Episode 11: Jenny Whiskey: Sax Slayer and Singer for Bands Hub City Stomper and Rude Boy George
Today on the podcast I’m chatting with Jenny Whiskey. You may know her as the sax slayer of NJ reggae band Hub City Stompers.
She is also a vocalist and sax player for Rude Boy George, a collective of New Jersey and New York musicians who create ska, reggae, and rocksteady versions of 80’s New Wave songs.
Show Notes and Full Show Transcript
Jeanette: Hey everyone welcome to the Eat Sleep Breathe Music podcast. Today I’m super excited. I have a really special guest. Jenny Whiskey from the Hub City Stompers. Welcome!
Jenny: Whoo! Thanks for having me.
Jeanette: Yeah, no problem. I’m glad you could come on the show. But if you wanna just introduce yourself for soem poeople who may not be familiar with Hub City Stompers and everything and what you do and all that jazz.
Jenny. Ok. I’m Jenny Whiskey. I play sax and sing in Hub City Stompers. We’re a ska band that’s been playing since 2002 I wanna say.
I joined the band in about 2004 and yeah I’ve been with them ever since. We’ve toured all acros the country to several other countries. Did a small tour in Europe, Mexico. We played in Canada a bunch of times. Just wherever they will have us we will go. And just we’ve been doing it ever since.
We’re lets see. We have a wide variety of musical influences like a lot of punk, a lot of hardcore. Um nobody in the band likes the exact same things. We’re all a bit different and I think that’s what makes it come together to make it so special and so different from other ska bands.
Jeanette: Awesome, yes. And I love that your name has a special meaning because you guys came together. For people who don’t know hub city is New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Jeanette: That’s kind of where you guys came together, right?
Jenny: Correct. So, my singer Travis was in a band called Inspector 7 that was very popular in the 90’s and early 2000’s. They had a song called Hub City Stomp or Hub City Stompers. That was like the name of their crew that they had in New Brunswick as well back then
When Inspector 7 ended and Travis didn’t really wanna stop doing it. He wanted to keep the party going and continue playing. He took the members from Inspector 7 that wanted to keep playing. He didn’t wnat it to be a direct like run off of them but to have some relation. So that’s how they came up with the hub city stompers.
Yeah, a New Brunswick crew and also a song from the old band.
Jeanette: Very cool. I love the music and I always love when you sing on the songs. Do you like singing? Do you like prefer one or the other.
Jenny: So, I wasn’t really singing at first because I don’t think I was even fully confident that I could sing. No one else really knew that I could sing.
When in the early days when Travis had written a song called “Skin Head Boi” he said I wrote this for 3 guest vocalists. It’s supposed to have 3 like it was gonna be a recording only song. And it was only going to have 3 different girls and we probably never played it live.
Then when I said I could sing some we know we could give it a shot. He liked the way it sounded so it became mine.
And after that if he had an idea for a song he would write it for me and then it just became something that we did more and more of. I do really like singing.
It’s a challenge becuase I have not have singing as long as I have been playing sax. And was convinced for quite a long time that I really couldn’t sing at all.
I like singing now more because it’s a challenge and it’s new. As opposed to playing but sax will always be my first love.
Jeanette: So do you think in the future you’re gonna have any more music where you’ll be doing vocals as well. Or is it still kind of TBD?
Jenny: So I do play in another band called Rude Boy George. We play ska and reggae covers of 80’s New Wave songs. So I’m primarliy the singer in that band.
So that’s where I mostly do my singing. yeah, I mean when HSC. Well right now it’s freakin’ quarantine so but whenever we start playing again I know that it’s definately travis likes incorporating me more and more as a singer.
He’s always intended the band to have co-singers as opposed to just this is the singer and this is the horn player. Cause on one of the newer albums. I don’t even remember the names of half of our albums and what’s on them becuase there have been so many over the years.
Rob sings on the song “Voice” on one of our albums. Travis likes to kind of mix it up.
Jeanette: That’s neat. Rob is your husband, right and you guys just got married actually like a year or two ago right?
Jenny: 2 years. A little over 2 years.
Jeanette: How’s that been going? How is it being in a band and also being married? How’s that going?
Jenny: Well, we were already good friends as one can imagine. Like from playing in the band together. We were used to spending a lot of time together. At that point, by the time we started dating. He had already known like all of my quirks and my famously tricky bowels haha.
Jenny: He knew all of my idiosyncracies so it wasn’t really new. It was kind of nice becuase you get over that weird “getting to know you” hump when you’re first dating sombody new.
Jenny: Becuase we weren’t new to each other we were friends already. Then I dont know we get along really well so it’s ok being our. I guess the vendiagram of our interests overlap quite a bit so we end up spending a lot of time together and it’s really not a problem.
I mean every couple has their own space thingy. For soem reason we’re perfectly happy to be all up in each other’s business all the time.
Jeanette: That’s good. Especially with being stuck on a bus or stuck in quarantine.
Jenny: Stuck in a smelly van.
Jeanette: Yeah, smelly van haha
Jenny: So how are you dealing with everything in quarantine. I know you guys have been doing a lot of virtual performances. Have you been, has this been something that has been hard to adapt to. Do you feel like you’re getting. I know as time goes one things seem to be getting a little bit better. How are you. How is that oging for your.
Jenny: Well we have like a pretty decent set up in here me and Rob. See we have a little eletronic drum kit back there?
Jenny: We got some mics. We have a whole recording setup here that is pretty decent. We upgraded it over the time that we. The year we have been stuck at home.
So we have just been recording and we did a lot of. In the beginning there have been these great collaborative projects. There was a, well there still is a group on Facebook that got all these musicians together andt hey were like ok “we’re gonna cover this, somebody do the drums and guitar and send it to us.” We did six or so covers with this group with all these other musicians and one of the songs had musicians from seven different countries. Which was really cool.
Jeanette: Oh wow, that’s really neat.
