press INTERVIEW IN EAR CANDY JUNE 2001
No, the Lovejoys don't have a record deal. Sorry, they aren't trendy, "alternative" rockers who wanna sound just like everyone else just to get radio play. Nope, they don't have a huge recording, artwork and publicity budget.
So, what makes the Lovejoys stand out in the virtual sea of mediocre, unsigned bands? Well, for starters, they have the original Ramones spirit of a minimalist approach to rock 'n roll. Less is more...with great songs and attitude, you don't need a slick production to get your word across. I talked to Keith of the Lovejoys, to find out what makes this band from Knoxville better than your average unsigned band.
Right: The Lovejoys second CD
E.C.: I really like your simplistic, "just do it" approach to recording. Did that come about from financial necessity? Or is it a way of presenting your music in the simplest terms?
Keith Lovejoy: Basically we really wanted to give the CD away. We knew to be able to do that we had to record very cheap. So we just borrowed an 8 track and done it at home. Two days of recording, one of mixing. Yeah, the quality suffered ALOT, but alot of people heard it that would have never bought it.
E.C.: When can we expect a new CD by the Lovejoys?!
Keith Lovejoy: Our big plan was to do three records this year. All at home on the 8track. Then take the 30 something songs, pick the ten best ones and do them in a real studio first of next year.
E.C.: I've read some of the criticism of the Lovejoys, and a lot of people can't get past the fact that you are recorded very basically, almost amateurish (although I think that is really part of the attraction!). Are there any plans to go into a recording studio proper?
Keith Lovejoy: I've noticed people either love the rawness or hate it. No real in-betweens. Most "real" music fans like it or at least understand why its the way it is. As far as a real studio in 2002 see my previous answer.
E.C.: Your web page describes you as a "power pop" band, but I also hear punk influences. How would YOU describe your sound?
Keith Lovejoy: I really don't know. Power pop is our latest attempt. We have tried all kinds of terms. Pop doesn't work. We are not punk enough to be punk. What's the undertones? Put us in there with them.
E.C.: I've described the Lovejoys as the "Minutemen of power-pop". Have you heard of the Minutemen? If so, is this description accurate?
Keith Lovejoy: No, I have not heard them. I know mike watt was in the band so I imagine it's the bass playing that you hear.
Left: The Lovejoys first CD
E.C.: I also like the fact that your songs are really short! Who do you keep your songs short? Is it that Ramones approach to Rock 'N Roll?
Keith Lovejoy: I like short songs. No point in dragging it out. Actually, I'm not a huge Ramones fan. I dig them, though.
E.C.: Why are there no pictures of the band on your CD's or your website?
Keith Lovejoy: Well there was pictures on our website, but we pulled them down when we switched bass players and added our second guitarist. As far as CD's, I think it's a waste of space for pictures. I hate CD's that have 15 pictures of the band in a big foldout but no lyrics.
E.C.: Speaking of your CD's, I've noticed that you always have a little kid on the cover. Is this some kind of "theme"?
Keith Lovejoy: Not a conscious one. The first CD is my sister and the second is my wife. We just thought they were cool pictures.
E.C.: You offer your latest CD free on your website. There aren't many bands who would "put there money where there mouth is". Is this part of the band's philosophy?
Keith Lovejoy: IYes. The more people that hears your music the better. We also give them away at shows which goes over good with people. We plan on giving away the other 2 CD's that we make this year as well.
E.C.: What is the ultimate goal of the Lovejoys? I mean, do you want to get signed to a major label?
Keith Lovejoy: Anyone that says they don't is a liar. Anyone that makes music would love to do it for a living. But, in a realistic world our ultimate goal is to put a record out on an indie label. Have a record in a store that you didn't have to put on consignment. That would be the shit.
