’m glad. It looks like all the venues made it through which is nice. Um I just saw the brighton bar in Long Branch which isn’t too far. I think they are closing down but
Jeanette: Oh that’s sad.
Chris: But most likely someone will buy it and open some redone version of it. It’s like the Saint we played the saint a bunch of times and we love it. But I’m always thought I”m like it’s just like one block too far the main venues. But it hasn’t been completely built up that little section of Asbury.
So for some reason people just like don’t go there. Like in my head I’m like “this is the coolest spot on Earth why don’t, why don’t people take like a 3 minute walk off the main strip of Asbury and go to the Saint every night and keep their prices low and keep them going.”
So they struggled here and there but uh yeah people love it and it’s an institution. They always save it and like bring it back which is nice.
They have um. They have great sound and I like Scott he runs it. He’s a very cool dude and his wife works at the bar. And yeah it’s great. You could drink $2.50 PBR’s all night long on like a $5 ticket.
And sound a little bit more expensive but still it’s still good. I like the idea of a small dive bar where it’s like the whole purpose is bands are playing. That’s what I want more than anything.
I just answered another question from our friends over at “You Don’t Know Jersey” they were doing an article and they were asking bands what do you think of the pandemic and stuff. “How has it affected you? What do you hope for the future?”
The biggest thing that I can hope is just like I hope that just a general sense of in our world of late stage capitalism or whatnote I don’t think this is true or gonna happen but all I really want is just it would be great if there were just like venues that people already wanted to go to cause it’s a cool place to drink and like not have it.
There are so many venues and playing as a musician they are dependent on the band to bring people. LIke people don’t go there naturally and like Brighton bar was kind of an example of that.
I’m sure they have a few regulars but ug Brighton Bar had a few regulars (laughing) and I’m sure they would go but it was so dependent on bands to bring they constantly bring 30 people. Bring 20 people. What can you bring? What can you bring?
It’s jsut like the atmosphere is so much better for everyone if it’s just already a cool bar that people want to go to and they know there are good bands. I would be fine in like I can’t speak for the rest of my band but I would be fine just playing a venue there is no ticket.
There is not ticket you just like the band for the night. And you get paid a percentage of the bar and it’s based on if you bring more people to come drink you’re gonna get paid more. But people already like coming here and they’re gonna be drinking anyway so don’t worry we got you covered. You’re gonna be happy, we’re gonna be happy.
But it’s like. It can be tough like just like every place trying to survive and living in what is honestly at this point just a gig economy. Secure jobss are getting harder and harder to come find. Rant over
Jeanette: I like it. I think that was great. I agree with your whole point about you know where you could go to just see bands. I know here. I don’t know how it is in other parts of the country. But I remember, like, people love cover bands. And I love cover bands too but I like original music as well. And not everyone appreciates and would not go somewhere for live music.
Chris: Yeah. I mean. LIke being on the orignal music side of it I can, I don’t have any negative feelings towards cover bands cause they do. Those are people who are just as passionate as music and they put the time in and they put the energy in.
And part of it does suck becuase they do cut into you know potentially spots that a original bands could have and some regard. Usually there are bars that have cover bands and that is just what it is. So it’s not too bad.
But like you were saying you go to a bar and there is a cover band like a lot of times you pay 5 bucks like just because we have to pay the cover band. And it costs less than a beer. LIke there is gonna be a band playing music for you all night so that’s great.
So I dont’ see why that atmosphere wouldn’t work if like even if those places that play cover bands just had well one night a week we’re gonna do like original music. Like it’s gonna be a Friday night and not even a busy saturday. Or Thursday night and just like have like bands come on and even if it was just a set back. Like I’m blanking on the word.
The word for the house instrumentation. I’m totally. Oh backline. Yeah it’s called a backline.
Chris: So that’s like. If like the drumshells are gonna be there, the amps are gonna be there. So you don’t have to physically bring them. So that’s usually helpful in so many regards.
But yeah, even if like venues had that. A lot of NY venues have that because it’s hard to get heavy instrument equipment into all over NY. But yeah if they had some kind of situation like that it would just be so much more beneficial for everyone involved.
So I do hope maybe well see. Cause at the same time like you know something like the Stone Pony is never gonna change in that regard. But maybe a place like Wonder Bar or something.
