Phillips Head
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Phillips Head

Glens Falls, New York, United States | SELF

Glens Falls, New York, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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Apr
15
Phillips Head @ Jillians

Albany, New York, USA

Albany, New York, USA

Apr
02
Phillips Head @ Putnam Den

Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Dec
18
Phillips Head @ Putnam Den

Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Saratoga Springs, New York, USA

Music

Press


Weekend is filled with cheer and events...
WEQX favorite Paranoid Social Club will be the lead act at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs. The group will also be perform with Saratoga Springs-based Skeletons in the Piano and Glens Falls’ own Phillips Head. Admission is $10 a ticket for ages 21 and older and $15 a ticket for ages 18 to 20. - The Post star (Glens Falls NY)


Paranoid Social Club, Skeletons in the Piano, Phillips Head
Putnam Den, Saturday

We love the crazies, oh yes, and this show is full of ’em. Rustic Overtones offshoot Paranoid Social Club modeled their first three discs after axes I-III, psychiatric conditions as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They’re currently working on Axis IV, the clinical definition of which concerns psychosocial and environmental problems. Should be fun! Local boys Skeletons in the Piano and Phillips Head both have some crazy in their blood: Skeletons have a thing for wearing costumes and having belly-dancers onstage; Phillips Head are from Glens Falls. (Dec. 18, 8 PM, $10-$15, 63A Putnam St., Saratoga Springs, 584-8066) - Metroland (Albany Ny) 12/17/10


Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs hosts a show by the bands Phillips Head (the Glens Falls-based post-power-punk band fronted by Chronicle rock columnist Jason Irwin); Skeletons in the Piano (fron Saratoga Springs); and Paranoid Social Club (the indie rock/psychedelic group from Maine) on Saturday, Dec. 18. Radio station WEQX 102.7FM - where our Jason is also Music Director - presents the triple bill. Tix: $15, $10 ages 18-20. Info: 584-8066. - The Chronicle (Glens Falls) 12/16/10


Five Firsts: Jason Irwin of Phillips Head

NAME: Jason Irwin
BAND AFFILIATION: Phillips Head (also WEQX!)
INSTRUMENT: Guitar/vocals

1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS … I had a KISS “Destroyer” LP growing up, which was handed down to me, and I absolutely loved it. I mean, I know every lyric in that recording still. The first album (um … cassette, actually) that I actually purchased I specifically remember being Quiet Riot “Metal Health.” Bang your head!

2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … My parents brought me to see Rick Springfield at SPAC in 1984. He was a wild man, climbing on the speaker stacks and jumping around. I thought that was pretty cool.

3. THE FIRST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT I EVER OWNED OR PLAYED WAS … I couldn’t be in school band until fifth grade. So, only being in fourth at the time, I joined the orchestra and picked the violin. My mother couldn’t stand it, as I was pretty bad at it. After a year of torture, I’m sure she was relieved when I brought home a snare drum the following year. And I banged on that pretty much every day until graduation.

4. THE FIRST SONG THAT I EVER PERFORMED IN PUBLIC WAS … Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” at my own high school graduation party (one of the first songs I learned on guitar.) The first original song I played out was one I wrote that same year, titled “Call My Name,” which has since evolved into a Phillips Head core song. It was at one of Café Lena’s open mic nights, somewhere around 1992. I was so nervous.

5. THE FIRST BAND I WAS EVER IN WAS … Phillips Head. We formed in 1994 and are still kicking!

Guitarist-vocalist Jason Irwin – who is also the music director at radio station WEQX-FM – and the rest of his Phillips Head bandmates step into the spotlight at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs on Saturday night. Doors open at 8pm, and admission is $10. Paranoid Social Club headlines, and Skeletons in the Piano round out the bill.

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Tags: Jason Irwin, Phillips Head, Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs, WEQX - Nippertown.com (Arts and Entertainment in the Capital District, Berkshires and Hudson Valley)


"Here’s a pretty cool local-music happening:WEQX FM celebrates 26 years on the air with a birthday concert and food-bank benefit at Northern Lights; NYC band Deluka will headline, while locals Phillips Head, Lunic, the Velmas, Ten Year Vamp, and Travis Gray will each perform their favorite “EQX songs” of the last 26 years in addition to their own material (7 PM, $5 donation, 371-0012)" - METROLAND - Metroland (Albany)


Phillips Head Throwing a Party
By Mike Curtin
Special to the Post Star
In celebration of their recording debut, Glens Falls' Phillips Head hosts a CD Release Party without precedent in this area Friday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center's Heritage Hall.

