Yes, you heard right. I said Peanut Butter Lovesicle…. What’s one of those right? Well in this case PBL is a three piece psychedelic blues-rock band hailing from The United States… Brooklyn, NY to be precise. Currently cruising the UK to showcase their EP ‘Dirty Pride’ and with the attention they are getting right now from the music fans and press a like, it would be rude not to.
Peanut Butter Lovesicle have such a unique sound about them. I don’t think that I have heard a band that sounds like this in London, which is partly why I am so happy to be seeing them and more importantly interviewing them on this brief visit. There is a rawness to them and originality that captivates me. Draws me in….
As I walk in, there are people waiting, the band arriving, people getting drinks and comfy and some form of order is given to the chaos as everyone is introduced to everybody else, and so it begins.
I’m introduced to the guys, and say hi to Mike D’Arc (Bass, vocals) Jake D’Arc (Lead Guitar) and Timmy Miller (Drums and vocals) as the three of them are sat around a table surrounded by water and clearly trying to be sensible before the show. I can’t say the same about me as I wave hello, place my Dictaphone on the table alongside my Strawberry cider and get this show on the road.
So I’m sorry but it had to be done…. Why Peanut Butter Lovesicle guys??
Mike replies “Peanut Butter is just the best spread there is. It’s delicious. I had a friend who was allergic to PB and I couldn’t trust him because he doesn’t know what PB tastes like.” Timmy looked over and said “So how do you trust a person that doesn’t know what the smooth or crunchy texture is about, because you get a little bit of both in this band.”
Agreeing I nodded my head as Timmy was absolutely correct… you do get the smooth bluesy groove at times and then a much more raw and crunchy shall we say vibe to the music.
Mike continued “I felt quite bad for him too, it was quite a bad allergy, and he couldn’t even be in the same room with a bag of peanuts.” Everyone laughs.
I have given ‘Dirty Pride’ quite a good listen, and I can hear that the music has quite an eclectic taste. There are so many different aspects in there that it makes it hard to pin point. It can be quite bluesy at times, with an underlying funk. There are times I feel they sound quite grunge like. When I asked the guys what their musical taste and influences were, it became quite apparent why their music might sound that way.
Mike tells me “Individually there are so many, I like a lot of classic 60’s and 70’s country music. I stay along that route and that’s like a lot of R & B and soul I love too…” Timmy adds “I mean vocally for me it’s always been The Blues, so much has stemmed from it, and hip hop, there are so many different directions that you can combine the two, and they go really well together. Then with drums, obviously classic guys from the 70’s they knew how to play their instrument, so well. It just comes through… I love that.”
Hailing from NY I asked the guys how they all met… I knew that Mike D’Arc and Jake D’Arc were brothers but wasn’t sure how they met Timmy. Timmy tells me “We’re family” Jake points to Mike “Brother” and points to Timmy “Cousin” Ahhh!! See now I knew you guys were brothers but had no idea that Timmy was also related. Jake says “Yeah he’s our cousin man, that’s funny that no-one knows that.”
Given that this is indeed a family affair I ask the guys at what age did they start jamming , I gather since they grew up together that they must have been quite young.
“Not that young really” Jake tells me. Timmy adds “It was in high school for Mike and I. I picked up guitar first then Mike picked up Guitar.” Mike adds “Then I started playing bass.” This was at about the age of 14 – 15 the guys tell me. Which I think is about the right age for discovering music. “Exactly, it’s a great age.” Mike agrees.
Peanut Butter Lovesicle have been playing together for about 4 years. I ask the guys what brought them here and why they felt it so important to play London.
Mike tells me “We were here two times before and the original reason that we came was because a lot of bands that we loved like Zeppelin, The Who (that’s where we come together musically is with bands like Zep and Black Sabbath) and just to be able to play here initially. To see the places that they played and to play the places they were, ah, it was just a great motivator for us to come over and play the music that we channelled from them. Where it originated… and we just loved it so much the first time we stayed like 10 or 11 days, that we came back again for 3 months.”
You did that all independently didn’t you? You guys aren’t signed or looked after through a label?
“No” Mike answered “We funded ourselves and we did 33 shows while we were here the last time we just love it. Happy to be coming back and to invest in coming here and playing for everyone that we became, you know friends with and our fans here.” Timmy says “I think this is one of the only cities that you could probably spend that amount of time and almost not play the same venue twice. It’s such an expansive city. There are so many different venues here which are awesome because there’s a lot of great acts going around and a lot of great places to play.”
So how is it different playing in NY compared to London?
Timmy tells me “Just that it’s much more active and responsive, people during the show, before the show, after the show the energy is just different here in London. It’s absolutely different.”
So you would say that New Yorkers just aren’t that open?
