"The blues is the sounds and stories that honestly shows the range of emotion of what it is to be an individual in a world that is constantly changing and full of mystery. It taps that vibe with immediacy not found elsewhere."
Mike Moore: Burnin' Rock & Roll Fire
Boston-based Fire in the Field burns with a passion anointed in oils of the old gods. They slide and pump in a tight psychedelic rockn'roll soul-soiree. The tunes are spun through gargantuan blues swag, deep pocket, and searing guitar riffs like you've never heard. They are a mash up in a parallel vein as The Band of Gypsys, Prince, Cream, Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin; but the band is unmistakably original, a new rock for a new time. The band are: Mike Moore, Raquel Llera-Stern, Matt Shuster, and John Santarelli. Instrumentally they are a power trio built on the tight but loose approach; but the out front harmonies and tradeoff between the male tenor of Mike and the smokey Billie Holiday-vibe of Raquel keeps the fire burning bright. A rock band yes, they are, but even more so, the storyteller perspective in the songs, the falsetto pleading, the low end keeping it funky, screams soul. The self-titled album of Fire In The Field from 2009 was released as the last gasp of the first incarnation of the band, before Mike Moore took front man duties and followed the vision for 2014's Gypsy Tea Room.
Moore has found his role as songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, and front man. After only a year of singing and fronting live Moore and the band officially lit the fire May 3rd, 2014 at The Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA. With the album released and Boston venues clear under their belts. Gypsy Tea Room is a concept album meant to be played loud. The songs and stories peek into a once black and white existence, now multicolored in horror and exaltation. The band grooves with blood and sweat as the seam to their vision quest; let them take you to the entrance of the tea room. Fire in the Field drops their new EP "LOOK SO STRANGE" (2016) produced by Grammy Award Winning Audio Engineer Jay Frigoletto. Four new tracks are of the highest quality and production showcasing the genre bending rock group’s appetite for mixing it up but giving the fans what they want. Rock n’ Roll is a journey to be discovered while listening not blindly consumed; and no one knows this better than Fire in the Field.
What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?
I don't know why, but the blues seems like natural law, and has always felt that way to me. It's raw expression. It's sounds are not for people who are sad and only sad (I hate when non-blues people think that's what it's sole purpose is). The blues is the sounds and stories that honestly shows the range of emotion of what it is to be an individual in a world that is constantly changing and full of mystery. It taps that vibe with immediacy not found elsewhere. What I learned from the blues is hard to explain. I guess, the blues is medicine, it has healing and soul expanding power.
What are the lines that connect the legacy of Rock n' Roll with the Blues, Gospel, Prog-Rock, Psychedelic and Soul?
That's an incredibly simple and complex question, wow. The short version? Rock n' Roll is truly the melting pot, almost the "anti-genre" in my opinion. A popular and accessible music form that allows influence from blues, gospel, prog-rock, psychedelic, soul, country, jazz, etc. on and on to infinity. Gospel is really #1. Church and tradition is only for the faithful. Turns out the non-faithful or the conflicted also are uplifted by music and those are the blues musicians. Then the true sickos and outcasts decided to start blending the sacred and the non-sacred, blues and gospel and you get R&B and Soul. Whoops, then here comes the honky-tonk country and rockabilly and Little Richard and Rock N' Roll happens. I think prog-rock and psychedelic stylings are just expanded from the "anti-genre" that is rock n' roll. Obviously prog-rock has its structural inspiration owed to the various periods of what one would call "classical music." Sorry, I have no idea what in the hell I'm saying for the most part. I'm not a music history professor. And as The Rolling Stones said, "It's only Rock n' Roll."
What characterize the sound & songbook of Fire in the Field and what is the story behind the name of band?
I think "Piece Of My Head" sums up a lot for sure. This is really our take on a standard blues progression with a driving percussive guitar lick. We're all about driving blues and heavy spacey riffs. "Stone Hearted Creature" is a great example of our love for the heavy riffs. The story behind the name goes way back. The drummer John and I were in English Lit together our junior year of High School. We were a dangerous duo, not the best students you could say. We would always come up with different sayings and had our own sort of language. We developed this barbaric phrase in reference to escaping the classroom to a field outside the school. We would begin to shout, "To the field!", and this meant a myriad of things. More and more we would say it in other situations when we desired freedom. Being in a store with a girlfriend and you just want to leave I'd think, "To the field!!" Years later when we were trying to find the right name for this project we were joking around about the high school days and John came up with,"Fire in the Field." And it totally works! It's about passion and freedom and not following the rules... albeit it started in a juvenile manner but it still holds up.
