“The Williams Band hail from Pittsburgh, Pa. Forming in April of 2011, the band quickly built a strong following with packed shows at Thunderbird Cafe and not long after at the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Their set list grew exponentially which led to the August 2011 recording session entitled “48 Hours at the Pink Flamingo.” The album includes 9 tracks that range from high-tempo sing-a-longs to brooding tribal environments. With Brian Jump on lead guitar, the songs are enriched with a cavalcade of glorious melody and strength, Bryan Kinney’s lyrics resonate with anyone who’s experienced heartache, but also turns the corner and reveals hidden joy within his writing.
Jonathan Southern hammers the bass with passion and executes harmonies like a Texas judge. Brett Staggs keeps it simple on drums and performs the hell out of the tambourine. He, along with Jump chime in on harmonies as well. You put it all together and sweet music is made. The band has just completed a new EP entitled “Calmer Than You Are” with acclaimed producer Sean McDonald (Jewel, Sinead OConnor, Soul Asylum) release date: 1/25/13″
You can discover the band by hitting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and iTunes. They are celebrating their CD Release tomorrow at Brillobox on a bill with Casino Bulldogs and my buds in Triggers. My thanks to Brian Jump (Vocals/Lead Guitar), Johnny Southern (Vocals/Bass), Bryan Kinney (Vocals/Guitar) and Brett Staggs (Drums) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
Brian Jump: “Too Fast For Love” by Mötley Crüe. I listened to it every day on headphones for an entire summer while I delivered papers. This album is supercharged and I love Mick Mars’ playing on tracks like ‘Piece of Your Action’ and ‘Starry Eyes’. In short, this album made me want to play guitar in a band.
Johnny Southern: “Whitesnake” by Whitesnake. John Sykes is the man!!! Bryan Kinney: “Come Dancing with The Kinks”. I was in 3rd grade and heard ‘Father Christmas’ for the first time on the radio. Saved some money and bought it on vinyl.
Brett Staggs: The first album I personally went to the store and purchased was “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” by Social Distortion, on cassette tape. Still have it, great album. ‘Cold Feelings’ was my favorite track.
Your last album bought?
Brian: “Music From Big Pink” by The Band. I am newly discovering these icons and I can predict that I’ll have a fan relationship with The Band comparable to the ones I had with The Beatles and The Grateful Dead.
Johnny: “King of Limbs” by Radiohead. LOVE this album but, to be fair I’d listen to Thom Yorke brush his teeth in awe.
Bryan: Jessica Hernandez and The Delta’s. I saw her perform last Friday and after their set I had to take her home with me.
Brett: “Diana Ross & The Supremes w/ The Temptations” (vinyl).
Favorite album of all time?
Brian: I’d prefer to make a top five list of all-time favorite albums but if I have to boil it down to one, then so be it. “The Bends” by Radiohead makes the question go away nicely.
Johnny: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. I remember being five or six and thinking, “O.K., so this is what I wanna do.” Bryan: Radiohead’s “OK Computer”. 1997 was a big year of change for me and “OK Computer” was the soundtrack.
Brett: Staggs: “Love & Theft” by Bob Dylan. Learning the words and style of this blues/folk masterpiece is the most fun experience I’ve ever had with an album. (Even though Dylan says he doesn’t want people to sing along, oh well, sorry Bobby!)
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Brian: Probably “Chinese Democracy” by Guns and Roses/Axl Rose. My least favorite albums are that which come from the modern R&B or pop country hit-mills.
Johnny: Metallica’s ‘Black’ album. Way to follow four metal masterpieces with this steaming pile, y’all.
Bryan: Recently would be this year’s release of The Shins’ “Port of Morrow”. Five years since his last release and bringing in many familiar names to the project, it sounded like Mr. Mercer put out a B-side of “Wincing the Night Away”. I guess I was expecting more, I only made it through a couple times.
Brett: Robbie Robertson made a solo album with Daniel Lanois and I can’t find a single thing about that record that’s any good at all. I keep thinking I’m being too critical, so if someone can explain this to me I’d be all ears.
First concert attended?
Brian: John Mellencamp when I was fourteen.