Mike says “No it’s just like it’s some new band that no-one knows about.” Timmy adds “Just lifeless crowds.” Jake says “It’s a New York thing”
I hate that, hate it!!! Although not sure it is just a New York thing… I have seen that happen here. I asked the guys that since they don’t get much of a response from the NY/American crowds that playing here to a much more responsive crowd must make them feel pretty great?
Mike decided to tell me about a stand out moment, perhaps when energy was running too high. “One of our favourite moments, we were playing a show in South Jersey and we enticed a fist fight.” Really? How did that happen? Mike continues “I dunno I guess people were just too drunk and they just started to tackle each other. Jake adds as you can hear the boys laugh about it “It was like the first set, early in the night I dunno why, it was a little early for that.”
We started to wonder why it might have happened. I suggested that they maybe have been out boozing all day. Timmy says “It was a good tussle. No-one got hurt.” Jakes joins in “It’s a great rock ‘n’ roll memory.” Mike continues “It’s the kinda rock n roll that you want fist fights, not necessarily, you know rioting or anything but a fist fight every now and then.” Jake laughs and looks at Mike “Like contained rioting??” Mike responds “contained rioting!!” as Timmy laughs; Jake adds “A nice little contained riot.” Everyone including myself burst out laughing while Mike carries on… “A nice little contained centralised riot that’s… you know..” everyone still laughing he continues “that’s easily defused.” Really? I ask how did you defuse it? Jake tells me “We didn’t. Mike finishes the story “The bouncer moved ‘em out.” Well good to know boys!!
So I asked the guys what has been a standout moment for them in their career and what they have enjoyed the most.
Mike says “There are a few moments. It’s always cool to hear your song on a TV show, no matter what it is.” Jake adds “Stuff like that, yeah” Mike continues “That’s like oh wow…” So when did that all happen for you? “It was played two years ago on a show called “Gossip Girl” Mike adds. Oh that’s huge right!!! “Yeah it was a song that we recorded with a friend in our house. It wasn’t a studio production. It was just something that we did, we sent it in and they liked it and they used it. It was really cool to see that. So we just wanted to take the next level and we worked with Henry.”
Jake adds “That’s another moment that I would like to say. Yeah, working with the producer that we got to was another I’d say, like a big jump for us we were like, whoa shit.” Why is that? Mike tells me “He’s a producer that just pushes you to all that you have…. He pushes and believes in you. That’s what’s great about him. He won’t let you settle on anything.” That’s kind of what you need though. You don’t want a bunch of people standing around sayin’ “yeah that’s great” being polite and scared to offend you. Jake tells me “No, he wants us to be a lot better and he pushes us to be a lot better” Mike adds “If something sucked he’d say “Well that sucked, it wasn’t good at all” and I love that..” Jake said “Yeah you have to be able to take that criticism with you.” Mike agrees “Yeah you don’t get good without accepting criticism and utilising it.”
So what are you guys doing after this? You’re in London touring your EP ‘Dirty Pride’ what’s next?
Mike says “We’ll do a few return shows initially, work on new music. Gonna record some new music once we get things in order” So can we expect a new album?? Jake says “Hopefully new material.” Timmy adds “Definitely new shows."
So say you’re back home and chilled out and someone says hey we have to put on this festival tomorrow… you have to pick what, 6 acts, doesn’t matter who… who would it be?
Mike asks “They can be in the past?” Yep... Jake jumps in “Cream” Mike turns and points to Jake in agreement “Yes Cream… Neil Young and the Crazy Horse” Timmy says, “It’d probably be more than 6 bands. Jake says “This might be a 3 day”
Yeah ok fuck it. It’s a three dayer…. Who we havin’? I say laughing…
Jake replies “Something more obscure, maybe like Ten Years after….. That’d be cool to have them on the bill… basically like Woodstock.” Mike adds “Strawberry Alarm Clock.” I haven’t heard of them Mike replies “Yeah they’re great. I’d love the Flying Burrito Brothers to play with us.” Timmy says “Blue Cheer, URIAH Heep! I’d love to see that!!” Mike nods “Even Foghat for the hell of it would be amazing.” Timmy thinks and then “Jethro Tull” Jake approves “Jethro Tull....yeeaah….”
All 3 guys just start shouting out bands “Nirvana, John Denver, that’s like 27 bands…” Jake adds “I like all those nineties bands so I could do Soundgarden and….” I think I’d chuck in Janis, Quicksilver Messenger Service. All the guys nod and agree I continue I’d chuck in those guys Dylan, Jefferson Airplane. Jake adds “That’d be cool” We could have a like a sixties day and 80’s…. ooooh!!! Wouldn’t that be cool? Mike replies “It would be cool, each day is like a different era” Timmy adds “Go give them all a call, do it.” Mike replies “The remaining whoever it is”
At this point the interview as wound up due to time regulations so I thanked the guys for meeting with me and I leave smiling as I always do after a good chat about music.
All articles are © Michelle Nevill