GIG: Tuesday, August 20, 7:30, World Cafe Live at the Queen with Todd Chappelle & George Woods

by Ji11

You’ve often heard us declare that the local music scene, from the musicians to the venues to the deejays, is incredibly welcoming and supportive. But sometimes, even Delaware’s Premier Dork-Rock Power Duo travels outside of Delaware. And on one occasion, we ended up in Boston, where we met the amazing George Woods.

George is a true triple-threat: a fantastic songwriter, a wonderful singer, and a freakin’ AWESOME guitar player. (Click on that above link, scroll down a bit, and listen to a few songs – you’ll see.) But he’s also a great guy, friendly, smart, hilarious, and rather swoony.

Did you just look into his eyes? Congratulations – you’re pregnant.

And he’s coming to Delaware.

Here’s the story: a few months ago, we performed at the 6B Lounge Open Mic Night, hosted by George. He liked us, and asked us to come back to be the featured artist on an open mic night in July. But George was also planning a tour to support his new album Heartbeat, and he needed a Delaware venue. So George will be joining us at World Cafe Live at the Queen on Tuesday, August 20th at 7:30. (Click that link to purchase your tickets online!)

But that’s not all. Not by a longshot. Sure, a show featuring Hot Breakfast! and George Woods would kick a tremendous amount of butt. But your friends Matt and Ji11 wanted to kick more butt than has ever been kicked. Therefore, this show features not only Hot Breakfast! and George Woods, but also the most clever, snuggly, hilarious, and lovable folically-challenged singer-songwriter we know. He too is rather dreamy, don’t you think?

...and now it's twins.

…and now it’s twins.

That’s right…TODD FREAKIN’ CHAPPELLE, Delaware’s hilarious and ridiculously talented musical comedian, who happens to be our great friend. He’ll be joining us too, and guess what? He’s got a new album out! That’s right – this show, in addition to introducing the great music of George Woods to the great state of Delaware, will be Todd Chappelle’s Album Release Party. His new album, Morning People, was recorded live in May, and it is a RIOT. (Trust us. We were there.)

Because this show is at the Queen – and we cannot stress this enough – after you purchase tickets, you should call (302) 994-1400 to reserve a table. The last time we played a show with Todd Chappelle at the Queen, we sold the place out, and some folks with tickets were forced to stand because they didn’t also reserve a table. Please don’t let this happen to you. Besides, the Queen has some yummy food and excellent bartenders – you’ll want a table.

So to sum up: Tuesday, August 20th. World Cafe Live at the Queen. Hot Breakfast!, George Woods, and Todd Chappelle. Two swoony guys, and one pair of dorks. Tickets are only $8 for the show people1 are already calling “the most incredible thing ever that hasn’t happened yet” and “if I say what you tell me to say will you get out of my garden?”

DEETS!

WHAT: Todd Chappelle, George Woods, and Hot Breakfast! at World Cafe Live at the Queen
WHO: Todd Chappelle, George Woods, and Hot Breakfast!. Try to keep up.
WHERE: World Café Live at the Queen (upstairs), 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE
WHEN: Tuesday, August 20th. 7:30 PM
TICKETS: $8 (+$2 processing fee). Purchase tickets here or call (302) 994-1400. Dinner reservations are strongly recommended in addition to your ticket purchase. All tickets are General Admission.
FOOD/DRINK: Full menu (yum!) & bar service.
ACCESS: All ages event. Wheelchair accessible. Parking garage next door.
FACEBOOK EVENT (IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING): http://www.facebook.com/events/120791031424748/

Yours in rock,
Matt (the Suburban Legend) and Ji11

1 Technically, Jill and I are people. So…yeah.

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GIG: SAT June 29th 1PM – Rockwood Ice Cream Festival

by Ji11
This is the rockingest image we could find of ice cream. Is it us, or does the one on the right look like Marge Simpson?

This is the rockingest image we could find of ice cream. Is it us, or does the one on the right look like Marge Simpson?

They say you slow down as you get old, but not us. We’re the kind of band that plays TWO GIGS IN ONE DAY. Yep, you read that right…we’re the rough, hard-edged rockers who can bring two giant slabs of tasty rocking within one 8-hour period. THAT IS SERIOUSLY HARDCORE1.

It’s 2013, and they figure this is the year to have a final creamy hurrah before the world ends, since it didn’t end in 2012. And thanks again to the spiffy people at Gable Music Ventures, there will be a bunch of great live bands playing all day on the various stages peppered throughout the event, and we’re stoked be playing for you on the main stage, which is right by the mansion. you can’t miss it!

I’m also excited to be stuffing my face full of gelato (and Lactaid pills) because WOOOOT I love that stuff.

DEETS:
WHEN: We play on Saturday, June 29th from 1:00 – 1:50pm.
WHERE: Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival at Rockwood Park.
Details about COVER, PARKING, and FOOD can be found on the event’s website, which is here: The Old Fashioned Ice Cream Festival

If you’re the kind of person who likes Facebook, here’s a link to the Facebook event for the entire Ice Cream Festival itself.

Don’t forget that you can’t park on site, so you’ll have to park at a remote location and take a shuttle. This takes time, so if you’re wanting to see our show, make sure you leave enough time. (Yes, Mom.)

And also don’t forget: It’s BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket! Otherwise you might get dirt or ants on your butt. (Nobody wants an ant-butt.)

See you there!

Your pal,

Ji11

1 Of course, in the true hardcore fashion, we’ll be napping in between shows.

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The Songs of 39 Summers

by Matt

Hi guys!

I don’t know about you (well, I do know about you – yeah, you know who you are), but I’m a full-on, no apologies, no-holds-barred rock n’ roll nerd. When I love an artist or even a song, I crave input: what inspired the song? How did it come together? What happened in the recording studio? How do I get these Maraschino stains off my Wussy t-shirt?

So I fully understand if the following post isn’t for you. Not only is it full of music-nerdity, it’s a little long and self-indulgent. But if you’d like to read a bit about each song on 39 Summers, this is the place for you. Not a lot of frills here, but there are some lovely links. I hope you enjoy it.

1. 39 Summers

“Don’t look now, but it’s Halloween”

I have notebooks full of old song lyrics and potential song titles. We were looking through them in September of 2012, and we found an incomplete tune that caught our attention called “37 Summers.” I apparently started writing it a few years ago – it was to be a personal, folky song about internal struggles and missed opportunities, and blah blah blah, who wants to hear that? (Well, sometimes I do, but not now.) Inspired by a chance encounter with an old friend who was frustrated at the lack of progress in her personal relationship, I completely reworked the song, giving it a new pop-punk progression, a recurring “oh oh oh” in the verse, a snappy, upbeat groove, and really bratty lyrics. Eventually, “37” became “39” – it just scanned better.

When we perform “39 Summers” live, Jill plays tambourine to drive the song forward. In the studio, of course, we had drums, electric guitars, and – just for that bubblegum/garage band feel – handclaps. We had a great time recording this one – we dig the acoustic & electric blend, the way Ritchie pounds the drums, Kevin’s inventive & playful bass runs. But for me, the highlight is the furious, fuzzy solo by Joe Testa.

Then again, everything Joe Testa does is furious and fuzzy. (Photo (c) 2013 Spandox Studios.)

Then again, everything Joe Testa does is furious and fuzzy. (Photo © 2013 Spandox Studios. All Rights Reserved.)

2. Underground

“Look around, man, the sky is falling!”

