Showcase info: My Jerusalem will perform at 11:05 p.m. on Friday, March 20 @ Karma Lounge (119 W.8th).
Other shows: KGSR Live from the Four Seasons, 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18 (98 San Jacinto Blvd); Guitartown/Conqueroo present Kickoff 2009, noon on Wednesday, March 18 @ Fado
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Download: Sweet Chariot
One of the cool things about SXSW is seeing bands make their debut. My Jerusalem is led by solo artist Jeff Klein who recruited friends that he met on the road (Klein was a touring member of the Twilight Singers on the Powder Burns tour). Rounding out the band are guitarist Dave Rosser (of Twilight Singers), bassist Ashley Dzerigian (formally of Great Northern), drummer Cully Symington (formally of Bishop Allen) and multi-instrumentalist Rick Nelson (of The Polyphonic Spree and St. Vincent).
The band’s debut EP, Without Feathers, came out this week and can be found on iTunes. Their full length CD will be out this summer.
Jeff Klein answered some questions sent his way this week.
Though you’ve got some dates leading up to SXSW, do you consider the music festival your true coming out party?
The shows leading up to SXSW are more like a dress rehearsal i suppose. SXSW will be more of our “opening night”
While it seems like a random series of connections, most of the people in the band know each other, right?
We all have about 1 degree of separation and have been good friends for a while. You’d be surprised how small the music community is.
Listening to the EP, I hear bits and pieces of The Twilight Singers, U2, and The Sheila Divine. Are there any bands you’d compare your music to?
Wow, the Sheila Divine…you from Boston? I remember seeing one of their first shows. I think they may have even had a different name for a sec. I don’t really know who we would be comparable to. Everyone involved has very diverse taste. The stereo in the van went from Nick Cave to some Wizard Prog Rock to Connie Francis in the span of 10 minutes. so….I’m not sure.
You’ve got 45 minutes or so to fill at SXSW (and probably equally as long, if not longer, on the dates you’re currently doing). Do you have additional songs that aren’t on the EP or are you dipping back into material from the other bands you’ve been in?
We have about 30 songs recorded. 12 will be on the forthcoming LP. So we are gonna focus on the LP and EP songs. We are only doing our own material. We aren’t a cover band.
I don’t know the circumstances behind Ashley’s departure from Great Northern but because the band didn’t make a public announcement on their website or MySpace page, I got the impression that it may not have been a friendly one. Was it a mutual breakup? And, will there be any weird vibes considering Great Northern is playing on the same showcase bill as My Jerusalem?
Ill let Ashley handle that one:
Ashley: That’s a tricky question to answer. As much as I’d rather not focus on the split, I’d hate for people to think that i left because I chose to. I was fired and it was completely unexpected. Even though I’ve moved on and forgiven my former band mates, it’s a strange subject for me because I was never given a clear/honest reason. But I suppose that’s the way it goes sometimes. Bands are like relationships or marriages. If there’s a lack of communication then something’s eventually going to give. The last thing I’d want is for things to be awkward. I believe everything happens for a reason. If the fallout never happened, I never would have met Jeff Klein or Ed Harcourt. I’m grateful for the time I spent with Great Northern and I genuinely wish them the best in the future.
Every year there are tons of rumors about secret shows that are going to happen. This year, the rumor is that Metallica is playing at Stubb’s on Friday night (guess that’s your competition, if it’s true). Have you heard any good rumors or do you want to start any? :)
I heard Hanna Montana, M Ward, and President Obama are playing together on Friday night under the name My Jerusalem.
While in Austin, are there any restaurants/bars that you like to frequent?
You gotta get breakfast tacos at El Chilito or migas at Ciscos. For the latenight i usually end up at The Longbranch or The Mohawk.
I noticed only a showcase SXSW gig on your MySpace page. Will you be performing at any parties? Will you be hanging out in Austin for a few days and, if so, any bands that you’re interested in checking out?
We are doing a live KGSR thing on Wed morning and then playing the Guitartown/Conqueroo party at noon that day. Most of us will also be playing in Ed Harcourt’s band as well during his show when he comes over. We’ll be there for a few days hangin with a bunch of friends. I wanna see Echo and the Bunnymen.