Mouthful of Bees Music
P.O. Box 12403 Raleigh, N.C. 27609
clifton lee mann and chris jones
"the state i'm in" b/w "the driver"
|loners logo courtesy
of JER WARREN
Loners in a Crowd
by todd morman / independent weekly
There's a concrete box at the end of the alley next to Raleigh's Basement Studios. Tonight, it's filled with sweating, bouncing
people whose ears are being slammed repeatedly by the music ricocheting off the bare walls. The ringing will last for days, but
the crowd doesn't seem to mind. Neither do The Loners. The punk duo - Eddie Taylor on guitar and vocals, Chris Jones on
drums and backup - are obviously inspired by '60s garage rock, but as they tear up their songs it becomes obvious that The
Loners tap into a deep musical well that has nothing to do with what year it is - or what name you give their style.
"It's got a genre title, I'm sure," laughs Taylor, sitting on the floor of the practice space, "but I'm not sure what it is. R&B kind of
punk, maybe? We have an ounce of blue-eyed soul in there somewhere, without trying to be blantant about it."
"I was reading an article about the Cynics today," says Jones, "and it reminded me how many sub-genres there were - mod,
freadbeat, surfbeat, psychedelic surf, surf R&B...I mean, there are actually groups of people who live out that 'mods versus
rockers' thing. But it's all rooted in the same stuff. If it rocks, it rocks. You don't need to fight about it."
The Loners definately do rock. If you haven't seen them yet, here's all you need to know: They have impeccable taste in music
and write raw, stripped-down songs in the '60s punk tradition, which they proceed to gleefully rip into shreds.
The Loners are poised to take things up a notch. They've certainly toiled in the trenches enough. Taylor moved to Raleigh five
years ago with his country-rock band Big Joe. As the "alt-country" hype heated up, however, he found himself drawn more and
more back to his punk roots.
"I was born in the "60s," Taylor adds. "I remember being a kid when 'Satisfaction' came out. I remember growing up hearing
garage music on regional radio in Kentucky. My dad loved the Stones and was a huge Kinks fan." He laughs. "He listens to
Bocephus now. I don't know how these people do it - grow up and forget what good music is."
For his part, the 29-year-old Jones had stopped playing music completely after fiery stints in three classic Raleigh bands - Vanilla
Trainwreck, Picasso Trigger and Cherry Valance.
"I quit playing music, just hung it up," he says. "I needed stability. When I was on tour with Cherry Valance, I was extremely
unhappy. Every night we played I tried to get people to beat the shit out of me. I'd spit on them, scream at them, do everything
shourt of pummeling them. It's hard to sustain that for very long."
The two jaded musicians discovered a shared love of early punk when Taylor started coming into Nice Price Books, where Jones
works. Seeing each other regurlarly at Kings, where Jones also works as a soundman, cemented the relationship.
"He convinced me to play the drums," Jones says. "Within our first three practices we had eight songs."
Do they find playing as a duo limits them in any way?
"Almost every night we play, someone comes up and wants to play bass for us," Taylor answers. "But I think we're stronger
with less. If we turned into a three-piece...I dunno, we'd just be another three-piece band."
"It's a lot easier with two people," Jones says. There's no camps. And it's easier to lock into that groove."
"The communication factor," says Taylor, nodding. "It's more stripped down, more primitive, too."
Jones shrugs. "I don't do anything fancy. Eddie doesn't do anything fancy. If it inspires you enough to dance, go pick up a
guitar and do it yourself."
And the punk spirit staggers on for another day.
guitar / vocals
drums / vocals
photo by shonna greenwell
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