When asked to describe his new band, Party of Shine, who make their live debut at The High Watt Friday night, Jeff Johnson puts it like this: “Well, I mean. It’s just raw, I think. I didn’t want to just rely on bar chords and fast punk rock. The energy I wanted it was to be more like fucking rather than jerking off, so I purposely keep the stuff pulled back to almost like midtempo just to be more confident or something. I didn’t want to do just the southern California punk band thing.”
Yes, THAT Jeff Johnson, the icon who fell off the face of the earth. Well, folks, he’s back. And with a vengeance. if you’re old enough to remember when Nashville punk WAS punk, you remember the original bass-player in the seminal Jason & the Nashville Scorchers. Jeff Johnson was the bass player the Sex Pistols never had. He helped invent a whole genre. And then he left. Everything: the band, Nashville, the music business, and wound up — I shit you not — living in Brazil fixing motorcycles. But that was then, and this is now. Jeff Johnson has moved back home to Tennessee with rock in his heart and Party of Shine is now.
Go to partyofshine.com and feast on a rock quartet that makes you feel good. Their unreleased debut is the sound of a roaring rock band playing in a basement all together at once, not thousands of miles away from each other trading Pro-Tools files back and forth. It’s the sound of deep-down musicians who love rock ‘n’ roll and have been around long enough to know what to play and what to leave out. “Maharishi Jones” is a massive slab of rock ‘n’ roll guitar growl that portends what might happen had AC/DC and Crazy Horse ever formed a band together. “What You Wanted” introduces an acoustic guitar in the mix, but it’s more like the MC5’s and the Stooge’s versions of acoustic tunes rather than “Hotel California.”
The band has actually been together (in a way) for seven years. Jeff may have absconded from his whole home continent, but when he wasn’t rebuilding carburetors in Rio he was learning how to play guitar, good, chunky menacing, grinding guitar, and he wrote songs, plugged in his Pro Tools and recorded his vocals and guitars, and then by the miracle of technology found a bass player living in France and a guitarist and drummer back home who were also members of the first Nashville Rock Scene, having played in bands like China Black and Warm Dark Pocket. AND THOSE MUSICIANS ARE: Jeff Johnson (ex-Jason & the Scorchers) guitar/ vocals, David Harvard (Wishcraft/ China Black) vocals/ guitar, Mark Pilkinton (Warm Dark Pocket) drums, William Stephenson Geiger (Goldfinger/ Motorcycle Boy) bass.
Party of Shine plays High Watt, Friday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m.
Pray for me, I have to follow them.