One day in March of 2013, I got an idea for a new song about unplugging from technology and just disappearing into the ground for a while. Jill was working in San Antonio, so, after I finished the song, I uploaded a video of me playing it and sent it to Jill via Dropbox (yes, we used technology to share the song. Isn’t it ironic? Don’tcha think?). She saw the video and, after laughing at my attempts to sing the high notes, she said she wanted to record it.

When we finally got together to play it, though, it wasn’t quite working. Some of the notes were too high and few melodies were a little awkward, and we couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I reworked a few melodies and changed the chords on the bridge, but it just didn’t gel. But then, we did a very smart thing: we asked Ritchie Rubini to produce the song. He convinced me to lower the key by detuning the guitar a half step, and he helped us give the track the exact aesthetic we wanted – hard-rocking and quirky, with a 60s pop edge, offbeat instrumentation, and a few surprise moments that still make me smile. One of those is a bit of amp fuzz caused (intentionally) by Ray pulling the cord out of his bass. This was Jill’s idea, her little tribute to Ben Folds Five, who also have a song called “Underground” (even though their bass skronk is in their tune “Song For The Dumped”). For the record, I didn’t like the noise at first, but Ritchie and Jill talked me into keeping it, and I’m really glad they did.

They can’t sue you if you call your ripoff a “tribute.” Sorry, Robert.

On the last day of recording, Ritchie brought in Dave Duncan, a guitarist we were unfamiliar with. Once again, Ritchie’s instinct was dead-on – Dave knew just what to do. He came up with a fun, funky melodic solo in about 15 minutes. All in Ab, the unkindest guitar key of all. Plus, the guy’s chill and hilarious – our kinda people.

It blows our minds that two months after writing the song, it’s there on the album. It’s one of our favorites.

3. Defender

“I will use your shirt to wipe your bloodstains from my hands”

The oldest original in the Hot Breakfast! catalog, “Defender” was written in 1996, after I saw Fastball open for Matthew Sweet at the Stone Balloon in Newark. I loved the melodic power-pop both bands delivered, and I wanted to write something in the same vein (despite the bitter lyrics, “Defender” isn’t really about anyone in particular). But while I performed the song live in various solo gigs in the 90s, including a full-band show at Borders Books (RIP), I never thought to record it. I knew I couldn’t get the sound I wanted without a great drum track, and I didn’t have the ability to record a full drum set on my own.

After Jill heard the song in 2011, it became a staple in our set, and we recorded an acoustic version for our self-titled EP in 2012. But while we love playing it on our own, we really wanted the album version to have the full-on power-pop/punk sound we always heard in our head. So we recruited some of the best players we know – guitarist Joe Testa, bass player Kevin Niemi, and drummer Jeff Dement – and we cut ‘em loose. And they rocked hard, helping drive “Defender” to new heights.

The clean lead part that I play is actually an acoustic guitar – I tried to record it on my electric, but I kept bending the strings, sending the guitar out of tune. But Ray filtered the acoustic track, giving it a strange, semi-hollow sound that we really dig. We considered adding more instruments to make it radio-friendly – piano, keyboard, maybe even MIDI percussion – but ultimately, we wanted it to sound raw and rockin’.

Jeff Dement, Kevin Niemi, and Joe Testa only play together for about 90 seconds of the song’s 3 1/2 minutes. Those may be my favorite 90 seconds of the whole album. Jeff’s drum fill from 2:31 to 2:35 pretty much defines the word “awesome.”

Jeff's love of parasols, however, pretty much defines "disturbing."

Jeff’s love of parasols, however, pretty much defines the word “adorable.”

4. Act Surprised

“Warning: there are spoilers ahead”

If you’ve never Rufus Wainwright’s song “Go or Go Ahead,” please purchase the song (you’ll want the album, too – trust us), make sure you’re sitting down, and remedy that situation right now. We’ll wait.

image

Rufus is so rock star that he manscapes before every cup of coffee.

Hey, welcome back. Incredible, right? (The song, not the photo, although…yeah.) But it sounds nothing like “Act Surprised,” which takes its inspiration from both Phil Spector-style girl groups and British pop. So why do I bring up “Go or Go Ahead?” Well, the first time I heard it, I misunderstood the lyrics, believing Rufus wanted his listener to “act surprised.” I thought that was a pretty neat lyric, so when I realized what Rufus was actually saying (“go or go ahead and surprise me”), I called “act surprised” for myself. I finally got around to writing a song with that title in late 2011.

“Act Surprised” has become another staple in our acoustic sets, but we really wanted a recording that both matched and played against the hard-edged emotion of the lyrics. Plus, we’ve both been listening to The Noisettes an awful lot, and we wanted to try to capture some of that same, glorious retro-soul-rock. So I play acoustic and piano, and Ritchie, Joe, and Kevin bring the drums, electric, and bass. But for me, it’s Jill’s vocals that really make the song work. The lyrics are cynical and sometimes a little detached, and could even come across as cold. But Jill’s delivery tells a story. Her initial restraint (her first verse sounds thoughtful and reflective) is slowly chipped away until it finally gives way to a passion and raw emotion that never fails to blow me away. That kind of thing is so tough to capture on a recording, but Jill and Ray found it.

Oh – it turns out one of my favorite bands, Superchunk, recorded a song called “Act Surprised” in 2001. So…I guess they called it first. Oh, well.

5. Gravity

“A place without my earthbound pleasures is just too difficult to see”

I wrote “Gravity” in the late 90s as I watched two of my friends take brave chances with their lives, changing directions completely so they could go after what they really wanted. I wanted to write a song that expressed both my admiration for their courage and my determination to overcome my own fear of change, but I wasn’t sure where to begin. The chorus literally came to me in a dream – I woke up and immediately wrote down “don’t be giving up on me, cause I will be there eventually.” The rest of the song came together quickly after that.

“Gravity” is the only song on 39 Summers that could be considered a “cover” – I recorded it on my 2007 solo album Songs for the Earthbound, and I used to sing it by myself at the occasional gig. But it wasn’t until Jill sang the vocal that the song really became alive for me – with apologies to Spandau Ballet, it’s like hearing the sound of my soul.

“Gravity” is probably our most quiet, contemplative song, so naturally we don’t play it at a lot of gigs. But we wanted the album version to capture the personal, intimate feeling of those rare moments when we do perform it, so we recorded it as we play it – one guitar, one voice. And just to really make it personal, we recorded the vocal at Jill’s house late one night, then brought it to Ray’s studio to mix.

6. We Are Not Cool

“When it’s time to mingle, we know we don’t belong”

Jill and I are dorks. There’s no question about it. We’re also geeks. And nerds.

The saddest part? WE THINK WE'RE BEING COOL RIGHT NOW.

The saddest part? WE THINK WE’RE BEING COOL RIGHT NOW.


We’re totally fine with that. These days, of course, it’s great to be a nerd (who knew Huey Lewis was a prophet?). Nerds run the world. They even get the girls (and the guys). When I was a kid, words like “nerd” and “geek” used to be pejoratives thrown at us by the cool kids, but now we, and pretty much everyone we know, embrace them.

Get this visionary a new drug, pronto.

But still – sometimes I wonder what it must be like to feel completely confident, secure…and cool. So I wrote a punky little song about that feeling, building it around that opening lick. We weren’t really sure what to do with it, so we brought it to Ritchie, who agreed to produce it. A lot of the touches on the track – the synth, the claps n’ stomps, the bratty harmonies in the chorus – are pure Ritchie. He also encouraged us to keep the final couplet (“I would trade it all away/to feel cool for just one day”). We thought it was a little over-the-top and misleading – after all, we enjoy our dorkdom. But he said “everyone feels that way sometimes, even just for a moment.” That was good enough for us.