The party features free copies of the disc for all attendees, and free beer for those over 21 and soft drinks for those under 21.

It's an approach that befits a trio, which in recent years has become one of the area's most popular rock acts.

"We know how to throw a good party," joked Jason Irwin, Phillips Head's guitarist, lead singer, and principal songwriter. "We're not trying to make money with this show. Rather we just want to thank our fans, and get our music into the hands of the people who've supported us in the past."

Formed in 1994 as a quartet that specialized in cover tunes, Phillips Head garnered a local following at local clubs like the Sunnyside Par 3 and Freddy's On Elm Street.

In the ensuing years they've trimmed their line up by one, with Irwin joined by Steve Graves on bass and the singularly named Benny on drums.

They've also revved the R.P.Ms of their material and incorporated more original songs into their repertoire, fashioning a music rooted in the herky-jerky post-punk styles of the late 70's and 80's.

It's a full-throttle sound reminiscent of The Clash and Ramones, and latter-day practitioners like Green Day, groups that knew how to make do with less.

"I miss not having another guitarist to fatten our arrangements, but with just three guys, we're tighter now than we've ever been," said Irwin. "We each know exactly what the other is doing."

The tunes on the band's self-titled debut come in short, sharp bursts, eight originals that rush by like a freight train in a brief 30 minutes.

"It wasn't all that easy," he remarked. "Some songs took a few takes to get right, but it's a project we're all proud of."

The CD Release Party begins at 10 p.m., with doors opening at 9 p.m. Special musical guests include Dredded Wheat. Tom Case of C-Toe will serve of Master of Ceremonies.

In addition to free drinks, pizza and a cash bar will also be available.

Reprinted from The Post Star, Thursday, September 18, 1997 - The Post Star (New York)


Phillips Head: Hard working rock 'n roll guys
Glens Falls band to release new CD at Civic Center Friday

By Cathy DeDe
Chronicle Arts Editor
The band's name is Phillips Head, like the screwdriver, but, pardon the expression, they're not screwing around. Phillips Head formed in 1994 as a four-piece cover band. Evolving through a few different permutations, they're down now to a three-piece "powerhouse," they say, and the emphasis is mostly on hard work and original songs.

This Friday night, they're releasing their debut CD - an original piece of work, self-titled, that took over a year to complete - with a slam-band release party in Heritage Hall of the Glens Falls Civic Center. Lots of bands have CD release parties. These guys are looking to create something people will remember.

"We don't want to call it a circus," one of the band members says, "but we're thinking of having live dancers..." The others chime in: "...clowns, fire-eaters, contortionists."

One says, "People might be asking: 'What is this Phillips Head?' They're gonna know after Sept. 19."

"And in style," his bandmates add.

The guys in the band are Jason Irwin, 25, from South Glens Falls, on lead vocals and guitar; Steve Graves, 26, a Glens Falls native, on bass and vocals; and Benny - just Benny - age unrevealed, from Fort Edward.

Irwin, the lead singer, was voted "most musical" in his high school graduating class. He's like his own alter-ego, very handsome ("like James Dean," one woman in the Chronicle office commented), with salt-and-pepper hair cropped close on the sides and a long blonde mop sprouting up wildly from the top of his head. He produced and financed the band's CD, and is the acknowledged leader of the three.

Did he say, 'For the chicks'?

At one moment, he's talking about how the band works hard to put on a professional-quality show for its concerts, cutting into their own pay by hiring warm-up bands and technical support people, even dancers.

He'll talk about how writing the songs is only a small piece of the work that goes into producing a CD - the recording sessions were held exactly a year before the album was finally ready for release - or how important it is to build a following and keep up a newsletter.

In the next breath he'll tell you, only half joking, "I'm in it for the chicks."

He's got star quality, and he knows it. "I do enjoy the social aspects of being in a rock band, being a star. When I first got involved, I thought I'd be on MTV in a year. At first I was in it for the chicks, but now maybe it's something more serious. I like being the life of the party, in a professional way, on stage, now."

Benny used to own The Villager, a music club in Fort Edward, and played with the drum corps The Vagabonds when he was a teen-ager, as well as the rock bands Violation, Mischief, and Hooligan. He says, "I'd like to do this for a living: talk to people, play music. I'm pretty confident that it will someday be an occupation, not a hobby."

"But none of us is star-stricken," Graves, who taught himself guitar and bass as a high-schooler, adds. "We all like playing. Music has always been an important part of my life."

They're not quitting their day jobs yet.

