photo by Brian Penczak
Richmond VA, 4/24/2020 – With live music performances literally erased by the coronavirus pandemic, Richmond rock band, The J.O.B. have adjusted their plans. They are taking advantage of the entertainment shut down by writing and recording new music from an undisclosed recording studio in the city outskirts. The band is also executing a major lineup change. Drummer Eric Bandy is departing after 6 years, turning over the throne to the band’s new drummer Brian Penczak.
Since their first gig in 2008, The J.O.B. from Richmond, Virginia have recorded 6 studio albums and achieved Top 40 ranking for three singles on national music charts. An alternative rock band with blues and Americana infusion, they have performed hundreds of live shows throughout the region, developing a large and diverse fan base.
Bandy joined The J.O.B. as their drummer in 2014 just weeks before the band toured venues through the mountains of Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. He has been a steady presence behind the drum kit on stage and in the recording studio, working seamlessly with bassist Jared Merrill, lead guitarist Jason Crawford, and guitarist-singer Jim O’Ferrell to establish the distinctive sound the band has today.
“It was a good run and we accomplished a lot,” said Bandy. The band’s most recent album, “Highway of Shadows” featuring Bandy on the drum kit, was ranked by The Auricular as among the ’50 Best Richmond Records of 2018.’
Incoming drummer, Penczak was selected from a pool of talented candidates after an exhaustive search in the Richmond metro area. A multi-instrumentalist, Brian has been drumming for 11 years and claims Tré Cool (Green Day) and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) as among his influences. Leading up to his new job with The J.O.B., Penczak had performed with various other local bands. He also produced complex solo projects, performing all of the instrumentation and vocals on three self-released albums crossing different rock sub genres.
With social distance rules in place, the entire process for Penczak’s selection was conducted via Skype. “This is the first time I’ve ever hired anyone for anything without a handshake,” mused frontman and band manager Jim O’Ferrell. “It’s bittersweet. Eric’s been a band brother for a long time and we’ve all done some great work together, but band life goes on,” he said.
When asked what the future holds for The J.O.B., O’Ferrell said, “We’re thrilled to have Brian taking over the drum kit. He’s a terrific drummer who brings a new perspective and a new skill set. We all look forward to playing music together, new sounds, new songs. It’s exciting.”
When asked about performing gigs after the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, O’Ferrell replied, “However things shake out for live music in the post-pandemic world, we have a new band mate and a bunch of new songs. We’ll be ready and we’re excited to start performing again.”
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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