Poetry 'n Lotion
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Poetry 'n Lotion

Tampa, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Tampa, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Instrumental

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"New Poetry n' Lotion single, "Octopoda""

Poetry n' Lotion has been working on a follow-up to their high quality 2010 debut, Kentucky Monkey, that more adequately reflects where they are now, minus mandolin player Jim Page and plus trumpeter and crowd pumper-upper Kenny Pullin. The recent addition of a fifth member, Auto!Automatic!!'s Alex Fedele on trombone and percs, puts the band lineup total at five as rounded out by guitarist/keysman Matt E. Lee, lowend massager Thomas Murray and rhythms slayer John Nowicki.
In a recent email, Lee said he first started writing brassy dramatic single "Octopoda" in 2009 after the death of Masterati's Jerry Fuchs, and messed with it for a few years before bringing it to the band, "around the time we were doing the Sabbath record, which is pretty prevalent with the ending that Nowicki wrote. We debuted this at SxSW in 2010 to about a dozen people (half WMNF'ers) and this version features the new lineup with Alex on trombone and our engineer/producer Owen Meats on güiro."

Album art for "Octopada" above by Kelley Barry. Listen to the single after the jump and find out how you can help PNL speed up the recording process for album No. 2.

PNL is attempting to raise some funds with sales of this single to pay for additional studio costs, production, merch, etc., for their sophomore record, Electric Acres. They are currently in the process of mixing and mastering nine other tracks at Short Circuit Studio, band friend Charlie Doan (who you know from his impeccable bartending at Fuma Bella) is working on the artwork (he also did the awesome cover of King of Spain's new record), and if all goes as planned, the LP will see a fall release.

Right now, you can visit the PNL Bandcamp site and pay $1 or more (don't be cheap!) to snag your own copy of "Octopoda," thus owning the right to listen to it instead of having to simply stream it here (which we encourage you to do as well!). - Creative Loafing


"Tampa's Poetry 'n Lotion, Sleepy Vikings, Rebekah Pulley and more heading to South by Southwest"

It's March, and you know what that means: A handful of local artists are packing up for the road trip from Tampa to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music conference, which runs March 11-20.

If you're heading to Austin, here are some Tampa and Florida performances to keep an eye on.

Poetry 'n Lotion
The Tampa funk fusionists have also been accepted for a feature showcase at SXSW, and are scheduled to perform March 16 at Stephen F.'s Bar in Austin. They just need your help getting there. So over the next week, they're throwing three "SXSW Gas Money" shows around Tampa. All are free, but donations are welcome: Saturday (3/5) at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe (with Ernie Locke); March 9 at The Hub; and March 10 at Stoney's Lounge (with Florida Night Heat). Hit 'em up on Facebook for the details. (They're also performing Saturday at Skipper's Smokehouse, opening for Hoots & Hellmouth; click here for details. - Tampa Bay Times


"Tampa's Poetry 'n Lotion, Sleepy Vikings, Rebekah Pulley and more heading to South by Southwest"

It's March, and you know what that means: A handful of local artists are packing up for the road trip from Tampa to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music conference, which runs March 11-20.

If you're heading to Austin, here are some Tampa and Florida performances to keep an eye on.

Poetry 'n Lotion
The Tampa funk fusionists have also been accepted for a feature showcase at SXSW, and are scheduled to perform March 16 at Stephen F.'s Bar in Austin. They just need your help getting there. So over the next week, they're throwing three "SXSW Gas Money" shows around Tampa. All are free, but donations are welcome: Saturday (3/5) at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe (with Ernie Locke); March 9 at The Hub; and March 10 at Stoney's Lounge (with Florida Night Heat). Hit 'em up on Facebook for the details. (They're also performing Saturday at Skipper's Smokehouse, opening for Hoots & Hellmouth; click here for details. - Tampa Bay Times


"Poetry ‘n Lotion perform Devo tribute show"

The members of Tampa band Poetry ’n Lotion aren’t shy at all about waving a flag for their teenage influences. Although the quartet’s main gig is dishing up thick, instrumental music that’s as indebted to modern jazz as it is to art-rock and international sounds, PNL has also garnered something of a reputation for its tribute sets where the band plays one of their favorite classic albums front to back. They’ve done Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, the soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and they rang in 2012 with a New Year’s New Wave celebration in Tampa that ran through Devo’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! album. Of course, the notion of hearing the second-best Devo album transmuted into instrumental, jazz-flecked weirdness is just the sort of thing that helps get people in the door, and when the band follows up the closing notes of “Shrivel Up” with a set of PNL originals, you’ll realize the true genius of their approach. – Jason Ferguson - Orlando Weekly


"Poetry ‘n Lotion perform Devo tribute show"

The members of Tampa band Poetry ’n Lotion aren’t shy at all about waving a flag for their teenage influences. Although the quartet’s main gig is dishing up thick, instrumental music that’s as indebted to modern jazz as it is to art-rock and international sounds, PNL has also garnered something of a reputation for its tribute sets where the band plays one of their favorite classic albums front to back. They’ve done Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, the soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and they rang in 2012 with a New Year’s New Wave celebration in Tampa that ran through Devo’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! album. Of course, the notion of hearing the second-best Devo album transmuted into instrumental, jazz-flecked weirdness is just the sort of thing that helps get people in the door, and when the band follows up the closing notes of “Shrivel Up” with a set of PNL originals, you’ll realize the true genius of their approach. – Jason Ferguson - Orlando Weekly


"Poetry 'n Lotion: A heady brew of jazz, pop and experimental rhythms"

Poetry ’n Lotion made a musical transition and it was anything but quiet.