Jenny: Yeah it was a really fun thing to do. I don’t know where those songs are or what happened to them. Hahaha
Jenny: But you know it was like fun to do. You know? It’s fun to collaborate like that. It’s a whole new thing. I actually really hate recording. I’ve always hated it. I kind of need an audience. I always say like I’m a performer first. Just becuase that’s always where I’ve felt most comfortable.
Not having an audience and having to record. I never particually enjoyed recording. Being able to do it at home I like it a lot better. Becuase I can take breaks. I’m not worried about every take is money.
Jenny: They charge by the hour so it’s nice to not have that pressure. To have the comfort of being at home. So I’ve been enjoying it a lot more and I think it’s been beneficial in that regard. I”m getting used to recording and like knowing what works for me and it’s been really helpful.
The band has been having skeleton practices. They have just the rhythm section will meet up. We haven’t in a while since once the cases started back up in November it was just too dangerous.
So we would have guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and Travis the singer would go over to our other guitar player Jay’s house. They would record and write material and record it there and send it back to me and the other horn player James so we could write to it and we could work on it. So we have something to work on even though we’re not playing together.
But you can’t have horns at those practices becuase there’s just no way to like safely play a woodwind instrument without getting spit everywhere.
Jeanette: Yeah. Hahahaha
Jenny: Hahaha. Those those are just facts. So we also can’t play with a mask on. It’s impossible.
Jeanette: Oh my goodness, yeah.
Jenny: Yeah. So I think that’s gonna start up again soon. I think. Then once everyone is vaccinated we’ll see if we can practice again. That’s what we have been doing. We have just been trading recordings. Luckily, everybody is capable of recording at home.
So that’s been really great. Rob loves, loves mixing and tweaking it. Hearing all the sounds and adding effects. That’s his favorite thing. I have no interest in it.
Jeanette: That’s good. You guys make a good team then.
Jenny: Yeah, it’s great. He you know, he has the patience and the ear to deal with that. I just don’t hear things the same way he does. Probably from all those years of not wearing ear plugs and being too cool for it.
Jeanette: hehe. I remember those days right?
Jeanette: Now when we go to. When we used to go to concerts. I constantly bring them with you becuase you’re like alright I don’t don’t want my hearing to get any worse.
Jenny: I carry them in my purse 24/7. I have special. A little case and I carry them eveywhere. Cause you wouldn’t believe how loud. I don’t mean to sound like an old person but like movie theatres are so loud.
Jeanette: Yes! Yes!
Jenny: And I would never think to bring ear plugs to the movie theatre but anytime I ever go I put earplugs. It’s so freaking loud.
Jeanette: Especially if you go to like the Imax theatres. Those are like “boom, boom” and it’s yea. It’s pretty loud. I didn’t think to do that but yea. It’s a good idea.
Jenny: And bars too. I went to some regular bars. Just because you’re not going to see music doesn’t mean it’s not gonna be really loud.
Jenny: The staff doesn’t even ear plugs. I remember you might have been with us that night. We went to some bar in New Brunswick. It’s across the street. It was like a club. It was across the stress from the Court. The bouncer saw me wearing ear plugs and he’s like “are you wearing ear plugs?”
And I was like “it’s loud in here” and he laughed and I was like “yooou should be wearing ear plugs.”
Jeanette: Yeah (laughing)
Jenny: “You work in a club!”
Jeanette: Seriously. Do you have the special ones that kind of like. One time my sister bought me a pair that had like, they screwed into your ears. Those were pretty cool.
Jenny: Yeah I lose everything so I’ve got like a good pair and then I also have the crappy orange ones.
Jenny: I always have some on me. So if anyone needs ear plugs 9 times out of 10 I probably like 5 loose earplugs in my purse.
Jeanette: So what about. I don’t know if you’ve done any of this but I’ve seen a lot of more in the summer before things were spiking up again they were having like these uh, these car drive through, haha not drive through but drive up like concerts.
Jeanette: Have you guys done any of those and what are your thoughts on that.
Jenny: We considered doing one. We actually got asked to do one and it was in a casino parking lot in Pennslyvania I think. Or might have been Connecticut. It might have been Foxwoods or something. Wherever there is a Foxwoods casino.
A friend of mine got asked becuase he’s a booker. He got asked to book a big show out there. And you know first of all things that people don’t take into consideration with those shows is like you need a lot of space to give people distance. So everyone has room for their cars and their little pods. So you’re gonna have to charge people more than you normally would because you can’t fit as many people in because of the space needed.
Jenny: And then you have to conend with like you know portapotties and like you know people are going to be stuck there you’re gonna have to sell kind of concessions. It’s a whole thing. It’s a lot that people aren’t used to having to deal with when booking a show. When you book a show at a bar or a club. They already have a toilet.
Jeanette: (laughing) Yeah.
Jenny: You don’t have to worry about that. But like booking in a parking lot is a whole other story. So we got asked to do it and we were going to. And I figured we would just bring our own mics. A bunch of us have our own mics. We don’t have to worry about any of that. But then we just you know retire to our cars when we’re done playing and the audience is at a distance.
The problem was they couldn’t get bands to travel. Any band that needed to fly. Nobody coudl fly back then.
Jenny: This was meant to be in July. It was supposed to happen. So nobody would fly. People were hesitant to even like drive. And it was just hard to book anybody. So like if you’re gonna get this huge space and spend this money. You’re gonna want people who are gonna draw.
The bands that are gonna bring in money and people. And it was just hard to do becase you couldn’t get bands to come out. So we have been very very safe and are not really trying to tempt uh, tempt fate or cause an issue where people are exposed if they were coming to see us.
Jenny: So we’ve been really cautous about that and not taking any chances. Like, we’re booked for a festival in September but again like you know. ANything could happen.
Jeanette: Yeah, I know. It definately seems like there’s a lot of stuff for the summer and September.
Jeantte: I mean fingers crossed things are. Things are. Are they supposed to be outdoors? Is it indoors?
Jenny: yeah it’s outdoors.
Jenny: The whole thing is outdoors. In Virginia, so like, it, I mean. I’ve been thinking about it. It’s made me nervous for quite a while but like you know a lot of us are going to be vaccinated by then.
