From left to right: Pete Jager, Jon Caspi, Doug Lane, Dez Cadena. Not pictured: Jimmie Mizell (drums), Bob Bailey-Lemansky (keyboards). Photo by Jeff Raspe
This past September, Jon Caspi & The First Gun released a new version of their cult favorite Raise 'Em High! which features NYC rock icon Jesse Malin on lead vocals and the legendary Dez Cadena (ex-Black Flag/Misfits) on guitar. The song spurred a brewery to put out a beer named after it, is at the center of a large "2pm Toast" Facebook group with well over a thousand members, and received airplay across the country.
The video is loosely based on the movie Bad News Bears and it is very funny and very well produced. It is not like most music videos. It stars legendary WFMU DJ Glen "Jonesey" Jones, Dez Cadena, the band, and a dog named "Walt." It tells the story of an always-losing team getting a new coach and then beating the perennial champions. A great underdog tale!
"It was so much fun to shoot" says Caspi. He adds, "We wanted to do something different. We were all inspired by the Beastie Boys video for 'Sabotage.' It's a story and so much fun. We wanted to do something like that and also have it tell a full story and be really funny. I could not be happier with the outcome." The video was shot and produced by Retrograde Studios out of Brooklyn, NY.
The video made its debut during a video watching event on Thursday, March 30th at 8:00pm at Alternate Ending Beer Co in Aberdeen, NJ – the brewery that put out Raise 'Em High! beer. Following the video, Jon Caspi & The First Gun performed an "unplugged" set of fan favorites. The date of March 30th was selected because it is the first day of Major League Baseball's official season, and for the first time in over 50 years all teams will be playing that day.
Fake Chapter Records is releasing a 7" vinyl of "Raise 'Em High!" on one side and a version of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" on the other, featuring Dez Cadena on lead vocals. The record is expected out in early April and there will be a soon-to-be-announced release event to take place in mid-May. In the meantime, the record can be pre-ordered from the Fake Chapters Records site or from the band's site.
The band is also releasing a new single in late April called "My Best Shot." It will be available on all streaming platforms.
"If there could be a genre of "'Heartland Punk' then Jon Caspi & the First Gun would be the line leader of such a crew. Borne of rock and roll, bar rock anthems, and a sincere nod to both Joe Strummer and Woody Guthrie, Jon Caspi is experienced enough to keep a crowd's attention while touching on the themes of friendship and honor; all while toasting friends of past and present. There is nothing missing from Jon Caspi & the First Gun, nor is there anything extraneous that could get in the way of the band's message of love, and the meaning of a solid handshake.
"The band consists of very talented musicians, Jon Caspi - vocals, guitar, Doug Lane – bass, Jimmie Mizell – drums, Pete Jager – guitar, Bob Bailey-Lemansky – piano/organ, and Dez Cadena – guitars, yes Dez Cadena whose name you should know from Black Flag as well as The Misfits. Yet, there is no ego here, just a little slice of punk history in their cover song choices, and the feeling at the end of the show that everything is going to be okay. You won't meet a nicer group of people, nor should you expect less of any band who holds themselves to their own high standards. So, when you need a place to bring a date to show off your own top-shelf musical taste, don't miss Jon Caspi & the First Gun." - Doug Dresher, Asbury Park Vibes