We have all read about the life and times of Bebe Buell. From her early beginnings as a Virginia girl turned supermodel in the Big Apple, to her years spent in the fast lane, racing through the music and social circles of giants. We have read the books about the rock stars and the mayhem. Her legendary, true-life stories are made of the stuff most of us can only dream about. From the gritty clubs of New York, to the swanky circles of Hollywood and Los Angeles, Buell has made quite a name for herself. Her public persona continues to evolve, and her trek into the world of the rock and roll circus has restarted with two critically acclaimed records and a brand new video.
However, there are a few things about Bebe Buell that you may not know. First, she loves the Jersey Shore, visits often, and is passionate about the culture and the historic timeline in the Shoreworld domain. The other little known fact is in regards to her band. The group now consists of all NJ players. In addition, without sounding obtuse and dismissive to the musical populace at large, this band includes players that have been integral at putting the East Coast scene on the international map. Bebe is quick to point out that while she is known as a New York girl, her love for the NJ original scene and her Jersey band is a passionate priority.
While a select couple (Jimmy Walls and Pete Marshall) are original members from the version of the group used for 2009’s Sugar, the rest are fresh and talented faces brought in to support the latest record, Hard Love. The group breakdown is an interesting and eclectic mix and includes the following people.
Zac Lasher is on keys and he hails from the HBO sanctioned town of Montclair. Montclair was home to many Sopranos episodes during its heyday. Zac’s claim to fame is being part of the jam band U-Melt. That group may be gone but they left quite a mark on the music world at large, and Zac was an integral part of that scene.
Louisa Bradshaw is a great new addition on background vocals and comes from a completely different part of show business. She recently played Marilyn Monroe in A Sirens Heart: Marylyn Monroe In Purgatory. As an off-Broadway performer, she brings an extensive musical background to the rock and roll format.
Keith Roth is a name we all know in the Garden State. Whether operating a microphone as a DJ at Sirius or WRAT, Roth’s knowledge of music and the industry is vast. His ‘70s style brings passionate interaction and organic skill to the table and his background as a player has covered everything from his current band, Frankenstein 3000, to stints with Mars Needs Women, Bad Biscuit and several bigger names.
Sarah Tomek is another locally born player that has done well. Hailing from the marvelous Asbury Park, Sarah plays drums for Glen Burtnik, Jack Daley, Lance Larsen and many others. She is also in demand from New York to Nashville as a session drummer and holds more than a few endorsements from the big boys. Her interaction with Roth brings rock and roll sizzle to the rhythm section as very few bands have.
As mentioned above, Rutherford native Pete Marshal has been around since day one but has moved from bass to rhythm guitar. Marshal has the greatest pedigree in the band besides Jimmy Walls, supporting Iggy Pop for 10 years as well as Glen Danzig’s Samhain for many more.
In addition, lead guitarist extraordinaire Jimmy Walls hails from Das Damen, D Generation and various projects with Gordon Gano of The Violent Femmes. Jimmy is one of the best guitar players I have come to know in the rock and roll scene and it is a pleasure to watch him lead this band. Jimmy is from Rutherford as well.
So you may be wondering how this all ties in and why it is being talked about here, right? Well, The Bebe Buell band is making an unprecedented Shoreworld appearance at The Saint on March 30. Taking time out of a hectic promotional and major filming schedule for her first single, “Devil You Know,” Buell and band are focusing on the live show, geographical strategies and a brand new audience base.
If there is one thing I know about Bebe Buell, it is that she believes 200 percent in the fact that New Jersey is an undermined rock and roll hotspot. Yea, we have our Bruce, Jon, and Southside, but we have many other musical dynamics that drive our reputation all over the world, and the Bebe Buell band is eager to help extol and explore that great part of our familial turf.
Speaking of Jersey and our far-reaching musical vibes, The Seminole Hard Rock hotel and Casino of Hollywood, Florida recently hosted a recreation of the sights and sounds of the Jersey Shore. Buell and band took the successful series of shows as representatives of what they consider to be their main turf. The Seminole also temporarily renamed their venue The Stone Pony, in honor of all things Jersey.
The Saint show on the 30th will encompass all things Bebe Buell has been up to this year, including the performance of her latest record, Hard Love. Produced by Walls and Stephen De Acutis (Tony Camillo, Gladys Knight, Corey Glover of Living Colour, and David Domanich from Lenny Kravitz) Hard Love features 11 hard rocking songs that include a few transplanted songs off Sugar.
With a different band and a more powerful live presentation, the band has attacked the stage and studio with enthusiasm and purpose. It takes a steady hand and a belief in what you do to throw everything out into the public domain, and so far, for Buell and band, it has been a successful venture.
They have also finished work on the video for “Devil You Know,” the first true single slated for the album and produced by Jimi Jones (Wyclef, Coca Cola) of Hudson View Films/IKM. I was a guest for that filming at Lenny’s Garage in Brooklyn and I had a blast watching Bebe film in the B52’s Chrysler (the one that is as big as a whale) as well as watching the band rock out in front of the actual Checker cab from the Martin Scorsese film, Taxi Driver.
The Saint show is part of the Rock And Roll Lovelies tour, and features a couple of local mainstays such as Tara Elliot and The Red Velvets. Elliot’s description is a proto-punk, blues flavored whirlwind. She has been dubbed, “The bastard child of Janis Joplin and The Stooges.” Her 2010 self-titled EP was produced by Monster Magnet’s Bob Pantella and really brings out the freak in the girl. Elliot should make for a great, pre-Buell attitude adjustment.
Jo Wymer is also on this triple bill and she represents the cold, blue-steeled rock and roll bad girls of Central Jersey. Her rock and roll blend is more akin to Aerosmith than any common blues-rock stuff and my review of last year’s, Living With Scars was enthusiastic.
Bebe Buell loves to support New Jersey’s smaller rooms. Her thought is that these rooms need artists to help keep them from disappearing under the thumb of economic collapse or progress—I am not sure which is worse. One thing is certain, she is an anomaly that continues to impress and persevere in these hectic times, and I say thank goodness for that. Come witness what is sure to be the highlight of the weekend as the all girl brigade tears up the stage at The Saint. For more information head over to thesaintnj.com or facebook.com/bebebuellband.