Frank Bridges, bassist in shoegaze band San Tropez, discusses the band’s January album “Maybe Tomorrow” on Mint 400 Records, talks about some of his older bands from the 90s like Duochrome, kiaro skuro and Frito-Lay, and does a deep dive into New Brunswick’s vinyl record scene of old, on a phone call with music reporter Bennett Kelly. A Rutgers professor, Frank was in between grading papers and laundry loads before heading to a Hair Magic show at Pino’s in Highland Park. This was the only interview conducted before June, in March ahead of Record Store Day.
Bennett Kelly: First up, I want to ask about Cheap Thrills because that seems to be the main record store from 25 years ago or so. What years did you work there, and what tasks were you responsible for?
Frank Bridges: That’s a good question. I must have worked there. I mean, I can get back to you with a more dialed-in date, but it must have been like ‘92, ‘93 time zone. And I had been going there just as a record store. It’s definitely the, well if you take away Sam Goody, which used to be towards the bottom of the hill before the train tracks on Easton, I think Hidden Grounds is there in a restaurant maybe in that space. But before that, Cheap Thrills was the biggest store, and I went there since I was in bands and I did Well Primed Records [Bridges’ record label] from ‘90 to ‘95. I had stuff on consignment there. Oh, my God. I’m blanking on his name. The owner’s name there.
BK: Vinny maybe?
FB: No, I can get it for you. He was a character.
BK: Oh I have it. Ed Zinis.
FB: Yes. He passed away from some, I don’t know if it was necessarily Alzheimer’s, but something with mental dementia for the elderly, which is just crazy, because I just picture him from when I knew him. I had been involved with the store, like I said, just selling stuff, going there, putting up flyers. That’s what you do. Back in the day, you had a board there. And as long as you behaved yourself of not covering everybody over and either took your flyers down or was cool with others taking them down after the event. There’s a bulletin board there, and you always wanted your flyer there. Because clearly people who are buying music are into music and would go see music.
And then I knew people there, and then my girlfriend at the time was working there, and I would just come by on Saturdays and hang out, not be in the way, but just lend a hand with anything or whatever was going on. And finally he’s like, You’re here all the time, why don’t I pay you? And you just walk around the store and look for thievery because that was a big thing. People would take a handful of records, twelve-inch records, and put them down their pants and walk out of the store and stuff. It was just crazy. They had a lot of theft to deal with.
I did that for probably, I don’t know, I don’t even think it was really a year. And then, somewhat ironically, at that time Jen Rector, the singer for Hair Magic, she worked there as well, too. A friend of mine, Sandor [Kekesi], worked there. He did Model Rocket Records, and he was in the band Bubble Gum Thunder. So, yeah, it was just basically, this rambly statement, a little scene within itself. It was like you wanted to work at the record store. It was a real good record store, but if you were into music or even a musician, you’d still be going there anyway. It was just always a stop off.
And they sold concert tickets, which was crazy back in the day. You would line up outside and they had a door because the building was on a corner, so there was a side entrance, and you would line up outside for whatever show was going to happen, and then buy tickets. That way, you could buy them in the store, but if it was like a big concert and they were just like, tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. on Saturday, they would do it that way. So that was another reason you would go to Cheap Thrills, is buying concert tickets. Yeah, radically different than what we’ve got nowadays as far as record stores. So that’s how I was involved.
Now to that point. There were other record stores. There was a video store. It was on Easton. Captain Video. So there was Captain Video, which was run by Ethan Stein, and then there was a woman I’m blanking on it, Louise [Judy Mallen], who ran Music in a Different Kitchen. It was all in the same, it was a teeny store. You go down like, a half flight of stairs. It was like the equivalent of a basement, basically, that you access from the front of the building. I think that building had a fire. It might have even been knocked out at this point. So they shared that space. And she dealt with imports. That was the crazy thing. Like, you could go get usually like UK kind of stuff, singles, EPs, stuff that was harder to get in the United States.