Johnny: I saw Alabama at the WVU Coliseum when I was like six or seven. It was amazing!!!!
Bryan: In the mid 80’s my older brother took me to the Electric Banana on a Sunday (all ages night) to see a local band he was friends with. The Bastard Squad were playing in support of their self-release “Pope John Paul George and Ringo”. Its always been my favorite album title. I wanted to write/play music after that.
Brett: Art Garfunkel (solo) in Williamsport, PA. I was around 10 or 11. I was really impressed by the drummer during ‘Mrs. Robinson’ but then I fell asleep.
Brian: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers who I saw a couple of years ago at Star Lake. Of course, I’ve seen hundreds of local bands and singer songwriters during this time. Some of my favorite locals include The Weedrags, Lauren Dimichei, and Nathan Zoob.
Johnny: I saw The Black Crowes in the ‘burgh a couple of summers ago. To be honest, I don’t remember much of it.
Bryan: The Holiday concert at my sons Charter School. I watched my 6 yr. old sing Holiday songs and dance.
Brett: Jessica Hernandez & The Delta’s at Howler’s.
Favorite concert ever?
Brian: Probably Bonnaroo, 2003. It had all I was looking for musically at that point in my life. Mega concerts aside, I loved Tom Petty from a couple years ago. It was great to watch a living legend perform at such a high level (Stones be warned).
Johnny: Saw Radiohead at the Tweeter Center outside of Philly right after “Hail to the Thief” came out. It was life altering.
Bryan: August 21, 2003. Radiohead at The Blossom Music Center tops my list. After their “Hail to the Thief” release, these guys were on top of their game. I found a spot on the lawn, the mix was perfect. I didn’t move, entranced and captivated, although that could have been the ‘shrooms.
Brett: 7-Seconds at the Daily Grind in Kansas City, 1996.
Least favorite concert?
Brian: Wu-Tang Clan in 1998. I never knew that such horrible sounds were possible and that people got paid for making such sounds. Really though, live hip hop does not work without a band and that’s what the Wu-Tang Clan were up to at this concert: rap karaoke.
Johnny: My niece’s kindergarten graduation. The tenors were a little pitchy.
Bryan: The Stage AE performance of Bright Eyes June 9th, 2011. Dawes opened up for them and blew the place away. Oberst came on and dropped the ball. It was like he was trying to be Billy Armstrong. If I was there to see Green Day it might have been a different story. I left partway through. Although I could blame Dawes for setting the bar so high that night, Oberst is to blame for trying to be someone he is not.
Brett: Bright Eyes when Dawes opened for them at Stage AE. Dawes was great, Bright Eyes had this odd light show going on and the mix was so awkwardly loud that I just left.
Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Brian: How the city’s venues have evolved through the years. Though I am nostalgic for the all-out rock venues of yore, like Nick’s Fat City or The Attic, I can see that modern, intimate venues like Club Cafe or The Brillobox have not only replaced the old haunts but have provided the average concertgoer with a more ‘user friendly’ show experience. This is good for The Williams Band, we strive to be user friendly.
Johnny: For me? It’s the backyard brawls. I grew up in West Virginia and win or lose, that rivalry helped forge a real respect between my hillbilly brethren and the only real city within a billion miles of us. What a shame it’s over.
Bryan: I grew up in Pittsburgh and only lived out of state during my four years in college. I started a business way back and could have went anywhere in the country but I decided to stay here with family and friends. This town is in my blood. An enjoyable place to work, play music and raise my son. The activities, food and people are great. I love seeing the rest of the world in the last few years finding out how attractive this city has become. Now we need to focus their attention on the interesting music created here.
Brett: A friend of mine is in an MBA program at Carlow and met a girl in one of his classes who was born and raised in Hollywood. Her parents were both in the movie business and naturally he asked her why she came to Pittsburgh for her Masters, and she very matter-of-factly answered, “Because Pittsburgh is going to be the next Portland.” I thought that was pretty cool to hear an outside perspective of what this great city could/should become for all the great music that is made here.
Thanks, fellas. Congrats on the debut album. Love what is happening in Pittsburgh music-wise.