Their shows are not overpriced in any way. They’re good in terms of like places who do it right. Even if they were like “bands are playing tonight, 5 bucks to get in and like a two drink minimum.” And that would cover. If every person just did that rather than like “hey man like you gotta sell. Here’s a. It’s a $30 ticket and like if you wanna play you have to bring like 25 people.
So then I’m like you know calling friends and I’m like “hey can you come out and support, blah blah, blah.” Then you feel like. You come off as needy and then like poeple don’t necessarily want to go see you. Which can be like tough. You neve know when in life gets in the way. Yeah. That’s like that what it is.
What’s nice is our band does seem to be picking up some fans. Like legit. We sold a t-shirt today to a stranger and I’m like wow. Look at that. That’s incredible haha.
So we’ll see. Hopefully in the next year I’ll have a different tune about it which would be wonderful but who knows.
Jeanette: I like all the. The raccon shirt and the other thing with that little guy. That was like. I don’t know what he is but it was like a yellow one (laughing). The yellow one?
Chris: A little. Yeah that was just a design. I kind of threw that together from. When you’re a small band like we ‘ve tried to find ways to. Even know if we have to lose a little bit of money. One of our. Our producer actually was like “I’m gonna buy a t-shirt to suppor you guys.”
I’m like “dude we give you thosands of dollars like you don’t have to try to like kick it back. We’re cool.” But he bought a shirt and he was like, “this is the nicest band shirt I ever bought.” Yeah I’m like we’re using like a real website. We’re not like printing the cheapest shirt with a guy in his basement
Chris: Screenprinting. Just becuase like we do it we’ll make an extra 2 dolalrs selling that shirt. LIke we would rather sell the shirt that like a real nice shirt that people are like happy to wear.
He was like “well I can’t believe the quality.” And I’m like, “that’s what we do.” Like we just try to do everything as professional as possible. And yeah. But like in terms of designs and stuff like we now hit the point where like we pay. We try to pay artists for their work. If we do photography. A photography session we’re paying a photographer its not like and the same thing for t-shirt designs and stuff.
So yeah but uh luckily. There is a bird shirt on there. With a bird and an axe and like I just designed that. Cause I learned how to use photoshop cause I was like I wanna do this. I should atleast do this so I can like save some money in some aspect. So yeah.
We call it Biggie Pop which is just like. He’s this hunking little monster guy and I just like threw our name under it and that was cool. And our friend. I’ll shout out our friend Kelly Hartman was a good friend of hte band and she designed the raccon shirt. And like the record cover that went along with it.
We even have a dog bandana (laughing).
Jeanette: I didn’t see that one. I missed that. I have to go back and look at it. And I’ve been following you guys on Instagram and I think you’re so funny. It’s very enertaining. You know it definately makes sense you guys are getting fans.
Not only the music is good but I think you know also.
Chris: You know we’re definately trying. Thank you for. Thank you for noticing how much effort we put in (laughing)
Chris: Yeah, no. It’s funny. I can’t wait. Please don’t cut you saying we’re funny out because I’m gonna screen cap that and send it to my drummer who is constantly like. He’s like “alright you’re trying and I respect that but like I don’t think you’re as funny as you think you are.”
And I’m like “no I swear to god I think I’m funny. I really do” (laughing).
Jeanette: No, I think so too. Unless. I know people. Differnet people have different sense of humors. And that’s how. I kind of. Why I found you on Instagram. I found the song and came across the band again becuase of Instagram and I was scrolling through and I listened to one of the tracks and I was like, “oh I really like this.”
Chris: Well good.
Jeanette: So. So social media works. Hehe.
Chris: It does. We have been running some ads and stuff and like trying once again trying to be super professional about it and like it’s uh. Yeah its seems like it’s been going well.
Jeanette: So do you feel like, like things are gonna be super different. Cause you know you think about being in a basement show. Or packed into a room and I’m always like “what is the future of concerts gonna look like?” I always wonder (laughing)
Chris: As long as like you know from the reserach I have read. I don’t think. It doesn’t look like any of the strains of Covid are gonna pose any serious problem. So I do think like definately by the end of the summer. The majority of the population and anyone who wants it is going to have access to be vaccinated and I think it will be.
I wouldn’t be surprised I already see it like get back to normal um. I have to be safe for two more weeks and then I’m vaccinated.
