Still attempting to recover from the phenomenal night before, I began to worry that the 3/4 original members of Slimy Penis Breath had flown from the west coast back to shitty Kingston for no reason. We got hit with our first real snow of the year, but it seems as if someone was looking out because about half hour prior to the slated start time of the Eppard Extravaganza- all precipitation ceased. I arrived at The Basement about 45 minutes to 9. I could hear a very familiar tune from the moment I stepped foot out of my car. It was a jam of “In America.” As I headed into the building, I realized the music was coming from The E-Males (Jimmy Eppard, Joey Eppard, Josh Eppard) and that this premium jam was merely a soundcheck! Hell, they hadn’t even taken off their winter gear yet.
The night really kicked off with an intimate performance from the eldest Eppard. It was just Jimmy, his guitar, and the microphone. It’s so incredible experiencing first hand just where the Eppard Brothers’ talents come from and hearing stories about them through the art of song. Jimmy’s set was so captivating as he decided, on the spot, which songs out of his 30 years of writing to share (as well as a cover of a Spider Barbour tune). If my memory serves me correctly, he started off with a song he’d written as a very young man about his tenure in Kingston High School. He even shared a song he’d written when he found out his wife was pregnant with his eldest son, Joey. That was wonderful, but my favorites were the one about… sheep… and his retort to “Paint By Number.”
Next up was one of the newest additions to thefamily3, Ant Masington’s Session 606, featuring the debut of his drummer from Delaware, Bryan Mills. They had some technical difficulties as the equipment they used was borrowed, but it was eventually ironed out and the duo rocked the crowd with some of Ant Mas’ greatest songs.
Third up was the elder Eppard son, Joey. He was so in the zone, I could feel his emotion. I’ve been a tremendous fan of Joey, his acoustic guitar and voice since… well I think I saw him play at that same venue in 2005, under its previous management. Time and time again I rack my brain for words that can at least somewhat do justice to his aura… but nothing feels remotely close. Joey Eppard is a living legend.
Their passion and humility still floors me. The set started off with the stupidly underlooked, “Endless Alibi.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sound so good! I certainly never heard Josh Eppard sound so damn good. He somehow manages to get better each and every performance. I took notice of this back when he was in Coheed and Cambria, witnessed it with the few shows he played with Counterfeit Disaster, and has been very much so evident in the Eppard Brothers shows. Maybe it’s because he just joined a new band (Initials) [now known as Terrible Things], or because it was his birthday. Maybe it was the presence of his uncle John or the news of an impending Eppard… but I’m pretty sure it’s just because he’s a fucking killer drummer! That dude is without a doubt, my hero. He was in the dark for a while, but he’s coming back better-than-fucking ever. If Mours and Sick Kids are any implications of the impact Mr. Weerd Science will (continue to) have on the world of music… hold on to your fucking panties, cause they’re about to be blown-the-fuck off. He murdered that set, so much so, that they couldn’t bring John up for JEppardy, cause he had no more sticks! But that “In America…” Man, I’ve never heard that song the same way twice. I almost want a studio version to never emerge. The vocals were incredible! Then “Blood Lust Tusks…” Joey was so into it that he began to scream the lyrics! It brought me back to the intense vocals he did on MATH’s InsertYourNameHere record. “Trail of Tears” prevented me from going to the bathroom. Though I could hear just fine in the bathroom, I was so mesmerized. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s criminal that musicians of that caliber perform around the corner (literally) from the home they’ve spent their lives in.
John The Baker
Slimy Penis Breath
This performance was the entire reason the Eppard Extravaganza happened. The 15 year anniversary reunion of the punk band that influenced a lot of the scene today. Everyone knows John The Baker as a man who speaks his mind and does not conform. Hell, he was arrested in 1994 for cussing during a public performance in Woodstock (does that even make sense?). Fought it, and in turn jump started a private investigation that found several cops (including the arresting officer) guilty of sexually abusing little girls. So anyway, he and two members of the band moved out to California… They still rock their asses off and I guess the reunion performance was like stepping into a time machine. I was still in single digits when the band was around, but the fans from back then who showed up all said it was like nothing changed. It sure as hell was an experience! Josh even cried. And JTB pulled up Morgan Y. Evans to help him out with, “Jesus Was A Punk.” He actually passed the punk rock torch onto him. Sounds about right, since Morgan got himself and his band (Divest) kicked out of CBGBs years ago. I think that may have been the show that scared Josh off from playing with them, haha. Either way, John The Baker is a true fucking inspiration.
The Eppard Family Values Extravaganza was filled with nostalgia and history lessons. It fell into a time of great change within the members of thefamily3. I can’t freakin’ wait for the next one!!!!!!