“We Are Not Cool” marked the first time we worked with a producer, and it definitely won’t be the last, especially when the producer is Ritchie Rubini.

7. It Only Takes two to Rock

“We did the math for you.”

Songwriting is usually a solitary activity for me, but, fittingly, it took two to conjure up “It Only Takes Two to Rock.” I came up with the title and the chunky guitar lick, but we spent many, many hours bouncing ideas, lyrics and melodies back and forth. We did a ton of rewriting, too – dragons, jokes about OSHA, and a prophet on a hill all had cameos in earlier drafts of the song, but ended up on the cutting room floor (sorry, guys – maybe you’ll make the cut in the sequel). And we had a ball the whole time.

We first recorded the song with just one guitar and two voices (and, of course, a triangle solo). But I’d just purchased a new overdrive pedal and wanted to try it out, so I recorded an electric part as well, and we really dug the way the acoustic and electric blended together. Jill had to leave for a business trip, so I spent the next few days playing, adding drums, a bass, and more guitars. When she got back and heard what I’d done, she was delighted – this was the first time we recorded a full “band,” even though we stayed true to the title by making all the sounds on our own. We kept noodling with it, adding more vocals, changing parts here and there, mixing and remixing, until we came up with the version that kicked off our 2012 Hot Breakfast! EP.

It’s hard to imagine a Hot Breakfast! gig where we don’t play “It Only Takes Two to Rock,” so we knew we wanted the song on 39 Summers. We thought about re-recording it, but we really dug the version we already had. I went back in and remixed a bit, but my attempts to gussy it up with additional guitars, keyboards, and percussion fell flat. So, except for a new spoken-word segment, we pretty much left it alone. Gotta say, though, the mastering job by Eamon Loftus really brightens it up and gives it the punch it deserves.

With its acoustic/electric guitar mix, 80s hard-rock feel, epic structure, spoken breakdown, and general over-the-topedness, we’re often asked if the song is a Tenacious D cover. We’re flattered by the question, as we are massive fans and followers of the D. But nope, it’s all ours. “It’s not a Tenacious D cover,” we reply. “It’s a Tenacious D ripoff.”

Wait…did we say “ripoff?” We mean tribute! TRIBUTE!

8. Hole in Your Pants

“You’ve a flair for trouserwear that’s tantalizingly bare.”

For a simple, funny, dorky song, the chords, lyrics and melody to “Hole in Your Pants” are tricky enough that I’ve embarrassed myself by playing it wrong during more than one performance. (Perhaps that says more about my guitar and singing skills than my writing skills.) But it’s also become one of our concert staples – it seems everyone loves to hear us sing about holes in pants. And we’re totally fine with that.

We recorded “Hole In Your Pants” for our 2012 self-titled EP, but we were never thrilled with the result. So when we got the offer from Ray to record at Studio 825, we decided to give “Hole in Your Pants” another shot. We really like the new version – the arrangement is the same, but the guitar sounds much snappier, the vocals are cleaner, the overall mix is brighter and stronger. It bears repeating – Ray is an outstanding engineer.

Ray with his bandmates. You’ll never guess which decade this photo is from.

9. Maybe You Saw it Too

“It’s only sixty miles until the edge of space.”

When I was recovering from surgery in 2012, I wrote a strange little song called “Maybe You Saw it Too.” We liked it, so we set up the microphones, and less than 24 hours later, we recorded an acoustic version of the song.

But as fun as it was to write and record a song so quickly, we were never really happy with the result. The song was still too new – we still didn’t have a good sense of how to perform it, much less how to record it. So we sat on it for a few days until we realized that the dual nature of the lyrics (it’s kind of a love song about UFOs) lended itself to a different kind of sound for us – a blend of an acoustic ballad with old-school, blippy electronica.

Jill and I love techno, especially when it’s mashed with rock (check out Infected Mushroom’s blistering “Becoming Insane”, and don’t you dare stop listening before the 5:32 mark), but neither of us had tried to create it before. We were in uncharted territory here. At first, I tried to add loops, beats and sounds to the existing track, but it wasn’t working – the guitar part was originally intended to be the only instrument, so it took up too much space when the other sounds were added. So started over from scratch with a MIDI drum track, sped it up a touch, and added a much more spare acoustic track. Then, we started building.

We spent hours on it. And more hours. (Thank goodness we were working at home where studio time is free.) This stuff is really difficult. With MIDI, there are tens of thousands of preset sounds to choose from – and if you know what you’re doing, you can alter those any way you wish. With so many choices, coming up with the right arrangement was incredibly difficult, especially since we wanted to retain the acoustic bounce of the original song. We added tracks, played with them, deleted them, and were pretty much ready to put the mix aside for another day. But finally, as we gave it one more listen in the car, Jill realized what the song was missing (it had to do with the percussion in the chorus), and we finally came up with a mix that made us happy. I’m really glad we stuck with it – it sounds like nothing else we’ve ever recorded.

By the way, if you want to hear people who really know how to blend keyboards & loops with guitars and soulful vocals, we recommend you visit our friends RKVC. You’ll be happy you did.

"If you had come to us in the first place WE WOULDN'T BE YELLING AT YOU RIGHT NOW."

“If you had come to us in the first place WE WOULDN’T BE YELLING AT YOU RIGHT NOW.”

10. Run

“Don’t fear the dark – one little spark – then get on your mark”

The melody for “Run” had been haunting me since the 90s, but I could never find the right words. I thought it would be about feeling positive vibes (“Breathe, breathe in the night, breathe in the energy” was my “Scrambled Eggs”), but the words just wouldn’t come, so I wrote the chords and melody instead. I played it for Jill, humming the melody, and she diagnosed the reason for my roadblock: my original lyrical concept didn’t fit the intensity of the music. But she liked the tension in the verses and how the melody built to a big chorus, and she suggested going someplace darker and more urgent with the lyrics. So we decided to call the song “Run” and make it about getting away from everything that holds you back, everything that keeps you from making a change for the better. Within 24 hours, the lyrics were complete.

We originally thought this would be a full-band song – in fact, we considered recording it at Studio 825. Instead, we worked at home home, giving the song electric guitar, bass, and drum (both MIDI and real) tracks, and enlisting the mighty Chuck Kuzminski of CKuz Guitars to wail out a solo. But even after hours of futzing, the mix wasn’t sounding right – it seemed processed, sterile, inorganic. So one night, Jill and I hooked up a couple of mics (including the awesome Dragonfly Blue loaned to us by Stephen Manocchio) and knocked out a live, acoustic version in one take. Finally, the rawness of the performances matched the intensity of the lyrics – it was a keeper. We added some very simple percussion and an additional guitar part in the bridge, and there it was – a version of “Run” we were happy with.

We still wanted a guitar solo, however, and that was getting tricky – Chuck and I had difficulty getting our schedules to line up, and injuries on both our parts made it even tougher to get together. But finally, one morning in April, I made it down to Chuck’s guitar shop and we recorded a few takes.

Now Chuck, in addition to being a great guy, is one of the best, most versatile players I’ve ever heard. I, however, made a dumb, rookie mistake during the recording – I let his earphone cord dangle next to the guitar, and whenever Chuck moved, the cord knocked against it, making a noise that the mic eagerly picked up. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice this until I’d already packed up and gotten back to Knappshack Studios. Fortunately, Chuck had so many excellent takes that I was able to pull a good, clean solo from a couple different tracks. I’m still kicking myself for this – it was an avoidable problem that should never have happened. But Chuck’s mighty talent saved the day. Thanks, man.