Jenny: I will be vaccinated by then. So I wouldn’t think it would be an issue but at the same time. Like you’re talking about a festival which means you’re going to be having people from other states all coming. Like that could be a problem.
I dont’ know like, I’m leaving it open
Jenny: I was asked to do. I’m doing some work on a special project that I’m not allowed to talk about fully yet. Um for htat festival. I’m doing some arrangements and writing and stuff. I’m not sure it’s even going to happen.
Jenny: But I’m still gonna do the work. Becasue you know?
Jeanette: Well, would they record the work? Is it supposed to be live? Like what you’re working on?
Jenny: Yeah, mmhmm
Jeanette: So, do you think if it winds up not happening maybe they’ll turn it into. Like you’ll be able to record it?
Jenny: Yeah, we definately discussed that. There’s some stuff we’re discussing in the works. And it will probably just get pushed out another year. You know? Like everything else.
Jenny: And it’s funny cause I was uh, a friend of mine had written on Facebook “Oh do you think we will be ready for festivals? I was filing some paperwork to try to put on festivals.”
And another musician from another very well known ska band called the Slackers, Dave Hillyard had actually written something to the extent of like that he tried with his manager to book shows and do it safely and it can be done and there are ways to do it but like people don’t always want to do, compliy with it.
Jenny: And if they do like they kind of resent you for it was the gist of his post. You know people just kind of want it all or nothing. They want to go to shows as they were or not at all. And um, you know if that’s the case.
I can’t sey that’s the case for everybody. I”m sure there are some people who rather be entertained and be safe.
Jenny: You know, and find a medium.
Jeanette: Yeah, yeah.
Jenny: But at the same time, like, you know, you have to add on top like the cost. Like how much is it gonna cost for a large enough space and for like barriers and you know.
It’s a lot to contend with that I guess we didn’t really think about.
Jeanette: I know. I know it’s so weird cause the things that were so normal. You think about. You wanna get close to the band. You wanna get close to people. You wanna dance. You wanna be in the pit. And like. LIke what is the future of that. LIke it’s just so weird to think about like, I dont know. You know?
Jeanette: Things that we never really, things we never had to thing about. There were just like oh, we’re going to a concert. It’s the only time that you really didn’t care about being super close to someone (laughing)
Jenny: And I’m thinking about these tiny little dive bars that we play all the time. Like these little holes in the walls that like have like a toilet that’s basically held together with band stickers.
And like these places can’t afford. Well A they’re so small but like B they can’t afford to like get all the plastic barriers for the bartenders. Or they can’t. They don’t have the funds for this.
And a lot of these places are closing. You know, so it’s depressing. It’s depressing as hell to think about but like how many of these bars that we love so much are going to be surviving all of this?
Jeanette: I know, it’s terrible and those were like the coolest places to go. It’s always fun to go to some small bar. I was thinking the same thing with like you know, I mean NJ we have a ton of them and you think about NY and the lower east side. Like, so many great places to see bands. And they have just been shut down for months. It’s terrible.
Jenny: Uh-huh. And I went to a drive in. I went to a , I haven’t seen any bands play but I went to a drive in drag show.
Jeanette: Oh neat.
Jenny: And I, you know, it was what I said before with the parking lot. LIke, they rented a parking lot in Paramous mall.
Jeanette: Oh cool.
Jenny: And you, you know they had to do 3 shows in one day because they just couldn’t fit enough people in as wante to come.
Jenny: And um, you know there were only so many spaces and they had a big screen and everything but you know it was hard to see. And it lasted an hour and they had to kind of rush you out so the next show could come in. And it was great to like get out and be entertained and see people and you could tip though. They all had Venmo links and you tipped on your phone.
Jeanette: oh neat.
Jenny: But like part of the fun is like of going to a drag show is like having a drag queen come down to the audience and like make fun of your hair
Jenny: Then like you know you tip her for it.
Jeanette: Yeah, yeah
Jenny: So like that’s. You know it was fun. Did we enjoy it? Yes, like was it worth like the amount of money we paid to sit on top of our car. Like you know what? I’ll say yes because I’m supporting enertainers. Who have essentially been rendered like you know, useless in this situation.
Jenny: Which really sucks. So yeah, like was worth it for that reason but like a lot of people don’t have that money right now to spend. Cause you’re not really paying for. That premium is not going to entertainers it’s going for space. You know?
Jeanette: mhmmm. Yeah. Do you think, like anything good will come out of this. Anything that has be a positive through this happening
Jenny: As a whole, well, as a whole I hope that like it will make people more appreciative of entertainers like what’ really unfortuate is that, like I mean I have a job. I have a day job.
I dont’. I’m not paid by playing music you know? So, I’ve been lucky in that I have been able to keep my job and work this whole time.
Jeanette: That’s good
Jenny: But so many, and so has, knock on wood everybody in my band has been able to do that so umh the issue is with the people who are entertainers for a living is essentially this whole thing has done to them is basically saying like your job is expendible, your job doesn’t matter like it’s nonessential.
In the grand scheme of things like when we’re in a global pandemic to keep people safe and alive yes, I understand going to a concert is something we can go without but like I wish we had a way of showing them that like. Cause they’re not expendible.
Jenny: And we need entertainers you know. It’s the. Our lives are meant to be more than just going to work and like trying to lose weight. Or whatever we are going
Jeanette (laughing) Yeah
Jenny: You know. We need this.
Jenny: So, I wish we, our particular culture. Cause I don’t. I can’t speak for anywhere else. But I know in America I wish that we, you know. We are able to as a collective show entertainers that we appreciate them. And I hope after we’re able to see them again we can you know, show them that.
