Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eggplant Queens (2000 - Present)

If ever the term "super-group" pertained to a Bellmore band, Eggplant Queens is the band. The first incarnation of Eggplant Queens comprised of members from Rat Bastard (Dave Jemmott & Mike Stamberg), Zombula 451˚ (Bobby S.), Adrenachrome (Mike Walch), and Whatsoever (Steve Johnson). The only member who wasn't in a previous band is Matt Bianco...and he's the brainchild who put this band together.

Eggplant Queens is also the first band to combine the three "cliques" of Bellmore musicians. Well, not really "cliques"...more like age groups. Breaking it down to it's roots, the "unscene" basically consists of three age groups – the Justified Violence crew, The Intellectuals crew, and the Whatsoever crew. And what connected the three are a set of brothers – the Bianco's and S's. That's just a little background history for those who don't already know.

By default Eggplant Queens got the spotlight in Bellmore: The Unscene. Not Saved had announced they were breaking up on our first day of shooting (read about that here) and Earl Pickens and The Black Mountain Marauders were cut for creative reasons (read about that here). That's not to say Eggplant Queens didn't deserve the spotlight. I honestly felt during our filming that if this band had actively pursued a record deal, they would've gotten one. With the debut of The Strokes in 2001, industry eyes were set on New York's garage rock scene and the Eggplant Queens should've milked it. Their music was very good and visually they were new and interesting.

Though the name of the band was Eggplant Queens, all the members took on "egg" names...

Dave Jemmott = Huevos Rancheros
Mike Walch = Sunnyside
Matt Bianco = Yo-Yo-Yolk
Bobby S. = Eggdrop
Steve Johnson = Eggpants
Mike Stamberg = Scramberg

Here's a scene from Bellmore: The Unscene introducing Eggplant Queens...

There are two things I really like about the Eggplant Queens scene above. The first is Walch offering everyone Honey Drops, "with a splash of honey". The second is seeing the band's creative process learning "One Way Street" for the first time, then seeing it performed live at The Continental.

Eggplant Queens played the Long Island scene and the New York City scene, gathering a strong loyal crowd. Then in 2002 they decided to bring on a second guitarist to fill out the sound. Bobby S. knew Michael McCarthy from back in the day so he got the gig and was christened Eggklair. Here's Eggklair's story from the Bellmore: The Unscene Extras DVD...

In 2003, Eggplant Queens released their 6 song demo, Curses...

[DOWNLOAD] Eggplant Queens - Curses (2003)
01- Nice Life
02- Drugs
03- Mud Muscle
04- Suicide Dive
05- Mother H
06- One Way Street

Here's a video I put together of the band recording Curses at LoHo Studios in NYC – set to the song "Nice Life"...

Michael McCarthy left the band sometime in 2004 (I think?) and was replaced with Steve Dawson (a.k.a. Beater) – a close friend of Stamberg's. Steve stuck around for a couple of years (I think?) and left the band to tour with Jesse Malin.

Today, I'd say Eggplant Queens are more of a "sometimes" band – playing shows sporadically. They've also been threatening to release a full length CD they claim is finished but waiting on the artwork. Axel Rose is their PR agent.

Dave Jemmott - vocals
Mike Walch - vocals
Matt Bianco - vocals
Bobby S. - guitar
Steve Johnson - bass
Mike Stamberg - drums
Michael McCarthy - guitar ('02-'04?)
Steve Dawson - guitar ('05-'06?)


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