The first edition of the band, with Jim Page’s mandolin out front, suggested Bill Monroe sitting in with Django Reinhardt’s Quintet of the Hot of the Hot Club of France.

The addition of trumpeter Kenny Pullin, a sharp increase in electricity and Page’s departure have combined to give P’nL a decidedly different sound, although with the same eclectic spirit of its earlier incarnation.

“We never really played bluegrass,” insists drummer John Nowicki, chatting on the patio of Ybor City’s New World Brewery before a recent set there. “It was kind of more acoustic centered and we used bluegrass instrumentation, but what we were playing never really resembled bluegrass.”

Listeners late to the party can hear that version on Poetry 'n Lotion’s first album, Kentucky Monkey, released in 2010.

“Some of the stuff we were writing was getting a little louder and not so acoustic,” adds guitarist Matt E. Lee. “We started writing a lot tighter songs, actually counting our measures and things like that.”

An idea of the band’s eclecticism could be gleaned from three albums it has performed live in their entirety — Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, Devo’s Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are Devo! and The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack.

“I don’t think we actually try to do anything in a particular genre or try to mash up particular genres, it just happens,” says Pullin.

“We have a new song that came up as a joke — 'Let’s do a tango’ —and we ended up taking that little kernel and marrying to this ’70s, fuzz-metal part Matt had,” Nowicki says of the track, titled Tango and Gash.

Pullen’s trumpet adds an unmistakable jazz element to a band for which Miles Davis’ electric period is a touchstone.

“Having Kenny on trumpet adds a completely different from voice form what we were using before,” Nowicki says, “and it kind cues it more toward jazz area even though we don’t typically play a lot of jazz.”

“We’re definitely more like the ’70s electric jazz, the out-there, psychedelic, more raw and raucous side of jazz,” bassist Thomas Murray clarifies.

The band comes from varied musical backgrounds as well, from the self-taught Nowicki to the classically trained Murray.

The primarily instrumental quartet formed in 2006 and has been especially busy in the last year, performing an official SXSW showcase gig in March 2011 and appearing at WMNF’s 30th annual Tropical Heatwave last May.

The band recently began recording its second album, which it hopes to release in late summer or early fall.

-- Curtis Ross, tbt*. Photo/video: Carolina Hidalgo, tbt* - Tampa Bay Times


"BEST OF 2011: The Year in Band Names"

BEST OF
2011: The Year in Band Names

By Kyle Ryan December 9, 2011

?With the rise of simply monikered bands like Yuck, The Weeknd, Real Estate, Blouse, Corridor, Cave, and others, perhaps the world has never needed more bizarrely—or at least memorably—named groups. Who’s going to remember a name like Girls when Vomit Erection is out there? Yes, the lyrics to the latter’s “Warm Diarrhoea [sic] Blasts On My Face” are objectionable and the music nonsensical, but godammit, it’s a name you won’t forget. The A.V. Club sees thousands of band names every year, and we don’t notice most of them. We keep a list of the ones we do notice, either because they’re funny, bad, cheesy, so mundane they’re transcendent, or otherwise memorable. Here’s 2011’s bumper crop.

"...???
Tearwave
Honorable Mention, Melodramatic Song Titles Category: “Shattered Fairytale,” “Falling From Grace,” “Comfort In Angles [sic] Wings”
Poetry ’N Lotion
The Rumour Said Fire
Batwings Catwings
Baron Von Luxxury
Carsick Cars
Bitchin Bajas
Chipocrite
The Spherical Banana
Is And Of The
Tropical Popsicle
Psandwich
Pianos Become The Teeth
Nom Nom Nom
XXXy
White Cowbell Oklahoma
Religious To Damn" - A.V. Club


"BEST OF 2011: The Year in Band Names"

BEST OF
2011: The Year in Band Names

By Kyle Ryan December 9, 2011

?With the rise of simply monikered bands like Yuck, The Weeknd, Real Estate, Blouse, Corridor, Cave, and others, perhaps the world has never needed more bizarrely—or at least memorably—named groups. Who’s going to remember a name like Girls when Vomit Erection is out there? Yes, the lyrics to the latter’s “Warm Diarrhoea [sic] Blasts On My Face” are objectionable and the music nonsensical, but godammit, it’s a name you won’t forget. The A.V. Club sees thousands of band names every year, and we don’t notice most of them. We keep a list of the ones we do notice, either because they’re funny, bad, cheesy, so mundane they’re transcendent, or otherwise memorable. Here’s 2011’s bumper crop.

"...???
Tearwave
Honorable Mention, Melodramatic Song Titles Category: “Shattered Fairytale,” “Falling From Grace,” “Comfort In Angles [sic] Wings”
Poetry ’N Lotion
The Rumour Said Fire
Batwings Catwings
Baron Von Luxxury
Carsick Cars
Bitchin Bajas
Chipocrite
The Spherical Banana
Is And Of The
Tropical Popsicle
Psandwich
Pianos Become The Teeth
Nom Nom Nom
XXXy
White Cowbell Oklahoma
Religious To Damn" - A.V. Club


"Poetry n' Lotion rocks the Horror - Cover Story"

The Bay area group tackles cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Whether you love it, hate it, just don't get it, are indifferent to it, or only have a vague awareness of it, one thing you can't say about The Rocky Horror Picture Show is that you've never heard of it.

