Ah yes, the silver spoon stuck in the mouth of modern day music. It seems that every apathetic geek is expecting their “networking army” to tell them what’s hot and what’s not. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, TMZ and god knows what else act like a 24-hour billboard whose goal is to turn life’s most ridiculous embarrassments into urban and suburban legends. Mainstream rushes to embrace something with the fervor of a herd of Lemmings on their way over the cliff and I tend to encourage folks to step aside and provide an easier route to their destination.
That’s one of the reasons why I love this next Shoreworld band. They aint pretty, they don’t have a blog or a Kangol cap clique and they pass around Jim Beam half-pints out in parking lots before gigs instead of mixing with the local “beautiful people.”
In the modern world of two-second attention spans and the plagiarism of thug life, The Filthy 3 doesn’t stand a chance of being relevant. And that’s also why they couldn’t be a better bet for the ongoing resurgence of rock and roll music.
Utilizing a three-piece formation, The Filthy 3 tend to carpet bomb the whole village instead of pre-selecting targets. Big and bold rock and roll chords in the tradition of Mountain and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Actually, if you took Skynyrd, Mountain and The Meat Puppets and rolled them into one big greasy ball of angst, that’s what you’d get from TF3.
Tony Tedesco is one New Jersey’s most underrated guitarists. This black sheep of Asbury Park moves from Duane Allman bottleneck slide to Paul Gilbert pentatonic riffage in the blink of the eye. More infamous than anything else, The Filthy 3’s raw chainsaw style target 2010 pop sensibilities and clear the room of all the VH1 Snooki’s with one rock and roll roundhouse punch to the chops.
Accompanied by simple and competent bass and drums, Tedesco’s playing saw him over the top of the trio at times, blowing like a tsunami and missing a few collective cues with the other guys. But that’s collateral damage from a guy who plays as if it’s the last thing he’ll be doing. Sometimes you gotta run a stop sign or two in your quest to get where you’re going.
Tedesco says of his mates, “Pete and Tony drive me hard to deliver and I know the same is true for them in regards to my demands. Pete is without a doubt, on the top of best indie ‘blue-collar’ writers out there today—no whimsy or shoe gazing or ‘lets pretend we’re all unicorns on an open field of hot Goth chicks looking for their scarfed lancelets to save the day.’ If Ray Davies were dead, Pete would be his reincarnation.”
The songs themselves are no nonsense journeys to many destinations and all of the songs veered far from the 3:05 hit zone as they twisted and turned through Voodoo flavored three-five-fours and floating roots extensions like the Zeppelin vibe of “Torn Rotator,” a song that crawls way out on a limb, creeping the guitar out front and utilizing fat and dynamic bass and drums. Tedesco shines brightest here as he gets to show his stuff and the influential idols that shaped his playing style. Jeff Beck, Steve Stevens and Jimmy Page all come to mind here as The Filthy 3 dive-bombs the neighborhood.
“Hiding The Zeros” is an off-kilter punk boogie that spits and broils along like bacon in a frying pan. Tedesco’s uncompressed Les Paul barrage hits you hard in the brisket and tosses you into the rhythmic killer whale carnage of Tony Detroit and Pete Jager. I knew I’d work in the Seaworld reference somehow. “Flag That Diesel Down” pulls into the Union 76 truck stop off the Black Oak Arkansas parkway hard, snapping back Jake break images of Rickie Reynolds and Harvey Jett as Tedesco rips guttural slide pattern’s and “Spirit In The Sky” stuttered Les Paul switch hits all over the piece.
Other great songs were “These Days,” a tune that was straight out of Foghat territory and bleeding with Gibson fueled angst. “Sedan Delivery” (Neil Young), played rusty red and full of big metal noise, rivaling even Neil himself in its Decepticon motion of ungreased groaning. Also worth mentioning was “Halfway Gone,” “Want Ads,” and “Fuck You Dad,” which pretty much explains itself.
The Wonderbar sound is well-known for being hit or miss, depending on who is behind the board. The Filthy 3 is a band that needs a sound guy who can lasso their tone right off the bat. There’s only a couple of guys in town that have the experience to do that and one is Asbury sound boss Jason Dermer and the other John DiCapua, who I believe was doing the sound when I first reviewed the SALT night back a few months ago. Anyhow, TF3 fought gallantly to be heard through most of their set and they pulled out a few interesting tunes, but it wasn’t easy.
I can’t decide if D.Boon, Henry Rollins or Randy Bachman fathered this bunch of bastards but truth be told, any one of them could have had a shot. Even with room difficulties this band was interesting enough for people to stay around for the whole set muttering, “Where the hell did these guys come from?” And truth be told it could be anywhere. TF3 doesn’t belong in Asbury Park at all. Hell, if you ask me they’d be equally at home down in Clewiston, Florida, playing Roland Martins bass fishing bar or over at The Charleston in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Was this Wonderbar performance the perfect gig? Hell no. Was it classic Tony Tedesco? Shit yes it was. Watching Tony in musical turmoil is always part of the priceless “hold on to you’re hat cause shit’s gonna blow up” deal. But at the end of my tirade it’s always going to be about bands that play genuine stand apart music and less about things that are “trending” or “Tweeting” and our readers know that.
Tedesco sums it up with his signature viewpoint: “We’re in the middle of an age where everyone’s a superstar long before the night even begins. From the sound guy rapping to chicks like he’s Phil Spector to the slew of wannabe managers, agents, photographers and just plain bored house frau’s all floating in the unrealistic matrix of the Internet, the mindset can be just hysterical. Add the fact that every musician that’s in the bar is in 10 bands at once and the focus and attention to detail just goes the way of the hucklebuck and 23-Skidoo. Regardless if it’s us or Jay Mantegna or Trevor Hahn, it all adds up to a whole lot of uphill battles for anyone trying to keep their heads down and do their own distinct thing. When I’m packing my gear into my truck at 2 a.m., I realize that somewhere along the way we made some small difference in the grand scheme of things that we care about and that’s what’s important to me.” The Filthy 3 continue to make that difference over at myspace.com/thefilthy3.