Me: Hello, Mark and Jay, how are you? So, what do you two each do with the band?
Mark: We’re doing great, Jay, and it rocks to be talking to you. We’re actually in the middle of recording our 3rd album, so we’re pretty excited. On our 1st 2 releases, "Palmistry" and "Second Hand Smoke", it was just the 2 of us.
Jay: Mark is the singer and guitar player, and I play drums, bass guitar, keyboards and horns. We also did just about all of the production and arrangements, and started our own label/publishing company, True Rock, which releases our stuff.
Me: Your first CD came out in 2004 called "Palmistry", right? What does that name mean?
Mark: Palmistry is the art of reading palms, and we’re The Handful.
Me: Your next CD came out last year called "Second Hand Smoke." Did you learn anything from making your first one then you did the second? I like them both.
Mark: Thanks Jay, we appreciate that. We had previously done a lot of recording with different bands we had both been a part of, so by the time we started The Handful, we were pretty confident in our abilities and the sounds that we wanted.
Jay: We followed the same path on "Second Hand Smoke" as we did "Palmistry", which basically means we rehearsed a lot before going in to record.
Me: Where did the name The Handful come from? Is it because there's five people in the band?
Mark: Well, as you now know, we started out as a duo. We dig the name.
Jay: Some people think we’re talking about breasts.
Me: You sound very much like 3 Doors Down to me. Are you fans of there's and if not, do you think your band is similar?
Jay: We dig a bunch of their stuff, especially "When I'm Gone" and "Kryptonite". We think we sound something like a mix of Skynyrd, Free, Hatchett, The Cult, AC/DC, Bad Co, The Who, Maiden and a bottle of whiskey.
Me: Okay, you two, how did you two meet and form a band?
Jay: We are from neighboring towns in Jersey, specifically River Edge and Oradell. When you get to Junior High and High School, the kids in both towns go to the same school, which would be River Dell. We met our 1st year in Junior High and have been buds ever since. Mark was the first to make music, being in bands in high school and then college.
Mark: We ended up being roommates in NYC after college, and Jay started managing, or attempting to manage, a band I formed with our other roommate. One day, Jay started playing a bass guitar that was hanging on the wall of the apartment and joined the band after getting good enough. We went through a bunch of different bands and musicians, and eventually decided that to do what we wanted to do, we had to do it ourselves, so I started playing lots of guitar and Jay picked up the drums and keys, and there you go.
Me: Is the band based in New Jersey or New York? You guys are Giants fans, right? I hope so!
Mark: I live in Jersey and Jay lives in NYC, so both. And we’re fans of the Jets, while Jay also digs the Cowboys.
Jay: Needless to say, we’re looking forward to pitchers and catchers.
Me: Where do you guys play? Clubs in the city?
Mark: We usually play in and around NYC and Jersey. When we’re done recording the new CD, we’ll look into expanding our touring.
Me: Where is the furthest you guys traveled for a show? Any plans to come to Florida?
Jay: Once we played The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, and I had to come back from a vacation in Maine to play the show and then returned the next morning.
Mark: We’ve chosen to stay local, as we’ve only had our live band together for a little more than a year and wanted to concentrate on rehearsing the new album, but would absolutely dig coming to Florida once it comes out.
Me: A band like yours that rocks must've opened for some big acts. Can you name any that were really cool?
Mark: We had opportunities to open up for national touring acts, but we tend to choose to headline our own shows. We have 28 songs from the 1st 2 CDs, and another 16 on the way, so we have plenty of material for fans to groove on.
Me: When is your new CD planned to come out, and do you guys have a name for it yet?
Mark: We’re hoping it will be out in the Spring. No name yet, but trust us, it rocks.
Me: How different is the new album gonna be from the first two?
Jay: The biggest difference is we are recording with the musicians who we play live with. We’re also working at a different studio with a different engineer. But we’re not one of these bands that are going to experiment with electronica. The CD will rock just as hard as the 1st 2, if not more.
Me: I have to ask you about the "Second Hand Smoke" CD cover. Very clever, with the skull in the smoke coming out of the factory stacks. Where was that taken, and were you scared of the skull smoke creature? LOL. Seriously, who came up with that idea? It'll make a great t-shirt.
Mark: Our cover art guy showed it to us, and we dug it because it reminds us of the New Jersey Turnpike.
Me: Your music is on iTunes I am happy to say. Do you get a lot of people becoming fans from hearing you there?
Mark: It definitely helps, but it’s not the only way we’re building our fan base. Our website and MySpace site, our shows and general word of mouth seem to all be working together to increase our exposure.
Me: I ask this question to everybody I interview, so both answer, fellas... what is your favorite Foghat song?
Jay: We are "Fool(s) for the City", brother. Of course, "Slow Ride" is stellar.
Mark: And "Foghat Live" is one of the best live albums ever.
Me: Okay, I have a problem with your quote... "80% ROCK, 20% ROLL, 100%PURE SWAGGER". That's impossible. That would make it 200%, not a hundred. Who did your math? LOL. By the way, Pure Swagger is a great name for an album title or band, isn't it?
Jay: It is if you can back it up. We do.
Me: Do you guys do any acoustic stuff?
Jay: We actually used to do lots of acoustic shows, sometimes just the two of us. But we like it loud.
Me: Finally, do you guys have anything to plug and to say to the readers of the Phile?
Mark: Hey Phile readers – If you dig Foghat, you should check out The Handful at wwwthehandful.com or www.myspace.com/thehandful, and you can get us at iTunes, Amazon and others.
Jay: Keep rocking, Jay, and thanks.