And then she kind of was ready to get out. And it was my understanding somebody else ran it before her, but she was like, just kind of done with it. And then Ethan Stein ran both of those for a while and then unfortunately committed suicide. And then they both just faded. Nobody ran them. At that time, there was another record store up on French Street. It was basically an old diner, one of those diners that would be delivered on a truck. It’s like a long rectangle. This kooky old guy. I think I was in it maybe once. He was getting older, so it wasn’t always open all the time.
BK: That one was called All Ears Records.
FB: Yeah, I think that was it. Yeah. And if you look online, there’s some articles on it. Some people interviewed him. He was just like this encyclopedia of music. And he was also really curmudgeonly [laughs], like sometimes he wouldn’t want to sell this stuff in his store. No, I don’t want to sell that. Some days he wouldn’t want to sell it. So he was just a full on character.
One of the guys from The Smithereens had a record shop, or co-ran a record shop, kind of where Spina [Records] is, but on the other side of the street.
BK: That was Flamin’ Groovies.
BK: That became Captain Video.
FB: Okay. And then there was also another store. I almost thought it was on Church Street, too. It wasn’t around long. It was a second store. I think it was from the record store in Hoboken. Opened up a small store.
BK: Oh, Tunes?
FB: It might have been Tunes.
BK: There was a Tunes on George right around 2001.
FB: Yeah, I think the parking deck that’s there now wasn’t there, because I can’t really picture it. I think it was kind of across from the Court Tavern, but I think it was a building there or something. It wasn’t there very long, but it was another place to get music.
And then Cheap Thrills, basically, when vinyl had decreased so low, they closed the store on George and opened up a small one on Somerset. And it only carried CDs and basically just like top selling college rock CDs, like college play and some mainstream stuff, too. But yeah, it sounds like you got it covered then. But at one point there were, I don’t know, three, four, five record stores. All kind of doing different things. Different, but similar. A little actually, probably more different, I guess.
BK: Do you remember Bobby Albert’s record store? The reggae one?
FB: Oh, yeah! Auntie I’s reggae shop. Yes. We had a PSA that we would do, or an underwriting statement on WRSU when I was in college, “Auntie I’s Reggae Shop!” It had limited hours. But yeah, when you went into the main door at the Court, it was right it was to the left. There was like a little room there. I think later on they made it into a game room or something.
BK: Yeah, pool table for a bit.
FB: Yeah, I was in there a time or two. But, yeah, straight up, all reggae. There used to be some dudes like, playing dominoes inside. So it was definitely like, again, just a spot for another type of music scene. The reggae music scene. And then there was the guy that did the show on RSU. He was kind of all tied to it.
BK: I think Bobby filled in for him once or twice. I’ve heard tapes.
FB: Yeah, maybe it was Auntie I. Maybe it was the same dude. I’m totally blanking. And there was a reggae, like a newspaper magazine called Dub Catcher or, The Dub Catcher. And that was happening at the same time too. It’s just crazy. I mean, clearly there’s so much going on online but, like, physically, things you could touch and go to there was just so much more going on.
BK: So for Cheap Thrills, I mean, they were basically 1975 to 2000. That’s a good run. And it just kind of faded with how the industry was changing going into streaming and MP3s and stuff, competition?
FB: Yeah. So they were loosely tied with a distributor. There was a distributor in town called Performance Records. And I think they had, they had the rights to some weird albums. One of them was like the Charles Manson record. So they weren’t just a distributor. I think they produced some things somehow. They were tied with Cheap Thrills. I don’t know if there was, like, some sort of co-ownership or one way or the other but their main focus was vinyl. They had some CDs, but yeah, I think as vinyl was deteriorating as online was kind of coming on.
And the scene was kind of withering too, you know, the Melody lost its lease. The Roxy lost its lease. I think the Bowl o Drome didn’t last very long. But these places were kind of just kind of going away. It was like a perfect storm of type things. Rutgers stopped having so many shows on Rutgers campus, because it used to be there was a concert organization for each campus even. And they would bring in national acts. They would have local bands open up or area bands open up.