Jeanette, No, I think that’s a great sentiment too. Especially too, cause, you know. Like you said we do need entertainment. And it’s. These people their not expendible. And their doing something for the greater good. And you think about things that make you feel good and like happy. You know music is one of those things and entertainement. And I feel like, this past, I know I’m sure I’m not alone in this but I feel like the past year I’ve been just kind of been like ugh. You know? LIke on top of it it’s just ugh
Jenny: mmhmm. It’s like we’re dealing with like a collective trauma and a collective depression and it really sucks because if you’re dealing with everything there really is no escape you know from like the walls you’re in.
A lot of people are not back in their workplaces and not at home but you know for a lot of us we’re still here. You know, and uh for me like I’m, me personally I’m a homebody. I’m kind of a hermit.
Uh yeah, this is my favorite place to be and I secretly. Lke there are plenty of nights where we have to play a show and I’m like “I really feel like going.”
Jenny: I’m like “I don’t wanna go.” Once I’m there I’m happy but I just don’t you know. I just got home from work. I just want to put on my slippers and like drink wine. Like I don’t want to go. But you know what like I always have a great time and you know I wouldn’t trade in my experiences with my band for anything with all the great things we gotten do to together.
But like I also realize that many of us. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this. Many of us were probably burning the candle at both ends. Like taking on a little bit too much. You know? And uhm, I don’t think I realized how like burnt out I was. Umhm so the first couple months of this I was like “I needed this.” hahaha
Jenny: “I just needed a break.” haha. Uh, but yeah, you know, I miss it but I do hope. My hope is that all of us will be able. Not even able but like allowed by powers that be what have you to live our lives a little more balanced.
Jeanette: No, definitely. Have you, I know you were saying before about America. Have you seen anything happening in Europe or other countries in terms of like with like the music stuff or have they kind of, everyone’s in the same boat like we don’t really know what’s happening?
Jenny: I know that um, I’ve seen some friends. Cause I follow some people from other places. I know in the summer time. You know Micheala, from Italy?
Jeanette: Yeah, yeah
Jenny: I saw that she went to like an outdoor gig in the summertime. Like, um any. Let’s see. I know in England they’re planning a show for like the summertime that I’ve been seeing on my social media.
But I don’t really know. I don’t know a lot about what’s going on. I did talk to a guy. I did a Facebook live interview two weeks ago and a guy came in the chat at the end from Australia. He said in his state they have zero cases of covid right now. His whole state. Which is like pretty amazing.
Jeanette: And that was Australia, you said?
Jenny: Yeah, mhmm. But they are still taking it very seriously.
Jeanette: Yes, yes,
Jenny: And he said he went to see a big concert outdoors and like they had everyone in their separate table and he said it was actually really nice because normally you have drunk people falling all over you.
Jenny: It was a nice way to ease back in.
Jenny: So I could see that as a perk. Like easing back in. Um, but you know even and. I mean I still. Talking about America like, Texas is open. I don’t know if anybody’s playing, if anyone is taking that risk.
Jenny: I’m sure people are. You know?
Jeanette: Yeah. I haven’t done too much. I should have done more reserach into to it (laughing) but I haven’t, I haven’t seen like. You kind of know. You follow Facebook. You see things popping up but it’s like a lot of stuff is being postponed or like today I saw that apparently Bamboozle’s coming back and in 2023 (laughing) which is kind of a far away. It’s nice that they are announcing it but it’s still like, ok, it’s 2 years away (laughing)
Jenny: And Coachella got pushed out again.
Jenny: Coachella says 2022 now. When is that usually? October I want to say. Or september.
Jeanette: Yeah, I think it’s. Or maybe it’s April I thought. I remember.
Jenny: I think they pushed it out to the fall and then now as of today it is now pushed out to 2022. You know what it is too? Cause a lot of people are saying. I know there’s a lot of people. A lot of debate about like “why are you scheduling things we don’t know if it’s gonna be safe. Like this is irresponsible. You’re encourating people to travel and gather.”
But the problem is a lot of these festivals and events people already bought tickets last year.
Jeanette: Yup, yup
Jenny: People arlready bought tickets at like the end of 2019. Or in 2020 and they just keep pushing out because peopel paid. You know?
Jenny: And they want people to know that “we didnt’ forget about you.” Like the festival I’m playing in September it’s called Supernova Ska Festival in Virginia. It’s an awesome festival. One of the best uh festivals for ska that I think we’ve ever played in America.
But um, the people who run it are the sweetest folks and you know that there are definately some people who are like “why even bother? This could be dangerous.”
First of all, they’re not gonna put us in any danger. LIke, their not stupid people. They are very smart, lovely people. Their also like “people paid for this already.” They had people pre-order tickets in 2019 becasue they decided to skip the festival that year and they were like we’re gonna have the pre-order whatever.
So they’re bought already. People paid for them. Their just trying to give the people what they paid for.
Jenny: And if they didn’t schedule anything and just shrugh their shoulders people would have a fit because that’s their money. And they want theri money.
Jenny: Or they want a show. So I don’t blame them. I know they are not the only people going through this. A lot of festivals are going through this.
Jeanette: yeah. And it’s like you can’t blame. I mean the festivals. I don’t know. For me I think about festivals and music. It’s such a nice thing to look forward to. I, I don’t blame them. This is their business. Their putting on a service for people too. And it’s like, I don’t know we need music.
Jenny: mmhmm. Yeah exactly. And it’s like I”m glad people. They’ve been. There’s been a couple like online showcases. Actual that same festival, Supernova did an online one with all the bands that would have been at the live show.
People submitted videos. So people made music videos or they sometimes submitted older live performances. And that was really cool to watch. Everybody got together to watch it on Facebook live and everybody was chatting with each other. You know it wasn’t the same but it was nice to get to see the faces of people from other states that you would have seen.
Jenny: And have a little chat with them. So that was nice. There was a couple of them. We did another festival. We did a couple festivals like that I think. In 2020 we did the festival in England that we missed out on called Specialized UK and our Specialized projects
They did one too. But you know what? They get strenuous to produce too and put together. So those have kind of petered out as well.
Jenny: I think people are just getting ready to want to see each other again.
Jeanette: Yeah, yeah. I mean it’s been. It feels like it’s been forever but it’s only been a year.
