Karmic Juggernaut
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Karmic Juggernaut


Band Rock Jam


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"Good Vibes- Local band Karmic Juggernaut fuses sounds from all over the spectrum"

By Adam Taliciercio
December 10, 2005

The overwhelming force of karma has been harnessed by four guys from Wall; at least that's what their band name suggests.

Karmic Juggernaut features James McCaffrey and Randy Preston on guitar and vocals, Kevin Grossman on drums, and Marcus Morieko on bass. The group got together about a year ago, for a battle of the bands at Wall High School, which all of the members have either graduated from or are currently attending. McCaffrey and Grossman had played together for several years in different bands; most recently prior to Karmic Juggernaut in a band called the Universal Mind.

"Kevin and I have always played together, since he started playing drums and I started getting serious with guitar," McCaffrey said. "We'd been looking for something serious to do, and this is the most perfect thing there is. Marcus, I've known for as long as I've known Keving, and Randy was someone I've known even longer than them; he was friends with my brother."

"We've all known eachother for a almost a decade or so, but we never came together up until the last year or so," he added. "And it's been the best year of my life."

Initially, the four intended to get together for just the one night, but after winning the battle, they decided to keep playing.

Their sound allows room for a lot of improvisation, but Karmic Juggernaut did not want to be known simply as a jam band. They may have the improvisational element of a jam band, but they also want to act as a melting pot for all of the different musical influences each band member possesses.

"We call it 'jam fusion'", explained Grossman. "We're trying to be as original as we can; it's a fusion of typical jam, blues, bluegrass, Latin, jazz, funk, psychedelic....just everything thrown into one huge melting pot. Each of us all has different musical tastes, and when we all get together, we create something different."

When your style leaves a lot of room for improvisation, it helps to know your bandmates and how they play.

"I feel more comfortable with these guys," McCaffrey said. "There's a connection: as soon as something's going to happen (in a song), we make eye contact, and know what it's going to be. That's why I feel like this thing is supposed to happen; we have a connection where we can flow off of something, but not make it sound like it's just incessant wailing or jamming."

When writing songs, two or more of the members will sit together with basic ideas of what they want to do, and start working to combine ideas. Or, they might just start with an improvisation, and see what develops. Sometimes, they might bring entire songs written separately, and rely on the others to be able to make their playing fit into the song.

"We don't tell each other to play specific parts,' McCaffrey said. "We just say 'do what you do, and make it fit.'"

Lyrics are typically a collaborative effort, and incorporate just as much fusion as the music itself does: Each person writes their lyrics in a different way, and the result is a combination of everyone's writing styles.

"I write a lot of strange, strange lyrics," McCaffrey said. "Some might say downright absurd. Marcus writes a lot of very soulful, to the point, gripping lyrics. And a lot of times we'll combine lyrics; we'll have some kind of idea in mind, and find a way to connect them."

So far Karmic Juggernaut has recorded a three-song demo, "Jam Fusion," done over a weekend in a Raritan studio; they also have plans to enter the studio to record again.

To preserve the jam element of the band, everyone records their instrumental parts at the same time. "In the studio, there's more experimentation," McCaffrey said. "You have more time, and a lot of things around you that you can use. Even just things in the room; pick up a mug and say, 'Hey this sounds good being hit with a quarter.' You can do that. You can put any sound on a record; you've just got to find it."

A live show, on the other hand, allows a unique experience, in that you have more freedom to jam and see where things go, he said. "You can't go back when you're on stage, and nobody else is going to hear it again, unless you get it on record."

"Playing live is cool; you get a big energy rush on stage, with people listening to you," Grossman said. "But when you're in the studio, you're in the process of creating something brand new for people to hear. That's also awesome."

McCaffrey added that during a show, the band isn't much for talking, and prefers to express themselves to the audience through their music.

"I don't talk very often," McCaffrey said. "We're trying to connect solely with the music. Instead of screaming: "Hey, Minneapolis!"; instead of getting them riled up with rambling, we just do it with music. That's what you're supposed to be doing. When you're playing, you're supposed to be connecting with the crown through music, through notes, through words."

Fortunately it seems as though people have been liking what they hear. Last month, the band was declared "Top Young Band" at the Asbury Music Awards. They will playing at the Crossroads in Asbury Park every Tuesday this month, and have a major upcoming show at the Stone Pony on Dec. 28 with U-Melt.

"As far as I can tell, everyone who's heard us has nothing but good things to say," Grossman said. "We're getting people from all age groups to like us: Kids in the intermediate school, the high school, and people our parents' age that say, 'Wow, you sound like something I'd have been listening to in high school.' No matter who you are, you can definitely get into it. We even did a few gigs with punk bands at The Saint. We wouldn't expect the crowd there to like our stuff, but they did."

