Jake Sets The Sandbar Ablaze: Tales from Fire Island

For those not native to these parts, Fire Island is a 31-mile stretch of island parallel to Long Island, with the Atlantic Ocean breaching its Southern coast. It also happens to be a place where the partying never stops… Ever… Apparently…

Jake And The Mountain Men were invited to perform at The Sandbar, a short stumble from the Ocean Beach ferry where a mojito might not be on the menu, but the doors open at 9AM, and the party picks up right where it left off just a few hours earlier. It’s the ‘hair-of-the-dog’ of Ocean Beach, where you can enjoy your breakfast with a orange-flavored spiked seltzer or whichever shade of rum you prefer to take with your scrambled eggs.

Jake set forth on their journey early Friday morning amidst a string of torrential downpours throughout the Southern New York region. The path before us was uncharted, and the questions were abound:

Would we be allowed to transfer our band’s gear on the ferry, or would we get deposed to the dreadful-sounding freight boat?

Would our equipment survive the rain? What if the entire island was flooded?

And lastly, why the hell did any of us agree to this crazy idea in the first place?

For many of us in the group, significant others included, the thrill of being a pioneer made the entire experience enjoyable. For we were about to embark on an experience that would be unlike any other gig we would have for a long time.

The lot of us are experienced and seasoned musicians, some of which gig multiple times a week with a multitude of groups, have been on tours, have battled established bands in competitions (and come out on top, twice!), have performed on live television, etc.

But this was the first time any of us had loaded our gear onto a ferry, sailed to an island where vehicles aren’t allowed, and were expected to entertain an unruly ensemble of party-goers over two, very long evenings delineating the opening of the summer season on the Island.

Could we even hack it?

The first gig was a doozy– a three-hour stint from 7–10pm, prime time for the droves of 20-somethings who stormed the docks off the evening ferries, not one minute of which featured our boisterous and incredibly talented front-man. The crowd danced, they sang, they strongly suggested we didn’t play any more cuts from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon

The band had to call a series of audibles… “They only want up-beat tunes; And we gotta give them what they want!” And we did. Hit after hit, song after song, we rocked as hard as Jake knows how to rock.

The lovely and talented Casey Carpenter sprinkled our set with the vocal stylings of Aretha Franklin, Stevie Nicks, Cyndi Lauper, and others.

The house DJ spun a set of dance-able rock tunes, and then fired into Jessie’s Girl. “Oh shit, they’re scooping our show!” we thought… So we jumped in and took over the second verse…

The crowd went APE-SHIT! It was a great moment.

Mussels wouldn’t show up until the following day, just in time to save our vocal chords from straining and shredding into oblivion.

That was of course after a very, very long walk from the Sandbar to our rental house, a round of Scotch (happy birthday, Brendan!), and even more spiked seltzers (is this a Fire Island thing, or is this just a thing?), a brief period of rest, and hearty breakfasts of BACON-EGG-AND-CHEESE-ON-A-ROLL.

The second day we were set to play from 2–6pm, prime time for the Saturday crowd. With Mussels at the helm, we sailed through the greatest Jake tunes we know how to play. We even navigated through the choppy waters of some newer tunes.

The owner of the Sandbar happened to be a big Bruce Springsteen fan, so naturally we obliged…

We all lived together for two days without a single argument, or zany mishap. We ate, we laughed, we drank, and we rocked out.

We can’t wait to do it again.


Battle Of The Firehouse Bands

Jake Wins 1st Place at the 2018 Battle Of The Firehouse Bands!

Battle of the Firehouse Bands PosterThe 2018 Battle Of The Firehouse Bands was held on March 10th as a fundraiser to kick off the 4th Annual New York City Memorial Stair Climb event which will be held on July 1, 2018 at WTC3. Jake and the gang tossed their name into the hat along with eight other FDNY bands for a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize and to help raise awareness for the Ray Pfeifer Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting 9/11 first-responders, firefighters and police, with medical needs not covered by insurance.

Jake And The Mountain Men’s bassist, vocalist, and member of the band since its conception, Scott Hickey, personally worked with and was friends with Ray Pfeifer, and represents FDNY Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, the hardest-hit firehouse on 9/11. Scott and the band were eager to jump on the opportunity to support a great cause and have a blast while doing it. The show was held at New York City’s infamous Cutting Room, with all ticket sale profits going to the aforementioned charitable foundations.

Each band had just 10 minutes to show off their goods. With a massive selection of cover songs in their bag, Jake decided the best way to showcase their talents would be in the form of a medley of their ‘most kickass’ tunes, followed by The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” which showcases Mussels’ incredible vocal skills, Brendan’s wild guitar windmills, Scott and Dino weaving tight rhythmic undertones, all being held together by Monith’s precise, explosive-yet-musical drumming.

Just before the venue doors were opened to the public, the order of the bands was drawn out of a hat with Jake pulling the opening spot in the lineup. While this gave the group a slight advantage, providing extra time for set-up and sound check, the guys feared that the crowd would forget about their performance after 90+ minutes of seven other bands of a multitude of genres giving it their best.