Graves, dark and trim, a former power-lifter, works for Coneco Litho Graphics, after having spent a number of years working retail. He notes that retail sales experience - they all have some - is very helpful to them in the music business, because they understand how to work with customers.

Benny, who looks like a regular (if slightly spacey) guy, and who has the air of someone on the verge of mischief, sells tickets at the Trailways station in Glens Falls. It's a job that makes him and his bandmates laugh - it sounds like something from a slacker movie - but he says he loves it.

Irwin works for his family's business, Tee Bird Country Club. He compares himself to Batman, a quiet golf course worker by day, outgoing rock and roll star by night.

The music

The migration toward playing original music has its rewards, but it is not all smooth sailing. "People want you to sing certain songs," Irwin says of the live shows. "Freebird!" Benny exclaims, mimicing a voice from the crowd.

Still, "There's nothing like writing your own music, and performing up on stage," says Graves. "And then having the people sing along, dancing." Irwin adds.

They pride themselves on their high-energy live shows and loyal fans.

Their New CD

What's on the CD? "You might like it or you might not," Graves says, "But you'll definitely remember it."

He's right. The songs, all written by Irwin (Though Graves, who also taught himself music theory, does write for the band, too) are catchy, with a good, danceable beat.

They're all - save one - about girls. Benny got the joke when I asked them about that: "Our next album will be about cars."

Much to the band's delight, "Beer-Chuggin' Barbie Doll" got its first radio airply this week on FM station Hot 107.1.

"I'm looking for a girl/That has no intention other to please me..." Irwin sings on that one, backed by a snappy drum beat. "Somewhere there's got to be/A do-nothin' beer-chuggin' barbie doll for me," he whips out in high-speed lyrics.

Politically correct they're not, and the grammar is pretty chancy too. But the songs, that one included, are clever. There's "Chunky Chunky Baby," a boppy tune about a fat girlfriend, and "Drive-Thru Girl," about falling for the girl at the fast-food window ( "I'D ORDER THE WORLD FOR MY DRIVE-THRU GIRL," the chorus yells), and "Damaged Goods," about the girlfriend who cheated.

The most complimentary song, "Plain Jane," is about a soulful girl who doesn't say anything. Or, the song asks, is she "stuck-up, pissed off, recovering from a root canal or just plain shy?"

Sexist? Definitely. "But they're not literal," Graves explains. "It's funny, but he really appreciates her," he says of the narrator's "chunky" girlfriend. Not exactly deep, that, and you hope at least that all the "girl" and "chick" stuff is tongue-and-cheek.

What stands out with these three musicians is their easy if bantering relationship with each other. "We don't go bowling together," Irwin remarks. "But I spend more time with them than with my family," says Graves, the only one of the three who's married.

They practice in a cramped, rented room, sometimes into the late hours of the night. They've chosen jobs partly for the flexibility to play weekend gigs, rather than the great pay. The band is down to three solid members because they're the ones willing to stick with it, they say.

A lot of musical talent is wasted, Irwin notes. "So many good musicians are always changing bands, or just playing for their girlfriend."

The CD they're releasing now was recorded a year ago, and they say they're ready now with material, if not the cash, for a new one. With the CD, the party, other gigs coming up - and some radio play - Irwin says, "We have a lot of momentum." "This is the cream of the crop," Steve adds, unselfconsciously, about the threesome.

Reprinted from The Chronicle, Thursday, September 18, 1997
- The Chronicle (New York)


The Children's Hour
GreayStar, Phillips Head, F-Timmi

By Shawn Stone
Metroland Newsweekly
A Glowing, Golden, Autumn afternoon in Clifton Park is a hell of a time for a punk show. This wasn't your average punk show, however. The headliners were GreayStar, a major-label act fronted by a 12-year-old guitar prodigy and his dauntingly enthousiastic 14-year-old sister. Not suprisingly, this skewed the fan base to the teen and preteen set, necessitating the 4pm start time for the gig.

Washington County youths Dylan and Chelsea Wilcox just might end up rock stars. He has the chops, he has the confidence, and both have plenty of showmanship and cool. Most importantly, the band has the tunes, which smoothly cover the pop-punk gamut in the currently fashionable manner. And the generation gap betewwn the wilcoxes and their rhythm section was strictly a matter of age, not musical ability. (Of course, it didn't hurt that the sound in Northern Lights was so good.) If I found the juxtaposition of such a big sound with their thin little voices to be disconcerning, it's probably because my ears are too old. The kids loved them, and turned out in moderate numbers to show their support.