"It's weird, the response," McCaffrey said. "People like what we're trying to do, for some reason. Maybe because it's different; it's not what you hear on the radio, but the response has been overwhelming. I can't believe people actually dig it. For people to come out and yell for you, and make you feel like you're at home, that's a good thing." - Ocean County Observer

"Some Kind of Jam 3"

Wow! I’d never heard of this band but after an explosion of sound made its way from the inside stage to my tent, I joined a fellow group of eager listeners rushing in to catch the rest of this jaw-dropping set. Karmic Juggernaut mixes its vast knowledge of progressive rock, screaming guitar harmonies, driving bass, and ground-shaking drums. At first glance of this group, we were questioning who all these kids were holding instruments and asking the crowd if they like guacamole. Then after the rocked their song “Guacamole,” there wasn’t a person in attendance who questioned this band's flavor. James McCaffrey (guitar/vocals), Randy Preston (guitar/vocals), Marcus Morieko (bass), and Kevin Grossman (drums) wowed the crowd with their complete focus and emotion throughout each song. At one peak, the drummer’s cymbal flew off the stand and about knocked everyone out of their seat. The skilled hoopers were out in full force spinning their rings round them completely engrossed by the music. Check this band out. - jambands.com

"Cabin Fever 5 Review"

Walking through the door at Cabin Fever 5, I was immediately struck with a feeling of community and love. The warmth of the group was present, a community of people that gathered for one purpose, to get down with friends. Unlike most big shows, you had room to dance and people were eager to get to know you. This satisfying night of music was kicked off with a group of young artists that took me by surprise in a big way, Karmic Juggernaut.
I hate to admit it, but my initial thought was based on me judging their age and their potential abilities because of how young they looked. Thankfully, I was reminded why it is important not to judge a book by its cover and let the experience guide me to a final opinion. Karmic Juggernaut quickly caught my attention with their progressive psychedelic rock style that was laid out to the audience with clear and crisp tones. From the first pluck of the guitar and beat of the drum, they clearly were coming to the cabin with one intention, aid in the fans ability to get down! Their style reminded me a lot of Raq and Perpetual Groove blended together with a tad of sweetener added to them. The band played with the level of perfection and accuracy one would expect from a band that has been playing together for 20+ years. Most important, you could feel the passion these guys brought to the stage. I would not be surprised to see their name get bigger and bigger in the next few years as their skills are overwhelming. - festivalfamily.com


- Jam Fusion Demo (2004)
- Diesel Weasel EP (2007)
- Albino Rhino (2008)

An entire live show was broadcast on 105.7 The Hawk in 2007. In late 2009, Keller Williams played "Fungoid Diplomacy" on his nationally broadcast radio program, Keller's Cellar. WBJB 90.5 The Night frequently plays tracks off of their debut, 'Albino Rhino'.



"moe., Umphrey's McGee, these guys are coming to kick your ass. They're called Karmic Juggernaut. Be afraid, remember the name: Karmic Juggernaut." -Keller Williams

Based on the premise of organic music without boundaries, Karmic Juggernaut has spent the last five years creating their own unique sound; a tasty blend of all aspects of the musical palette. Combining elements of psychedelic and progressive rock, funk, jazz, blues, world music, and a constantly developing array of other influences, K-Juggs stands as an experiment into sonic experience. They formed in the autumn of 2004 with guitarist Randy Preston, former Universal Mind members Kevin Grossman (drums) and James McCaffrey (guitar), and bassist Marcus Morieko. Morieko left in late August '08 and was replaced by bass extraordinaire Andrew Black, solidifying the Karmic lineup.

The quartet has already shared the stage with acts such as moe., Keller Williams, Gongzilla, Perpetual Groove, Lotus, UMelt, and State Radio, while playing throughout the Northeast. In 2009, they were included in Relix Magazine's October issue, Comcast's Bands on Demand program, and on Keller's Cellar, Keller Williams' syndicated radio program. Andrew Black is a graduate of UArts in Philadelphia, and the other three are currently attending colleges for music, at Berklee Music College in Boston, Monmouth University, and the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. The Juggernauts plan to continue their assault on the scene in 2010, and vow to spread their musical flavor to all parts of the globe. Calling all Karmanauts!

As of January '10, Karmic has been working with Stone Barn Records on a new album slated to be released toward the end of the year. The album is being produced by the infamous Ron Frangipane, whose credits as producer, arranger, orchestrator, and musician include John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, Janis Ian, KISS, Frank Zappa, Grace Slick, Diana Ross, The Archies, and MANY others.