The frontman of the Kalamazoo rock band unleashed two new songs in-studio for the radio show, which also aired new tracks by Conrad Shock, The Legal Immigrants, Frederic & Ronza, The American Hotel System, Clyde Park Avenue, Mannhattan and more.
If the Black Sabbath T-shirt doesn’t say it all, the fist-pumping rock ‘n’ roll attitude certainly does – even when playing solo on acoustic guitar.
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Kalamazoo’s Jake Simmons likes to call his brand of music “big, loud rock ‘n’ roll,” something he’s uncorked regularly with his band, The Little Ghosts, since 2010.
“I think we just play a kind of music that there’s not a lot of around here. There are a lot of rock bands and folk-Americana bands and punk bands. But I don’t think there are many folks pushing those things together like we do,” the singer and guitarist said.
“I think what drives us is that we really believe in what we’re doing. We believe in these songs and have a lot of fun playing them. … I don’t think we have any bands that necessarily sound like us in our hometown.”
That band boasts a whole new sheaf of rock songs as it prepares to release its third full-length album, “Shake So Easy,” on Nov. 2 at Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Café, with The Mushmen and Sexy Toxins also on the bill.
For this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE, Simmons delivered pared-back-but-just-as-energetic solo acoustic renditions of two of those new songs – “Movies” and “Lost the Light” – in Studio X at the community radio station. Watch a video of “Movies” here, with the full show podcast below.
VIDEO: Jake Simmons, “Movies” (Acoustic – Local Spins on WYCE)
Growing up in Coloma, Simmons acquired his affection for rock at his dad’s transmission rebuilding shop.
“He’d bring me to work and I’d just sit in his truck and listen to music all day. I think that’s what kind of kicked it off,” he said. “At around 11 or 12, they bought me a drum set and it just kind of went from there.”
Simmons eventually gravitated to guitar and – influenced by bands such as The Clash – formed his own band eight years ago, releasing a self-titled debut album in 2011. Since then, they’ve released two EPs and another full-length recording, touting a Midwestern sound that’s “as blue collar as Springsteen and Stone Cold Steve Austin as it is Hold Steady-esque self-awareness with indie sensibilities.”
“I hope the lyrics are better,” Simmons said of the progress the band has made the past several years. “We weren’t sure what we were doing when we first got going.”
For the album-release show, the band will feature Simmons, bassist Ben Bojanich, guitarist and keyboard player Matt Blasco and a pair of drummers – David Sparks (who will play guitar on Nov. 2) and Ian Cooper, who’s playing his final show with the band at the record-release.
The band – which has toured out-of-state – follows the Kalamazoo show with a Midwest tour that includes stops in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cleveland and elsewhere.
“I just want to keep on playing and writing music that we want to write, and be able to do it in a capacity that lets us pay our bills,” he said.
The Oct. 26 edition of Local Spins on WYCE boasted the on-air debut of new songs by several Michigan bands, including The Legal Immigrants, The American Hotel System, Frederic & Ronza, The Soods, Conrad Shock + The Noise, Finkel, The Appleseed Collective, Clyde Park Avenue and Mannhattan, plus this week’s “musician’s pick”: Jake Kalmink & Further Closer. Listen to the entire podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (Oct. 26, 2018)
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