Jeanette: But I mean. A year is almost too much and I think its. I’m hoping things. You know? We will be able to get back and see music soon.
Jeanette: I know there’s supposed to be a festival in Asbury Park or like the Sea Here Now that was supposed to be last year is this year. And don’t know if that’s gonna happen. Who know’s, you know? Have to wait and see if everything just keeps getting pushed back.
Jeannette: You know?
Jenny: Yeah, and that’s all. We, we’ve been getting you know requests for shows in the summer and you know. Travis is our. Travis is, I call him like the band dad.
Jenny: He’s our. He caralls us. He schedule’s our practices. He schedule’s like you know when we used to go to the studio. Our recording dates. And like, he’s our manager. You know, he’s usually the driver in the band. He’s the person who books our hotels, and books our. He does eveything.
So he is basically been saying to everybody becuase people have been trying to get us on summer gigs. And he’s like “I’m not confirming anything for the summer.”
Jenny: He’s like “there’s no reason to.
Jenny: He’s like “We don’t know. We just don’t know yet.”
Jeanette: I think summer seemed a lot further away thant it really is
Jeanette: Becuse now it’s March and you know I feel like things don’t really seem much different (laughing) I mean they are better than last year but it’s still kind of like. I can understand why he’s you know, has hesitation.
Jenny: Yeah, we all do you know. We all have people that we have to see and worry about their health and we don’t want to get anybody sick and I don’t want to be responsible for anybody getting sick from coming to see me.
Jeanette: yeah, stay safe and stay home. Now did you know that actually March is women’s history month?
Jenny: Yes, I did.
Jeanette: Did you have any women who you see as heroes. I mean being a woman yourself, your a musician. I feel like you are also a hero.
Jenny: Aw gee whiz (laughing)
Jeanette: But I dont’ know. I remember even back when I met you. You just seemed like a really cool person and you had such great style
Jennny: Well I’ve always loved Joan Jett. I think she’s pretty amazing. And’s really great at what she does. LIke she’s not like. She was in the Runaways with Lita Ford.
Jenny: And like Lita Ford was a killer guitar player. LIke that woman can shred. She’s really good. Joan Jett is just like a rhythm player and she’s great at it. And there’s no shame and there’s nothing wrong with not being like an instrumentalist that like is just playing solid.
Jenny: And like on point all the time. And she’s great. She has a great stage presence. Her career is like you know, she’s been around forever. I just love her.
Who else? I always loved Amy Winehouse.
Jenny: Even thought she’s had her problems. RIP but I thought she was a really great. She was one person who made me pay attention to pop music again.
Jenny: I had no interest in pop music. And continue to have no interest in pop music. Who else? Ah, oh god I dont’ know. That’s a really good question. And I know there are a lot. God, Billy Holiday is amazing too and she just went through so much adversity. She’s amazing though. I asked for her like two disc best of box set when I was in high school. I was obsessed with her work. She’s just amazing.
Who else? You know what? She was really just know more as a performing as opposed to like a just a musician. But Josephine Baker had a really interesting life and a really hard struggle living.
You know, living in a time where like she was one of the highest paid black women in the entertainment industry but she couldn’t even eat in a restaurant at her home town because she wasn’t allowed because she was black.
Jenny: And like adopted 12 children all of different races or something. That woman is a saint. Mick Jagger went to see her perform at the time. He was huge then so when like the best muscians of that time. The most popular are going to see you perform
Jenny: It’s a big deal. I always thought she was pretty amazing.
Jeanette: So how long have you been playing the saxophone.
Jenny: I think I was around 10 or 11 when I started. I was young. Third or fourth grade. Is that how old you are in third or fouth grade?
Jeanette: Yeah, I think so
Jenny: So probably third or fourth grade. When I was like 9 or so first you do the recorder right in class.
Jeanette: yeah, yeah
Jenny: I have one over here. I still tinker with it now and again.
Jenny: You do recorder and after that I wanted to play sax but they didn’t have any and my parents couldn’t afford to rent one. So there was a spare flute so I played the flute for a couple years.
Then I came into an old alto sax that my uncle had when he was little. It was really old. Really beat up. So we got it serviced once I had it. I started playing that in concert band. It’s the same fingering so it really didn’t matter. The keys are a little different but at some point I moved up to tenor sax.
I feel like my friend who sat next to me who played tenor was like. “oh I wanna play bari and we’re gonna need a tenor sax for jazz band.” So I was like well great so we had it all planned out.
Jenny: We pitched it to the music teacher and he was cool with it. So I ended up borrowing a school instrument and playing tenor. And I never went from their. I have been been playing tenor ever since. I have no interest in playing the bari at all.
Jeanette: So what made you pick the saxaphone. Did you just like the instrument or was it like. How did you come up with that. Cause I know you’re in elementary you get so many choices (laughing)
Jenny: mmhmm. Uh Lisa Simpson.
Jeanette: Ok! Nice! (laughing)
Jenny: Even though her sax sound was a bari. Even though that sound was a bari. Lisa simpson. The simpsons came out when I was in the 2nd grade and Lisa and I were the same age. We were the exact same age. So when that show came out I was like oh.
I should have named her as one of my heroes. Cause she kind of was. Cause she was like a loud mouth bitch. She really didn’t care.
Jenny: She made her opinion known. You know? And she always had something she felt passionately about. So Lisa Simpson was like my sax inspiration as child.
Jenaette: Nice. Did you ever see the show “Rags to Riches?” It was like an 80’s show. Cause I was wondering also, cause this show there was a little girl on that played the saxophone on that show.
Jenny: No, I never saw that.
Jeanette: If you like. I’ll have to find a link. Cause there might be an episode on Youtube somewhere (laughing). I’ll have to send it to you.
It’s like these girls they were in an orphanage and then this rich guy adopts them and the one little girl in the, they sing. It’s like a musical too. They sing all these old songs. It was set in the 80’s but all the songs were from the 60’s.