“You’re welcome. Now excuse me while I play all these guitars at the same time.”

11. The Garden of Bad Metaphors

“We’ll be squeaky as a rocking chair…”

As a playwright and literature geek, I love playing with language. The title “The Garden of Bad Metaphors” was a license to have all kinds of fun coming up with the dumbest metaphors, similies, and internal rhymes I could. That’s about all there is to it.

What was really fun, though, was playing with the style. As soon as I mentioned the title to Jill, we knew the song should be a celebration of psychedelic folk, something that might have felt at home in San Francisco circa 1968. I’ve always been a huge fan of the genre – I grew up listening to the “Psychedelic Psupper” (I know, I know), a Sunday (Psunday?) night show on Philadelphia’s WMMR hosted by Michael Tearson. I love the trippy melodies and offbeat approach to those songs, and it was a blast trying to create our own little tribute (ripoff).

That’s right – your dad hosted a psychedelic radio show. Now get off his lawn, because it’s holding the secrets of the gateway…to…your…mind…

Recording it was a little trickier. On one hand, we had a wonderful time playing with MIDI sounds & effects – we decided nothing was out of bounds in our quest to honor and exploit all the aural trademarks of psychedelia (flangers, sitars, bongos, etc.). On the other, one of my MIDI patches – the one I paid for – was constantly crashing the program, making editing a lot more difficult than it should be. Because it was so finicky, I completely missed that my vocal track had a bit too much mid-range EQ and was noisy. So when we got the song back from Eamon, who mastered the album, I asked him what was with all the distortion at the end of the song. He said “you tell me – that was on the track.” And dammit, he was right (that’s the thing about mastering – your “problems” have nowhere to hide). I was able to fix a lot of it, but a touch of crispiness remains. Let’s just call that another style choice.

12. Things

“Maybe all the things we can’t define disappear when we combine.”

“Things” is one of our favorite words. Jill and I often communicate in a shorthand, and “things” is very useful; “I’m going to do the things,” one of us will say, and the other knows what we’re talking about. So I decided to write a song called “Things.”

Pictured: Things, wild.

Thing is, though, sometimes things aren’t so great. Sometimes the things we gather get in the way of real life, of communication, of love. These days, I think everyone struggles with that. So the lyrics ended up being a bittersweet reflection on how difficult it can be to stay close when we all just have so many…things…to deal with.

The structure is a little unusual. Instead of writing a chorus, I gave Jill a wordless melody to sing. At one point, I sing a counter-melody that morphs into a duet. I love performing this song live, because it is truly amazing how much Jill is able to communicate and express with just the sound “oh.” It becomes even more transcendent for me when I join in.

But getting a good recording of “Things” was really difficult. For one, there’s a pretty big dynamic range in the guitar – I’m doing some really soft picking at times. To capture it, the guitar mic was turned up so loud that you can sometimes hear me breathing. For the louder parts, I had to scoot back in my seat so I didn’t overload the signal. Tricky, but doable.

Getting the bridge to sound right was a bigger challenge. For the first few bars, I sing actual words under Jill’s sustained “oh,” but they were hard to understand in the first few mixes. I tried lowering her volume during that part, but the effect was odd and unnatural. Ultimately, we used stereo panning and subtle EQ to fix the problem; if you listen carefully on headphones, you’ll notice Jill’s voice moves a bit to the left side right before I sing. My vocal comes in a little right of center. But once we start singing “oh” together, the voices slowly move together, reaching the center just as we finish. Given the hopeful final verse, this seemed like an appropriate way to finish the song.

– – – – –

And with that, I’ll conclude my notes as well. Thank you so much for reading – we’re so incredibly lucky that we get to make music and share it with you. I’ve really enjoyed writing about the songs. I hope I didn’t bore you. If I did, here’s an interesting picture to wake you up.

You're welcome.

Pictured: America.

Better? Good.

Love,
Matt (the Suburban Legend)

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The Making of 39 Summers

by Matt

It all started with a friendly email sent around Halloween of 2012.

“Hi guys, hope all is well,” it read. “Wondering if you two would be interested in doing some BGVs for a local talent.”

The email was from Ray Gagliardino, the owner of Studio 825 in Wilmington, Delaware. After we figured out that BGV probably meant “background vocals” (a process that took roughly a half hour), we agreed – especially after learning the “local talent” was our buddy Brene Wilson, an amazing singer-songwriter we met years ago.

“Great!” he replied. “As a kickback I would like to record three of your originals here.”

Studio 825 was well-known to each of us, mostly because the Joe Trainor Trio recorded Twelve Stories, their latest (kick-ass) album, there. Jill and I went in separately to contribute to that Joe Trainor Trio album; Jill sang, I played sax. And we were both wowed by both the capabilities of the studio and Ray’s relaxed but focused approach to producing. It had been a year or two since we’d been in a studio (Jill records and tours with The Industrial Jazz Group), but we immediately fell in love with the glory and romance of working in Ray’s studio in particular. Both of us love the process of recording, of building music, and making music in Ray’s studio filled us with excitement.

And we knew that it was time to record an album.

Brene Wilson, Jill, Ray Gagliardino, and Matt can totally see you right now.

Brene Wilson, Jill, Ray Gagliardino, and Matt can totally see you right now.

It’s not like we hadn’t recorded as Hot Breakfast stuff before – we recorded and mixed our self-titled EP over the spring and summer at Knappshack Studios (i.e., Jill’s living room). With a simple Tascam interface, Cubase 6, a few half-decent mics and cables, and a willingness to take chances and make a lot of mistakes, we came up with six recordings we were relatively happy with (turns out, a few people agreed). Most of the songs on our EP were strictly acoustic, but “It Only Takes Two to Rock” was filled with drums, electric guitars, basses, overdubbed vocals, and surprise percussion. Building that song was a pleasure, and it filled us with the desire to record more tracks with a hard-edged, rock sound – just the way we’ve been hearing them in our heads.

It only takes Jill to Rock!

It only takes Jill to rock!

Now, even though Hot Breakfast! is an acoustic duo, we like to think we’re a full-on punk/hard-rock/pop band. Sure, we perform with one guitar and two voices, but we hear electric guitars, drums, basses, keyboards, a backing chorus – the works. (We should probably seek help.) And we really wanted our first album to capture that feeling that only existed in our minds, that encompassing, joyful caterwaul we sacrificed somewhat when we decided to perform as an acoustic duo.
 
Basically, we wanted to rock.
 
Now, when he made his offer, Ray believed we wanted to record as an acoustic duo. Full-band recordings take a lot more time and planning, and for a studio, time is money. His offer was generous, but he hadn’t intended on being quite that generous. So when we went in to sing on Brene’s songs (which are awesome, by the way – he’s one of our favorites), we told Ray that yes, we absolutely want to record at his studio, but we want to pay his regular rate, because we wanted five songs – three with a full band.
 
A few looks at our schedules, a very kind agreement on rates, and a handshake or two later, and we were on the calendar to record at Studio 825.

* * * * *

Hot Breakfast! is, and will always be, Jill + Matt. Jill takes the lead vocals, I take background vocals and play guitar. But while we both play a few different instruments and can pull off some impressive tricks on our home studio (with a few overdubs and many, many takes), we knew we needed some fabulous guest musicians to really make many of the tracks come alive. Fortunately, we knew right where to go.
 
