“See My Friends,” one of two contributions by the Highland Park-based power-pop outfit The Grip Weeds to the brand new “JEM Records Celebrates Ray Davies,” is the Makin Waves Song of the Week.
The fourth installment in the JEM Records Celebrates series of tributes to artists extremely influential on the legendary Jersey label’s power pop/garage rock roster continues with a salute to The Kinks tunesmith Ray Davies.
“See My Friends,” one of two contributions to the collection by Highland Park-based The Grip Weeds, is the Makin Waves Song of the Week.
As the Makin Waves Song of the Week, “See My Friends” also can be heard between 6 and 8 p.m. on Aug. 11 on “Radio Jersey” at ThePenguinRocks.com. If you miss it, you can tune in any time in the archives at The Penguin and MixCloud.
“As a songwriter, Ray Davies opened up the rock music format to include social commentary, humor and his own unique way of viewing the world, which was an evolution from a then formulaic boy-girl simple love song approach,” said Kurt Reil, The Grip Weeds co-founding vocalist-drummer with his vocalist-guitarist brother, Rick. “Grip Weeds songs generally hue more to the Ray Davies lyrical style in that we tend not to write simplistic love songs, though there's nothing wrong with that! The Kinks were probably the earliest example of hard rock garage music played with distorted guitars, and we absolutely were inspired by that, as were The Who!
“The Kinks also had two brothers in the band, as do The Grip Weeds,” Kurt continued. “Ray and Dave had their problems with getting along at times. Rick and I are not immune to disagreements and have had our moments of strife —one time we even came close to parting ways — but we agree more than we don't and have learned to take care of our relationship while looking out for the best interests of the band.”
In addition to the energy of the Reil brothers, Grip Weeds lead guitarist Kristin and Kurt are married, which adds to the band dynamic, along with veteran bassist Dave DeSantis (X Men).
The Grip Weeds also offered "Where Have All The Good Times Gone" to “JEM Records Celebrates Ray Davies,” which also features two tracks by fellow Highland Park band The Anderson Council, "Do You Remember Walter" and “This Is Where I Belong.” Kurt recorded and produced The Grip Weeds and The Anderson Council at his band’s House of Vibes Studios, where also mastered the collection.
Other tracks include "Come Dancing" by The Midnight Callers, "Till the End of the Day" by Nick Piunti, “Lola” by The Weeklings, “I Gotta Move" and "David Watts" by Johnathan Pushkar, "Picture Book" by The Airport 77s, "I Need You" by The Cynz, "Village Green Preservation Society" by The Gold Needles, and "Days" by Lisa Mychols & Super 8.
“The series is a wonderful way to introduce our artists to fans of one particular group or another,” JEM CEO Marty Scott said. “If you are buying ‘JEM Records Celebrates Ray Davies’ to hear The Weeklings’ ‘Lola,’ you would be exposed to The Cynz’s ‘I Need You,’ The Anderson Council's ‘Do You Remember Walter’ and The Midnight Callers' take on ‘Come Dancing’ as well. What a great way to hear all these great artists on one album!”
JEM Records Celebrates started in 2020 as a tribute to John Lennon on his 80th birthday. Other artists celebrated are Brian Wilson and Pete Townshend.
The Grip Weeds also will celebrate Plainfield Area Humane Society with Concert for the Animals, a benefit for the none-kill shelter on Aug. 26 at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center with The New Bardots and Leather Catsuit.
“The Grip Weeds are all animal lovers, and we're happy to lend our services when asked by Wayne Olivieri from The New Bardots to participate,” Kurt said. “Helping take care of our animal friends is the humane thing to do, but also the right thing to do.”
In the fall, JEM Records will release The Grip Weeds’ holiday album, “Under The Influence Of Christmas,” which will be promoted with a couple of shows.
The band is hard at work on what will be their first studio album of original material since 2018’s “Trip Around the Son.” This 12th album of theirs will be released next year.