In its more than three-decade existence, the film — adapted from a British rock musical — has grown from a beloved cult classic to a bona fide phenomenon firmly entrenched in American pop culture. RHPS has inspired all manner of spoofs (including a Flash-animated Bunnies Theatre short) and tributes (last year saw a whole episode of Glee devoted to it), and has been referenced in everything from The Simpsons to That 70's Show to Cold Case. RHPS even found its way onto Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock when developer/publisher Activision released "Time Warp," "Sweet Transvestite" and "Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul" as downloadable content for the game last October.

The music is a definite selling point. Catchy hooks, provocative lyrics, plenty of one-liners made for repeating with eyebrow raised, all encased amid dynamic and rather involved musical sequences. While it doesn't carry the same shock value as it did when it debuted in 1975, RHPS still manages to titillate and entertain, no matter the age, sex or orientation of its fans.

John Nowicki is a case in point. The 30-something Zappa-influenced drummer of Poetry n' Lotion is a diehard fan and comfortable enough in his masculinity that he dressed up in Dr. Frank-N-Furter drag during a Guavaween shift at New World several years ago. So it came as no surprise when Nowicki called up his bandmates and pitched the idea of playing the soundtrack in its entirety as a pre-Halloween show with some theatrical embellishments and full-on costumes. Getting the other three guys on board was easy. "I think it's really logical that PNL do this," Nowicki told me last Saturday at their final RHPS rehearsal. "We make the most sense." It didn't hurt that trumpeter Kenny Pullin and bassist Thomas Murray were also longtime fans of the film, and though guitarist Matt E. Lee hadn't seen RHPS since high school, he was more than willing to immerse himself in its music.

Despite the fact that the prog-jazz-metal fusion four-piece is mostly instrumental in nature, vocals weren't an issue; both Nowicki and Pullin can sing. In fact, Nowicki has some pretty impressive pipes, his vocals strong, deep and resonant. Good thing, too, since he assumes lead on the majority of songs while Pullin trades in his trumpet for drum duty — except when he sings the part of Rocky Horror.

The band has invited guests to fill in the rest of the vocals and flesh out the choruses. Among them are two Jobsite Theater members intimately familiar with the film — David Jenkins, who does his best Meatloaf impression as Eddie, and Christen Petitt, who adds her higher-pitch to the mix as Columbia and Janet; both are Jacksonville natives who used to go to Rocky Horror screenings together in their youth. Also tapped was CL Online Producer and Pullin's Magadog bandmate David Russell, who makes a cameo as Dr. Scott.

RHPS traces the complete and utter obliteration of an all-American couple's pristine naiveté via the ministrations of a cross-dressing doctor with a god complex and a crew of sinister followers, but the film is really about the themes it addresses with such outrageous candor — the culture of excess, obsession, abuse of power, jealousy, loyalty, cannibalism, and human sexuality, promiscuity and ambiguity. Nowicki credits this anti-establishment ethic as the reason PNL ultimately decided to tackle the project. "We really like it for how it thumbs its nose at the status quo — seemed like something the four of us could get behind." He went on to explain, "The film takes normal people, and desires, and challenges them, and undermines them, and co-ops them into this totally other thing. It shows that everybody is a freaking weirdo, even the so-called normal people. The more you embrace it, and acknowledge it, the better your life will be."

At their final rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, everyone involved seemed pretty excited. They've embraced the spirit of the film, laughing and joking around in the midst of attempting to get everything right, the overall mood fun and laid-back. "We're not going for re-creation, more like vulgar imitation," Murray commented at one point, prompting another round of laughs. Some songs were more worked out than others; "Time Warp" and "Sweet Transvestite" were near impeccable while the three-part "Floor Show" still needed to be tweaked, as did "I Can Make You a Man," which they were running through for the first time when I left.

The band presents the soundtrack in its entirety, from "Science Fiction/Double Feature" to "Floor Show," sans film, this Friday. Local folks who want in on the action are encouraged to dress up, grab props (toast, rubber gloves, water pistols, newspapers and the like - Creative Loafing


"Poetry n' Lotion rocks the Horror - Cover Story"

The Bay area group tackles cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Whether you love it, hate it, just don't get it, are indifferent to it, or only have a vague awareness of it, one thing you can't say about The Rocky Horror Picture Show is that you've never heard of it.

In its more than three-decade existence, the film — adapted from a British rock musical — has grown from a beloved cult classic to a bona fide phenomenon firmly entrenched in American pop culture. RHPS has inspired all manner of spoofs (including a Flash-animated Bunnies Theatre short) and tributes (last year saw a whole episode of Glee devoted to it), and has been referenced in everything from The Simpsons to That 70's Show to Cold Case. RHPS even found its way onto Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock when developer/publisher Activision released "Time Warp," "Sweet Transvestite" and "Hot Patootie - Bless My Soul" as downloadable content for the game last October.

