Deli Magazine
Interview with SweetBread Jim's

- by Dawn Reed

How did the band start?
Well, Linsay Deming (guitar, vocals) was studying voice at UDC and had been on a song-writing spree.  John Lanou (bass) had just gone through a dramatic band-breakup and was looking for a new project.  John Lewis “JLew” (drums) was also at UDC, and although he was busy being a badass session drummer around town, he too, was looking for a creative project to call his own.  So we started playing music and formulated a bunch of songs.  But this is 2012, and in today’s climate you’re not a real rock band until someone else is telling you what to play, what NOT to play, and whether he will give you a share of any copyright royalties.  We wanted to be legit.  We needed an owner.  

So we put ourselves up for sale on Craiglist -- $20.  That’s where SweetBread Jim comes in.   Jim was working at his dad’s used car lot in Wheaton and was seeking a life-change.  He was at a crossroads -- either break into the music booking business and make it big, or remain living in his parent’s basement apartment, scraping sticker prices off windshields.   One day, before clicking on Missed Connections, he entered the Craigslist musicians section, looking for a cheap banjo, since every good booking agent needs to know music first-hand.  And voila!!  He didn’t find a banjo, but he found the band that would change his life forever!!  THIS was the way to break into the booking business -- own a band!!

Where did the band name come from?
SweetBread Jim, our benevolent owner, decided to name the band after himself. That is why our name is SweetBread Jim’s (note the apostrophe) and not SweetBread Jims.

What are your biggest musical influences?
Each of us has quite a different background.  John Lanou had always played instrumental post-rockish music before joining the more melody-driven SBJ.  JLew has to say that Washington’s own, Duke Ellington is a huge influence.  Linsay Deming’s song writing is inspired by so many different genres at once from early jazz and blues to neo-soul and country.

What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?
John -- Deleted Scenes, The Strangled Darlings
Linsay- Billie Holiday, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside
JLew- Jimi Hendrix, The Yellow Jackets

What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?
John - First concert: Beastie Boys.   First album: Thriller
JLew- First concert I can remember attending would be when my father perform in the play/musical "Purlie"  at the Kennedy Center.  Where i had the pleasure of meating Stephanie Mills, and other great artists. If that counts as a concert....if not, it would be Poncho Sanchez live at the Historical Lincoln Theatre.  First Album: Tupac- All Eyes on Me
Linsay- First concert I can remember was the Western Rockers, comprised of a bunch of my great uncles, at the annual Cobb family holiday gathering, I was probably 4. My first album that I purchased with my own money was “The Preacher’s Wife” Soundtrack.

What do you love about DC's music scene?
DC is a place where almost anyone can be involved, as a performer or otherwise, in the music scene. When we started playing shows back in November 2010, we were able to book a show at Solly’s U St. Tavern almost immediately. There are lots of small bars and clubs that are open to hosting new bands. Also, the musicians involved in the music scene have been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic. We all try to help out one another rather than focus on competition.

What would you like to see change in the local music scene?
Mostly, we would like to see some of the booking agents around town develop better relationships with local bands. It’d be cool to see more clubs featuring good, local music. This is a political city, not a musical one, so it takes a lot of work to get folks out to listen to live music played by real people. We would love to see more of a centralized effort by both bands and venues to promote the quality of music available right here in the district.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?
We plan to record our first album in May and release it in the Summer. Also, we have a dinner/variety show in the works for August. Stay tuned!

What was your most memorable live show?
Our most memorable live show was probably at Black Cat in Feb 2012. They treated us so well, were professional on every level, and the sound was killer on that main stage! Black Cat is hands down the best venue we have played and we really hope to play there again someday.

Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?
There are so many people who have helped our band grow through support. First of all, everyone who voted for us in this poll has helped us grow through their support. But we gotta name names! We owe so much to: Ted Jones for managing promotion, video, website, and so much more; Adam Prim for promotional support; Ari Golocovsky for video production; Gabriel Mellan for photography; Emily Gipple for promotional support; Eric Shimelonis for mastering our demo; Ryan Murphy for being our long distance drummer before we found JLew!  Oh yeah, and Jim. (he made us add that)

Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?

Our cell phones (especially the iphone). It may sound weird but a lot of folks take them for granted, but they help on so many levels when it comes to running a band. We use them to record, take notes, tune our instruments in a pinch, send ideas back and forth, manage our calendars, listen to our recordings, and so much more.

Why do you read The Deli?
The Deli is an awesome source to find out about what’s going on in the local indie scene.   It can be a frustrating experience to visit a new city and not have access to a list of bands you might check out while you’re there.  You’d think there be more of them, but there aren’t a lot of sites that actually serve curious listeners when it comes to a local scene.  The Deli makes things accessible.