Lemongelli
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Lemongelli

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
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The clichés behind rock music’s greatest slogan are alive and well, but the mantra of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll remains true in its spirit.

It isn’t defined by tattoos or the unkempt uber-kitch look of gaudy jewelry, leather coats and torn Ts. It’s not at either end of a rolled up Andrew Jackson, or mixed into the powder pulled swiftly into one’s nose through the makeshift straw. It’s not the women, it’s not the money and it’s not the fame.

These are just extensions of what SD&R is perceived to be. What brings the catchphrase to life is attitude. That attitude can come at birth or can be cultured through an ever evolving existence, but make no mistake, it’s identifiable, and when worn as a mask, is easily spotted as fugazzi.

For the three young souls of the Lemongelli contingent, they’ve got attitude in spades.

That much is evident on their soon-to-be released CD, Vintage Vibes — a straight-forward rock record steeped in experience in musicianship, emotion and late night exploits that shouldn’t yet be within grasp for a trio just barely old enough to buy a bottle on their own.

But buy a bottle they did, that is, a few rounds to talk about their album, their sound and … the culinary arts?


Like it loud

The chatter on the patio of River Street Jazz Café was virginal to the early April evening, its volume and intensity picking up as the night wore on. Perhaps loudest among all, at times, was the Lemongelli table — vocalist/guitarist Dustin Drevitch, drummer Jamey Fisk and bassist Jay Hudock. And that’s fitting, seeing as how their record, much like their performances, are loud as hell.

“Lemongelli is the best when it’s as loud as we can play,” Drevitch said.

That creed doesn’t always mesh with the wonts and whims of a bar manager on any given night. In an area where covers are coveted and loud music isn’t always appreciated, Lemongelli is hoping to move beyond the borders of Luzerne and Lackawanna. They believe they’ve exhausted their opportunities here. That means hitting the road, paying more dues and hopefully booking music rooms where they’ll never be asked to turn the volume down.

“We’re looking for a big push with this CD to jump out of this area for a bit,” Fisk said as Hudock took a drag from a cigarette and Drevitch nodded along. “We’re just looking for people to notice us. We’ve been in the shadows.”

Make no mistake, Lemongelli isn’t expecting overnight success and is taking nothing for granted. They’re confident in the musicianship, sure, but they’re also confident in the steps they’re taking toward furthering their careers. That meant, for the first time, cutting a 12-track demo before heading to Saturation Acres to work with the album’s producer, Bret Alexander.

With Saturation Acres having moved, Vintage Vibes was actually recorded in three separate versions of a recording studio. They kept three songs from the demo and wrote the rest of the album in studio. There’s no glitz or glamor to the production, purposefuly so.

“I think our live sound is better than any of our recorded sound ever has been. We just bring something to the stage that you can’t put on an album,” Hudock said. Drevitch agreed, “In the same respect, Bret kind of understood that and he made this record pretty raw.”


The music is mean

It’s hard not to imagine their music overwhelming any and all sounds inside a skeevy, smoke-filled nightclub. Tracks like “Do it to Me,” “Blame” and “Harder and Harder” are equally funky, soulful and sinful, with the later two driven, well, harder with a more rough rock bent. Each are adequately fit for any party worth attending and truly are better when the bass is bone shaking, the guitar face melting and the drums brain hemorrhaging.

Their ballad, “Everything,” is probably most radio friendly, but “Another Round” — a rhythmic ode to living life on your own terms, reaching a crescendo where the guitar solo is as free as the song’s lyrics — could stick with listeners like a bad habit no one wants to kick.

“Sad Love Song” features perhaps Drevitch’s best guitar performance. A wonderkind of sorts — he played his first show at the Jazz Café at the age of 13 — his solo here is perhaps as vintage as it gets, evoking the spirits of ’70s stoner rock accompanied perfectly by crashing cymbols and a rhythm befitting a reckless driver.


Why so serious?

Lemongelli isn’t taking their craft lightly, and it’s evident in their mannerisms when talking shop. But get them off topic — certainly not an Olympic feat — and the mood turns much lighter, reflecting the tenor of their friendship and their youth.

Drevitch and Hudock have been friends for “72 years,” and each knew Fisk for 69 of them. (More like 18-21, but who’s counting?) “But we didn’t talk to him,” Drevitch chimes in toward Fisk.

Well, maybe Fisk thought the duo to be dicks? “Not necessarily,” he said. That was before he knew them though. “Now I do.”

Their camaraderie can be good for a fun night but bad for a productive rehearsal. There are times when they shoot the shit and get nothing done. And then there are times when they consume America’s favorite performance enhancer — alcohol.