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – Delaware is currently the home to an incredibly talented and welcoming community of musicians. The folks making original music around these parts aren’t just some of our favorite musicians – they’re some of our favorite people. We help each other out, we support each other, we look at each other as peers, not rivals. So when it came time to find musicians to join us in the studio, we didn’t have to look far.
 
For “Defender” – a song I wrote back in the 90s, when people were just learning to walk upright, the choices were easy: Joe Testa on guitar, Kevin Niemi on bass, and Jeff Dement on drums. No question. Kevin and Jeff are, of course, the rhythm section of The Joe Trainor Trio, and you won’t find musicians who rock harder. Joe Testa, who has been one of my best friends for many years, is simply one of the best rock guitarists in the area – a monster player with amazing versatility.
 
We took a different approach for “39 Summers” and “Act Surprised,” mostly for scheduling reasons – we needed a drummer who could record in the morning, leaving us the rest of the day to work on guitar, piano, and vocal tracks. Enter Ritchie Rubini, a Delaware legend who played with some massively popular and successful local bands, including The Caulfields, Matt Sevier, and Angela Sheik. Ritchie is a wonderful drummer and producer (more on that later) and, much to our delight, agreed to play drums on the songs.

We don’t know what’s going on in this video either.

There were two tunes we decided to record at Studio 825 – “Gravity” and “Hole in Your Pants” – with only our voices and my guitar. So there it was – five songs, two Hot Breakfast!ians, and a whole lot of backing talent. It was time to go to work.

We got to Ray’s studio the morning of November 26, 2012. By early afternoon, Ritchie had recorded the drums and percussion for “39 Summers” and “Act Surprised,” and man, did they sound sweet. After hearing each song only a couple times, Ritchie nailed the feel we were after – his drumming is both technically brilliant and filled with personality. We loved working with him, and were thrilled with the result. We added some guitar and vocal tracks and called it a (really great) day.

The next night, Jeff came in with his kit, and we knocked out the drums for “Defender.” Jeff just killed it – his style was perfectly suited to the Pixies-like feel we were after. Our only regret is that the song didn’t have more drums, actually. And the next day, when Kevin knocked out his bass parts on all three songs, we were even more excited – Ray captured the sound beautifully, and Kevin attacked each song with his signature playful, thoughtful, hard-rocking style.

A deceptively calm photo of Kevin Niemi (right after this, he ate a groundhog and made love to an amp).

A deceptively calm photo of Kevin Niemi (right after this, he ate a groundhog and made love to an amp).

The next night, it was Joe Testa’s turn to lay down some electric guitar tracks. Here’s where I was nervous, because in my home recordings I was never able to capture a really strong electric guitar sound – it would take hours of futzing before I got close. But Ray and Joe are two men who know what they’re doing – between Joe’s custom amp and Ray’s skill as an engineer, we had no problem finding great sounds, from clean R&B grooves to super-heavy distortion. There was a lot of tracking to get done, as we had to record lead, rhythm and solo tracks on three songs, but by the end of the night we were incredibly satisfied with Joe’s playing (not a surprise there) and the sounds we captured. Everything was feeling just right – the songs were coming together quickly, and sounding even better than we’d hoped.
 
The next day was trickier. I was trying to record the lead for “Defender,” but I couldn’t keep my electric guitar in tune. I tried playing it on Ray’s sweeeet Les Paul, but the results were similar – certain notes kept going sharp. Finally, Ray diagnosed the issue: I was so used to playing my acoustic, which requires a heavier touch, that I was pushing too hard and bending the strings – not necessarily an issue for rhythm tracks, but fatal for the naked arpeggios of “Defender.” I was frustrated and discouraged, but Ray had a solution: play the part on your acoustic, he suggested, and we’ll use studio t’chnology1 to make it sound like an electric. It worked, and after Jill laid down a rockin’ vocal, we had a song in the bank.
 
Over the next few days – right up until a couple days before Christmas – the others started to fill out as well. We were giddy – these songs were sounding good, even better than we hoped. We started to wonder if we should be doing more than five songs at Studio 825.

* * * * *

I had written “We Are Not Cool” in November, but we were never sure what to do with it. It was a fun little pop-punk song, but it felt unfinished somehow. But there was something there, something alive. We considered taking it to the studio, but we didn’t have a clue how to approach it.

“Maybe we should hire Ritchie as a producer?” Jill suggested.

Ritchie is the only man who rocks this hard while sporting a sweater vest and glasses.

Ritchie is the only man who rocks this hard while sporting a sweater vest and glasses.

Now, Ritchie is well-regarded as an exceptional producer. We’d heard some of the work he did with Angela Sheik and von Grey, and it is marvelous. And we loved the few hours we spent with him in the studio – his energy and humor are infectious. But we had never worked with a producer before. We liked the idea of being in charge, of having the final say, and we weren’t sure we wanted to give that up. But, as Jill pointed out, if at any step of the way we didn’t like the way things were going, we could always either cancel the session or just not include the song on the album. I finally agreed.
 
We recorded an acoustic demo of “We Are Not Cool” and sent it to Ritchie and Ray. A couple days later, we got a call from Ritchie – he wanted to meet with us to discuss the song and what to do with it. Again, we were nervous. This was uncharted territory, especially for me.
 
But one visit with Ritchie erased all doubts. Not only did his ideas suit us and our dork-rock aesthetic, but he came up with little touches that we never would have imagined on our own. Also, as we said before, we really liked the guy, and had a feeling working with him would be a rewarding experience.

Here's Ritchie doing some awesome old-school magic at the end of Dave Duncan's guitar solo in "Underground."

Here’s Ritchie doing some awesome old-school magic at the end of Dave Duncan’s guitar solo in “Underground.”

We got to the studio early and Ritchie immediately got to work on his drum track. Once he had it sounding the way he wanted it, we started layering – acoustic guitar tracks, then electric. Ray laid down the bass, and holy hell, is he one mother of a bass player.
 
By the early afternoon, the track was already sounding great. But it wasn’t until Ritchie had Jill record backing vocals in the chorus and laid down a keyboard lick that the song really came together. By that evening, we had a rockin’ tune that we loved, one that encapsulated Ritchie’s adventurous, quirky spirit and our signature dorkiness. So there it was – our relationship with Ritchie resulted in both a great track and a joyful experience.
 
So a month later, when I wrote a song called “Underground” and played it for Jill (while she and I were 1700 miles apart – sometimes I love living in the future), we knew what to do – we gave Ritchie a call. Another meeting, another demo, another fantastic, unforgettable day in the studio, and we had a track we loved – one that had the giddy 60s garage-rock sound we both love, and lots of fun little touches. A couple weeks later, a couple days before Easter, we went back to the studio and had Dave Duncan, a fantastic local guitarist, cut an offbeat, whimsical, rockin’ guitar solo. A few more tweaks and “Underground,” the final track recorded on 39 Summers, came to life.

We can’t say this enough – we love working with Ritchie Rubini – he’s everything a dork-rock band could ever want in a producer. We’ve got a feeling this won’t be our last time.

* * * * *

We ended up recording seven tracks at Studio 825. But there are twelve tracks on the album, and the other five were recorded on my laptop at Knappshack Studios, also known as Jill’s Living Room.
 
As I mentioned before, I’ve been home-recording for years, even before we made our EP and “An Idiot for Christmas” single. I made cassettes with a 4-track studio in the 80s and early 90s, and I recorded two CDs (2007’s Songs for the Earthbound and 2010’s All This Life2) with Cubase, inexpensive but powerful recording software installed on my laptop.