The teens who crowded quietly up front at the metal barricade to watch a couple of their own command the stage stayed in their seats for power-punk trio Phillips Head. The kids didn't seem disinterested, as they clapped with some enthusiasm from seats some distance away; maybe Jason Irwin and the other twentysomething heads were just too intimidating. After all, these fellows are of legal age and exhibited a healthy thirst for beer. Singer-guitarist Irwin uttered numerous good-natured but decidedly sarcastic comments ("This is the only time I'll be able to buy everyone in the bar a drink"), and sang about topics better suited for a PG-13 or R crowd than the PG set ("1-900 Girl"). They covered a Cracker cover of a pop hippie tune ("Images of Matchstick Men"), which was as remote to a 13 year old as Ronald Reagan, World War II, or The Great Plague. For the few of us safely past puberty, however, Phillips Head were the highlight of the afternoon.

They may have been the geezers of the lineup, but their advanced age was accompanied by a corresponding musical maturity. The punk-trio ensemble playing was thundering and focused, while the songs were appropriately and effectively angry and/or snide ("You're So Ugly" "You're Too Short To Play Guitar"). In front of an audience closer to their own age, or at a more congenial hour, Phillips Head would have torn the joint up. As it was, their confident way with the building blocks of rock (you know, three chords and plenty of attitude) served as a useful lesson for any youngsters paying attention.

F-Timmi opened the festivities. The energetic trio really worked up a sweat leaping about the stage while cranking out their chipper style of thrash pop, and would have been better appreciated if GreayStar's teen posse had shown up a bit sooner. As it was, their concise punk approach pleased those in attendance.

Reprinted from The Metroland Newsweekly, Thursday, October 19, 2000 - Metroland (Albany)


Glens Falls Rockers Releasing Second CD

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Post Star
GLENS FALLS -- The post-punk rockers of Phillips Head are having a party for the release of their first CD, "II," in more than four years. The band is scheduled to perform for the first 550 people who get tickets to an event on Sept. 8, at Heritage Hall in the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and band members said they promise the Phillips Head dancers will put on a show that's appropriate for all ages.

Tickets are $5, and are available at Ticketmaster locations or Sounds Unlimited at 175 Glen St. The band plans to give away a guitar in addition to its other promotions. A ticket is good for the party, a copy of the new CD and free admission to an after-show party at Dave LaPoint's Pitchers on South Street. A ticket stub must be shown at the door to Pitchers for free admission to the party, band members said.

Phillips Head produced a CD before becoming a well-known trio frequenting the bar scene from Utica to Schroon Lake, and of course, in their hometown of Glens Falls.

In the four and a half years since their first album, they have worked to create a tight sound, said bassist and vocalist Steve Graves.

"It's definitely faster-paced," he said of the current album. "It's a real driving sound."

Band members say their true identity is revealed on this album, unlike their first recording, which included a fourth musician.

"This is really who we are," said guitarist and vocalist Jason Irwin. "We've been playing as a three-piece for so long, we don't even practice any more."

Phillips Head gets its practice while playing every weekend to a loyal group of fans, who will recognize some songs from the new CD.

"We've been playing some of these for years," Irwin said.

The CD will be available for sale at stores throughout the area, he said, at about $10 each.

There are 15 tracks with lyrics written by Irwin. The lyrics take the listener into the lives of a casual slacker and a musician ranting as he plays in a lame bar that charges $5 for a beer.

Several songs talk about the prowling and loneliness of a man who meanders through relationships over the phone in "1-900 Girl," and an attempt to retrieve his ex-girlfriend in "Something About You."


Reprinted from The Post Star, Friday, August 31, 2001
- The Post Star (New York)


Phillips Head's Newest is Fresh, Feisty

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Post Star
Phillips Head vocalist Jason Irwin said he writes about four songs every time he breaks up with a girlfriend.

His laments in the band's CD, "II," will warm the hearts of self-pitying listeners.

Melodies jump from distorted guitar licks and rattling high-hats to crisp, succinct bass rhythms and staccato vocals. The transitions had me swinging my head in circles and hopping along to sounds reminiscent of Green Day or The Smiths.

Comparisons aside, the new Phillips Head CD stays true to their claims of originality.

You can almost picture vocalist Jason Irwin's sneered upper lip as he testifies his love in "Something About You."

Witty lyrics on songs like "1-900 Girl" grab sardonically at the desperation of a man cuddling in bed with a risqué magazine and his favorite phone sex line. Irwin's writing conjures a new spell of Nabokovian pleasures in "Old Enough for Me."