“There’s night’s where we killed a fifth in like a half-hour and wrote a song,” said Fisk. “Or four of them,” Drevitch quickly injected.

That’s a potentially hazardous formula.

“It might be. So if a record has like 12 songs …,” Drevitch said before being interrupted by Fisk, who finished, “We were hammered.”

Hammered was Hudock when he baked a pizza on his engine block. He shared that they were all in a hotel after a show, partying with a bunch of friends, when someone offered to pay him to cook the pizza on the engine block of his truck. Hudock was hungry and obliged. He popped the hood, plopped down the frozen pizza and started the engine. And then, well, he fell asleep.

“There was cheese all over the engine,” he said.

No shit.

That’s the beauty of Lemongelli — they kill on stage, are focused on music and exude the core of the Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll attitude without relying on any of its pretentious cliches.

Vintage Vibes will get an appropriate launch when Lemongelli headlines a CD release show at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 8 at Nightcap’s in Edwardsville, with accompanying acts The Underground Saints and Panacea. The album will be available at the show, as well as Gallery of Sound and on iTunes.

Surely it will be a crowded house, right?

“I’m not promising anything. Probably not,” Drevitch said, joking about the up-and-down attendance original acts deal with. “So come, it will be comfortable.”

The after party won’t be.
-escicchitano@timesshamrock.com

- Diamond City Cover Story by Eric Scicchitano


Dustin Drevitch proudly describes his band, Lemongelli, as “badass.” He drops the word several times in conversation, and for anyone that’s seen the group live in recent months, you can see why. The explosive power trio has clearly upped its game, and though the band has been on the local music scene for more than six years, it’s ready to take on NEPA with a new sense of energy and a new CD, “Vintage Vibes.”

The album is available now at all Gallery of Sound stores, and the band will hold a CD-release party at Nightcaps in Edwardsville on Friday.

“In a way, there’s a part of me that wants to start this as a blank page, with this new record,” says Drevitch. “This is a new start.”

The new CD, the band’s third, follows 2002’s “A Taste of Lemongelli” and 2005’s “Sin.” Tracks on the album were initially recorded at JL Studios in Wyoming, where the band had worked before. But Drevitch says the group then took the songs to Saturation Acres Recording Studio, where they went through the pre-production process with producer Bret Alexander and began to re-craft the album. The end result is a bombastic six-song EP highlighted by tracks such as “Harder and Harder,” “Everything” and “Another Round.”

“Sometimes it’s really good to have a fresh set of ears, and Bret said he wanted a crack at it, so we did a session,” says Drevitch, adding that Alexander was soon hired to produce the entire CD. “Everything that he does to a song, we thought was awesome. It wasn’t even a question. Sometimes people go with producers, and it’s just a bad experience, but there was not one negative thing at all. Not one. Bret’s the man.”

Alexander is known for stressing the importance of pre-production as a way to properly shape songs. Now that Lemongelli has been through the process, the band agrees.

“Nothing’s changed too crazy,” says Drevitch. “But we’ve had some of these songs since ‘Sin,’ and when you have a song so long, you kind of get jaded. Bret would just come in and move point A to where point C was, and it was awesome. It was great.”

And what, he is asked, is the inspiration behind the songs?

“Everything from relationships, to religion, to death — those three things, and obviously, sex,” he says with a laugh. “It’s nothing that’s new. I don’t go too far into politics. I don’t think I have the platform that people really care what the [expletive] I have to say about politics, so I try to stay away from that … for now.”

He laughs again.

Joining Drevitch in Lemongelli is bassist Jay Hudock and drummer Jamey Fisk. The band has been playing local clubs since the members were in their teens, and though it has always been a tight unit, it has evolved. In the past, its disposition on stage was more in the vein of Eric Clapton or Cream. Solid and sturdy, and certainly nothing wrong with that. Now, however, the live show has exploded into a Led Zeppelin-meets-Zakk Wylde type performance.

Drevitch says playing bigger rooms with heavier bands has had an impact on Lemongelli.

“I think that was always there, and now the songs are there, too,” he says. “And there’s confidence. This is what I always wanted to be. This is what I always envisioned. The whole set is just way more energized.”

The name of the new CD, “Vintage Vibes,” is entirely reflective of Lemongelli’s sound. And in a musical climate when many young bands are emulating modern-rock acts such as Nickelback, it poses the question: From where did Lemongelli attain its vintage vibes?