There was just such a scene and so many aspects of the scene and each one started to kind of deteriorate and then it just all basically ended up to the basement scene. And the Court opened here and there basically for a period.
BK: What was the story with Sam Goody? That’s a big chain that came into town and just kind of, they could lower prices and be corporate and all that?
FB: Yeah. So that whole block used to be basically homes that turned into businesses over the years. That hill is really steep, so the buildings were kind of staggered in a way. Like, if you looked at them, Skinny Vinny’s – Greasy Tony’s, rather, was up at the corner of Somerset and Easton. And then there were some businesses on the first floor with homes, basically, or apartments above. There was like an old stereo store that you would go to to get your stereo fixed or to buy new stuff, a couple of other things. And then they knocked it all down for that college dorm that’s there and then all the business fronts. So they needed high-end, money-making places in there, and Sam Goody was one of them.
And man, Cheap Thrills put up a fight. And I think they won. I mean, I would say Sam Goody ended up leaving town. I helped design a T-shirt. SST Records has Corporate Rock Sucks, that was like their whole slogan. I think we made stickers. I know we made T-shirts because I helped put that together. “Corporate rock stores suck.” I think that’s what it was. Corporate rock stores suck. And then we called it Scam Goody as well, too. I don’t know.
They weren’t there that long, and Cheap Thrills was left standing when they left. So I would say that was a battle that was won. And I’m sure that Sam Goody was trying to appeal to college kids and stuff by being there, but not all college kids necessarily went to Easton Avenue. And I don’t know, maybe college kids who are out and about are more than likely to go to Cheap Thrills. I mean, definitely they had a wider variety, a wider range of stuff, even though it was smaller, like a wider range of things.
BK: I recently read Matt Pinfield’s book from 2016.
FB: Yeah, I’m looking. Where is it? Yeah, it’s on my shelf here. There it is. Yes.
BK: It was really good. He said, Cheap Thrills will get the most imports.
FB: Yeah, exactly. I think because of its size, it wasn’t as big as Vintage Vinyl on Route 1. It was kind of maybe close in size. It was definitely smaller, but more like Princeton Record Exchange size. And they got a lot of imports, and they were really active in getting their music. I think that was really important. I’m sure most stores that size were these more mom and pop shops. So, yeah, they would bring in imports. They would bring in the local stuff. They just had really good taste. They got a ton of promo things, and it was kind of, I guess it could kind of be said that stores aren’t really supposed to sell promotional stuff, but at the same time, record companies know they are. I don’t know, if it was some sort of, like, gothic doom band, they might make it like a coffin CD holder or something and send it out to stores because they know stores would know people who would be into that stuff, or they would put it on display or whatever.
Cheap Thrills was a really well known store, so they got a ton of that. They had this secret catalog that they made back again, this wasn’t online. And they would sell these promo items, which are very rare, especially for certain things. And that was the whole side business they had too, and people knew about it. So they were like, Oh man, I want to get a hold of the catalog, what kind of crazy promo stuff do you have? And again, blogs, websites, they’re not getting promo stuff nowadays. Promo game is probably not that strong, I would think.
BK: And do you remember about 2008, the Mack Diner one, which is All Ears Records, that it ended because of a big heroin bust for the owner?
FB: I remember hearing something about that, but I’m not 100% sure. I think since the guy was so peculiar, curmudgeonly and whatnot, there were definitely stories that swirled around. I mean, he’s in an old diner. It’s packed with records, but he didn’t get new records. They were all used and old, as far as I know. Like I said, I think I was only ever in there once because it was usually closed. So I don’t know if I necessarily want to comment on a heroin bust. I think I do remember seeing that. So if you can find it in the news, then, yeah, you can cite that, don’t cite me. But I do remember hearing some peculiar things about what was going on there.
BK: Yeah, there’s some news articles about it. But apparently there were fish tanks in the store. Do you recall that?