Bass pluck for bass pluck and cymbal clash for cymbal clash, this CD is full of amusing woes and playful melodies that prove Phillips Head is surfing ahead of the post-punk wave.

I can almost hear matchbox twenty CDs shattering on bedroom floors as pop music fans ditch Rob Thomas and his whiny gig for something a little less corporate. Phillips Head promises the underground roots and local loyalty that should have fans badgering them for another album just like this one.

Reprinted from The Post Star, Friday, August 31, 2001
- The Post Star (New York)


Phillips Head CD Release is Saturday
Boys in the band prefer newer, 'tight' sound

By Cathy DeDe
Chronicle Arts Editor
"We're confident something good will come out of this," says Jason Irwin, front man of the Glens Falls band Phillips Head. Mr. Irwin describes the band's sound as "post-punk power-pop high-energy original rock." He pauses for effect and concludes with a laugh, "I made that one up."

Phillips Head - Mr. Irwin on guitar and vocals, Steve Graves on bass and vocals, and the singularly named Benny on drums - hosts a no-holds-barred CD release party for II, their second recording, on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall of the Glens Falls Civic Center.

If the Heritage Hall party for their first Cd release four years ago was "a circus," jokes the trio, "this one will be a zoo."

The all-ages show is to feature the "Phillips Head Dancers," free copies of the new CD for all guests, a light show and an electric guitar giveaway sponsored by The Only Guitar Shop in Clifton Park. Acoustic guitarist Shawn Kelly opens.

Admission: $7, $5 advance. Get tickets at 798-0202 or 476-1000.

This second recording more accurately reflects the band's sound, said the threesome, particularly as the fist Phillips Head CD included a fourth player who left shortly after the recording.

"It's a little punchier," said Benny.

"It's faster, louder, and harder," adds Mr. Irwin. The sound, which Mr. Irwin compares to The Clash or Green Day, has a retro feeling achieved in part by the recording process, which used old-fashioned analog tape rather than modern digital methods.

The sound is as raw as they promise, appropriate for punk attitude tunes like "You're So Ugly" about dating an unattractive woman or "Old Enough For Me," a bothersome number about dating a much younger girl, and "Casually" about dating - er - breaking up with a girl. The lyrics, like the music, are raw. "It's all meant in good humor," says Mr. Irwin, who wrote all the songs on this album. "They're actually pretty deep," says Benny, which elicits a chucle from Mr. Irwin. Mr Graves, the band's straight man, explains, "Anybody who's done the club scene knows what it means. It's all symbolism."

What they're proudest of is how they play together. "We're very tight. We've been together five years," says Benny. "It's like a good marriage."

Mr. Graves said the sound is a combination of the trio's various musical influences. "I like songs that have 30 bass notes in one measure, the virtuoso stuff." Mr. Irwin counters: "I like two- or three-chord songs. Steve says they're too boring. We meet somewhere in the middle and it turns out to be a good song."

Reprinted from The Chronicle, Thursday, September 6, 2001

- The Chronicle (New York)


What pulls a band up from the local scene?
ATTITUDE
Phillips Head members credit their professionalism

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Post Star
COVER STORY

GLENS FALLS -- Members of the Glens Falls-based post-punk band Phillips Head said professionalism is the key to keeping a band together for years.

"We know enough professionally to keep the personal out of it," said bassist Steve Graves. "I think we've learned enough to respect each other. The band is it's own thing."

The payoff of having the same members for more than four years is that Phillips ead is finally reaching a point where the band has refined a sound of it's own - a tight collaboration of drums, guitar, and bass.

For Phillips Head, the sound first appeared when the band first stepped into the recording studio in the Spring of 2000 to start a fresh CD, titled "II", which debuts Saturday.

As a celebration of the event, Phillips Head is performing live starting at 7 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Hall in the Glens Falls Civic Center. Tickets for the show are $5, or $7 if purchased the day of the show, and ticketholders will get a free copy of the band's newest CD.

The CD is a culmination of the hard work of playing together nearly every weekend since the current three members got together in Spring of 1997.

Band members hosted a similar party in September 1997. That time, Graves had joined the band just two months before Phillips Head went into the studio.

The first recording featured the same three members - guitarist Jason Irwin, Graves on Bass and the singularly named Benny on Drums.

Phillips Head had a fourth member, and began with a different cast that had Irwin at the helm, in 1994. Now that they've played as a trio for about four and a half years, they all say the new CD is far better than the first one.

"When we went into the studio (1999 and 2000) we really came together," Benny said.

The band has a fast-paced, original sound with some musical nods given to post-punk influences like The Ramones, The Replacements, and Green Day.