“That’s how we were raised,” says Drevitch. “I don’t know anything different. When I was in the womb, my dad used to put in Van Halen and put the headphones up to my mom’s stomach. No word of lie. Zeppelin, Van Halen and [Black] Sabbath have been pumped through my blood before I could even walk, so I don’t think I had any other choice, and I know the other guys were the same way. Until this day, I still listen to it.”

Drevitch describes Lemongelli in 2009 as a “fresh page.” And he’s excited to move forward.

“It’s a whole new beast, man, and it took a long time to get to this,” he says. “We’re a loud, raucous rock band. It’s as simple as that. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t change a [expletive] thing … except maybe getting amps that are even louder.”

- Music on the Menu by Alan K. Stout


Discography

Vintage Vibes -2009
Sin- 2005

Photos

Bio

Somewhere in the fifth circle of hell, the Wrathful and the Sullen stood an eternal guard over Satan’s six-string like hungry hawks over a crippled beast. Times had been tough among the peasantry, but even the notoriously propitious prince of darkness himself had not seen the need for soul searching. Sure, the list of novice guitarists was miles long and ripe for the pickin’, but with fuel prices were they were and the horrible gas mileage he gets from that god damn infernal Hummer, it just wasn’t worth leavin’ the house for another lousy soul. Then one Friday night, the sounds of Lemongelli’s new CD, Vintage Vibes, blew through the devil’s parlor. Bewhiffled and borderline offended, the bifurcated one sprang from his couch, the plastic tearing as he muted Rachel Ray. No sooner could he order his minions to pack his road case, Dustin Drevitch’s slippery lyrics stopped him in his fiery tracks. “And she looked me in the eyes and she said … she wants it harder and harder … That’s an offer I can’t refuse.” It was followed quickly by the southern steamroller “Do It to Me,” and the radio-ready rock anthem “Everything.” The devil had hardly wiped his crusty eyes when “Another Round” brought him back to his years of sabotaging The Black Crowes. “I’m not scared to die, with a life of no regret/And I’ll take a glass of wine, at the table that heaven sets.” Angry as he was, he knew he had been had. “Sad Love Song” turned out to be everything he wished he had written, and “Blame” proved, at least in his mind, that Lemongelli could not be bought. The band has been through too much. This is the third release from the Pennsylvania natives – a power trio rising like a Thundersauraus Rex from the former Coal Belt towns where the trees stay barren and the waters reek of sulfur. Drevitch is the master crafter of Lemongelli’s distinct funk ’n’ soul sound. Born with a guitar in hand and words in mouth, the barely legal frontman’s Christ-like ’fro and searing riffs teach music fans that yes, you can fuse the finer points of Guns N’ Roses with The Allman Brothers, The Faces, and The Crowes … and still be a relevant, modern-rock powerhouse. Drummer Jamey Fisk drives the tunes like strippers to a pole convention. Jay Hudock’s gargantuan bass lines are clearly the meat in this 5,000-calorie burger, sans cheese. Lemongelli is on the hunt. They’re going to grease you up. And aim for penetration. Recently signed to Rock Aye! Records, the band is heading out on a Mid-Atlantic tour after the May release of Vintage Vibes, which has been receiving airplay on Pennsylvania radio and the attention of other PA notables like producer Bret Alexander and Breaking Benjamin guitarist Aaron Fink, who has made a habit out of sitting in with the band during its local gigs. Faced with this incredible gouge, the devil had but one decision to make. He invited his servants to line hell’s corridors, and he gave his order. They danced. There’s no disputing Lemongelli has cracked the formula to eternal success. The only question is … “Who’s coming with?”

“The Lemongelli guys have a big, deep, bluesy sound and great songs to boot.” “Lots of potential here folks.”
-Aaron Fink/Guitarist of Hollywood Record’s Breaking Benjamin

“Lemongelli brings it all full circle with a deep respect for their ancestors and the pissed off, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll attitude of a young band.” “It’s rock music as nature intended.”

- Bret Alexander/Producer, Guitarist of Universal Record’s, The Badlees

“Watching Dustin Drevitch play guitar is like watching Derek Jeter play shortstop or Emmit Smith run with a football.”
- Alan K. Stout/Weekender Magazine

“Lemongelli sounds like a bare-knuckle bowling alley brawl between King Kong and The Allman Brothers. Who wins? Everyone wins. It’s a bare-knuckle bowling alley brawl between King Kong and The Allmans.” - Gene Padden, music critic, The Citizens’ Voice.

“All three are great within their own right, but the synergy they have together kicks them up into a whole new level of awesomeness.”
- David Thackara/Diamond City Magazine