Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Getting Heavy With The Heavy Pets

In our July/August issue, we mentioned South Florida’s jam band The Heavy Pets as an act to keep on your radar.

Right now, Jeff Lloyd (guitars/vocals), Mike Garulli (guitars/vocals), Justin Carney (bass/vocals), Jamie Newitt (drums/vocals) and Jim Wuest (keys/vocals) are currently on tour, tearing up stages across the United States with their 2010 self-titled album.

Lloyd was kind enough to take some time on his day off to speak to Boca Ratonmagazine about the band’s tour, their first time collaborating with a producer, and two new albums that are already in the works.

BRM: How is this leg of your tour going?

LLOYD: The band is real hot right now. We are really throwing down. We are really in the swing of things. We had a great run up north– great shows in Philadelphia and New York. It is really exciting, we are all really feeling it right now. Everybody in the band is happy and we are all feeling pretty ambitious right now…It’s really good for band morale I guess, to have so much work and so much going on.

BRM: The first time I saw you live it was in a field off of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. You are able to pack small venues like the Old School Square amphitheater, as well as larger venues like Bonnaroo. What kind of shows do you prefer to play?

LLOYD: My favorite kind of show to play is one with a really happening crowd– when we have a room full of people, or a field full of people, that are really feeling it. That brings out the best in us. We play all different kinds of shows, obviously. Our favorite kind of shows to play are just when our fans are there.

BRM: What do you have to bring with you while on tour?

LLOYD: My guitar. (Laughs)

My electric toothbrush– I can’t be anywhere without it. A good book. A good book is very necessary for unwinding in the van. I have to have my cell phone, obviously. It’s my connection to the world, because I don’t see a lot of people that I love and care very dearly about.

BRM: Are you reading anything good now?

LLOYD: I am reading something good right now! I’m reading Roald Dahl’s “Going Solo”. It’s a very interesting piece.

BRM: You have received a great deal of positive press on your most recent release. What are you most proud about on your self-titled album? What is your favorite track?

LLOYD: That’s a good question. There’s a track that didn’t get included on that record. It was recorded at the same time. It’s called “Lantern“…I think that track was a big step forward for us. That album was our first time working with a producer. Every record I’ve made in my entire career, leading up to it, was self-produced. I’m really glad the way the band adapted to this new setting and this new scenario. [We] made a record that’s very different from anything we’ve ever done before, very different from what we do live….I think we made a real kickass record in a totally new fashion for us.

BRM: Do you think you will work with producers in the future, or return to self-producing your own albums?

LLOYD: Well, I think we will do both– a lot of self-produced records, as well as working with producers.

Right now, we are working out of our studio in Delray Beach. We are working on a self-produced record, another behemoth of an album, much like our first release, ‘Whale’, which was a 28 track piece. We’ve begun recording 23 different songs right now in our own studio. We are working pretty much 24-hours a day on that thing whenever we’re home. It’s very, very exciting. It’s really fun to kind of get back in there. There’s no time limits. We’re not going against the clock.

But even before that record gets released we are going to be dropping another album this fall. Another record recorded with the same producer as the last album…There’s no electric guitar on the album. That’s the only different between [the upcoming release] and the other record. It’s really a well conceived piece that we are incredibly excited about. We are going to have some cool special guests on the record, like David Grisman and Shana Morrison, Van Morrison’s daughter.

BRM: Do you ever stop moving?

LLOYD: No, I’m pacing right now actually. (Laughs)

BRM: Which comes first in your song writing process– lyrics or the harmony?

LLOYD: It really differs from song to song. Sometimes you’ll come up with a lyric and you’ll say…I really think this can reach people, I’m going to build a whole song around it right now, just so I get to say this. That definitely happens. But more often, we come up with some kind of musical theme and that’s kind of the inspiration behind writing the rest of it.

BRM: I know that everyone in your band contributes to the song writing process. When you do write your best music?

LLOYD: Very late at night for a couple of reasons. I’m a night owl, but also after everybody else goes to bed, that’s when my phone stops ringing, that’s when I can really start to focus on everything else. I’ve gotten a bunch of inspiration from all the events that have happened earlier in the day…That’s when I write my best work. That’s when I write almost all of my stuff, and usually I scramble to complete the piece before the sun comes up.

BRM: Do The Heavy Pets still practice and rehearse, or do you just play at will?

LLOYD: Absolutely, we practice all the time. We tighten up songs that we’ve been playing for years. We make lists when we’re touring. When we are playing a bunch of shows, we make lists of stuff we can improve, and when we get back to the studio we work on those songs, tighten them up. Also we work on new material.

We really try to find that balance, work to find that balance, between practicing and getting other work done, like recording the self-produced album I was telling you about. That’s certainly taken up a whole lot of our time, but everyone in the band has done a really good job of keeping up their chops separately, and then when we get together– it’s on.

BRM: What is your favorite part about being in a band?

LLOYD: That I get to play music. That I get to play my own music and do it my own way. It’s a very freeing feeling and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Check out The Heavy Pets when they stop back in Boca Raton on August 5, 2011, at 10:00 p.m., at The Funky Buddha.

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