Yeah I don’t know its just about being careful. But uh if there’s anyone. If you need a connection I have a light connetion. But they’re working all over NJ this little group called Vaccine Fairies just connecting people with open appointments so I was helping out and was doing some outreach for them.
So if you need I’ll send you the info and you can pass it along to any family and whatnot.
Jeanette: Thank you. I think I saw you posting on social media about that.
Chris: Yeah I did
Jeanette: Cause that sounds familiar. As I said I was stalking out all of your stuff (laughing)
Chris: Oh it’s totally fine.
Jeanette: In prepartion for this chat. When we can. When you can play again do you have like a place that you’re dying to play. Something you really want to do once we can get back out.
Chris: For me. I dont’ know. I think the. Right before Covid we had lined up a little bit of weekender. Kind of going to like NY and try to just do three shows over a weekend.
Something bands do all the time. But we purposely wanted to do like college towns. And do like basement shows just because I’m just over north of the 30 right now and I don’t think I would be. I would feel weird doing it in 40’s so I’m like oh
Chris: I really miss the idea of playing in a basement. Not really like a college town. But not associated with the school I went to in any way.
Just like have it like you said basement shows at Rutgers were always the most fun thing on Earth. There are still places like doing it.
I’m sure there are at Rutgers and stuff. I don’t know if you ever get like weird aggita about going back to like a school that you went to but I like I never want to go to my high school again.
I always feel weird going to New Brunswick. I’m like, “oh it’s changed and its not mine anymore.” LIke I get a weirdness to it. But uh other college towns I dont’ care I don’t go here so it’s whatever.
Yeah but we. I don’ know. I’m sure a lot of people would be like I wanna play like I dont know, Bowery Ballroom or Madison Square Garden. And like Bowery Ballroom would definatley be on the list. We definately want to play the Knitting Factory again.
Ah but uh even Asbury Lanes. We super want to play Asbury Lanes now. We played there before the renovation as Boxed Wine and that was just the fabled place and like of course thousands of bands have played there still it felt special.
And like their new. I love the new venue and I loved what they did with it. So I definatley want to play there and Wonder Bar and if we can have a long enough set like prepared maybe Langosta.
I also, my dream right now is do to like a kind of like a bunch of basement shows across the northeast or whatever. That would be like awesome for me.
Jeanette: Yeah that sounds great. I can’t wait. I hope it’s soon. So we can see you play live. I love the album and I would love to hear it live. Hopefully one day. Hopefully soon.
Chris: Thank you for digging it. And yea by all means you have a guest pass to a show whenever you want to come and I’ll make it happen.
Jeanette Aw thank you so much. That’s so nice. I saw that you guys. With the description of your band. You had said it sounds like Bruce Springsteen on coke in a, through a helium baloon (laughing)
Chris: Yeah that was a fun joke that my wife came up with. She came up with that line because uh. Yeah the one thing and I’m working on it now but uh the one thing that is consistent through a lot of my music is a very high tenor.
In terms of like singing not very high but not very high. I didn’t know how to sing very well for a long time. I would sing not necessarily nasaly but just a little bit higher pitch and wasn’t comfortable singing low. Like down here
Chris: When it came time for the record. We were like oh “how do we describe this record?” And I’m like well I mean like we’re from NJ so everyone is gonna immediately gonna be like “is it like Bon Jovi?”
So let’s atleast guide them to the cooler thing of Bruce Springsteen and uh then its like super high energy and way more manic than like Bruce Springsteen depending on the song.
And also I sometimes sing really high so it’s like I inhaled a helium balloon so Bruce Springsteen on coke through a helium balloon was the dumbest and easiest thing and a few people latched on to it.
Also there is a funny thing in the music press world where a lot of times the people will be lazy and just literally copy a thing you send them and put it on a website. Which I forgot that people do.
LIke I hadn’t put out a record in like three or four years. And yeah people do that. So that ended up being on a bunch of websites and I’m like great how do I escape that now?
Chris: Literally you type in the words Ruby Bones and what comes up it’s like “Bruce Springsteen on cocaine through a helium balloon.”
Chris: So thanks wife (his wife responds “your welcome”
Jeanette: So are you a fan of Bruce Springsteen? I know you kind of talked about him a little bit with the saxophone.
