JPT Scaring up Some Buried Treasure

Posted in Buried Treasure on April 29th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

A 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 more of their discs, 2007’s Jamm Vapour and the 2009 reissue of Sleeping Sickness (both on the band’s own Kung Bomar label). Now, as I said in the initial review, RumDum Daddy was my first real exposure — I own Past is Prologue but don’t really count it for whatever reason — but on the occasions I’d heard the band’s name, it was usually in connection to Sleeping Sickness, so I was glad to get the chance to listen. And now that I’ve spent some real time with both it and Jamm Vapour, I thought it warranted a quick note, if only to say “no regrets.”

2000’s Sleeping Sickness was the first album JPT Scare Band put out on CD. The two preceding — 1994’s Acid Acetate Excursion and 1998’s Rape of Titan’s Sirens — were vinyl only and have never been reissued (good luck finding them), so for most of us, Sleeping Sickness is the earliest glimpse at JPT Scare Band we’re going to get. Of course, the legend goes the band got together in 1973 and just never put out an album, but hey, 27 years late is still better than never, and listening to the mighty guitar solo work of Terry Swope on the 15-minute title-track, I’m certainly not about to start complaining.

What amazes me is how JPT Scare Band manages to capture the spirit and sound of early ’70s heavy/acid rock without coming off as retro or over-stylized. Jamm Vapour is even more given over to that spontaneity, but even on Sleeping Sickness, it’s right there waiting to be heard. JPT Scare Band pull off what every retro act in this generation has been trying for, and by all accounts, they do it in a basement in the Midwest. They’re like a mathematical equation that makes two and two equal five, and they kick ass in the process.

Bassist Paul Grigsby and drummer Jeff Littrell do an excellent job backing Swope throughout (Swope and Grigsby handle vocals when they come up), but there’s no doubt that both Sleeping Sickness and Jamm Vapour are vehicles for the guitar to shine. And man, it does shine. Swope‘s got the kind of lead playing used to make bands famous, and these songs feel like what Blue Cheer could have become after their first two albums if they’d been able to keep it together. Thanks to the band for sending this stuff over for me to experience. It’s been a pleasure getting to know this work.

And by the way, JPT Scare Band reportedly have a new double-vinyl/CD, Acid Blues is the White Man’s Burden, due out this year on Ripple Effect Music. More info on that here.

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JPT Scare Band: The Unbittered Spoils of Obscurity

Posted in Reviews on February 26th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

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.”

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