Written by Carly Shields
Whenever a new band comes out with an unfamiliar word or phrase in its name, the effect of standing out in that way can be both good and bad. In the case of The Jauntee, it’s very good. Not only does their name set them apart, but their carefully composed songs and psychedelic, yet crafted jams give unlimited support to their remarkable name. Jamwich had a chance to sit down with Scott Ferber, drummer and vocalist for The Jauntee, and talk about all things jaunt.
What’s the story behind the name and what does “The Jauntee” mean to you?
Well, there are sort of two answers. The answer that makes the most sense, so we’ve adapted it, is that it stems from the old English word ,”Jaunt”, meaning, “a short journey for pleasure” — Which, is the experience we hope our music creates for the audience.
The real answer, which makes less sense, is that it’s just a random word Caton (Sollenberger, guitarist and vocalist) used with his friends growing up in Gettysburg. There was no exact meaning for ‘jaunt’…. it just sort of replaced other words as needed. It worked.
At this point in the game, ‘The Jauntee’ means everything to me. It means happiness, it means friends, it means family, it means love, and it means fun.
Can you describe the moment you knew you wanted to make music with each of your band mates?
For me, it was pretty instantaneous with each individual member. I met Caton at one of his first days at Berklee. We jammed soon after and I can honestly say I felt the connection from the very first time. We complete each other’s musical sentences and share a ‘like-mind’ with where the music is headed. He was then, and still is now, one of my favorite guitar players.
The first time I played with John (Loland, lovingly nicknamed ‘Longhair’ for obvious reasons, on bass), was early on in The Jauntee’s career and he was playing guitar. Even then, he was such a great fit. He’s a great listener and meshed well with us at the time. Even before I even really knew him, he just seemed like a cool dude. Someone you want to know.
As for Tyler (Adams, on keys), I can’t pinpoint a moment, but surely the first time I saw his other band The Soul Panacea I was blown away. Tyler is just a fantastic, all-around musician with a great ear. Put any instrument in his hands and he’ll be playing it at an advanced level quicker than anyone I know. I also first jammed with him on guitar but played with him on all sorts of instruments in the first few years living in Allston, MA. Drums, keys, bass, mandolin- he can do it all.
Your newest album ‘Excelsior’ came out recently; tell me about the process for writing and recording that album.
‘Excelsior’ was produced by Warren Amerman at Rotary Records in West Springfield, MA last spring. As far as the songwriting process, about half of the songs were written by me, one by John (Valley Girl) and the rest were collaborative efforts. Generally, one of the members will come forward with chord changes and the other three will write their individual parts. For some of the more complicated tunes like “Flutterby,” Caton and I worked together to compose instrumental sections.
Producer Warren Amerman was very helpful in the creative process and helped realize the band’s full studio potential. He had a great ear for vocal harmonies which helped breathe new life into some of the tunes. Tyler [who joined the band after recording this album] was brought in on Mandolin for “Know it All” and “I Wonder Why I Ponder,”and several percussion overdubs were added. The studio also had a full Yamaha grand piano, Hammond B3 organ, Rhodes and Wurlitzer which helped broaden the type of sounds found on the album.
What are some of the differences between this release and your first album ‘Enjoy the Ride?’
Recording ‘Excelsior’ was our first real experience together in a professional studio — our first album, which was released in 2012, was recorded in a friend’s home studio. We really wanted to go all out this time and add lots of vocal harmonies and other overdubs so it is a much fuller album than our debut in that respect. Also, musically speaking, the band is much tighter than we were in 2012 and the songwriting has matured.
Now that he’s been with the band for a couple months, can you tell me a little about how your new keyboard player impacts the band?
It’s been an absolute blast, really. Tyler ties everything together and really rounds out our sound. It was easy for some of our jams to get a bit ‘guitar heavy’ in the past, but I think Tyler has alleviated that issue. Our sound is much more balanced, all four of us contributing an equal piece to the musical puzzle. He also adds a jazzy/fusion element that’s been a fun new avenue to explore with new cover choices and originals.
You guys tour pretty relentlessly, what are some of your biggest motivations for staying on the road? What’s the most important thing to keep in mind while on the road? Where do you enjoy playing the most?
Well number one, we love the road! We love traveling and we love playing music for people. There’s just nothing else the four of us would rather being doing.
Furthermore, relentless touring is what it takes to become successful, especially in the jam scene. You have to keep doing it, over and over, show after show. Literally, one fan at a time. All these bands out there headlining major festivals and playing theaters didn’t just get there magically. They’ve been doing this, touring relentlessly for 10, 20, even 30 years. You got to put in your time if you want the recognition and respect. You have to play for an empty room of people 50….100…300+ times before you play to thousands. That’s the most important thing to keep in mind on the road – Don’t let yourself get discouraged.
Personally, my favorite places to play are anywhere with good stage sound…… anywhere in Colorado…because it’s amazing out there. Other specific venues would be The Pour House in Charleston, The Camel in Richmond, The Brooklyn Bowl and anywhere near Boston when all the hometown crew shows up!
Outside of the Boston area, where do you think you have the strongest fan bases?
Richmond, Cincinnati, and Denver have all been good to us. Those three definitely stand out above the rest. Charlotte and Atlanta/Athens have been promising lately as well.
Where can people see The Jauntee this summer?
4/21 – Pacific Standard – New Haven, CT# 4/22 – Thunder Road – Somerville, MA# 4/23 – Putnam Den – Saratoga Springs, NY# 5/13 – TBD – Albany, NY 5/14 – Funk ‘n Waffles – Syracuse, NY 5/18 – Gypsy Sally’s – Washington, D.C. 5/19 – Blue Side Tavern – Frederick, MD 5/20 – Domefest – Bedford, MA 5/21 – Crossbones Tavern – Greenville, NC 5/25 – The Whiskey – Wilmington, NC 5/26 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA 5/27 – The Hummingbird – Macon, GA^ 5/28 – The Rabbit Hole – Charlotte, NC 6/01 – Martin’s Downtown – Roanoke, VA 6/02 – Dave’s Taverna – Harrisonburg, VA 6/03 – The Ante Room – Charlottesville, VA 6/04 – The Camel – Richmond, VA 6/10 – BRYAC – Bridgeport, CT 6/11 – Disc Jam – Stephentown, NY 6/17 – Mad Tea Party Jam – Artemas, PA 6/18 – Art on the Avenue – Reading, PA 7/15 – The Port Hunter – Edgartown, MA 7/16 – The Port Hunter – Edgartown, MA 8/06 – Spotlight Tavern – Beverly, MA 8/19 – Majestiquestival – Rockingham, VT 8/26 – Laniakea Fest – Athens, OH 9/02 – Quixotes – Denver, CO+ 9/03 – Quixotes – Denver, CO+ # w/ Mister F and Broccoli Samurai * w/ CBDB ^ w/ Universal Sigh + Phish After-Parties
Where do you see the band in 10 years? And how do you plan to get there?
10 years from today? Let me check my calendar…
… Looks like we’re playing the Moon that day. 9pm sharp. Not sure of transportation plans, our Tour Manager takes care of all that.