JPT Scare Band: The Unbittered Spoils of Obscurity

It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard — or, for that matter, in front of an amplifier — and lament what could have been. “Oh man, if only the world had taken notice of this or that band, everything would be different.” Well no shit. So wait a second, what you mean to say is if things weren’t the same, they’d be unlike they are now? Guess that tautology major finally paid off!

If this the only reality we have to choose from (and so far it is), I think maybe it’s fortunate an act like Kansas City, Missouri’s JPT Scare Band remained obscure for the decades they’ve been playing together. Think of the still-performing heavy rock acts you know: Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Who, Kiss, and so forth. How many still have their original lineup? JPT Scare Band does. How many still have the passion that started them playing in the first place? JPT Scare Band does.

Not only that, but rather than some half-hearted attempt at updating their approach to appeal to a younger demographic at the behest of whatever label they happen to be signed with, JPT Scare Band also sound more truly authentic to their ‘70s beginnings and, on their latest album, RumDum Daddy (released through their own Kung Bomar Records), they capture a classic spirit of improvisation across several jams the likes of which even the most freewheeling of guitar gods from those mythical days of acid rock wouldn’t dare attempt in this century. Next time you see Ritchie Blackmore bust out something that stands up to guitarist/vocalist Terry Swope’s solo on “I’ve Been Waiting,” you let me know. And no, it doesn’t count if it’s on a mandolin.

The material on RumDum Daddy was recorded in 2004, and though relatively straightforward numbers like “You Don’t Wanna Know” and “Rat Poison for the Soul” (as opposed to chicken soup, one imagines) do an excellent job of leading into the album, it’s the jams, man. The jams. And I’m not talking about, “Hey, let’s all head out to The ‘Roo and catch Disco Biscuits” jams. Fuck those jams. JPT Scare Band traffic in epic guitar-led passages that would scare off trust-fund hippies faster than you can say, “There’s ham in the vegan pad thai.”

“Intro/E Minor Exploration/Theme from the Monster’s Holiday,” “I’ve Been Waiting,” “Bit of A Minor Jam,” “Bookends Jam,” and even the chorus-friendly title track that precedes them, come on loud and spontaneous. They’re more than just builds and occasional payoffs, and the word “exploration” is not gratuitously used. 36 years since Swope, bassist/vocalist Paul Grigsby and drummer Jeff Littrell started playing together, and they’re still finding new places to go with their music. Even if you don’t like heavy guitar psych rock, you have to respect what JPT Scare Band are doing on RumDum Daddy.

And you can pretty well bet that, had JPT Scare Band taken over the world in 1973-75, they wouldn’t be doing what they are now. Listening to RumDum Daddy, that sounds like a fair trade. Fame, money, women and drugs are fleeting. Not sucking lasts forever.

JPT Scare Band made their recorded debut in 1994 and have been releasing albums steadily since then. Along with this album, 2009 saw a reissue of 2000’s Sleeping Sickness on Kung Bomar, but hopefully the next step is new material, because although it’s a half-decade old already, the songs on RumDum Daddy are timeless, and there’s always room for more of that on my shelf.

JPT Scare Band, “RumDum Daddy”
RumDum Daddy

JPT Scare Band on MySpace

Official JPT Scare Band website

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2 Responses to “JPT Scare Band: The Unbittered Spoils of Obscurity”

  1. Ripple Music says:

    Excellent review of the Rum Dum Daddy album. We are a new indy label (very DIY) and we’re now working with JPT to release some of their archival material. We have a dynamite release of Acid Blues is the White Man’s Burden coming out around mid-June.

    Would you be interested in hearing that one also for review? Would you be interested in an interview or such with the band?

    Please let us know, and keep up the great work.

    Todd
    Ripple Music

    by the way, we’re the same crazy bloggers over at the Ripple Effect, http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com, doing what we can to get some great music out there.

  2. […] while back, I reviewed RumDum Daddy by Kansas City rockers JPT Scare Band, and as a result, the band was kind enough to send me two […]

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