FB: No, I don’t. But, I mean, there could be. It was just kind of weird, but it just wasn’t like a regular record place. It was like going into a pawn shop or a weird consignment thrift store kind of place, from what I remember. But, yeah, I was only in there once or twice from what I can remember.
BK: And then Spina Records arrived in 2014. They’ve been doing well. Do you ever go there?
FB: Yeah, and actually, my girlfriend’s daughter, her teacher was, Mr. Spina’s wife is a teacher, and my daughter had her years ago, like, for elementary school or kindergarten or something. My girlfriend knows them, and we’ve been there a couple of times. I mean, I probably should be going there more. I haven’t been getting out as much as I would like to, probably, even though New Brunswick is just literally across the river here, and I like what they’re doing. And then, actually, my friend Jen Rector, the lead singer, guitarist of Hair Magic who worked at Cheap Thrills, her daughter, I think, was working there for a little bit. Which was like this crazy, full circle, you know, our children are working in these these kind of places. So it’s cool to have.
And I teach at Rutgers, I teach a class called Musical Cultures and Industries. And I’m always asking students, Hey, who’s buying physical stuff? Where are you getting it? They’re like, Spina Records up on Easton. I’ve been there before. It’s really cool. It’s good to hear that. Yeah, they definitely have a place within the scene and within the space of New Brunswick.
BK: Here’s my last vinyl record question, and it’s two parts, easy ones. One is, do you own a record player yourself?
FB: Yeah, it’s funny you should mention that. Between my girlfriend and I, we have two old record players and two old receivers, and they all need to be taken to the shop for work. We kind of have a slightly working system, but it’s got some issues, so yeah, I definitely do have those.
BK: You gotta take them to Revilla [Grooves & Gear] in Milltown.
FB: Yes, that’s exactly, and you know what? I’ve got such an issue of getting things done. I contacted them about a year ago, and they were, like, really backed up. And they referred me to this other guy. Then that guy couldn’t get to them for, like, two months. And then I just never followed up. So I’m like, f—, I got to start following up. I got to get these things fixed. But, yes, Revilla is super cool, too. Yeah.
BK: And I’m asking this question to a bunch of people in New Brunswick, and the question is, if you had to whittle your record collection down to one record, what would it be?
FB: [Laughs] Wow, that’s a tough one. That’s a tough one because I had a pretty okay size collection of vinyl, and then I got rid of it, which was a huge regret, and I kind of felt that as I was doing it. So I have some, certain things that I kept and certain things that I’ve been getting over the years.
BK: If you want to think about it, you can email me.
FB: No, I think I have an idea. I just want to frame it so I don’t sound too pretentious, but it would definitely have to be the Duochrome record I did that has, I think it was a split seven-inch. Yeah, it was a split seven-inch on Well Primed Records, with Duochrome and then our buddy Norm’s band. I think they went by the name Yellow Number Five. And the song that’s on there, “Formica,” is like the first song that Duochrome did. And I still like that song so much. It was just a really good song. And I don’t know if it was necessarily our best song ever. I mean, we’ve made dozens and dozens of songs, but it was really good.
Everything really worked for that seven inch. Our recording came out good. Our buddy Norm’s recording was good. Love the artwork on it. There’s a lot of things that I would have done differently on different releases or things I was part of, but that worked out perfectly. So I’m proud of it, I guess, and that I was part of making that.
BK: Nice. All right. Good answer.
FB: Yeah, I think that might be, it’s probably on YouTube or something. Some of our stuff has been popping up, I’ve noticed.
BK: I’ll try to track it down.
BK: All right, cool. So we’re at 24 minutes, but I got some San Tropez questions for you if you’re ready.
FB: You know what, perfect segue, because we are going to be playing Stosh’s on Record Store Day. Stosh’s. I think they’re in Fair Lawn. They’ve been doing cool indie rock shows, local music. And this was from Neil [Sabatino] at Mint 400, he got the show for us. I think they’re going to have tables outside with people selling records and stuff, but it’s going to be some kind of event around Record Store Day.