BANGSHEET MAY 2001
Conceit ridden asshole critic exposed; How the 4-track ooze of the Lovejoys got me looking into an ugly mirror
by Kurt Hernon
Fuck man, I feel like a real shithead right about now. This disc, planted inside a folded piece of construction paper with a photo of a toddler gal glued to it, had been sitting around the basement office hell that I dwell in for more than a few weeks. I finally found the damn thing stacked under a gaggle of the usual uninteresting slop that seems to regularly grace my mailbox. I get so many shit discs these days that I've on more than one occasion been stopped by either friends or loved ones from drunkenly nailing the goddamn mailbox closed.
So they stack up on a shelf, nearly two-foot high, three piles, and they hover over me every time I set foot in the hole that I try and work in. Sometimes I really feel guilt over ignoring so much music when I'm a bit grog-brained I get around to pretending that I am going to toss each and every fucking one of them on the disc player and do an I'm-sorry-here's-the-reviews-of-all-of-your-I'msothankfulyousentthistome-cd's. But then I actually start to listen to the shit and wind up shattering jewel boxes and furniture. My friend Lucas once came over, and after a night of burning some smoke and pouring through every last bit of what was left in my already barren liquor cabinet, set a stack of disc aflame with lighter fluid and a match. I swear to god that those jewel boxes were melted, molten masses of plastic, but those hideous platters of noise were impervious! I was able to pry at least three of the six discs out of the pile and play them. I almost scored a piece on those three discs based on their surreal durability alone (I'd figured them to be demonic, and needed to keep anything more than my already numerous personal demons at bay). But that would have meant listening to them completely, entirely, unacceptably. Fucking bad music sent to two-bit a 'net hack critic is the worst. Avoid it at all costs (both becoming the critic and the resulting music alike).
Soulless. That's the way so much of it sounds today. That's probably the reason that this hyper-psycho junk punk The Lovejoys play caught me completely off guard. Don't Forget to Smile is the burned off copy of a record that came quietly wrapped in a homemade sleeve graced by a cutout photo of a scowling little girl. It seemed so utterly amateur that the cynical and snotty rock hipster in me just deemed it unworthy and tossed it onto the scrap heap. Christ, all I need is some more silver spoon kids playing rock star with my sensibilities
If it were in me I'd apologize, loudly, publicly, and then I'd quit writing 'bout this rockroll fever I've been ailed with since I was a small tike. Seems the fever musta broke sometime ago when I started thinking myself too good for the fuckers out there who do it for all the real and right reasons still. Let me tell ya, The Lovejoys are doing rocknroll for every noble fucking reason I can think of. Don't Forget to Smile is the cats ass. It's filled with joyous noise, reckless garage/basement/fuck the inexpensive and accessible technologies and just plug and play, and the thing has more punk and power pop charm than most fucking so-called professional record I've wasted my time on the past four years.
These cats roar on with a ratty sound that assaults their rock with the naïve tenacity of fools for the passion of music. That doesn't mean they're lost in the noise they do bang and skronk like the best band in your neighborhood it means that they write terrific tunes and forego the pretties for the simple charge of one-two-three-four-ing it and cutting into the fat of the thing.