Jeanette: So like the little girl played this little mini saxophone (laughing)
Jeanette: And I was wondering and I remember that being little and was like “I wonder what Jen’s inspiration was.” If it was Lisa Simpson or if it was maybe that show.
Jenny: It was absolutely Lisa Simpson. I’m sure there were others too. I mean it’s just a cool instrument you know? And it’s kind of unisex. Cause I wasn’t a super girly child. I was a little bit of a, I was a little bit of a brute. Cause I was bigger. I had my growth spirt early.
Jenny: Cause I was bigger than that boys. But like I wasn’t interested in being super girly. So I just kind of, I dont’ know, it just appealed to me. It looked, it just seemed so cool.
You know? But I played the flute all through high school. and I played piccolo in concert band and stuff. I used to play it at home and it used to make my dog howl.
Jenny: It’s so, so high pitched. Haha
Jeanette: Are you still playing the flute or are you just stikcing to the sax these days?
Jenny: I do still play it when the situation calls for it but it’s not all that often with the kind of music I play. I use it a lot more in my other band Rude Boy George like we do a cover a cure song and the flute in that song is just perfect.
Jeanette: Oh nice.
Jenny: And yeah, it works I use it. And sometimes if I don’t feel like pulling out my sax I’ll figure out a part on my flute even though it’s not in the same key but it’s close. So I’ll use it. I do pull it out every now and again.
Jeanette: Have you picked up any other instruments or just stickng to those. Do you like do other things in your spare time?
Jenny: I used to love doing that. When I was a kid I learned how to play my uncle’s trumpet and I learned how to play a friend’s clarinet that they stopped playing and their mom let me borrow. I learned how to play a handful of songs on bass. Borred that from a friend.
And then like I tinkered on and off with guitars for years as a teenager but I never really got good at anything else. I’m really good at picking up woodwinds.
Jenny: If you give me a woodwind I can pick it up very quickly. But you know, string instruments and me they don’t agree. If I really put in the work I could probably learn how but I just haven’t. We do have an electronic drum kit and I can get by on some very basic drums but, no. I didn’t learn anything else. Heheh
Jeanette: Hehehe. No worries.
Jenny: You would think. I have. Where is it? I used to have a ukelele hanging up over there. I bought it when I quit smoking thinking I would need something to do with my hands and like I just gave up. So hahaha
Jeanette: It’s hard.
Jenny: Yeah. I don’t. I’m not great with string instruments. I just don’t. It’s not as easy for me to pick up for some reason.
Jeanette: The string instruments are difficult. I, my cousin had a guitar. I was like “oh maybe I’ll learn how to play guitar over quarantine or.” I played violin when I was little but I haven’t really played a lot of instruments but I borrowed her guitar and I’m also left-handed so I’m wondering. I was trying to do it like the right handed just becuase I didn’t know if I needed a special guitar. Cause her was right handed.
Jenny: Oh yeah
Jeanette: So I’m like “I’m just gonna try and do it right-handed.” But it’s like really hard hard like I have to sit down and do, pay, dedicate a certain amount of time to like work on it. heheh
Jenny: mmmhmmm. Yeah and you do need a left-handed guitar
Jeanette: Ok haha
Jenny: Because. Yup infact where your fingers, well there’s some guitar players who play upside down. There’s a guy in a band we’ve played with from Chicago and he’s left-handed and he just turns the guitar the other way and plays the guitar you know, upside down essential. Because the strings go in the opposite order.
Jenny: It is possible but like I couldn’t say if it’s counter-intuitive or not because if you don’t know how to play guitar in the first place how would you know? I guess.
Jeanette: That’s true. hehe
Jenny: But you would, I would think that it makes more sense to get a left-handed guitar.
Jeanette: Yeah, yeah you’re probably right. Well, something to look into hahaha
Jeanette: Have you guys, has. I know you had a new song. Or I dont’ know if it was super new but I saw you guys had put out that video for “Limbo,” right?
Jeanette: So is that like music that you had planned or have you had more inspiration. I know you had a lot of time with doing music and stuff.
Jenny: So we actually practiced this song and I think Travis wrote it and he, we had fleshed it out and recorded it at practice. Literally a year ago before we had to stop seeing each other becuase of Covid. So we already had recordings. We had a, Rob has a pretty decent digital recorder that you can just bring in and put in a room and get a decent recording. And that gets transfered digitally to like a google drive and we share practice recordings and stuff.
So that’s, thank god we have been doing that because we were able to take that practice recording people were able to go “ok I remember what this is.” Since we haven’t played it in a year.
Jenny: And since it was already written we decided to just kind of go with it. It was easy to do from home. And Travis actually lives down the street from me.
Jeanette: oh nice!
Jenny: He actually lives around the corner. So he just uh, he’s in our pod.
Jeanette: oh good.
Jenny: Our little Covid pod. So he comes over and does his recording here and then he can listen to all the final mixes and stuff here. Yeah that was already written. There have been some new songs that I said, that have been recorded to our band dropbox but we haven’t done anything with them just yet.
It looks like most of the band is going to be vaccinated soonish so hoping that we will be able to like practice in person again and figure all that out.
Jeanette: Oh that’s awesome. I know that you had spoken a little bit about writing music. Do you like to write? Have you done a lot of writing with the band? Or do you do more writing on your own or side projects or other Rude Boy George band.
Usually in HSC everybody writes their own part. Like someone either Travis or Rob will come up with ok “here’s a song” and they will lay out the chords and the structure. Then I’ll write my own horn part. That’s just, I”m used to writing horn parts. That’s what I do.
So right now I’m currently writing some originals from scratch. Like all the parts I guess. Just because I felt like there wasn’t anything that was all my own like musically. I only just kind of like contribute to the whole as opposed to making something of my own.
So that’s what I’ve been trying to do during quarantine. It’s really, really, really fucking hard.
Jenny: I’m not used to it. I’m really not and like because I identify so much with being a perfomer like even over a musician the entire time I’m writing all I can think of is this good? I don’t know if this is good? Do I just think it’s good because it’s mine?