Chris: Uhm. Yeah I definately am a fan of Bruce Springsteen. For years and years growing up I didn’t get it. And not I just do.
So now like I wanna. I”m not anything like. I wouldn’t say I’m a superfan. I think friends would probably say I’m a super fan uh just because I listened to all the records because you know. When someone has ah 20 somehing records.
Like it’s a lot to get through. Like it’s not all gonna be good but uh yeah I have listened to all of it at this point. I even downloaded ugh like some weird bootleg thing that is all songs he never even released on top of all the unreleased tracks.
Like it’s like the man is pyschotic about recording everything. So you have this whole living document of this band through his live shows. Which is really cool. I wish I had the time or energy to do that myself in some way but I dont’ know. Uh yea. No, he’s great.
You like him?
Jeanette: You know I felt. I was kind of the same way. I didn’t understand. Like I remember people same thing. People in high school people being like. And I’m like I don’t get it.
And then I actually read that book about that guy I think It was into the light. The movie about that guy.
Chris: The guy who was saved from Bruce Springsteen’s music?
Jeanette: Yeah. I read that book and then I watched the movie and I was like “oh my god. I could totally see this. This music is really good.” And like haha
Chris: Yeah I think a lot of times for like him. I would recommend for a lot of classic like legendary artists a lot of times it just comes down to finding the one record that speaks to you.
The first one that I got into was actually weirdly enough “Born in the USA” which is the poppiest like sonic, most sonically like ridiculous record.
Chris: It’s like all the cheesy early synths.
Chris: Overblown and like ridiculous saxophone. But that’s kind of always there. But then like once I got into that I was like “oh I like weirdly love this. What is similar to it?”
Then I got his first record where he’s like a totally different song writer on it. So as a songwriter I respect the fact that he morphed and changed and he’s changed multiple times as much as a David Bowe who I like adore.
But definately he started as a weird combination between Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. So like this beatnik persona of this skinny kid and his ragtag band sonically the records are like. The record is really thin. Like really thin “Greetings from Asbury Park.”
And just like recorded like for on the sheet. You can just tell and then like the second one is similar to that and he totally like reinvents for “Born to Run.”
And all the sudden it’s like he’s quick little. But not like quick but he’s like ah never ending rhymes and doing this kind of like Bob Dylan like on speed thing that he was doing. Turns into this like he writing these epic grandiose sonically massive songs about like being born to run.
Like leaving this town and never looking back. And the whole thing like strap your hands around my engine. And he’s writing this. These like great American myths of like easily digested. Easily digestible like three minutes songs on figured out how to do it.
Like yeah. It’s great readily good. So. My favorite’s “Darkness” by the way. I really like “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
Cause that’s ah really dark. It’s just like heavier subject matter.
Jeanette: Is that an album?
Jeanette: I’ll have to check it out.
Chris: Yes, it’s an album. But yeah and then like if you want like. I mean hell he put out like a two years ago he did a weird country western album where he’s doing like grand parson and he’s like these weird like songs of the cowboys like and it’s like he is belting.
And he’s still. He’s like 70 something years old. Just belting out these lines and still like had his voice. It’s crazy. So.
Jeanette: Awesome. Cool. Is there anything else you want to add or plug. Or tell where people can find you?
Chris: Yeah. If I were to plug anything. Once again I am Chris from Ruby Bones. Our new reocrd Lazer Tooth Tiger comes out on April 30th. Which hopefully well this is either before or after this dates so it could be out now.
Chris: Depending on when this comes out. But uh yeah just go check it out and it’s on Spotify. It’s on everywhere. Every single place you could possibly want music.
I think we have CD’s on bandcamp. Yeah, please just check it out give it a spin. Hopefully you like it and it becomes your favorite music to blast out of your convertible when you’re speeding down the highway on the run from the law.
Jeanette: hahah. Nice. Awesome and I’ll leave links to those in the show notes as well so people can easily find your stuff. Awesome.
Jeanette: Well thank you so much for coming on. This was really fun.
Chris: Well thank you. I can’t wait to promote it. Well push it everywhere. As usual. And uh yeah that’s about it.
Hope you enjoyed today’s show for more information on Ruby Bones you can check out their official website at www.rubybonesband.com. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram at the handle rubybonesband, and on Twitter at @rubybones.
Thanks so much for listening and see you in the next episode
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