Regular fans who started out watching Phillips Head at Freddy's on Elm Street may appreciate the full cash bar and snacks available at Saturday's show. But instead of a regualr bar scene - where admission is limited to people 21 or older - the show Saturday is geared toward all ages.

"We have a lot of younger fans," said vocalist and guitarist Jason Irwin.

The band performed it's first acoustic set in Lake George last weekend, and is scheduled to do another unplugged set in the mid-afternoon on Saturday Sept. 15, in Sounds Unlimited at 175 Glen St.

Irwin said the band will be doing more all-ages shows in the future, as Phillips Head members try to convince parents that the music is appropriate for their children.

"A lot of parents don't realize we don't have one profane word in any of the lyrics," he said. "There are some adult-oriented themes in our show, but there are adult themes in Saturday morning cartoons."

One song is the narrative of a man lusting after phone sex in "1-900 Girl;" and an adult man tells about his teen-age girlfriend in "Old Enough For Me."

Still, Irwin said the lyrics are sung so quickly that the message may breeze over the heads of younger listeners. Phillips Head songs are often nonfiction tales from Irwin's life, or about experiences with the band.

A sneak peek at the new CD is available on the Web on Friday. Fans will be able to download two songs from www.mp3.com/phillipshead.

Tickets are available by calling the Civic Center Box Office at 798-0202, or Ticketmaster at 476-1000.

Reprinted from The Scene, The Post Star, Thursday, September 6, 2001

- The Post Star (New York)


Phillips Head gets kindler & friendlier

By Bob Smith, Glens Falls Rock
The Chronicle

I’ve given Jason Irwin a few friendly jabs over the last couple of years in this column. I stress friendly. Jason is the lead singer/guitarist for the local Punk/Pop band Phillips Head. He is also the closest thing Glens Falls has to a Rock Star. He may not necessarily have the international success of the typical Rock Star, but he’s got the methods and motivations down pat. Because of that, and because he’s a friend, I’ve had a little bit fun commentating his band’s activities.

What I may have failed to mention in the past is that Jason is probably the hardest working local musician and promoter that I know. There is a reason that his is one of the most familiar local groups. They have, from their inception, been tirelessly promoting themselves. Despite the group’s overgrown adolescent schtick, they’re real pros.

Why, you may ask, have I decided to expound on the hidden virtues of Phillips Head and their leader Jason Irwin? Well, they recently recorded a three-song acoustic EP called “unscrewed” that sounds downright grown-up.

The disc was recorded at Cool Canine Recording in Queensbury by the always exceptional engineer Matt “Mato” D’Ambrosio, and features Benny on drums and Jason handling everything else. The group is currently between Bass players which explains the two-man line-up. The playing is tight and economical throughout.

The acoustic set gives Phillips Head’s fans and critics a unique look at some of their real strengths. Jason writes catchy songs. He’s not trying to write the next “Blowin in the Wind”. He just wants his three minutes of pop to get stuck in your head for a little while. It works. If you were ever turned off by Phillips Head’s volume in the past, check out this new disc. Call it a “kinder, friendlier, Phillips Head".

Info about Phillips Head and their new CD can be found on the web at <http://www.phillips-head.com>

Reprinted from The Chronicle, Thursday, February 14, 2002 - The Chronicle (New York)


Excerpt from "Rough Mix"
By Peter Hanson
Metroland Newsweekly

Certainly the loudest disc in this week’s onslaught of local recordings is the self-titled album from Phillips Head, a 15-song disc from the Glens Falls punk trio. Phillips Head was recorded at MaxTrax Studios and presumably produced by the band (no production credits are listed), with front man Jason Irwin contributing all the music and lyrics. Irwin gets extra points for the track “Poser Rock,” which manages to cop lyrics from Madonna’s “Vogue” and Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” while dissing musicians who talk like punks without walking the punk walk. For more info, visit www.phillips-head.com.

Reprinted from The Metroland Newsweekly, Thursday, October 5, 2001 - Metroland (Albany)


Phillips Head down to bare essentials

By Matthew Sturdevant
The Post Star

Reduction does not mean loss of expression - at least not in the case of Picasso, poetry and Phillips Head's newest album.

The localpost-punk rock band Phillips Head released a compact disc that is bereft of a lot of things that were present in the band's second CD, "II," which came out in September 2001.

The new disc is titled "Unscrewed" because it's an acoustic album. And the band does well by tossing aside its amplifiers, wires, and distortion pedals.

That's not all.