So you know, like we all deal with that imposter syndrome.
Jenny: So that’s what I’m kind of dealing with right now. And having my perfomance identity stripped from me. I’m kind of forced to have to contend with just my own ability. So the writing has been, I won’t say it’s been fun cause it hasn’t been hahah.
Jenny: It’s been, it’s new and I’m learning you know? And I need to, I’m just learning to trust myself more. I guess a lot of people deal with this on a regular basis. No matter what their craft.
Jenny: So learning to trust myself more is a process. But um, there was something else I was going to say. We were talking about writing. So with Rude Boy George we do all covers
Jenny: But they’re rearranged, their reimagined. That’s one of my favorite things to do honestly. Musically to take a song that has nothing to do with my genre and like figure out how to make it a great song that sounds like ska or reggae.
It doesn’t always work. There are always, not any song can just be like guitar part can be switched to an upstroke and it’s a ska song. Like it doesn’t work all the time. And I’m not saying “oh, it’s so hard,” like it’s not that hard but it’s one of my favorite things to do.
And I think I’m actually, I think I’m pretty good at it. I enjoy doing that. That’s actually part of what I’m doing for my secret project. I’m doing some of that also with some other people that I’m collaborating with.
And that’s really one of my favorite things to do. And where I think I have really good instincts that I trust is rearranging someting that already exists and making it something new.
That’s really fun I like doing that a lot.
Jeanette: Can you give an example of like something that was so completley not in your genre that you kind of mixed up and changed to be more, I guess more in the ska sound.
Jenny: Oh god, well before we, before all this happened my other band was working on turning a Devo song into a ska song.
Jeanette: Oh nice.
Jenny: So that as coming out pretty cool. God, what else? I’m trying to think of some of the songs our ideas, but I haven’t played in a year with these people. The one I just did but I can’t share it with you haha.
Jeanette: Is it gonna come out soon or is it gonna be awhile? You don’t know? It’s TBD?
Jenny: Yeah, I recorded a demo for the other musicians to learn from a distance cause we can’t get together.
Jeanette: Oh, ok.
Jenny: Yeah, and practice yet.
Jeanette: Well, you’ll have to let us know when and then we can post something about it.
Jenny: mmmhmm. yeah there’s gonna be some interesting arrangements I think. Travis is really good at that too. He took a typo negative song and made it into a reggae song. And I remmber when I first heard that song I was like “oh no, this is stupid” and now I’m like I love this song. I don’t even like Typo Negative but I love our arrangement of it. I think it’s so cool.
Jeanette: Can you send that to me? Cause my husband listens to Type O Negative. You’ll have to send that to me when you get a chance. I’d love to share it with him.
Jenny: We don’t have the recording of it offiicialy. I don’t think we ever recorded it but we do probably. There’s probably a live verson of it somewhere.
Jeanette: Ok, will have to check it out. Can I just like Google on Youtube or something?
Jenny: You might be able to.
Jeanette: So being home, do you find, are you still getting up and like getting dressed? Cause I know you’re a very fasionable person. You’ve got a really great sense of style. And I’m curious to know if like you know, if you’re like home and you’re like eh or what’s your situation?
Jenny: haha. Well, thank you for the compliment. But these days I’m like a sweat pants hobbit.
Jenny: Yeah, you could see I’m wearing a sweatshirt now. yeah I’m basically. I mean I sit all day and work at a computer at home.
Jenny: So as long as its relatively clean and I wouldn’t be totally embarrased to be seen in it in person. I do get dressed for work. But what I mean by getting dressed is like a clean t-shirt and nicer leggings. So if I had to run to the post office or something and somebody saw me I wouldn’t be embarrassed.
I’m still buying a lot of clothes.
Jeanette: Yeah? hahah
Jenny: hahaha. Like in anticipation of being able to wear them some place.
Jenny: But I have not been getting dressed, dressed. I think once every like 2 weeks. I’m required to put on something nice and do my face up for an interview or a video.
Jenny: It’s literally on like a biweekly basis so I would say that’s probably yeah, about how much I get dressed up. I had to do an online interview or a Facebook Live two weeks ago and I put on a nice shirt. Did my face and my hair. I like to have some disctinction and some boundaries between working and not working. So I do like change out of pajamas. I’m still comfortable but I still get dressed everyday.
And you know I have a room where I work and I can close the door when I leave which is nice.
Jeanette: That is nice.
Jenny: And I get that separation. So, but I do like have some boundary but like yeah no, I’m not putting on no dress.
Jenny: At work. nuh-uh.
Jeanette: No way
Jenny: No way. I do go in my closet every now and again and I just like talk to my cute show dresses.
Jenny: And I’m like “you guys ok?” Laughing “I miss you.”
Jeanette: Is there anything else you want to share or let us know where we can find more about you and the band and what you guys do?
Jenny: So Hub City Stompers is on Facebook and Instagram. I think they’re both like just Hub City Stompers. We do have a website. I dont know, I think we do have HubCityStompers.com.
Rude Boy George is also on Facebook and Instagram. I think it’s RudeBoy George Band. I’ve done some work with another group called Heavensbee and they are also on Facebook and Instagram though I don’t know. We haven’t done much lately, but last year we did quite a bit with them. Or the year before last. It’s all running together
Jenny: Time is just.
Jeanette: I know it’s like, It seems like a week has passed when it’s been a year hahaha.
Jenny: And Hub City Stompers has a new song out called “Limbo” it’s available on Bandcamp. I think we have our music video posted on Facebook. I don’t know if it’s made it over to Youtube.
Jeanette: I think it did cause I think I saw it on there.
Jenny: Wait a minute, yes, it did. So that’s available. There’s a festival that happens every year in England called Speciailzed Project and its like a 3 or, yea 3 day festival. It happens in South of England. It’s in a, it’s actually, they called it a holiday park but it’s like a trailer park for vacationing.
Jeanette: Oh cool
Jenny: and it’s near the ocean but they have it in November so obviously no one is vacationing then.