The music is a definite selling point. Catchy hooks, provocative lyrics, plenty of one-liners made for repeating with eyebrow raised, all encased amid dynamic and rather involved musical sequences. While it doesn't carry the same shock value as it did when it debuted in 1975, RHPS still manages to titillate and entertain, no matter the age, sex or orientation of its fans.

John Nowicki is a case in point. The 30-something Zappa-influenced drummer of Poetry n' Lotion is a diehard fan and comfortable enough in his masculinity that he dressed up in Dr. Frank-N-Furter drag during a Guavaween shift at New World several years ago. So it came as no surprise when Nowicki called up his bandmates and pitched the idea of playing the soundtrack in its entirety as a pre-Halloween show with some theatrical embellishments and full-on costumes. Getting the other three guys on board was easy. "I think it's really logical that PNL do this," Nowicki told me last Saturday at their final RHPS rehearsal. "We make the most sense." It didn't hurt that trumpeter Kenny Pullin and bassist Thomas Murray were also longtime fans of the film, and though guitarist Matt E. Lee hadn't seen RHPS since high school, he was more than willing to immerse himself in its music.

Despite the fact that the prog-jazz-metal fusion four-piece is mostly instrumental in nature, vocals weren't an issue; both Nowicki and Pullin can sing. In fact, Nowicki has some pretty impressive pipes, his vocals strong, deep and resonant. Good thing, too, since he assumes lead on the majority of songs while Pullin trades in his trumpet for drum duty — except when he sings the part of Rocky Horror.

The band has invited guests to fill in the rest of the vocals and flesh out the choruses. Among them are two Jobsite Theater members intimately familiar with the film — David Jenkins, who does his best Meatloaf impression as Eddie, and Christen Petitt, who adds her higher-pitch to the mix as Columbia and Janet; both are Jacksonville natives who used to go to Rocky Horror screenings together in their youth. Also tapped was CL Online Producer and Pullin's Magadog bandmate David Russell, who makes a cameo as Dr. Scott.

RHPS traces the complete and utter obliteration of an all-American couple's pristine naiveté via the ministrations of a cross-dressing doctor with a god complex and a crew of sinister followers, but the film is really about the themes it addresses with such outrageous candor — the culture of excess, obsession, abuse of power, jealousy, loyalty, cannibalism, and human sexuality, promiscuity and ambiguity. Nowicki credits this anti-establishment ethic as the reason PNL ultimately decided to tackle the project. "We really like it for how it thumbs its nose at the status quo — seemed like something the four of us could get behind." He went on to explain, "The film takes normal people, and desires, and challenges them, and undermines them, and co-ops them into this totally other thing. It shows that everybody is a freaking weirdo, even the so-called normal people. The more you embrace it, and acknowledge it, the better your life will be."

At their final rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, everyone involved seemed pretty excited. They've embraced the spirit of the film, laughing and joking around in the midst of attempting to get everything right, the overall mood fun and laid-back. "We're not going for re-creation, more like vulgar imitation," Murray commented at one point, prompting another round of laughs. Some songs were more worked out than others; "Time Warp" and "Sweet Transvestite" were near impeccable while the three-part "Floor Show" still needed to be tweaked, as did "I Can Make You a Man," which they were running through for the first time when I left.

The band presents the soundtrack in its entirety, from "Science Fiction/Double Feature" to "Floor Show," sans film, this Friday. Local folks who want in on the action are encouraged to dress up, grab props (toast, rubber gloves, water pistols, newspapers and the like - Creative Loafing


"They're all Poets"

They're all Poets
Published 08.29.07
By Wade Tatangelo

The guys from Poetry 'n Lotion are a fun bunch who like to drink -- heavily. That's what my co-worker told me before I left the office to meet them. I figured as much, considering the band chose to be interviewed at 3 in the afternoon, on a Monday, at The Hub, downtown Tampa's most notorious dive bar. But that's not the reason -- well, not the only reason -- I decided to profile the mostly instrumental local quartet.

I had seen PNL play at New World Brewery several times, including a packed-house gig during WMNF's Tropical Heatwave. The band's distinct, highly agreeable blend of bluegrass and jam-jazz with a dollop of fusion caught my ear -- especially the choice mandolin playing of Jim Page. I was instantly sold on their fluid, innovative yet immediately recognizable interpretation of Black Sabbath's booming pacifist anthem "War Pigs," especially when juxtaposed with a snazzy rendition of Irving Berlin's timeless "Putting on the Ritz" and a few melodic, often playful, sometimes poignant, originals.

I told the guys as much after their Heatwave set, but by then we were all pretty sauced. Or maybe I approached them after a different show at New World. Honestly, I'm not sure. The PNL guys weren't, either.

Whatever the case, their live gigs and WMNF airplay resonates with others as well. PNL was one of six bands selected to perform at the station's Listener's Choice Show that took place Aug. 25 at Skipper's Smokehouse.

When I walked into The Hub that afternoon, CL photographer Shanna Gillette was seated next to the four PNL dudes. They were at the darkest corner of the bar, where a spiraling tower of liquor bottles blocks the afternoon sun pouring in through the dirty glass door.

Shanna didn't have a drink in front of her, but the band members sure did: cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a glass that looked to be half full of bourbon. There were empty plastic shot cups strewn in front of them as well. I recognized guitarist Matt E. Lee and mandolinist Page, then introduced myself to drummer John Nowicky and bassist Tom Murray.