And then I’m going to tell you this now. It has not been confirmed, but apparently the guy putting this on knows one of the guys from Front Bottoms, and there might be a secret Front Bottoms show, but I cannot confirm or deny it at this moment. There might be a special guest. I don’t want to say that just to lead people on. But I think it would be announced once they get it together. That’s what we were told.
BK: I’ll keep that on the down low. [Editor’s note: He did a good job, he kept it down low until three months after the show.]
FB: Yeah, oh and there’s another guy playing. Oh, he plays there all the time. Oh what is his name? Jesse Van Ripper, I think.
BK: Oh yeah, that guy, Reese Van Riper? The blues dude?
BK: I think he’s like seven feet tall.
FB: Yeah, someone told me he’s super tall. So he plays there a lot. That’s like his home base. And he’s on Mint 400 as well, too. He’s on the bill. It’s us, and there may be a special guest. So that’s my segue into San Tropez. So hit me with what you got.
BK: One is, when I read your interview with Bob Makin, that was pretty fun.
FB: Oh thank you, haha.
BK: I think I’m going to go to the John & Peter’s show [in August] because I think you guys would sound really great in that room.
FB: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s a small space, but we’re going to try to control our volume. But yeah, I think it’s going to be cool there.
BK: That’s such a cool spot. So you were in a bunch of bands in the 90s. Frito-Lay, Magic Mountain, Duochrome, kiaro skuro…
FB: Magic Mountain was actually a few years ago. But yeah, kiaro skuro. Frito-Lay was just like, a drunken summer. It was very short lived. And then we realized we could not keep that pace up. Duochrome came out of that, and that was my main focus for a solid five years. And then we had a few shows here and there for a few more years.
BK: And I think some of those same members are in San Tropez. So how is it different for you this time around as far as practicing, songwriting, performing, all those kinds of aspects?
FB: San Tropez is crazy because we all knew each other then. Andy [Fountas] the drummer and I were in Duochrome and we were also in Magic Mountain. So we’ve known each other for like, I don’t know, 25 years at this point. Maybe more.
For a bassist and a drummer to know each other, it just feels good. I love playing with Andy. I think he might say the same about me [laughs]. The rhythm is supposed to be the backbone of the rock and roll. People show up usually for the guitars, you know, but we’re holding down the rhythm.
And then Albie [Connelly] and Ralphie [Nicastro], they knew each other for years. They were both even in The Stuntcocks at the same time. They lived together. And then our friend Phil [Pirri], who I don’t know if any of us really knew him that well, but he was part of the scene as a fan. And we all know all the same people. So it’s crazy. We could have been in this band in the early 90s and we probably would have been making the same music, because we’re heavily influenced by Cure, New Order, Ride, Slowdive, you know, Pale Saints, Lush…
That’s kind of what we’re doing now. We said something about being time travelers in the Bob Makin piece, but we were also kind of serious about it. This band could have been in the 90s easily. It totally could have been. But for some reason [laughs] we decided to do it in 2018.
And the band is very smooth because we know each other and we love playing with each other. We love making the music. Ralph comes to us with the songs and then we work them from there. And it’s the system, and it just works.
At this age, we don’t have the luxury of jamming out songs. That’s how Duochrome used to work. We would just get together and jam on a riff for 30 minutes and be like, Hey, that’s kind of cool. Maybe we’ll save it or put a chorus to it. But things just really work smoothly at this point. We kind of all just know what we’re doing. I don’t know, maybe we’re not being adventurous enough in our creative endeavors, but it just feels really good and it just feels like, Yeah, this is what we’re doing.
BK: That makes a lot of sense, because the album all the way through is really cohesive. Did you capture the sound you kind of hoped for, when you started back in ‘18 with this?
