Christopher Urban Of Crazy & The Brains Talks About Their New Venue, Bringing Live Music Back To Jersey City, And Naked Backflips.
Between releasing new music, playing some big shows, and now opening their own venue deep in Jersey City, energetic anti-folk superstars Crazy & The Brains have been busy. But not too busy to answer my questions—frontman Christopher Urban talks about what the experience has been like for them, among other important things.
What is Funhouse, whose idea was it, and how did you guys make it happen?
Funhouse is a DIY independent music venue run by all of us in Crazy & The Brains. Brett, Lawrence and I live around the block from a motorcycle club. We became friends with the bikers around the same time as we started plotting this plan to start our own venue. We discussed our ideas with the head of the crew over a few Heinekens and a partnership was formed.
The club is located in one of the last remaining sections of Jersey City yet to be revitalized. What I mean by that is there are no fancy bars, restaurants or Starbucks crowding the street. There are plenty of those places close by and I am sure within a few years they will build them over here too but for now we are one of the few areas left untouched, which makes it an exciting place to be I think.
What can people expect from the venue/your personal involvement(s) in it in the next few months, or even years?
You will see at least one of us but typically all of us at every show. If Crazy & The Brains is not playing, one of us is running the door, doing sound, setting up the stage or doing whatever it is that needs to be done to make the show run smoothly. You can expect great music and very funny comedy!
We call it a punk club but it’s really cool to see that all types of people are hanging out over here getting along. We got hip-hop fans and punk rockers and party girls all chillin’ together playin’ pool and rockin’ out to bands. I don’t know exactly what to expect but I do know we plan to keep building. This is very much a part of us now.
What is the main thing you personally hope to accomplish with the place?
Give artists a proper place to do their thing. Listen to music that does not suck. Meet some hot girls. Have a very large amount of FUN.
How are you/the venue involved with the community, or at the very least, your local (and/or touring) scene?
There has not been a place like ours in this area for a very long time. It was pretty hard to find somewhere to do a show in Jersey City. You have bars that do shows sometimes but the problem is they are bars first and “music venues” second. No stage and terrible sound, and even these places are scarce.
We have changed that with the opening of our spot. I don’t have too much but I am very grateful for what I have. I love art and music; they are everything important to me in the world. It’s extremely important for me to show my appreciation and give back to the art scene because without it, I could not exist.
What more would you like to do in terms of outside involvement? Meaning bringing in new bands/art/etc.
We have some bigger artists coming through and that is awesome not only because I get to watch some bands/comedians I really love but also it gives smaller bands who might just be starting out a great opportunity to play to a large crowd. I’m trying to get Miley Cyrus in this bitch.
Would you say opening a venue has sort of solidified your band’s already-solid standing in the scene?
We are solid gold baby boyz!
What has been the most challenging aspect of opening and running a venue so far?
Basically all the work you need to do for your own band, clothing line, ventriloquist act or whatever it is you may do…you need to do double that with equal amount of passion, focus and love. But we are happy to do it. This is what we are about.
The most rewarding?
Crazy & The Brains rehearse at Funhouse. It’s cool to go from hashing out a new song in a big empty room or maybe to three or four bikers drinking beers to a week later playing the same song to huge crowd of kids jumping around. It’s also rewarding every time a band plays a show and comes up to us with a big smile, super excited and thankful. People having fun and appreciating the place is the best reward.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to maybe do something similar?
Whatever you do, do it 100%. A lot of things gotta come second or third or even 16th to whatever it is you are passionate about if you wanna make it happen.
Is there anything else you’d like to share, or like our readers to know about you/The Funhouse/Crazy & The Brains? And what’s next?
Negative Approach is playing the Funhouse November 25 and we are all super excited and honored about that. I am going to do a naked back flip out of excitement.
FUNHOUSE: 32 Center Street, Jersey City