"So, what made you guys pick this place for the interview?" I asked.

"Because it's like our living room," John said.

"We even sleep here," Jim joked.

Matt got permission from the bartender for Shanna to shoot the band "wherever you want," and it was quickly apparent that the PNL dudes are definitely tight with the staff and regulars at The Hub. Shanna led the musicians into the storage room, and I used the downtime to order a whiskey and water because, well, it wouldn't be right for me to sit there with my reporter's notebook stone sober while the musicians knocked 'em back and answered my pesky questions. Plus, being inside The Hub without even a minimal buzz is an odd and frightening experience.

I peeked into the storage room and saw Matt stuffed inside a metal shopping cart, clutching a fifth of Jack Daniels, Jim hunched over him as if to kiss to his cheek. Jim also had his arms around the shoulders of John and Tom. They were all laughing. It was clear these guys decided to form a band a few years ago for a couple of reasons: to douse the Tampa scene with a fresh blend of beer-drinking-friendly music and to have an excuse to hang out in the name of rehearsing and/or playing shows.

"Oh, this is going to be good," Shanna said as she clicked away.

She and the boys next entered The Hub's adjacent liquor store. The guys knew their way around this room, too. In fact, Tom used to work here. Jim casually walked behind the counter carrying a four-pack of Schlitz tall boys. Matt held a bottle of Alize while Tom double-fisted what appeared to be mixers. John fingered a pack of American Spirits.

The photo shoot wrapped, and we found a table near the back. Shanna asked to stick around, and I agreed. As it turned out, she probably asked the band as many questions as I did. Which worked out nicely because it's hard to interview a band while smoking, drinking and scribbling into your notebook. The only problem occurred when Matt went to the bar to order her a strawberry-flavored vodka.

"What?" asked the bartender as the regulars looked at Matt and me like we had said something bad about someone's mama.

"It's for her," Matt quickly said, pointing at Shanna.

"Oh, OK," said the bartender with a smile.

For about three hours we consumed a smorgasbord of PBR, whiskey, vodka and Red Snapper shots. We talked music, too. The PNL guys range in age from 25 to 34 and are huge fans of everything from John Coltrane to Metallica. More impressive, they knew bluegrass legends like The Stanley Brothers and such country blues greats as Mississippi John Hurt, whom Jim recognized immediately when one of his songs came on the jukebox.

"We feel it's important to know the history of music and really know how to play your instruments," Matt said, "before you start to weird things up with effects pedals or odd covers or - Creative Loafing


"They're all Poets"

They're all Poets
Published 08.29.07
By Wade Tatangelo

The guys from Poetry 'n Lotion are a fun bunch who like to drink -- heavily. That's what my co-worker told me before I left the office to meet them. I figured as much, considering the band chose to be interviewed at 3 in the afternoon, on a Monday, at The Hub, downtown Tampa's most notorious dive bar. But that's not the reason -- well, not the only reason -- I decided to profile the mostly instrumental local quartet.

I had seen PNL play at New World Brewery several times, including a packed-house gig during WMNF's Tropical Heatwave. The band's distinct, highly agreeable blend of bluegrass and jam-jazz with a dollop of fusion caught my ear -- especially the choice mandolin playing of Jim Page. I was instantly sold on their fluid, innovative yet immediately recognizable interpretation of Black Sabbath's booming pacifist anthem "War Pigs," especially when juxtaposed with a snazzy rendition of Irving Berlin's timeless "Putting on the Ritz" and a few melodic, often playful, sometimes poignant, originals.

I told the guys as much after their Heatwave set, but by then we were all pretty sauced. Or maybe I approached them after a different show at New World. Honestly, I'm not sure. The PNL guys weren't, either.

Whatever the case, their live gigs and WMNF airplay resonates with others as well. PNL was one of six bands selected to perform at the station's Listener's Choice Show that took place Aug. 25 at Skipper's Smokehouse.

When I walked into The Hub that afternoon, CL photographer Shanna Gillette was seated next to the four PNL dudes. They were at the darkest corner of the bar, where a spiraling tower of liquor bottles blocks the afternoon sun pouring in through the dirty glass door.

Shanna didn't have a drink in front of her, but the band members sure did: cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a glass that looked to be half full of bourbon. There were empty plastic shot cups strewn in front of them as well. I recognized guitarist Matt E. Lee and mandolinist Page, then introduced myself to drummer John Nowicky and bassist Tom Murray.

"So, what made you guys pick this place for the interview?" I asked.

"Because it's like our living room," John said.

"We even sleep here," Jim joked.

Matt got permission from the bartender for Shanna to shoot the band "wherever you want," and it was quickly apparent that the PNL dudes are definitely tight with the staff and regulars at The Hub. Shanna led the musicians into the storage room, and I used the downtime to order a whiskey and water because, well, it wouldn't be right for me to sit there with my reporter's notebook stone sober while the musicians knocked 'em back and answered my pesky questions. Plus, being inside The Hub without even a minimal buzz is an odd and frightening experience.

I peeked into the storage room and saw Matt stuffed inside a metal shopping cart, clutching a fifth of Jack Daniels, Jim hunched over him as if to kiss to his cheek. Jim also had his arms around the shoulders of John and Tom. They were all laughing. It was clear these guys decided to form a band a few years ago for a couple of reasons: to douse the Tampa scene with a fresh blend of beer-drinking-friendly music and to have an excuse to hang out in the name of rehearsing and/or playing shows.