FB: So that album is really like a compilation of four recording sessions. And then we spent a lot of time over Covid times, polishing it up and tweaking. Overdubs were done to some old sessions. Andy went in and redid the drums on three. So we put way more time into it than we initially planned [laughs]. We were like, Oh, cool, take these four recordings and shove them together and that’ll be a record. Sounds good. Like ten songs, it’ll be awesome. And we realized things were too off, so we kind of had to tear each song apart and kind of rebuild it so that they all aligned.
And I think because we spent so much time on it, we’re all really happy with it and we’re like, Man, this sounds like a great record. It all sounds congruent and together. So I think by accidentally biting off way more than we knew we would be chewing, it worked out well for us, I think. And maybe all the extra time just focusing on it, I guess.
We definitely will not be doing that for the next record. Actually we’re going to be recording this coming Friday [back in March], and I think it will be more of an EP, and it’ll just be focusing on five to six songs. I think is the plan.
And I think also, again, for us being around so long, I could easily see ourselves if we were younger, being frustrated and just kind of saying, F— it, enough of this album, we’re going to just stop. But we just kept marching through, just taking our time, taking our time. Neil at Mint 400 was super patient because when we signed the contract with him, it was like a full year until we gave him the record, which I did not think [laughing] it would take that long and I don’t think he did either.
BK: Yeah and you ran [New Brunswick label] Well Primed Records from ‘90 to ‘95, so you know your way around releasing stuff. At what point did Mint 400 come into the picture for this album?
FB: We had done two EPs at San Tropez and then we went and recorded another session. The first EP, “Lila,” was two sessions put together. Then the third record, I think it was called “Here’s Glowing,” that was that EP. We did a session, three songs, and then we did another three songs and we were like, You know what, we write the music, we record the music, we play the music out. We love doing all that. It felt like we were doing a really good job. But we did zero promotion. I think maybe I emailed you, I might have messaged Bob Makin, because he’s been doing this for years, and maybe a couple of other people. But we just were not into promoting the record. So by working with a label, they were into promoting the record, which actually has gotten us excited. So now we’re actually putting even more time into promoting the record too. So it was the promotion, and we really liked that.
Mint 400 has a lot of Jersey bands, and they really focus on getting the stuff out digitally and looking for publishing situations. Commercials, TV shows, movies, that kind of stuff. And all that sounds a little crazy to say out loud. However as I’m sure you know, with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, there’s so many television show outlets and movie outlets now. They’re all looking for music. And a lot of them would rather use smaller bands because it’s just cheaper, because they’re trying to really keep costs down. So there’s been some Mint 400 bands who’ve been on some, I think Netflix shows and maybe a movie or two.
So we like that that’s what’s going on, because that’s just the stuff we don’t know about. It allows us to keep doing our work, and have full creative freedom. And the release worked out pretty well. I mean, we’re happy at this point with what it has done.
BK: When and where was your first New Brunswick performance? Not with San Tropez but originally.
FB: It would definitely be kiaro skuro in the spring or summer of 1990 somewhere in New Brunswick. Maybe somewhere at Rutgers? I do wish I knew the exact answer.
BK: Here’s an album question, and this one might be way off base, but lyrically, I’m no Greta Thunberg, but I feel like there’s some climate change subject matter here. “I saw the valley reach the shore,” “Wash away,” those refrains. And then you’ve got “The Real Pollution.” So is there any of that climate change anxiety in here? Is that what you guys are shoegazing about?
FB: [Laughs] I don’t know, that’s a good question. That would be a Ralph question. But I know I can tell you this. “The Valley Reached the Shore” is like an abstract story about the birth of his son, his second child. So I think it’s more about his imagery and thought process, I think, versus the world in general. I think he’s being a little abstract with that. Now, wait, what was the other song?
BK: “The Real Pollution.”
FB: Oh, “The Real Pollution.” I don’t know. That’s a good question. I mean, Ralphie writes all the lyrics, but I know that sometimes the lyrics come to him and sometimes it’s just more of just some thoughts and ideas that he just kind of strings together. So, I don’t know. I think we’re all concerned about the environment, but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about it though, so I don’t know. That’s a good question. We’ll put it down as a mystery for right now.