We don't have a lot of pics of us recording at home, so here's Ron Jeremy in a white robe playing the harmonica.

We don’t have a lot of pics of us recording at home, so here’s Ron Jeremy in a white robe playing the harmonica.

When you record at home, you’re constantly in the studio. You can record, tinker, mix, remix at any time of the day or night – you don’t have to worry about keeping our engineer from having a nice dinner. We love the freedom of recording at late hours, making different sounds, playing and experimenting, knowing we can always try another take, another patch. But the downside is that we don’t have the equipment nor the proper sound-proofed space that most great studios provide (not to mention the expertise of a great engineer like Ray). If we wanted our home recordings to stand up next to the tracks from Ray’s, we were going to need a little help.
 
Enter our secret weapon: Stephen Manocchio, the Sound Engineer at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware. Not only is Stephen a great engineer in his own right, but he’s a good friend who made us a very kind offer to record in his own personal studio. That timing didn’t work out, so Stephen did something wonderful for us – he loaned us some of his excellent, studio-quality microphones, which helped us capture clean, crisp vocals and acoustic guitar tracks. We still lacked soundproofing, but we decided it wasn’t the worst thing in the world if the occasional songbird made a cameo.
 
We won’t bore you with the details of recording and mixing the “homemade” tracks. It involved a lot of recording and re-recording, countless hours of late-night, down-to-the-wire mixing, and tons of second-guessing. But we kept our minds open and an adventurous spirit. On one track, “Maybe You Saw it Too,” we sampled MIDI drums and sounds for countless, fruitless hours until we decided to give up – only to have a revelation during a car ride that gave us the sound we were looking for. We scrapped a fully-recorded, full-band rock version of “Run” because it felt too processed and re-recorded an acoustic version live in one take – all it needed was a bit of percussion and an awesome guitar solo, and Chuck Kuzminski (of CKuz Guitars in Middletown, Delaware) provided that a few days later. On yet another – “It Only Takes Two to Rock” – we decided to keep the version on our EP after some subtle re-mixing and not-so-subtle enhancements.

Okay, so we guess we did bore you with a few details. Sorry about that. The important part of all this is that we had yet another secret weapon in Eamon Loftus, the genius who mastered the entire album – the studio tracks and the homemade tracks. His tireless work and expertise gave the album some coherence. He was able to smooth out the dynamic differences among all the songs, adjusting volume and EQ to find common ground between the loudest rock cuts and the softest acoustic songs.

After a lot of back and forth (which was actually a pleasure – Eamon’s as funny as he is talented), we had it: 39 Summers. The first full-length, original album from Hot Breakfast!. There’s not really enough room here to thank everyone who helped make it possible (hell, there’s barely enough room on the internet), but we did our best on the CD jacket.

Speaking of the CD jacket, we have to give shout-outs to two men who helped make the CD look great – photographer Joe del Tufo and designer George Murphy. Joe’s been taking amazing live concert shots in Delaware and Philadelphia for years – including some of us – and agreed to take cover shots for us. We’ll tell you all about that experience in a different post, but wow, what a day that was. He also designed the cover and gave it a sweet little Easter egg (hint: there is a witness). And George, who also happens to play guitar in one of our favorite bands, gathered all the photos & files we sent him and came up with a layout for the CD case that blew our expectations away – and he did it in a very short time on top of a huge workload. Thank you, George and Joe, for making us look cool.

And since you’ve made it this far in this blog post, we want to thank you too. So here’s “39 Summers,” the first song on the CD, for your streaming pleasure. We hope you enjoy it.

Much Love and Dork Rock,
Matt (the Suburban Legend)

Everybody smile on the count of three!

Everybody smile on the count of three!


1That’s not a typo, but an attempt to write the way Jack Black speaks. (NSFW language)
2Currently ranked #661,835 in sales. In your FACE, #661,836!

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GIG: Fergie’s Pub (Philly) with Arcati Crisis, Friday, May 10, 10:00 PM

by Matt

No surprise here: we love to play. We take a lot of gigs in a lot of places – bars, coffee shops, bookstores, festivals, house parties, even rodeos1. And one of the benefits of playing so much is that we meet a ton of great musicians.

Two of those musicians are Gina Martinelli and Peter Marinari of Arcati Crisis. In addition to having killer last names, Gina and Peter make wonderful, unique music, an indescribable blend of styles about quirky subjects like King Arthur’s romantic dilemmas and what not to do at bachelor parties. We met in Philly as we played one of our Primary Stages shows – Gina saw us and had a feeling we’d make a great double bill.

Dammit, why didn't we think of doing this?

Damn, that’s clever. Why didn’t we think of doing this?

We think so, too. So we’re gonna prove it at Fergie’s Pub at 1214 Samson Street in Philadelphia. It’s a great place for a gig – our only one before our huge Album Release Party at World Cafe Live in Wilmington.

The show starts at 10:00 – we’re splitting the night, so each band will take two half-hour sets. We’d love to see you there!

DEETS!

WHAT: Hot Breakfast! and Arcati Crisis at Fergie’s Pub
WHO: Hot Breakfast! and Arcati Crisis. This isn’t difficult.
WHERE: Fergie’s Pub, 1214 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.
WHEN: Friday, May 10, 10 PM – 1 AM
TICKETS: No charge! But order expensive drinks – that’s how we get paid.
FOOD/DRINK: They’ve got food! They’ve got drink!
ACCESS: We’re pretty sure it’s 21+, and there are stairs to negotiate. Plenty of parking in garages, or a few laps around the block should yield a spot on the street. It’s in a cute section of town; we dig it there.
FACEBOOK EVENT: http://www.facebook.com/events/149289655251214/

Hot Crisis? Arcati Breakfast? Let’s just see how this goes, eh?

Yours in Rock,
Matt (the Suburban Legend)

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GIG: ALBUM RELEASE PARTY. Saturday, May 18, World Cafe Live at the Queen

by Matt
Some bands like soft, subtle images. We're more of a "LET'S JUMP OFF A TALL BUILDING" band.

Some bands like soft, subtle images. We’re more of a “LET’S JUMP OFF A TALL BUILDING” band. (photo by Joe del Tufo, with less photoshopping than you’d think.)

Our new album is almost here!

And when it gets here, we’re gonna celebrate!

And we wanna celebrate with you.

We’ve been recording 39 Summers since November of 2012, and we are delighted to announce that our Album Release Party will be Saturday, May 18th, at World Cafe Live at the Queen. Joining us will be The Honey Badgers and The Joe Trainor Trio, two insanely talented bands who also happen to be our great friends.

We are often asked if we are the most attractive acoustic duo from Delaware with the initials "H.B." No. No, we are not.

We are often asked if we are the most attractive acoustic duo from Delaware with the initials “H.B.” No. No, we are not.

Both bands are performing sets of their own, and will join us later onstage for MIND-MELTING WORLD-DOMINATING COLLABORATIVE ROCK. That’s right – not only will you get to be among the very first to purchase 39 Summers (at a discount, no less), but you’ll also get to experience your favorite acoustic dork-rock power duo backed by a full band!
 
AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Other special guests include Joe Testa (who currently plays with Zombie Girl Noelle Picara) on guitar, percussionist Javy Diaz of Tilting Windmills, drummer Kanako Omae Neale, and bassist Ray Gagliardino, the owner & engineer of Studio 825, where we recorded much of the album. We could not be more excited.
 
