How did you get hooked on rock and roll?  It was unavoidable in the house I grew up in. I had four older siblings who were all into music. My brother Mike played drums and my brother Mark played guitar. We had the jam room in the basement with tapestry covered walls with Mateus bottles everywhere. Illegal ashtrays. This was the 70’s and everybody who came into my orbit had long hair and KISS or UFO shirts on. I was baptized into Rock and Roll and have been a devout follower ever since.
What was your first public/live performance like?  It was probably sometime around sophomore year in high school at our local community center in Libertyville Illinois. They hosted a weekly open mike. I don’t remember much about it except I played solo acoustic. I don’t remember being nervous. I rarely get stage fright and when I do it is usually for smaller crowds. The intimacy of playing to a handful of people can be intimidating. Throw me up in front of a packed room and I’m ready to go.
Favorite albums growing up?  The first truly great record that entered my world was the Jackson 5’s Greatest Hits. The J5 were still a young outfit and pre puberty Michael. Such a great album when Motown was still on top. Around the same time my Sister brought home the Beach Boys Greatest Hits and that really struck a chord with me. The first album I bought with my own money was around 4th or 5th grade. The Beatles Revolver. My brother Matt who was a couple years older bought the Rolling Stones Black and Blue on the same outing. By the time I was in 7th grade you could find most Beatle albums, some ELO, Chicago, Queen and the Who in my young collection. I also had that Steve Martin album with King Tut on it…..but don’t tell anybody.;)
Do you hear their influences still in your new stuff?  Sure, it’s all rolling around in there. I’m trying to push out the pre Jackson 5 / Osmand Brother period and I think I’ve been successful.
How did Black Laurel come about?  I was new to New Orleans and looking to get back in the game after a long sabbatical as a family man. I just started asking around for like-minded musicians. My buddy and co worker at the hardware store I worked at in the Quarter played, so we got together, wrote some songs. When we felt we had a set, we went to Craigslist to find a rhythm section. The rest will hopefully be history. Of course, I’m the only original guy left. It has been addition by subtraction ever since.
Did you have specific goals for the recording sessions for debut EP?  We just wanted to capture our sound as economically as possible. The EP is just us playing live with a quick overdub session for vocals and some doubling of rhythm guitar and solo’s. It was produced by Rick Nelson of Afghan Whigs at Marigny Recording Studio, just down the street from my house. The next one we hope will be more relaxed, but money for diy bands is always tight.

Were the songs all new or were there some that you had been sitting on for a while?   Two of the songs were written by our bass player, Rade Pejic and I’m assuming are current. Of my five songs, all were newer, with the exception of ‘Set Your City Free’ which was written awhile ago. The line “were gonna march into your town. Knock all your statues down” was about the invasion of Iraq but in New Orleans, everyone thinks it’s about the removal of Confederate monuments.

How would you compare Chicago and New Orleans in terms influence to Black Laurel’s music?  New Orleans references are sprinkled  throughout our lyrics. Not so much musically. Chicago had a great rock scene when I was active there. Jesus Lizard, Ministry, Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair, Boom Hank, Veruca Salt, Red Red Meat. New Orleans is a Jazz and R&B town. There is a nice underground rock scene starting to bubble to the surface, but the tourists don’t want anything to do with it. I will say that living in New Orleans has been great for my playing as there are so many unbelievable musicians everywhere. Shake a tree and a great musician will fall out……along with some beads and discarded crawfish shells.
Songwriters often say they think of their songs as almost like their children — how do you feel about the old Nurv material when you hear it now?  Some need to go to their rooms without supper. Some deserve to go to College.
You go down to the crossroads, your rider by your side and come across the Devil  listening to “Judy Brown. He wants to strike a deal — he wants your guitar; what do you ask of him? 
Depends on the guitar and what Trump……Lucifer is offering in return.


1.0  What is the most recent song you have written and what is it about? Daze Long.  It’s about 2 months old and I have recorded it.  Waiting to mix it.  It’s about being on the cusp of losing your job and all of the fears associated with that.  But at the end of the day, life is still good.  It’s good to be alive.

2.0  Has your approach to song writing changed over the years? I’m more critical of the material.  I’ve gotten to a place where I consciously need to let go, do the work and not self-edit to early in the process. I’d gotten to a point where I was doing a little something then dismissing it because it either reminded me of something I’ve done or possible something someone else had done.

3.0  Material wise, when do you know you have something? When it feels right.  It’s a gut thing.

4.0  You can take Boom Hank out of the south-side, but can you take the south-side out of Boom Hank? LOL. I must say, Boom Hank is very un-south-side for south-siders but having said that, it is a part of who we are, whether we like it or not.  That is the thing that makes us “unique”.

5.0  How do you feel about sharing mp3’s?  I’m all for sharing music, just as I did as a teenager.  I’d make as many mixtapes and dubs as I could to spread the love and turn people on to, what I thought, was great new music.  I’m not for file sharing networks where millions of people can grab it for free…unless the artist allows it as apart of their marketing strategy.

6.0  Have you ever set anything on fire? Oh yes!  It was spectacularly out of control and scared the shit out of me.  I was very young and a girl was involved.  I could see how an event like that, at a very young age, could have had an inverse effect and a person being very much enthralled with the power of being able to create that kind of event.  That’s where the inspiration for the song “Kindling” came from.

7.0  Is it still important for bands to rehearse a lot before entering the studio? I think it depends on the level of ability that a band has and what it is they are trying to accomplish with the recording.  A band that is too well rehearsed can take the edge out of a song that should have it…and vice-versa.  The tricky thing about recording is that you try and capture some kind of “magic” and the conditions for catching it are constantly changing.

8.0  You have been an engineer for many years, how does that impact your approach in the studio? It makes me nuts.  I would rather have a bit more ignorance to the process.  I know of all the choices and that can drag me down. Keep it simple stupid!

9.0  Your stuck on i-94, what have you to listen to? In my car now is, The Tallest Man On Earth’s “The Wild Hunt”, Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank” EP, Frightened Rabbit’s “The Winter Of Mixed Drinks” and The xx’s “XX”.

10.0  There’s an alien is the backyard; he’s got a record in his hand, what is it? “Rocket 88’”….it’s his/her first rock ‘n roll experience and what sent them here ~