Phillips Head is now a duo, after performing as a trio for the last four years. Lead guitarist singer Jason Irwin is joined by the singularly named Benny on drums. Bassist Steve Graves doesn't perform on "Unscrewed." It's the second time the band has dwindled in numbers since beginning with four members in 1994.

In addition to the sparse number of musicians, and the absence of an electric shroud over the music, the band performs in a narrower range in "Unscrewed" than in "II." Irwin's voice varies between notes within about one octave, and even his guitar playing is kept to the repetition of a few chords.

It's a raw display of Phillips Head peeled to their core - a solid rhythm with succint poetic lyrics.

Benny and Irwin have recorded the ultimate in simplicity, but still maintained a lot of artistic integrity because they took away some elements that gave them their trademark style.

It unveils a sincere desire by the band to make something artistic, and they've succeeded.

They have become a sort of haiku version of their own band - a pared-down rendition of punk music with a carefully chosen beat to match the poetic meter of Irwin's lyrics.

What's left is Benny's drumming and Irwin's ability to convey his usual laments of night life and women.

Irwin's lyrics are comical as always - a mix somewhere between Charles Bukowski and Robert Frost. Because, of course, Irwin sings about meeting girls, fantasizing about girls and hanging out at bars with girls.

Benny is the mainstay - providing a solid backbone with his natural talent for percussion.

Reprinted from The Post Star, Saturday, February 16, 2002 - The Post Star (New York)


PUNK'S
HOLY LAND
Phillips Head makes pilgrimage to CBGB

By Darrin Youker
The Post Star
NEW YORK CITY

Two minutes after exiting the stage at CBGB, Phillips Head’s lead singer Jason Irwin announced his departure from music.

He wasn’t serious. But for Phillips Head, or any band on the punk circuit, playing at CBGB is like reaching nirvana. And after the high of playing at the Mecca of punk, Irwin felt musically spent.

Phillips Head played its first gig at the club on Columbus Day. For the band’s members – Irwin, drummer Benny, and bassist John Redding, playing CBGB was a longtime dream come true.

The club is dirty but full of 25 years of punk history. The Ramones built the stage; Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious locked himself in the bathroom during a heroin binge. Talking Heads, Blondie and Patti Smith all called the club home.

Phillips Head has been around the local punk scene for a few years, and has played clubs in New York City before, but this was different. And, for this special gig, the band members decided to load up a charter bus with 20 of their family and friends and take an all-night trip to the city.

“My favorite group played here,” said Benny, who insists on being known just as Benny. “It’s amazing to be on the same stage.”

ON THE BOWERY

CBGB sits on The Bowery, a long road that runs north up Manhattan from Chinatown. Its blocks are filled with restaurant supply stores and flophouses.

The bar itself looks like a roadhouse, long and dark with years worth of grime. The floor is kept together, at points, with metal plates. Every square inch of wall is plastered with stickers of bands who have come before. The insulation above the stage is falling down. The bathroom makes you nostalgic for an outhouse.

Behind the stage are two plywood-sided dressing rooms, also plastered with band stickers. Musicians have covered the gritty furniture with autographs. Fans can wander through the backstage area and anyone wanting to get downstairs to the dark bathrooms has to walk past there.

“It’s crazy to know how many bands played here,” said Redding, hanging out backstage. “It’s almost like a shrine.”

Phillips Head was among a half-dozen bands playing at the club for an audition night, which gives up-and-coming bands the chance to get on the club’s rotation. For a few years, Irwin had sent press kits to the club looking to get in for an audition night. Persistence paid off, and Phillips Head got its half-hour set Columbus Day.

“Honestly I thought we’d never play at CBGB,” Irwin said.

When Irwin learned the band got a gig, he decided to bring his fans with him. The folks on the bus have been fans of Phillips Head for years, but they wanted to come along to hear the band played this legendary club.

“This is a huge accomplishment… this is a foot in the door,” said Jaclyn Stedman, Irwin’s girlfriend, who filmed the trip.

It was a mellow four-hour trip to the city, last Monday afternoon. Once there, the band unloaded the gear, piled into the club and waited. The fans hung back, drank some beers, soaked up the atmosphere. Some were, admittedly, out of their element.
Debbie Feeney, a friend of Irwin’s family, lamented her appearance. For one night, she could have dyed her hair blue, spiked it, and worn chains and no one would have looked twice, she said.
“When would I ever get to do that again?” she said.

HALF-HOUR OF FAME

Phillips Head went on at 10 p.m., blasting through eight songs in 30 minutes. They had the loudest fans in the club.

