Saturday, August 05, 2006
PoPINIONS - JEFF SHELTON (SPINNING JENNIES)
To coincide with the release of Full Volume: The Best of Spinning Jennies, PoP posed a couple of email queries to Spinning Jennies' guitarist/vocalist Jeff Shelton (above, right) and got some speedy responses...
How did Spinning Jennies begin and why did it end?
We started in 1993 - the rather unglamorous result of three musicians answering ads in the local paper. We formed for a mutual love of the "pop hook", despite our first drummer's favorite band being Steely Dan! We had a good 11 year run - from 93 - 2004. Five albums, several mini tours and the usual bouts of struggling to get to the next level eventually wore us out. But we had alot of fun, played alot of shows and grew musically. We're all still good friends.
There's mention of old school and new school Jennies - care to clarify the differences?
I never heard the term "power pop" until 1996. Seriously! Growing up I always loved what were basically pop bands (REM, The Smiths, The Police)...and when the Jennies started, we were basically a "melodic rock" band.
That sort of "naiveté" crafted our early sound. After '96, I think we became more conscious of the power pop sound and style and focused more on tighter song structures, catchier hooks, and a bigger anthemic-type power pop songs.
Which bands do you consider were the Jennies' biggest influences?
Everything flows downhill from the Beatles (obvious answer!)
But more specifically...bands like the Posies, Cheap Trick, Husker Du, early REM, Redd Kross, Sloan, The Who all had a huge influence on our sound.
What is your favourite memory of playing with the Jennies?
Ohh....man. So many stories...so little space!
The most vivid, precarious rock-star moment I recall was in 96 or 97, we played a show outside Sacramento and all became too intoxicated to drive home so we ended up crashing at some crazy woman's house in the hills. I remember sitting at a little kid's table in her kitchen eating Cheerios w/ our bass player at 4 in the morning...wondering if we were going to make it home alive. Getting banned from a club in San Francisco for "playing to loud" was another highlight.
Having spent more than 10 years in the 'pop underground' - where do you think the scene is now compared to 1993?
Like night and day! The Internet has made a huge difference of course. Before the Net...people had to physically go out and see shows in their neighborhood to become aware of bands. We had big shows in the early days. People would come out and support local music. Once the Internet exploded and the Dot Com revolution snagged up retail space in the city, the live music scène changed dramatically. After 1999 or 2000, we focused more on reaching far corners of the world (like Singapore!) where people craved exactly what we were doing.....rather than trying to revive a local scene that was dwindling.
Check out the PoP review here.