Jake And The Mountain Men’s performance at the 2018 Firehouse Battle Of The Bands

Luckily, the response was quite the opposite.

When it came time to vote, there was overheard chatter of “what was the name of that first band?” in the room. Present friends and family certainly did their part, but the general public had the final say and Jake ended up solidifying first place.

Photo of Jake And The Mountain Men on stageJake were announced as the winners and were called up to perform an encore. With the show running ahead of schedule, the band was able to perform five encores. With no formalized ideas in mind, the band democratically decided on the fly to perform Steely Dan’s “Peg”, Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny”, Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl”, “Laid” by James, and the previously-teased “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears.

When the winner’s check of $1,000 was handed over, Mussels suggested donating the money right back to the charity. The band unanimously agreed that this was the best way to spend the winnings; to honor the fallen and the brave first-responders who are still battling their illnesses nearly 17 years later.

Thank You!

Jake would like to send a huge thank you to those of you who supported us and this fantastic cause. There were some absolutely fantastic performances by the bands including After Burn, The Archibald Gander Band, The Aged, Kevin’s Band, Metal Slug, The Russo Brothers, and The Slippery Chickens. We couldn’t have been more proud to have shared the stage with all of the amazing and humble musicians that night.

Be sure to check out our Live Schedule for upcoming Jake shows, and also stop by the Bootlegs archive to download some full-length live shows. Looking to book the band for a private party or a public event? Don’t hesitate, click here!

Jake loves you all!

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Live @ Gramercy Ale House 11/25/2016

Just before the holidays back in November, our friends over at the Gramercy Ale House in New York City had a challenging situation on their hands: Their live music entertainment for a holiday event dropped out at the last minute. The event was intended to be a fundraiser, hoping to raise money for a family-in-need for the holidays. They did what any venue in need of awesome live music would do: They called the Jakephone.

A live show on Black Friday? Could Jake even make it into the city with thousands of frenzied consumerists road raging in their SUVs? Would the anti-consumerists dare leave their pajama-party Netflix binge-fests to get dressed and pay money just to see a cover band in a pub? Were some of us hyper-focused, borderline obsessed, with consumerism?

Probably. Who cares. Chalk that up to a heavy rotation of Peanuts holiday specials if you must.

We thought it over briefly and decided to go for it; it was for a good cause, it would probably be a lot of fun, and if nobody showed up we could say we got paid for rehearsing in a cool NYC venue.

If you’ve had the pleasure of frequenting the establishment, you may be thinking “where the hell can they fit a live band in here?” This was Scotty’s exact thought when he scouted out the place. We’d have to do it acoustic, with minimal percussion, and no effects pedals.

WHAT?! NO PEDALS?!! Yeah right; I’m using artistic license here. OF COURSE we made room for pedals! Duh. I digress…

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Photos ©2016 Drew Podwall

Monith assembled a “light” drum kit consisting of an electronic kick drum, a home-made snare drum, and a makeshift cymbal stand with everything but the kitchen sink attached to it. Staying true to the tradition of Jake irony, it turns out that in hindsight the electronic kick drum has a larger footprint than its acoustic counterpart. Not only that, but it’s a pain in the ass- the rigging of all the wires and pedals caused Monith to injure his hand just minutes before we went live.

With that minor setback aside, the band took the “stage” and tore the flippin’ house down. Folks came up and sang with the band, people danced all night, folks shouted non-stop requests, drunkards stole the band’s jalapeño poppers– just your typical night out in a NYC pub. We even played songs we had never rehearsed or, in some cases, ever heard before- although this is really nothing new for us. There were even a few “Jake and the Moon Men” moments when Dáithí O’Coire (Dave Kerry) from Moonspank got up and sang a few covers, and even an original tune with Jake.

The good news is that not only did we have a blast, but a normally fickle NYC crowd of (mostly) strangers begged us for more and more. After four encores, we decided to call it a night. At this point in time, most of us have young children at home that don’t care how late we were up the night before when the have a pressing urge to break their fast with a heaping bowl of sugary cereal.

Our long-time friend and fan Drew Podwal made it to the show with his camera and his amazing eye. Thanks for the photos, Drew! We owe you a beer.

Set 1
Life On a Chain
No Excuses
Midnight Rider
Santeria
You Wreck Me
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
Just Like Heaven
And It Stoned Me
I Wanna Be (500 Miles) (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
Beds Are Burning (feat. Moonspank)
My Best Friend’s Girl
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Mama Tried
Dark Hollow
All Along the Watchtower

Set 2
Handle With Care (feat. Paul Fischetti)
Brown Eyed Girl (feat. Paul Fischetti)
The Man Who Sold the World
Radio Radio
Just What I Needed
Blue Christmas
Low
Rain King
Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)/Another One Bites the Dust [Medley] (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
Friends in Low Places (feat. Mike Meyers)
Hey Ya
Laid (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
With or Without You/Under Pressure/So Lonely [Medley] (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
Alright (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)
Africa
867-5309/Jenny

Encores
Blister in the Sun
Jesse’s Girl
Suspicious Minds
Don’t You (Forget About Me) (feat. Dáithí O’Coire)