Where to start? Well kids, there's no real starting place, so we'll jump off the high board and see where we land. Maybe I can point your nose and ears toward the (haha) lovely "Stop and Stare". The simple brrumba-brrumba rhythm strolls along while the singer sings about that girl who done him wrong and now done gone (thankfully, this is the subject matter on pretty much the entire disc). He doesn't care about her, her hair, or the dress she wears (or "all the cocks that stop and stare"), he just wants her to know that she didn't hurt, not at all. But, if she wants, or needs, that he's so cool with the break-up that he willing to be around for her if she ever, well you know, wants to screw again. A sure-fire bust of a line that every guy thinks, and truly means, but never has the foolish heart to actually say (actually, I once did tell an ex that exact line. I can still here the explosion of laughter ringingentirely sublime). In the howling, melodic drone of "TV Life", which kicks the disc off with a serious punch of power pop, the 'joys present a world filled with screwed (up) kids whose lives spent as trying rewrites of sad melodramatic television (Dawson's Creek is my pick, fill in your fave program here_________). Strangely enough, the entire disc steadily plows through this sort of an engaging plot boy/girl/uppers/downers its all been done before, and obviously is still being done today. The difference here is the relative sincerity. I'm not arguing that the sort of ragged amateurishness of the sound makes the Lovejoys better than other bands, what I am saying is that the Lovejoys didn't waste their time trying to spit and polish a "product". This record was done because it had to be done now. The Lovejoys aren't tossing a hat in any ring looking for someone to quickly fill it up with dollars, they're making music because they don't have (or know of) anything else to do. They're beating themselves against drums, guitars, and bass for no real sensible reason other than they have these songs (which are pretty damn good), they own a couple of guitars, and they want and need to make this music. Not for the world, but for their sanity. And sanity is in short supply these days, so you better hand on to what little you may have left. The Lovejoys may not be on anybody's hit list, they may never see the inside of a real recording studio (let's hope), or they may become the biggest goddamn thing since Green Day, none of which matters one shit. If rock and roll is the greatest "of the moment" art medium in the history of mankind, then I'll savor this moment for as long as it lasts. I forgot what it was about rockroll that turned me on so fucking much to start with, these (I'd venture to guess bored) kids from Morristown, Tennessee got me all jacked up for a half hour about the simplicity of rockroll charm (kids is another guess hell they could be forty-years old as far as I know. They do toss off a muted cover of the Undertones "Teenage Kicks" which either makes them young'uns who got into Dads records, or some very odd middling aged cats like myself and I don't wanna ever have to deal with folks like me).
Oh yeah, "Instant Smile" and "Fast Asleep" are a couple of gems that display some real goddamn ability that probably can't go unnoticed. So, maybe, in all of my self-anointed rock crit snobbery I won't like the next Lovejoys record as much (if there is one). But that doesn't really matter today, now does it?
Ear Candy Review April 2001
The Lovejoys "Don't Forget to Smile"-Indie Record -
O.K., so the fidelity on this recording is bad. But, I'm not an anal-audiophile who lets that blind me to the jewel-in-the-rough that this CD really is. Although simple in arrangement (3 piece: guitar, bass & drums) and lyrics, the passion and energy of the Lovejoys overcome any of the sonic deficiencies of this CD! The songs are short & sweet - almost a power-pop version of the Minutemen, and that is a unique approach that I like. There verse/chorus verse/chorus songs have sometimes serious, sometimes humorous lyrics dealing with everyday life ("TV Life") to scorned love ("Apple"). The standout track is "Jen" with its hilarious girl-slut lyrics and its crescendo building power chords.
I just can't wait for these guys to get into a proper recording studio, cause the Lovejoys have got something good going - a new, fresh take on an old formula!
Review by GPR Raiting 3 (1-5)
Metro Pulse Review March 1,2001
Don't Forget To Smile (S&L Records)
Morristown pop kings The Lovejoys are back with their second full-length CD, Don't Forget To Smile, a disc that shows a lot of progression and much promise. Within the span of around a year, the 'joys have evolved from a rather tentative unit into a focused, multifaceted band.
The Lovejoys have obviously been doing their homeworkpicking up a range of influences from the greats of guitar-driven pop such as Big Star, Guided By Voices, Superchunk, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, and even (gulp!) Superdrag. Having digested this great material and honed their technical skills, the band delivers a selection of songs that offer more than the usual three chord, boy-meets-girl pop schematic.
The second track, "Superman or Santa Claus," is the first intimation of pure pop greatness on the discfeaturing backing vocals (oohs and aahs) that immediately stick in your head. From there, the good tracks just keep coming. The most disturbing song on the CD is "Molly Jones," a twisted little ditty about premeditations of murder after love has gone bad. The only flaw of the disc is "Killing Time," an interesting song that becomes wearying and repetitive as the main riff is played over and over ad nauseam. It's a good songit just goes on too long.
Don't Forget To Smile was recorded "at home," according to the liner notes. And, for what the band describes as an experiment in seeing if they could do everything themselves, the sound quality is pretty dang good. The CD really amounts to a well-done demo, not a high gloss album. But the quality of the songs shines through. When the band has it together to record in a proper studio, it's really gonna sparkle.