"Oh, this is going to be good," Shanna said as she clicked away.

She and the boys next entered The Hub's adjacent liquor store. The guys knew their way around this room, too. In fact, Tom used to work here. Jim casually walked behind the counter carrying a four-pack of Schlitz tall boys. Matt held a bottle of Alize while Tom double-fisted what appeared to be mixers. John fingered a pack of American Spirits.

The photo shoot wrapped, and we found a table near the back. Shanna asked to stick around, and I agreed. As it turned out, she probably asked the band as many questions as I did. Which worked out nicely because it's hard to interview a band while smoking, drinking and scribbling into your notebook. The only problem occurred when Matt went to the bar to order her a strawberry-flavored vodka.

"What?" asked the bartender as the regulars looked at Matt and me like we had said something bad about someone's mama.

"It's for her," Matt quickly said, pointing at Shanna.

"Oh, OK," said the bartender with a smile.

For about three hours we consumed a smorgasbord of PBR, whiskey, vodka and Red Snapper shots. We talked music, too. The PNL guys range in age from 25 to 34 and are huge fans of everything from John Coltrane to Metallica. More impressive, they knew bluegrass legends like The Stanley Brothers and such country blues greats as Mississippi John Hurt, whom Jim recognized immediately when one of his songs came on the jukebox.

"We feel it's important to know the history of music and really know how to play your instruments," Matt said, "before you start to weird things up with effects pedals or odd covers or - Creative Loafing


"Meet the Band: Poetry 'n Lotion "A look at a band with local ties.""

THE BAND: John Nowicki, drums; Thomas Murray, upright bass; Jim Page, mandolin; James Rogers, keyboards; and Matt E. Lee, guitar.

MIXED BAG O' STYLES: You wouldn't normally associate the words fusion or free form with old-fashioned or rustic, but that's the charm of Poetry N' Lotion. The songs can include anything from rock to modern jazz to metal and still sound like they're cranked on a Victrola.

Murray: "The instrumentation may be associated with bluegrass, but I think where we bring this from is old school, '20s and '30s jazz. . . . There's an emphasis on taking louder forms of music and putting it to an acoustic format."

IN THE BEGINNING: Founding members Page, Lee and Murray had been in the bluegrass act River Cove Ramblers and branched out to do their own thing. They played their first gig at a commitment ceremony in Tampa in 2004. The current lineup formed last summer.

Nowicki joined during a gig at New World Brewery in Ybor City. "I basically got off work, and they had already played a set, and asked them to delay their next set so I could play with them," Nowicki says. "I ran to Davis Islands and got my drums. I had no idea what these guys were playing. They're like, 'We're playing this Tears for Fears song.' And I said, 'All right.' "

Lee: "We played Everybody Wants to Rule the World!"

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: "We're all really great singers," Page says. "We just don't have vocals."

Lee: "Musically, we play an instrumental song, and either Jimmy or somebody else will play the vocal line on his instrument."

Jim: "Vocals but no voice."

MIXED BAG O' TUNES: "We cover Ozzy mixed with Dave Brubeck, Taco mixed with Django Reinhardt," Page says.

Rogers: "Peter Cetera."

Lee: "When we play a cover, it's really obvious that we want to make it our own. We played for the first time Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, which we all love, and John did this totally different drum part. It sounded completely different. A lot of people didn't get it."

BOOB TUBE INSPIRATION: "We play the theme from Knight Rider," Lee says. "We do a lot of TV show themes. We do the theme from M*A*S*H."

CHECK 'EM OUT: At 10 p.m. Friday with Mike Tozier, Yeoman's Road Pub, 236 E Davis Blvd., Tampa. $5. - St. Pete Times


"Meet the Band: Poetry 'n Lotion "A look at a band with local ties.""

THE BAND: John Nowicki, drums; Thomas Murray, upright bass; Jim Page, mandolin; James Rogers, keyboards; and Matt E. Lee, guitar.

MIXED BAG O' STYLES: You wouldn't normally associate the words fusion or free form with old-fashioned or rustic, but that's the charm of Poetry N' Lotion. The songs can include anything from rock to modern jazz to metal and still sound like they're cranked on a Victrola.

Murray: "The instrumentation may be associated with bluegrass, but I think where we bring this from is old school, '20s and '30s jazz. . . . There's an emphasis on taking louder forms of music and putting it to an acoustic format."

IN THE BEGINNING: Founding members Page, Lee and Murray had been in the bluegrass act River Cove Ramblers and branched out to do their own thing. They played their first gig at a commitment ceremony in Tampa in 2004. The current lineup formed last summer.

Nowicki joined during a gig at New World Brewery in Ybor City. "I basically got off work, and they had already played a set, and asked them to delay their next set so I could play with them," Nowicki says. "I ran to Davis Islands and got my drums. I had no idea what these guys were playing. They're like, 'We're playing this Tears for Fears song.' And I said, 'All right.' "

Lee: "We played Everybody Wants to Rule the World!"

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: "We're all really great singers," Page says. "We just don't have vocals."

Lee: "Musically, we play an instrumental song, and either Jimmy or somebody else will play the vocal line on his instrument."

Jim: "Vocals but no voice."

