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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST THE TELL ALLS

Hiya Kenny thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide to start the band? 

Well, first things first… The Tell Alls is a moniker I make music under. As a multi-instrumentalist, it’s just been the way I’ve worked up my songs over the years, as a one-man band. As the recording get close to being finished, I’ll sometimes ask musician friends I’ve worked with before if they could contribute, to play or sing on a tune. To answer your question on what made me decide to start this project up involves a little bit of my backstory. 

I first started my career back in the heyday of college radio, as the drummer in Philadelphia (Pa)-based ‘Flight of Mavis’. We put out a full-length record (Record Cellar) and were pretty much immediately compared to REM. Ironically, it was once rumored that REM were touring under the name Flight of Mavis! Lucky for us, this one gig in North Carolina, at the time of this rumor, concert goers took it in stride when they came to find out we were just us and not REM. They stuck around to watch the show, we played a solid set and even gained some new fans that night. 

Anyway, fast forwarding, we toured some in support of our record, including traveling down the Jersey turnpike on a semi-regular basis to play showcase rooms in New York. Since all the major labels had A&R agents based there in the city, we’d play clubs like CBGB’s, Mercury Lounge, Continental Club. We never got a deal, even after reincarnating the band a few years down the line with a new name; Buzz Zeemer.  Released a full-length cd entitled ‘Plaything’  (Record Cellar) and played more showcase gigs. At that point, for me, the whole project was feeling very much like it had ran its course, so I bowed out.

From there, I joined a few other Philly bands over the next few years playing drums. Even got to record at Ardent Studio in Memphis, Tn, with the band Grand….which was a thrill! Ardent produced some of my favorite music: Big Star, The Replacements, Gin Blossoms. Just as thrilling was having the chance to work with producer John Hampton. We had Madonna’s ‘Maverick’ label interested in us, and they set us up there to record demos…which eventually they  passed on. With the help of the studio manager/Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, we were able to continue recording at Ardent. Those recordings ended up getting released as a full-length effort on indie label Ascend Records. At this point, I started gravitating towards the idea of embarking on a project I’d have more creative control over. More importantly, knowing that my efforts/energies were going to be channeled in a more concentrated way.

Having caught the songwriting bug back in the Flight of Mavis days, in which I wrote some songs in that era the band flirted around with performing. Long story longer, I ultimately decided it was time to walk the plank and just write and record my own music. So, back in 2006, I did just that…The Tell Alls were born! The release of my full-length debut ‘Feeding Frenzy’ record on my start-up indie label Journeyman Records was very satisfying. I co-produced it with my longtime musical compadre, producer Adam Lasus (Fireproof Studio, Brooklyn, NY). 

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed? 

 If I’m a natural blonde (laughing)! 

No, really….You’re one of the first interviews I’ve done in awhile. It had been 10+ years between releases. The 2020 release of the politically charged single “Won’t Come Down” was the first music I came out with ending the hiatus.

I placed The Tell Alls on the backburner when my wife and I relocated to Music City; Nashville, Tn. I decided to work more on the craft of songwriting, immersing myself into the songwriter community here. I learned a lot, even got a few independent cuts along the way. But, much like never getting that elusive major label deal back in the day, I have yet to break through to get a major cut in Nashville. 

Then the pandemic hit, the presidential election was nearing, and I just felt like I was about to lose it. The idea that Trump, after all the stupid nonsensical stuff he’s said, did, wanted to do….then his handling of the pandemic….I turned to pick up the guitar and wrote what I felt. That’s how “Won’t Come Down” came about. It just felt good to get that out of my system, therapeutic you know! Then, about a month after it’s release, the election happened and Biden won. It was such a relief!

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

Oh Yeah, Reese’s peanut butter cups…they just don’t taste the same as they once did! I keep waiting for them to come out with an ‘original recipe’ version of them.

What useless party trick do you have? 

I used to be able to stand on my head and drink a beer, but sadly I lost my mojo to be able to stand on my head.



What was the most fun you have had on stage? 

Even though I broke my snare drum to where it was a glorified tom-tom, I’ll never forget Flight of Mavis opened up for Joe Strummer. That was fun…and then he thanked us for opening up for him from the stage! Doesn’t get much better!! 

What was the worst experience on stage? 

 Having my kick drum pedal break mid-set and having no backup. There’s no way to keep the beat going without noticing the bottom dropping out, totally sucked!

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

I’m a pretty good cook. I guess that might surprise some people?! No wait, more surprising is that I can’t roll my R’s! Maybe why I did so poorly in trying to learn Spanish. 

If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it? 

 “Outta this world!”

What makes you stand out as a band/Artist? 

I don’t know if The Tell Alls have gotten the chance to stand out from the pack, you know. I mean, coming out of such a long hiatus, the project really needs to get on the fast track. So thanks RGM   for trying to help that along with this stellar interview.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )

That, as of July 2021, the state of Tennessee is now a permitless carry state for concealed weapons. It is a blurred line. I mean, they have exemptions on the books for individuals who’ve been charged with domestic violence, stalking, felony, dui, or individuals committed by the court to a mental institution… they are not eligible to carry. My question is, “what about those who have yet to be diagnosed with any of those issues?”! Also, what’s misleading is that there are many places that, even though this law is in place, it’s still unlawful to carry a concealed weapon. Places like public parks and campgrounds. There needs to be a better solution…more attainable guns don’t seem like the answer in my opinion.

I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it? 

I’m glad you asked, yes…..there is a forthcoming single scheduled to be release this Valentine’s Day. A song entitled “Modern Day Mother Teresa”. It was written, in part, to pay homage to nurses/healthcare workers who’ve been battling through this global pandemic. It takes a certain someone that finds themselves, not just going to their job, but called upon to be steadfast in what’s needing to be done to help people through this dark time in history. I remember talking to a friend who was living in New York City at the height of COVID. He told me that residents would open their windows at 7pm every night and just applaud them! My goal is, with the pending release of this song, to have it represent the continued appreciation for them all!! For all that they’ve been through, their efforts in trying to help others in dire need. Like Mother Teresa did years ago!

Talk me through the thought process of the single?

The song itself was written rather quickly. The recording process was much the same. I cut the drums first, which is typical for how I approach the whole recording process. If I need to make edits in arrangement, I’ll do that further down the line. Drums, then bass, followed by guitars. Then I‘m ready to try and lay down some vocals. If I’m feeling some overdubs are needed, they’ll come last…. which in this case, were the guitar solo, piano and backing vocals, and percussion. 

What was the recording process like?

All the recording and production of this song went down in my home studio. I tend to be a minimalist, so not a lot of outboard gear or redoing takes. Just trying to capture performances/inspiration is what I like to concentrate on most. 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

 I would have rather had recorded most everything in an at-home Brian Wilson-style sand box.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

 Hoping to gain traction to play some more live gigs. One of the benefits of being in Nashville is that there are musicians everywhere, so looking to put together a band and play gigs locally. Maybe from there, consider playing out of town to outstretch our reach a bit.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

 Steer clear from pyramid schemes, and always remember to “Pace the Pesos!”