STORY WRITTEN BY FERN BRODKIN
For Digital First Media
Philadelphia’s John Faye is presenting another Mistletoe Jam, the annual concert which takes place every year on the day after Christmas at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. The former leader of John & Brittany, Ike and The Caulfields will also be celebrating the release of his new CD “Meddling Kid.” He will be performing at the event with his band Those Meddling Kids!
Also on the bill are Dr. Beardface and the Spaceman, Joey DiTullio, The Captain The Pilot The Driver, Kid Felix and Molly Rhythm.
In a phone interview from his home, Faye discussed the origins of the Mistletoe Jam.
“We’re tied in with Jaxon and WMMR for the show every year, but it’s basically my brainchild and I’m the one who organizes it and puts it together,” said Faye. “I think it started in 2006, so maybe this is the ninth one.
“[Faye’s former band] Ike was getting a lot of radio support from WMMR – (they had) our songs in regular rotation there, so my relationship with the station has always been great. Jaxon has always been such a supporter of Philadelphia music since he arrived here. It was basically in ‘05 – ‘06, around then. All of the stars kind of aligned to put on a big holiday show that year.”
The event went so well that it has continued. Because it is an all-ages show, parents can bring their kids and continue to celebrate the holiday season.
“It brings a lot of people from the community who maybe aren’t here year-round, but are home for the holidays. It’s almost like it’s a family gathering in a way. I think that’s why the show has been able to thrive on the day after Christmas every year,” added Faye.
It is important to Faye that all the bands on the bill will be enjoyable to a large audience.
“I try to have a stylistic mix while still keeping it in the rock realm because it is sponsored by a rock station, but basically, it’s bands who I feel are diligent, hard-working (and) good. I want to put together a show that people can attend from the beginning to the end and enjoy the whole thing.”
Of course the highlight of this year’s show is the release of “Meddling Kid,” Faye’s first solo album. Faye discussed the origin of the album.
“The idea… when I went into the studio was not to make a whole record,” explained Faye. “It was just to kind of see what it would be like if I went into the studio for a weekend and tried to record some songs by myself. I went in with Steven LaFashia to Philly Sound Studios in South Philly just for a Saturday/Sunday weekend session, and it went so well. We actually recorded 3 full songs (from) top to bottom in 2 days. That was all the instruments, all the vocals, all the percussion, everything. I was really pleasantly surprised… basically proving to myself that I could do it, but the efficiency of it struck me as well. I was able to record the (album) in basically 6 tracking days.
“I felt like it was the right time to do something like this,” Faye continued. “I was very much in the mood to execute a vision on my own. I was in a collaborative musical situation for close to 5 years… I felt like it was important to reassert myself as an individual.”
Faye has been performing live with his band Those Meddling Kids! and he will do so again at the Mistletoe Jam.
“Those Meddling Kids! is basically my backup band that I put together to do the material from ‘Meddling Kid.’ The idea behind Those Meddling Kids! was to put together a band unlike anything I had done before. There’s more instrumentation. There’s more vocals. When we’re at full-strength, it’s a 6-person unit, which is the biggest band I’ve ever had.”
Faye explained that even though the album ‘Meddling Kid’ is just about to be released, he finished recording it earlier this year.
“We’ve been doing shows since the end of last year. It’s kind of a rotating cast of characters. It’s never really the same unit twice.”
The one song from the album that will be familiar to Ike fans and many Philadelphians is a remake of the song “Into Philadelphia.” It is also the only song on the album which features other musicians.
“We re-recorded the old Ike song “Into Philadelphia” … mainly because the Ike album that it’s from [In Real Life, 2005] is out of print now, but the song really still continues to have a life. It’s still part of my show and it still gets airplay and stuff like that, so I wanted to make it available to people again.
“I combined arrangements of the different eras of Ike because there were a few different lineups (that) played it slightly differently, so I did an amalgamation of all those arrangements for the new one. The coolest part about it to me is that I managed to wrangle all 7 former members of Ike to sing backup vocals on it.”
The Mistletoe Jam will be an awesome way to continue to enjoy the holiday spirit. And everyone who buys a ticket will go home with a present – a copy of “Meddling Kid.”