MIXED BAG O' TUNES: "We cover Ozzy mixed with Dave Brubeck, Taco mixed with Django Reinhardt," Page says.

Rogers: "Peter Cetera."

Lee: "When we play a cover, it's really obvious that we want to make it our own. We played for the first time Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division, which we all love, and John did this totally different drum part. It sounded completely different. A lot of people didn't get it."

BOOB TUBE INSPIRATION: "We play the theme from Knight Rider," Lee says. "We do a lot of TV show themes. We do the theme from M*A*S*H."

CHECK 'EM OUT: At 10 p.m. Friday with Mike Tozier, Yeoman's Road Pub, 236 E Davis Blvd., Tampa. $5. - St. Pete Times


"What Goes On - Episode 18 - Poetry 'n Lotion (Podcast)"

Tampa Tribune pop music critic Curtis Ross visits with members of the local instrumental combo Poetry 'n Lotion.

Drummer John Nowicki had to work, but mandolin player Jim Page, guitarist Matt E. Lee and bassist Tom Murray talk about the origin of their unusual moniker, the booze-soaked history of "Kentucky Monkey" (their debut CD, which can be purchased online at CD Baby), Matt's birthday bash and how badly they could use a drink.

Oh, and they also perform an acoustic version of an old jazz tune by Django Reinhart and Stéphane Grappelli, which somehow morphs into '80s curio "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Taco.

In honor of Matt's birthday, P 'n L will play Friday, July 2, at Crowbar in Tampa. - Tampa Tribune / TBO.com


"CD review/Show preview: Poetry n’ Lotion, Kentucky Monkey, which is debuted this Friday at New World"

In the three years since Poetry n’ Lotion first started performing around the Bay area, the instrumental foursome has evolved their old-meets-new brand of acoustic jazz and bluegrass into a plugged-in sound that incorporates elements of hard, psychedelic and progressive rock, roots reggae, samba, gypsy jazz, ragtime, and even Irish folk music.

monkeyHaving carved out a tidy niche for themselves in the local live scene, the members of PNL are finally prepared to prove their capabilities in the studio with their debut recording, Kentucky Monkey. [Album art by AZBA, Alexis Ziritt of Calavera Comics and S. Bradley Askew aka Smile Maker].

I got some background on the album from guitarist/occasional keyboardist Matt E. Lee.

The band credits Kentucky Monkey’s high production quality to Owen Meats and Dillon Griffiths of Short Circuit Studio. The album was recorded with their help in a mere two days and on the first, mandolin player Jim Page was so sick he had to bow out. So Lee, bassist Tom Murray, and drummer John Nowicki focused on finishing all the rhythms. Nowicki arrived prepared and laid down his beats with such proficiency that most of his parts on the album are first takes — no small feat. The rest was recorded the following day with all four members present, and instrumental texture was added a little later. When the foursome was finally happy with it, SCS stepped in to mix and master the recording.

The seven-track album encompasses the band’s core suite of originals. While the familiar songs get the studio treatment, they don’t lose their PNL appeal — a clear and present playfulness in approach and execution paired with undeniable musicianship and a tendency to shift rhythms and jump between genres within a single song.

“Serpenstance” opens the suite with insistent, fast-paced rhythms easing in and out of a driving groove with wah-wah guitar, piano, mandolin and fatty basslines riding and intertwining over top. The mandolin solos in “Jugglers Despair” give the rousing jazz-flavored number an antique carnivale feel, but then a surf rockin’ guitar and roiling drumbeat with a one-two crash of cymbals brings the tune back to the now. A loose, percussion-infused samba beat, bleats of organ and a catchy little mandolin riff introduces “Underdose,” which morphs into a heel-kicking bluegrass hoedown only to stray back to the easy hip-shaking beat. “Lotion Rag” incorporates Django-style ragtime complete with jaunty kazoo and banjo, music that might accompany a golden era silent film if it was a comedy. The dark and menacing-slow “Crucial Taunt” is heavy fuzzed-out rock n’ roll, the mean distortion of guitar contrasting against the sharp and sweet mandolin notes, drums and bass building the drama with heaving pulsing crescendos. “Sweet Relish” has a Latin jazz feel with wah-wah guitar giving it a funky little strut. The album closes with fan favorite, “Skinsuit,” a high-kicking roots stomper that dives in and out of a swaying reggae break. “Skinsuit” is the first song PNL ever wrote as a group and serves as an appropriate way to close a solid piece of work.

Kentucky Monkey got its name from a shot created during a slow weeknight at The Hub several years back by bartender/local musician Brian Katz, who was challenged to make a “manly” drink by pre-PNLers Page and Lee. Katz presented them with a special concoction he called a “Kentucky Monkey” — made up of 90 percent Kentucky Gentleman bourbon whiskey, 10 percent banana liquor. Several shouts of “more monkey!” later, the two were drunk on bourbon and sugar, realizing the next day that it goes down easy, but leaves a raging headache in its wake. Kentucky Monkeys are now reserved for special occasions only, and the album, the most special occasion of all, has been crowned with the Kentucky Monkey title. - Creative Loafing


"CD review/Show preview: Poetry n’ Lotion, Kentucky Monkey, which is debuted this Friday at New World"

In the three years since Poetry n’ Lotion first started performing around the Bay area, the instrumental foursome has evolved their old-meets-new brand of acoustic jazz and bluegrass into a plugged-in sound that incorporates elements of hard, psychedelic and progressive rock, roots reggae, samba, gypsy jazz, ragtime, and even Irish folk music.

monkeyHaving carved out a tidy niche for themselves in the local live scene, the members of PNL are finally prepared to prove their capabilities in the studio with their debut recording, Kentucky Monkey. [Album art by AZBA, Alexis Ziritt of Calavera Comics and S. Bradley Askew aka Smile Maker].

