(Editor’s note: We continue our occasional look back at past Band’s of the Week over the summer with a trip back to February 2, 2009)
To set themselves apart from the crowd, today’s musicians that are looking for some popularity have gone from making the same old tired rock to making something that catches the ear of the listener. Whether it’s taking today’s style of music and adding some elements from other eras, or by adding instruments that have never really been popular in rock, the unusual has started to become the usual as some musicians want to revitalize music. It’s not the big record companies who are trying to bring some fresh ideas back to the music, it’s these musicians who are trying to stand apart from the crowd that are the ones who are keeping today’s rock fresh. One such band that’s making music that stands apart from most of what’s out there right now is the band Fire Bug.
Fire Bug consists of vocalist Juliette Tworsey, guitarist Jules Shapiro, bassist Adam Levy, and drummer Ty Dennis. The name comes from the color of Juliette’s flaming red hair. The band currently calls the area of Los Angeles home.
The four musicians have created a slightly different form of rock than most bands out there right now. With some of the instruments played by the members of the Fire Bug being a little unusual, the band has a fresh sound that might be just what you’re looking for. Aside from the usual guitar, bass and drums, other instruments that make up Fire Bug’s sound include the mandolin and slide guitar played by Juliette, the dobro played Jules, and the tabla that is played by Aloke Dutta.
The dobro, mandolin, and tabla may sound like weird instruments to include in rock-n-roll, but that’s the point: when no one else includes these instruments in their music, they help make Fire Bug’s music stand out. And although none of those instruments would usually be used in rock music because they are more instruments for music like Country, Bluegrass or even Americana, they are used to flavor the music and not change the feel. So the style of Fire Bug’s rock music is still very heavy at times despite the use of these instruments.
The music created by Fire Bug is a rock hybrid as there are more than just the rock stylings in their sound. You can compare Fire Bug’s style to that of early rock bands as the group includes a decent amount of blues into their sound, as well as more than a few instances of psychedelic rock that occur in their music. And with Juliette having a voice that can handle any style of rock, as well as the blues, the band has created a truly different sort of sound from the other bands of today. In fact, Juliette’s voice is very reminiscent of singers from the seventies, which adds to the reason why the band’s sound has a psychedelic feel to it.
You can also hear other influences in their sound, which can be found on the band’s current release of “Season For Change”. Other influences that can be heard include Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, PJ Harvey, and several others. The album contains twelve tracks of music that never gets dull. Some of the best tracks on the album include, “Eyes Wide Open,” “Breakdown,” a track that definitely contains some of that blues music that helped to influence the early writers of rock music, and “Just Because,” a track that features Juliette on the mandolin.
Fire Bug is currently in residence at Skinny’s Lounge in Los Angeles. If you are in the area, take the chance to see the band while they are there. If you don’t have the chance to see them live at Skinny’s, check the band and their music out by going to the band’s website at www.firebugmusic.com. You can also find them on MySpace at www.myspace.com/firebug.