Are there any memories from 'Look So Strange' studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
When our producer Jay decided on one simple change (going to the four chord for a quick second in the chorus!) that tied the room together on "Honey Cup." -- "Most Evil." The last tune we tracked after a long day. We weren't sure if it would make the cut. Two takes later we were done and ended up using everything from take one. Guitar solo happened in the moment. That kind of experience makes me want to track records like the old days; everyone in a room playing live. Really, why did we get away from that?
Why did you think that the Blues & Rock music continues to generate such a devoted following?
I think the key word is "devotion." Because in terms of numbers and industry success I wouldn't say blues & rock really are at the forefront of anything. I don't understand anything that passes for rock in the charts today. I'm not massive fans of Jack White or The Black Keys but I think they are definitely the good guys in the trenches. I think the devotion comes from that honest resonance, that unexplained vibe that's within any serious music listener. It's the rhythm, the timing, the vibration. It's the soul, and when a sound shows its soul especially when flawed, it's the honesty that gets the devotion.
"I don't know why, but the blues seems like natural law, and has always felt that way to me. It's raw expression. It's sounds are not for people who are sad and only sad (I hate when non-blues people think that's what it's sole purpose is)."
Are there any memories from gigs, jams and festivals which you’d like to share with us?
I think jam wise, once of the coolest things this band ever did was by mistake. We were recording "Stone Hearted Creature," in the studio and we finally got the keeper take with guitar, bass, and drums; we were recording live in the room for the basic tracks so we everyone in the band had to be on and get their shit right or we'd have to start over... this is an old school approach and it keeps it real. Anyways we got the take and we were still recording... we just started jamming and out came this 10 minute one chord jam and it had some serious groove. We had fun and forgot about it. It wasn't until the mixing process our engineer discovered this thing. We have no recollection of it.
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
I think today there are just so many bands and musicians that want to be "successful" without knowing what it actually means. And there are too many fucking DJ's, and too many "musicians" that don't even play there instruments... and too many pop stars that can't actually sing... it seems there is a lack of original story telling... Hollywood has the same problem. My biggest hope for the future is to continually grow musically and perfect my craft. I'd love to tour and play bigger and bigger shows but only if it's right. When you're about the music only it's tough to, "make it," but that's ok with me. My biggest fear is that DJ's will take over completely and people's ears will get scared when they hear a real player on a real instrument.
Which acquaintances have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
That's a massive question. Tough to answer. My grandmother's passion for music wore off on me, I grew up listening to great music because of her and my father. I'm able to do what I do because of the company I keep. My friends and peers allow me to flourish creatively. It's all important. Oh! There is this story. A couple summers ago I went to a music camp and Bill Evans was there as an instructor. Coolest most down to earth guy you could know; and a true master of his craft. We rapped about all things music and he ended up trading me his band's new album for my band's new album. This is a dude who used to play with Miles Davis. It was the, "I am not worthy" moment. Anyways, he said to me, "We're all fighting the same battles and are in this together." That changed my world. Thank you Bill. In terms of best advice, dang, that's another tough one. I have some heroes that I look up to, Stephen King, David Lynch, Prince (RIP), to name a few. They are titans at what they do because they're in love with their craft and make it priority in their lives and have never settled or compromised their vision and art because of money or outside influence. That's the best advice I've learned, through observation. Just be yourself and don't try and sound like anyone else. What would be the point of that?
If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
I'd really like to see people place more value on the musical content rather than marketing, image, and celebrity. For example: When I see Rihanna, I immediately want to have sex with her but her music is still the most useless waste my ears have ever heard. It really makes me sick when pop stars say, "I'm so excited for my record to come out. This has been such a journey," yada yada. And they didn't even write the tunes, a team of fifteen people did! Ok some main stream artists do some writing but it's few and far between. Important note: Justin Bieber does not bother me. What bothers me are the people who obsess over hating him and consistently talk about him, make a stink... it's just like, "Why are we caring about this? Why? He makes music for little girls. It is not relevant and never will be." Let's stop paying attention to MTV Movie Awards scandals and shit that has ZERO to do with music.
What has made you laugh lately and what touched (emotionally) you from the music circuits?
I love seeing the comeback of Prince. This is a guy who is a celebrity yes, a little nuts, yes, but he's 100% in it for the music and has always done what he felt was right and couldn't give a shit what anyone else thinks.
What is the impact of Rock n' Roll music and culture to the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?
Music is like food. Great food brings people together and transcends their surface level hang ups i.e. skin color, ethnicity, political beliefs, financial standing. The superficial is destroyed by deep experiences like a great meal or a badass band.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?
I'd probably go see The Bandy of Gypsys when the live record was recorded... technically that record was from 1969 and 1970, so one of the nights.
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