I got some background on the album from guitarist/occasional keyboardist Matt E. Lee.

The band credits Kentucky Monkey’s high production quality to Owen Meats and Dillon Griffiths of Short Circuit Studio. The album was recorded with their help in a mere two days and on the first, mandolin player Jim Page was so sick he had to bow out. So Lee, bassist Tom Murray, and drummer John Nowicki focused on finishing all the rhythms. Nowicki arrived prepared and laid down his beats with such proficiency that most of his parts on the album are first takes — no small feat. The rest was recorded the following day with all four members present, and instrumental texture was added a little later. When the foursome was finally happy with it, SCS stepped in to mix and master the recording.

The seven-track album encompasses the band’s core suite of originals. While the familiar songs get the studio treatment, they don’t lose their PNL appeal — a clear and present playfulness in approach and execution paired with undeniable musicianship and a tendency to shift rhythms and jump between genres within a single song.

“Serpenstance” opens the suite with insistent, fast-paced rhythms easing in and out of a driving groove with wah-wah guitar, piano, mandolin and fatty basslines riding and intertwining over top. The mandolin solos in “Jugglers Despair” give the rousing jazz-flavored number an antique carnivale feel, but then a surf rockin’ guitar and roiling drumbeat with a one-two crash of cymbals brings the tune back to the now. A loose, percussion-infused samba beat, bleats of organ and a catchy little mandolin riff introduces “Underdose,” which morphs into a heel-kicking bluegrass hoedown only to stray back to the easy hip-shaking beat. “Lotion Rag” incorporates Django-style ragtime complete with jaunty kazoo and banjo, music that might accompany a golden era silent film if it was a comedy. The dark and menacing-slow “Crucial Taunt” is heavy fuzzed-out rock n’ roll, the mean distortion of guitar contrasting against the sharp and sweet mandolin notes, drums and bass building the drama with heaving pulsing crescendos. “Sweet Relish” has a Latin jazz feel with wah-wah guitar giving it a funky little strut. The album closes with fan favorite, “Skinsuit,” a high-kicking roots stomper that dives in and out of a swaying reggae break. “Skinsuit” is the first song PNL ever wrote as a group and serves as an appropriate way to close a solid piece of work.

Kentucky Monkey got its name from a shot created during a slow weeknight at The Hub several years back by bartender/local musician Brian Katz, who was challenged to make a “manly” drink by pre-PNLers Page and Lee. Katz presented them with a special concoction he called a “Kentucky Monkey” — made up of 90 percent Kentucky Gentleman bourbon whiskey, 10 percent banana liquor. Several shouts of “more monkey!” later, the two were drunk on bourbon and sugar, realizing the next day that it goes down easy, but leaves a raging headache in its wake. Kentucky Monkeys are now reserved for special occasions only, and the album, the most special occasion of all, has been crowned with the Kentucky Monkey title. - Creative Loafing


"Best Fusionists - Poetry 'n Lotion"

The heavy drive of metal, the old-timey bounciness of swing jazz and groovin’ slinkiness of funk jazz, the organic backporch feel of roots, the swagger of ’70s prog rock, the easy-going sway of reggae – all these elements and more are thrown into the fusion fabulous sound of Poetry n’ Lotion, a mostly instrumental fourpiece that includes mandolin player Jim Page, guitarist Matt E. Lee, bassist Tom Murray and drummer John Nowicki. Whether they’re playing original tunes like the lively party closer, “Skinsuit,” performing lively renditions of the Knight Rider or MASH themes, re-interpreting the music of anyone from Mungo Jerry to Dusty Springfield, or pairing together songs – like their Pink Floyd “Fearless-Mother” combo and a mash up of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” – PNL fuses all the right elements with seeming ease. - Creative Loafing


Discography

Kentucky Monkey (2010)
Electric Acres - (Fall 2012)

Photos

Bio

Poetry 'n Lotion (PnL) is horn infused instrumental rock music from of Tampa, FL. "The sextet embracing an even cheekier and more Zappa/Ween-esque kitchen sink attitude in their songwriting, a fuller instrumental presence with all kinds of added keyboards and percussive textures, and a generally tighter, brighter sound overall." - Leilani Polk, Creative Loafing

With 2 albums under their belt, tons of shows and nearly a decade of playing together...the band is hard at work writing new material and performing live in and around the Southeast.  What began as a whiskey-swilling acoustic trio has now evolved into a no-nonsense brass attack of progressive instrumentalism. 

In 2015 Brian Deeds joined the band on guitar rounding out the lineup which currently consists of Kenny Pullin on trumpet, Alex Fedele on trombone/percussion, Matt E. Lee on guitar and lasers, Thomas Murray on bass and John Nowicki on drums. PnL played an official SxSW showcase in 2011 and has won several CL Best of the Bay awards, most recently "Best Album" for their last LP 'Electric Acres' in 2014. 

Band Members