BK: Yeah, that sounds fine. Alright cool. So those are my San Tropez questions. One little follow-up is, how’s it going over at the [New Brunswick Music Scene] Archive? I see that you can do appointments for research now.
FB: Yeah, so they’ve had a couple of things, clearly Covid, and then with the storm [Hurricane Ida in 2021] flooding in the basement. Everything got moved to the company, Iron Mountain, the large document processing, controlling, storage, shredding company. So now pretty much, I think, most of the archives, like 90% to 95% of everything in the archives, all the stuff they have, their menus, clothing, all different stuff, and not just the New Brunswick music scene – all that stuff is kept off site in three different locations. If you’re like a researcher or want to do research, you schedule an appointment and tell them what you’re looking for, and then they can pull those boxes. Christie [Lutz, who heads the archive] just got an internal approval at Rutgers to get the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive material, at least, like, flyers and flat material, digitized. So then that material could be made public where people could look at it, maybe for research or just curiosity or just to be like, Oh, what do you have? They can actually see it now.
They’re going to be moving forward with getting stuff digitized at some point. Not every single item, but, like, flyers, from the Court Tavern from the 90s for example. All this material is coming back. They’re just figuring out space and having to set it up. So it’s moving forward. It’s just going, like, way slower than Christie and everyone there would like. But the digitizing project is exciting because she has someone to do it. She has an intern, and she has approval. So basically money set aside for that. So that’s definitely going on.
And we’ve kind of kicked some ideas about doing an event in the fall. That’s usually when we celebrate the anniversary, so that’s a little bit more for her to decide. I just kind of help out along the way. They’re starting to get into adding more now and getting the word out. So it’s cool. It’s happening. It’s just slowly but surely.
BK: Yeah, it sounds promising. I know it’s been tough especially with that storm, but what are you going to do.
FB: Yeah, that area had flooded. It’s been known to flood the basement where all this material was. It’s actually a sub-basement. It’s like you go down and then you go down another level. And that’s always had problems. But Ida was really bad, and they were just like, we can’t keep the stuff here anymore. So, yeah, I think out of all of this it will be better off. But I don’t know. They’re definitely looking at months, if not a year or two to get everything back.
BK: Okay, cool. Well, that’s it for my questions. Thanks for your time. I know we definitely went over time.
FB: Yeah, and thank you for everything you’re doing. This is important stuff of having journalists write about it, talk about things historical and current as well.
BK: Well, thanks. Yeah, there’s so much, I mean, I keep learning things all the time. As you know there’s just so much to cover. And it’s fun.
FB: Yeah, there definitely is. And then there’s so much going on. One New Brunswick band I want to hugely recommend, if you haven’t seen them, finding their music is nearly impossible. They’re called Heathmonger. I don’t know if you’ve seen them play.
BK: I saw them in your Makin interview, so I’ve got to try and track them down. You mentioned them there.
FB: Oh okay, good. Yeah, because they’re a trio, and there’s a band called The OC’s [sic]. So apparently they’re both like a new kind of heavy, fast, psyche rock thing. They were just crazy, and so much fun and so much energy. I was trying to figure out even what the guitarist was doing. Sometimes it was chords, sometimes it was notes. It was often just these cool sonic sounds and stuff. But this band doesn’t put music out. And from what I’ve heard, there’s some bands in New Brunswick who just aren’t really into putting music out. Like, if you go to their Bandcamp page, it’s like tote bags and T-shirts and posters because the bassist makes these amazing designs and then does the silk screening herself or maybe with other people. Yeah, it’s just crazy. So you got to go out and see them. They are playing a lot. There’s a lot of music going on, I think, in New Brunswick right now. A lot.
Agreed. A lot. For more San Tropez, listen on all the streaming platforms and Bandcamp.
Bennett Kelly reports on music for New Brunswick Today. He has twice won the Best Arts & Entertainment Coverage award from the NJ Society of Professional Journalists, for his features on the music scene in 2022 and 2023.