Don’t get us wrong – we’ll still be performing several tunes as a duo. It’s what we do. But these are some of our favorite musicians and people in the whole world, and it’s an honor – and a rare opportunity – to share the stage with them.
 
The Honey Badgers kick off at 8:00. They’re a terrific young folk duo from Newark – please go here to listen to their music. See what we mean? You’re gonna love them.
 
You’ll also love the Joe Trainor Trio – but then again, you probably already do. These fine-looking and hard-rocking gentlemen will begin playing around 8:30. They came out with a great album last year that deserves every bit of your attention, and not just because Jill and Matt are lucky enough to show up on a couple of songs.
L to R: The de-evolution of sleeves.

L to R: The de-evolution of sleeves.


 
World Cafe Live has quickly become one of our favorite venues. The stage is great, the sound guys are superb, the staff is super-friendly, and the food is delish. Important Tip: in addition to purchasing your tickets, make sure to call (302) 994-1400 to reserve your table, especially if you want food. And you’re gonna want food – everything on the menu at World Cafe Live is fantastic.
 
This is a really, really big night for us. Our many thanks and eternal gratitude to everyone – and there are a whole lot of you – who helped make all of this happen. Come on over and celebrate with us!

DEETS!

WHAT: 39 Summers Album Release Party!
WHO: Hot Breakfast!, The Joe Trainor Trio, the Honey Badgers
WHERE: World Café Live at the Queen (upstairs), 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE
WHEN: Saturday, May 18th, 8:00 PM
TICKETS: $12 (+$3 processing fee). Purchase tickets here or call (302) 994-1400. Dinner reservations are strongly recommended in addition to your ticket purchase to ensure a seat. All tickets are General Admission.
FOOD/DRINK: Full menu & bar service.
ACCESS: All ages event. Wheelchair accessible. Parking garage next door.

Yours in rock,
Matt (the Suburban Legend) and Ji11

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GIG: Between Books, Claymont, DE, Friday, April 19

by Matt

The word “epic” is thrown about way too much, but we’ll say it: Greg has one epic beard.

A very sad thing is happening.

A wonderful independent bookstore in Delaware, Between Books, is closing its doors after 34 years.

We are heartbroken over this for many reasons. First and foremost, an independent business is forced to close because they cannot compete with the massive competition from huge chains and online stores. The owner, Greg Schauer, is a wonderful man who has poured his heart and soul into the store for so many years, and we hate to see him have to close his shop.

We're the ones with our fists in the air. Photo (c) 2010 Joe Del Tufo.

That’s us at Between Books in 2010. We’re the ones with our fists in the air. Photo (c) Joe Del Tufo.

We’re also sad for the many, many people who will never know the joy and beauty of walking into an actual bookstore, perusing aimlessly, getting lost in the titles, thinking about the wondrous things on the millions of pages before them.

But there’s another reason this breaks our hearts. Between Books would often host events in the evenings – concerts, poetry readings, lectures – and in December of 2010, they hosted a Hot Breakfast! concert. It was the first time we headlined as “Hot Breakfast!,” and we had an amazing time playing for the small but very enthusiastic crowd. We’ll always treasure that show, and we’ll always be grateful to Greg for giving us the opportunity to melt a few faces during our formative days.

Greg is going out with a bang, not a whimper. And he’s asked us to play a show on Friday, April 19 at 8:00. We cannot wait to set up in the midst of all the amazing books, comics, DVDs, and games in the store and get to rocking. The show starts at 8, but get there early, take a look around, and buy a book or three… it’s a piece of history.

If you cannot make it to see us on the 19th, please consider heading over to Between Books (the link goes to Google Maps) on Saturday, April 20th, for a closing night party, featuring Leslie Carey, Joe Trainor, and more. It’s a great way to say goodbye to a great place.

– – – – –

DEETS:

WHAT: Hot Breakfast! at Between Books, 2703 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE.
WHEN: Friday, April 19th. We’ll play from 8 to 10.
WHERE: A big shopping center on the corner of Harvey Road and Philadelphia Pike. It’s in the shopping center with the Goodwill and Arby’s, across Harvey from the giant Wawa. Here’s a map.
COST: Donations requested.
PARKING: No worries there! It’s in a shopping center – plenty of free parking.
FACEBOOK EVENT: Right here!

We really hope to see you there. In the meantime, please support your local businesses – they’re labors of love, and you never know when they’re gonna disappear.

Love,
Matt (The Suburban Legend)

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WE WON! Best EP, and Best Lead Singer (Jill Knapp) at the 7th Annual Homey Awards!

by Ji11

Thanks to your love, support, and votes, we were nominated for three Homey Awards back in the early part of 2013. And thanks to a panel of 200 judges from the music industry, members of The Recording Academy (aka “the Grammy people”), music publishers, and members of the tri-state area media, we WON two of them! Gaaaaaaah!!

What happens when two idiots try to take a one-handed selfie with a tablet's front-facing camera?

What happens when two idiots try to take a one-handed selfie with a tablet’s front-facing camera?

Yep, that’s right… The winners were announced at a Grammy-esque ceremony at World Cafe Live at the Queen on March 8th, and two awards were given to us, and apparently not by accident! We won for Best EP (our self-titled EP), and we also won for Best Lead Singer.

We are absolutely blown away by winning these awards, especially considering we’re just two people with a guitar, a triangle, and funny hair. :) Our EP was entirely self-produced and made in our home studio, and that the competition for Best Lead Singer was unbelievably stiff. I mean, have you heard those other singers? They’re freakin’ AMAZING!

The Homey Awards are sponsored by Hometown Heroes, that wonderful show hosted by Mark C. Rogers on 93.7 WSTW that features music and in-studio performances by musicians from Phildelphia, Delaware, Maryland, and southern New Jersey.

Anyway, here’s Matt accepting the Best EP award, with Todd Chappelle (channeling his inner and outer Ritchie Rubini) presenting. That’s Mark Rogers on the right. Thanks to Adam Walhberg for shooting this video!

 
You can listen to and/or purchase this Best EP by clicking this link. You’ll hear Jill’s Best Lead Singin’ pipes on there. :)

Here's a closeup of the awards. Pretty neat! They're sitting atop Jill's piano at Knappshack Studios.

Here’s a closeup of the awards. Pretty neat! They’re sitting atop Jill’s piano at Knappshack Studios.

1,000,000,000,000 thank yous to everyone who nominated us, and to the kind judges. We are eternally grateful and indebted to you.

Much love,

Ji11 and Suburban Legend
(aka Jill and Matt)

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GIG: Tomapalooza, Saturday, March 15, JB McGinnes, 7:00

by Matt

Please do us a favor and watch this video.

That man is Tom Hutchins, a really, really great guy who can use your help. You can go here to read about him, his struggle, and why we’re helping to raise money to buy him a new motorized outdoor mobility chair.

That above link (and hey, here it is again) takes you to his indiegogo.com fundraising page, where you can make a direct donation to the cause. But there are other ways to help, too. Other ROCKIN’ ways.

We are proud to be a part of TOMAPALOOZA, a concert event/birthday bash at JB McGinnes Pub and Grille in New Castle, Delaware on Saturday, March 15th. The amazing lineup includes many of our favorite musicians, including The Stiffs, Randy America (formerly of Jake and the Stiffs), The Keefs, Clashing Plaid, and The Prisoners, with belly dancing by Zahrah. Even if this weren’t a benefit, it would be an exciting event filled with wonderful, hard-rockin’ bands.

So please come on out and see us and these amazing bands, and help out a wonderful man. It’s gonna be a great night!