Jeanette: Yeah haha
Jenny: In southern England near the ocean in November. So you rent out these little trailers and then in the little club house where they normally have the family entertainment during the summer. That’s where the show takes place and it’s pretty awesome.
It’s 3 days of they have vendors selling clothes and CD’s and pins and posters and all kinds of cool shit. Bands play, you know, and it’s just really fun because you stumble out of your trailer, go to the show, go get some fish and chips and like stumble drunk back to your little trailer and it’s really nice.
It’s so fun and I”m really sad we didn’t get to do it last year. And i’m not sure if we’ll be going this year. We’ll see what happens.
Jenny: But they do a compilation CD every year with all the bands that they usually invite to be there. And what they do is pick a theme. It’s a theme of covers so one year it was songs from like the year 1969 or songs from this era or whatever. So this year’s was a tribute to glam rock.
Jeanette: Oh cool.
Jenny: A tribute to 70’s glam rock which is like my number one favorite genre of music. I love, love glam rock. And it’s for charity in add of the teenage cancer trust. And granted you have to ship it from England but this is the CD. It’s called Blockbuster.
It’s got 4 discs and I’m on 4 or 5 songs on this thing.
Jenny: Because you know a lot of the bands they didn’t have access to recording. You not everyone has the ability to do that at home or the equipment. Luckily, my husband is a nerd and he has all that stuff anyway.
Jenny: (Laughing) So we were all set. We’re on, let’s see, I think we’re on literally on like 4 or 5 songs on this. Basically we had Hub City Stompers had a cover of Suzie Quatro “The wild,” Rude Boy George did a cover of “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie. That was really fun to arrange. I loved arranging that because I love, love David Bowie like with all my heart. So that was so much fun. And there’s so much going on in that song too you can really have fun with it.
What else is on here’ We did Heavensbee, the other group I play with from time to time. It’s a set group of a handful of guys and then people come in and out. But we did a cover of the “Children of the Revolution” by T. Rex.
Me and Rob, just me and Rob did all the instrumentation for a song called “Ride a White Swan” also by T. Rex. So that’s pretty cool. That’s on there. It’s listed as Gorgeous Whiskey. That’s us, me and Rob.
Jenny: We did another song with me, Travis and Rob from Hub City and a friend of Lauren’s Boyfriend Jonathan. Johnny did slide guitar on
Jeanette: Oh neat.
Jenny: One of our songs. We did Johny Thunder song “You Can’t Put Your Arm Around a Memory.” So it was really, really cool to get you know, just awesome that like we can send our song to somebody in Seattle and be like “hey, can you do this?” And then he sends it back and we send it to England and now it’s a CD.
Jeanette: yeah, I know.
Jenny: Oh yeah, if you get like a bilion songs on this thing.
Jeanette: And that’s a you can get it on their website? Just maybe Google the album? I can check and look it up too. I can leave a link in the show notes.
Jenny: I”m gonna, yeah, do that. I’m gonna take a picture of the back of the CD for your too. It has a bunch of websites on it.
Jeanette: Ok, great, great. Well, this was awesome. Thank you so much. Is there anything else you want to. Anything coming up?
Jenny: Coming up is who knows.
Jeanette: yeah, hahah
Jenny: Cause that’s the world today. But like I don’t know. I did another interview where somebody said something like oh what do you plan to do to like mobilize people to come out to shows after this is all over with and we’re back to normal.
And like all I had to say about it was, “it’s all well and good to say like ‘you gotta come out and support, you gotta come out blah, blah, blah.’ “
LIke you know some people are not going to be able to. Some people you know have lost their jobs and are financially crippled by what’s happened. Some people have been like emotionally crippled and emotionally traumatized by what has happened.
Like people have lost loved ones like we have had a tremendous amount of deaths. I know it’s really kind of depressing to end on. Haha
Jenny: I’m just gonna say like yeah I want to save our scenes and keep our scenes alive but at the same time like be like good to your friends and loving and caring to them and know that not everybodys gonna be ready like when you’re ready to rejoin shows, clubs, and bars.
Some people are going to need a little more time so just like be tender and caring to the people you care about most because not everyone is gonna be there yet. We just have to be patient. We just have to take care of each other and just take care of ourselves as much as possible.
You know because a lot of us you know maybe we’re not going to the dentist haha. I know I haven’t. I know we’re not going to get our check ups. You’re not taking as good of care of ourself or like we just have to do, everyone just do your best, you know, do your best, people care. I care.
There is a lot going on in the world.
Jeanette: Yeah, it’s a crazy time. I mean, I think that’s a great sentiment. I think it is. It’s the only thing we can really do.
Jenny: And also don’t be racist against Asians especially, but don’t be racist
Jenny: I don’t think I need to tell your listeners that, but I’m just saying.
Jenny: Yeah and just like you know if you are so inclined, if you care to, if you’re able to like find a way to show an entertainer that you value what you do. I know we all can’t afford to tip them or give them money but even like a nice DM to be like I appreciate what you do and what you do brings me joy. You know because we love to hear that.
Jenny: It costs nothing. You know, and I think a lot of people who have felt, that their jobs are expendible, they don’t matter. I think that they would appreciate hearing that. At any time.
Jeanette, No, I think you’re right. That’s such a great sentiment. Thank you so much! I have chills now. Everything you said has just touched me. hahaha. I don’t know this was a really great conversation.
Jenny: I”m glad
Jeanette: Especially since I haven’t seen you a really long time and I look forward to uh, seeing more of and hopefully maybe seeing you guys live soon.
Jenny: Yeah, me too, I hope so. That would be nice to be able to play again.
Jeanette: Thank you again
Jeanette: And I will look forward to seeing more from you and Hub City Stompers in the future and I’ll definitely include all the links but uh yeah. Thanks again!
I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about Jenny Whiskey, Hub City Stompers, and Rude Boy George you can check out the links below:
Specialized UK Festival CD Blockbuster
Hub City Stompers
Rude Boy George
More Podcast Episodes
If you’re interested in finding new music please check out our other podcast episodes