On a particularly frigid January afternoon this year, I stumbled upon an interesting scene in the Delmar Loop (where RFT Music HQ is located, for those unaware). Moving up and down the streets was an enthusiastic man with an acoustic guitar strapped on his back, flanked by another fella, pointing a video camera at the first. Intrigued, I introduced myself.
Jay Brook Lipe, principal figure of local act Jay Brooke Lipe and the Terrible Twos, was enthusiastic and talkative, despite the single-digit temperatures. He explained that the two were shooting a video for some material that he had just recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis. The rapid-fire conversation that followed dizzingly ran through mentions of everything from Parliament to Greg Ginn.
Speaking of Greg Ginn, Lipe will be playing a show with the punk guitar legend on April 27 at the Spirits Bar and Lounge in Alton. We spoke to Lipe about Ginn, recording at Sun Studios, and his history in and around the St. Louis music scene.
RFT Music: How long have you been playing in the St. Louis area? How did you get your start?
Jay Brook Lipe: The first show I ever seen in my life was Black Flag in 1984 at Mississippi Nights. I soon then started singing for a Black Flag/MDC/Black Sabbath/Misfits cover band. I went to college in 1988 at SIU-Carbondale and started my own band Bum Funk Egypt. We played all the famous Elizabeth street nitrous oxide parties and ended up opening for Foghat. We were a hardcore funk punk band. Then I was in a band called Stickboy, we did a show with Fragile Porcelain Mice in 1991. My drummer, Sean Younger, was the same drummer for Whoppers Taste Good out of St. Louis. I then moved to Atlanta, Georgia. That's where the real story begins.
How did you get hooked up with Greg Ginn? Do you guys have history together?
I opened for Greg at the Firebird in 2010. We became friends off of that show, and in 2011 he drove from his SST headquarters in Austin, Texas, and I from Godfrey, Illinois. And we met and went camping at Wakarusa Music Festival in the mountains of northern Arkansas. I keep in touch with him on a regular basis, so it only made sense to bring him to Alton. He loves animals, especially cats.
You release a lot of videos for your songs. How important do you think multimedia of this kind is for a burgeoning artist? Have the videos been paying dividends as far as building a fanbase?
In today's age, multimedia is the fastest way to reach the world with music. I created my new Facebook band page less than a month ago, and I am getting people from Brazil, Argentina, Italy, UK and the USA liking my band page and asking me questions and paying attention to my songs. I'm not concerned about turning a profit right now as much as I am working to just release my music to as many people that would like to hear it.
You used to tour with Parliament. How'd you hook up with that group? What's the funkiest thing that ever happened while you were out with them? The strangest?