DEETS:
What: TOMAPALOOZA – Birthday bash and benefit for Tom Hutchins.
Who: Hot Breakfast! The Keefs, Randy America and the Pike Creek Pinups, Clashing Plaid, The Prisoners, Belly Dancing by Zahrah
When: Saturday, March 15, 7:00pm – 1:00 am. We play first, from 8:00 – 8:30.
Where: JB McGinnes, 519 E. Basin Road, New Castle, DE
Cover: $10. All proceeds benefit Tom Hutchins – the bands play for free. Buy tickets here!
Food & Drink: They have it! Many drinks to choose from, and you can download their menu here.
Parking: No worries there. It’s in a big shopping center.

With love,
Matt & Jill

Tomapalooza

Bonus video for those of you who read this far and scrolled down:

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GIG: COMEDY ROCKS, Thursday February 14 at 7:30, World Cafe Live at the Queen

by Matt

We’re not gonna mince a lot of words here.

We’re going to rock out on Valentine’s Day. And we’re doing it with our great friends Todd Chappelle and Shari Short. And we’re gonna do it at World Cafe Live at the Queen. And we’re gonna start at 7:30.

If Valentine’s Day is truly about love, then we will be in the right place, because we LOVE us some Todd and Shari. Todd is a one-of-a-kind comic musician who writes hilarious and often incredibly timely songs and parodies that are so clever you might miss how musically talented the guy is. Seriously, he’s one of our heroes. And Shari is a riotous comedienne and journalist with a wonderful routine. These folks are our sweethearts, and we cannot wait to join them onstage and cuddle with them afterwards.1

The mighty Gable Music Ventures first put this show together last fall, and not only did we have a ball, but we pretty much sold out the place. So please get your tickets now and join us. We promise that whether you’re single, on a first date, or getting ready to dump the person you’re obligated to spend Valentine’s Day with, we promise we won’t make the night awkward for you. It ain’t that kind of show.

It’ll be the best VD2 ever.

DEETS:
Who: Hot Breakfast! Todd Chappelle, and Shari Short.
When: Thursday, February 14th, 7:30.
What: COMEDY ROCKS! A night of comedy, music, and eggplant fries.
Where: World Cafe Live at the Queen, 500 North Market St., Wilmington, DE.
Cover: $8 + $2 service fee. Cheap!
Food & Drink: World Cafe has a full bar and a menu full of yummy noms. Arrive hungry.
Parking: There’s a pay lot right next to the Queen – it’s super easy and pretty cheap. Parking is free after 6:00 on around Market Street, but it ain’t always easy to find spots.

Love,
Matt & Ji11


1 We have been informed by our lawyers that cuddling is not included in the contract riders of Todd Chappelle and Shari Short. We are currently exploring our legal options.
2 Um…VD stands for “Valentine’s Day,” right?

They bring the comedy. We bring the ROCK. And maybe some pistachios.

They bring the comedy. We bring the ROCK. And maybe some pistachios.

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Eight Million Thank-Yous

by Matt
'The Rhino Crows at Dawn.' © 2013 Hot Breakfast. All Rights Reserved. Patent Pending.

‘The Rhino Crows at Dawn.’ © 2013 Hot Breakfast. All Rights Reserved. Patent Pending.

You guys are amazing. Seriously.

A little while ago, we asked for your help to get Hot Breakfast! nominated for the Seventh Annual 93.7 WSTW HOMEY AWARDS. The Awards are sponsored by Hometown Heroes, that wonderful show hosted by Mark C. Rogers that features music and in-studio performances by local artists. The first round of voting determined the final nominees in each category.

Thanks to all of our fans, our friends, and those who love and support local music, your pals Hot Breakfast! have been officially nominated for THREE Homey Awards!

  • EP of the Year (“Hot Breakfast!”)
  • Best Lead Singer (Jill “Breakfast!” Knapp)
  • Best Live Band

And not only that, but many of our favorite artists, from The Joe Trainor Trio to The Honey Badgers to Glim Dropper and many, many more have been nominated as well! You can check out the whole list by clicking here (yes, it’s a Facebook page, but you don’t have to be logged in to Facebook to see it, even though let’s face it, you probably are).

We are honored and delighted to be in such a crowd. The Delaware music scene is as vibrant and vital as ever, and it’s a thrill to be a part of it all.

The Awards Ceremony will be at World Cafe Live at the Queen on Friday, March 8, 2013. The Homeys have their own band of voters for this one, so we’re not asking you to do a thing – except to sit back, relax, and be proud for supporting local musicians and artists.

We’ve got great shows coming up, a full-length CD in production, and all kinds of great plans in the works. And none of it means a thing without you.

We cannot thank you enough. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try. We even wrote you a song.

Love,
Matt & Jill

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VOTE in the WSTW HOMEY AWARDS

by Matt
Most accurate T-shirt slogan ever.

Most accurate T-shirt slogan ever.

We know. Seriously, we do. You thought you wouldn’t have to endure another appeal for your vote for at least a couple weeks.1 Well, at the risk of conjuring up images of a bygone election…we feel your pain.

But this time, it’s different. It’s for real. It is on, Brothers and Sisters.

This time, we’re asking you to vote in the 2013 WSTW Homey Awards (the link goes to a Facebook Note that lists the categories and nominees you can choose from, but don’t worry, you don’t need a Facebook account to view it). This is where you get to vote for all your favorite Delaware musicians, bands, songs, albums, videos, rock hairstyles2, and pretty much anything else you can think of from this past year.

And as you most likely know, 2012 was an amazing year for Delaware music.

How do you do it? Simple. Just send an email to Homey (at) wstw.com with your picks between now and February 2nd, 2013. All of the categories, eligible albums, EPs, and songs are listed on that Facebook Note, but you don’t need Facebook to vote – and you can even add your own categories in your email. Because this is the preliminary round, you can pick up to five nominees in any category, but you only get one email entry per person… so make it good!

As hey, as it turns out, your pals Hot Breakfast! are eligible for this round’s voting! We’d love it if you’d consider us for:

  • EP of the Year (“Hot Breakfast!”)
  • Song of the Year (“Hole in Your Pants”)
  • Band
  • New Artist
  • Lead Singer (that’d be Jill Knapp)
  • Live Act
  • Comedy-Music Artist
  • Acoustic Dork-Rock Power Duo
  • Acoustic Punk Duo, although we kinda doubt these two categories will make the final cut

…and any other category where you think we deserve a nod!

If you’re very trusting (or just lazy), scroll down to the comment below and copy/paste that into your nomination email. See how helpful we are?

But tell you what, friends – even if you DON’T vote for us, we still want you to vote. There are so many wonderful musicians in Delaware – the original music scene here is as active, essential, and vibrant as ever – and this is a great way to show some love to your favorites. We are so indebted to WSTW’s Hometown Heroes for their wonderful focus on, and commitment to, Delaware music, and hosting these awards is a great way to give recognition to the many, many wonderful artists in the area.

So vote, won’t you? Again, in this preliminary round, you can vote for up to five artists/venues in each category. And all of them will love you and find you wildly appealing.

Why? Because VOTING IS SEXY, that’s why.

We are saluting.

We salute you.

Your fellow Americans,
Hot Breakfast!

* * * * * * * * *

1 We don’t really understand the election cycle. We just assume it’s always election season, just like it’s always basketball season.
2 “Rock Hairstyles” isn’t really a category. Although if it was, we’d probably pick Jill’s Dragonball Z look over Matt’s You Don’t Know Jack look.

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