"We do it just like this up in the North Country," Irwin said to the crowd. "We're Phillips Head from Glens Falls...thank you, CBGB."

After the set, the guys stayed in the club until it closed at midnight. They hung around and drank beer with their fans. Irwin took the time to network, handing out Phillips Head CDs to the other bands and talking with the bouncers and sound technicians at the club.

The last band on the bill was an all-female trio, with a lead singer whose pink outfit and lithe frame held the rapt attention of most of the men in the club.

At the end of the set, the singer turned her back to the crowd and lifted her plaid skirt, showing off pink satin panties. The name of her band was printed on the panties in black marker. Welcome to the New York punk scene.

AFTERGLOW

Irwin's infectious post-concert bliss stretched all through the trip home. Inside the dark bus, the crew drank beer and sang along to 80's pop music and rock-n-roll.

Irwin sang and pumped his fist to the Beastie Boy's classic "No Sleep 'till Brooklyn." Benny got wound up as "Born to be Wild" played.

Somewhere on the northbound lane of the New York State Thruway, Phillips Head lead the entire bus in a chorus of "New York, New York."

For most of the night, much of the bus partied on. A few people tried to sleep. The stock of beer had diminished by early morning. The band kept yelling for the bus driver to turn up the music.

Benny talked about the thrill of playing CBGB. It was a moment of pure satisfaction, he said. But it was a long night, coming back from punk's dirty little corner of heaven, and reality was starting to set in.

Somewhere along the Malta exit of the Northway, Benny fished his hand into the icy cooler and pulled out another Coors Light. It was approaching 5 a.m.

"Yeah," he said checking his watch, "I've got to work in two hours."
Reprinted from The Scene, The Post Star, Sunday, October 20, 2002

- The Post Star (New York)


Discography

Phillips Head (1997)
Phillips Head 2 (2001)
Phillips Head Unscrewed EP (2002)
Phillips Head LIVE AT CBGB (2003)
Screwed...the best of Phillips Head (2010)
New full-length in the works!

Photos

Bio

PHILLIPS HEAD is a uniquely entertaining original rock band from upstate NY. The alternative power act has steadily played clubs and events in the Northeast and beyond since forming in 1994. The band is well known for their HIGH-ENERGY live show, catchy songs, and loyal fan base. With their explosive sound and intensive schedule, Phillips Head has proven to be a major contributor to the region's original music scene. To date, the band has released two full-length albums, an acoustic EP, and a live recording from NYC's legendary CBGB. Phillips Head is currently pressing a compilation album, working on their third full-length release, and actively touring New York and the surrounding states.

"It's a full-throttle sound reminiscent of The Clash and Ramones, fashioning a music rooted in the herky-jerky post-punk styles of the late 70's and 80's...and latter-day practitioners like Green Day, groups that knew how to make do with less."— Mike Curtain, The Post Star (New York)

Highlight performances include HARD ROCK CAFE BOSTON MA, GWU WASHINGTON DC, CBGB NYC, ALBANY LARKFEST, CONTINENTAL NYC, LION'S DEN NYC, PUSSYCAT LOUNGE NYC, TRASH BAR BROOKLYN, GLENS FALLS CIVIC CENTER, VALENTINE'S ALBANY, QE2, BOGIE'S, ACC SUPERJAM, SIX FLAGS, SARATOGA WINNERS, JILLIAN'S ALBANY, BAYOU CAFE, NORTHERN LIGHTS CLIFTON PARK, SKIDMORE COLLEGE, UNION COLLEGE, SIENNA COLLEGE, SOLAR X GAMES, YOUR MOM'S HOUSE and more.

Phillips Head has performed with numerous national acts including EVERCLEAR, ISM, NIGHTMARE OF YOU, MOHAIR, and most recently, SPONGE (2010.) Phillips Head's music (and members) have appeared in feature films such as the recent Mind Lab Films release "Love Conquers Paul." Phillips Head music has recently appeared in national television programs including MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olberman." You can hear Phillips Head's music on hundreds of commercial, non-commercial, college, and internet radio stations around the world.

The music is a powerhouse blend of pop, punk, and rock, driven by forceful guitar chords, punchy bass lines, and rock-solid rhythms. The songs cover the broad (that's a pun) spectrum of love, lust, and beer with a perfect combination of amusingly witty lyrics, memorable hooks, and melodic vocals. Influences/Similar Artists include The Ramones, The Replacements, Material Issue, Social Distortion, Elvis Costello, T-Rex, Violent Femmes, The Kinks, Matthew Sweet and The Clash. The songs are powerful, catchy, fast, and FUN.