Rant: Jerry Roach (Sam Black Church)

Rant: Jerry Roach (Sam Black Church)

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What’s your earliest musical memory?

Wow. That’s tough to say. My parents got me a toy guitar when I was about 3 years old. I loved it. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I strummed on it constantly. I banged on pots and pans a lot as a child, too. My father was a trained trumpet player, and my older sister was pianist. I would say my strongest, early musical memory is singing “Puff the Magic Dragon” while my sister played piano when I was about 4 years old. Ha!


What was the first record you got/bought?

I listened to a lot of story albums when I was little. The kind that were abridged versions of famous books like “Around the World in 80 Days,” or “Alfred Hitchcock presents…” The first music I bought for myself was Blondie – Parallel Lines, Devo – Freedom of Choice, and oddly enough, Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Souls for Rock ‘n’ Roll. I was definitely influenced by my older sister.


What is your favourite listening medium and why?

Vinyl. Although, I don’t collect it the way I used to. Last I checked, I had about 700 albums, which really isn’t much compared to some of my friends’ collections. Vinyl has a depth and warmth that other mediums don’t have. Don’t get me wrong. I listen mostly to mp3’s on my phone. It’s just too portable and easy to deal with. I still have about 2000 CDs in my storage space, though; and a few hundred cassettes I’ve kept.


One album you’d like to hear re-recorded/mixed/mastered/done differently? (Could be your own, or someone else’s)


The first three Cheap Trick albums, definitely. I know that’s more than one, but all three could be ferocious if they were redone. Also, I’d have to say Sam Black Church’s first album, Let in Life. We were young, naïve, and didn’t know what we were doing. It is our most popular album, and I can barely stand to listen to it. I played everything too fast. Oh, well.


How much do you listen to your own records?

Rarely, but I’ve recorded a lot of stuff besides Sam Black Church (Goddamn Draculas, Voodoo Dolls, HUGE, C-60). Often times I only listen to the stuff when someone has asked me to play something for them. The albums I’m proudest of are Sam Black Church – The Black Comedy, C-60 – Zero to 60, and Goddamn Draculas – The Drax.


Is there a genre/thing that you wish would see a second coming? Is there a combination of sounds/styles you’d  like to hear that hasn’t been done yet?
The blues. It is the foundation of western music and rock ‘n’ roll. If a musician doesn’t have a grasp of the blues, then they just don’t “get it.” Classical is, of course, another thing entirely, and should be equally appreciated. I can’t think of a particular mashup I’d like to hear, but I will say that I wish that musicians and music fans wouldn’t get so hung-up on specific styles. Everyone in western music is using the same 7 notes, and a good song is a good song. I don’t care what style it is. I try my best to love everything, but I can be pretty judgemental, too. I try not to be. 


How do you feel about the current state of music production? 

It just depends what you’re going for, I guess. I’m fine with recording digitally. It is certainly “easier.” But I definitely did a lot of recording to 2” tape, and there is a warmth to it, especially for drums, that can’t be replicated digitally. I don’t miss splicing, though.


What do you think will be the listening medium/environment in let’s say 10 years from now? Do you think digital will reign supreme or do you think there’ll be a physical medium that will catch up?
I don’t see anything replacing digital in the near future. I think things will get smaller and easier to use, probably incorporating some kind of Bluetooth technology; like a flash drive sized earpiece that has your collection on it, or streams.

Any hot new bands out there we should check out?

There are some great heavy bands around Boston right now: Gozu, Worshipper, Magic Circle, and Hey Zeus. As far as older bands with new stuff, I love The Afghan Whigs’ new album.

Sam Black Church


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