Today’s Feature – August 1-2: Quick Step John

August 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm (Today's Feature)

When you hear about bands that were more or less born because “there was nothing else better to do,” you don’t expect to hear this kind of praise: “I thought they were great… opening acts can go so many ways. When we get there and hear a band like that we just say ‘Thank God.'” It’s especially unexpected when the praise is coming from someone as huge as Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas. But yes, Craig Whitaker, Dave Faga, Ed Bagden, Fran Camardella and Greg Maragos initially all came together at the workplace. Whitaker recalls “We all worked at a music store and I had written a few tunes on an acoustic guitar…the “demo” of them passed around the store and we just put a band together…I think we were bored.”

As I said before, it’s not every day you hear such high praise for an act that so casually united, but have you heard these guys yourself? They’re awesome! It’s alternative rock with a dab of Americana and a touch of acoustic majesty. They’ve now followed up their 6-song EP, “The Life in Our Years” with their full length debut album, “The Multiple Personalities of Last Week and Next Year.” I’ve let you in on my take of their sound � but Whitaker describes it differently. He says, “If Ben Gibbard met up with Adam Duritz at a party and was like, ‘Hey man, that new Radiohead album is awesome! Do you wanna go listen to the new Jimmy Eat World record and write some songs together?'” I agree… that does sound good.

You can sample the tunes on “The Multiple Personalities of Last Week and Next Year” by yourself or you can try to catch a Quick Step John show. Obviously, they do a pretty good job on stage. You can learn how they got their name and so much more by jumping into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Quick Step John – Craig Whitaker (lead singer)

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Tell us about how you first jumped into becoming Quick Step John? Was it an instant connection for the band?

Craig Whitaker (CW): Not really… we all worked at a music store and I had written a few tunes on an acoustic guitar… the “demo” of them passed around the store and we just put a band together… I think we were bored.

PEV: Philadelphia scene in 2001, what kind of music where each of the members listening to growing up?

CW: Everything from The Counting Crows to Phish to Dream Theater

PEV: Tell us about your creative process… What kind of environment do you have to be in to write music?

CW: Usually nothing that involves music. Most of the last record was written at my soon to be in-law’s house on their upright piano after dinner on Sunday nights.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Quick Step John performance?

CW: A ton of energy…all five of us give our live shows 110% every night.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance as a band. How have you changed since that first show to where you are now?

CW: Our first live gig was at Mars Music (now defunct) in Cherry Hill, NJ. It was a 4th of July party…I don’t think we were too concerned with how we sounded.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest full length debut album “The Multiple Personalities of Last Week and Next Year”? How is it different from your past 6 song EP “The Life In Our Years”?

CW: I would be the most excited if people simply liked the songs and had a connection with one of them.

PEV: How is “The Multiple Personalities of Last Week and Next Year” different from others out right now?

CW: I think most albums out right now have a very similar sound, not that there’s anything wrong with that. At the same time, I’m not re-inventing the wheel in my tunes. I just hope that the five of us gave a unique and fresh twist to them and that people enjoy them. PEV: How would you describe the sound of Quick Step John?

CW: If I can flatter myself for a moment… If Ben Gibbard met up with Adam Duritz at a party and was like, “Hey man, that new Radiohead album is awesome! Do you wanna go listen to the new Jimmy Eat World record and write some songs together?”

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Quick Step John?

CW: Ed has flown a plane by himself.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

CW: Yes. When I was about 8 years old, I used my dad’s T-Square as a guitar to mimic White Snake videos on MTV.

PEV: What one word best describes Quick Step John?

CW: Hardworking

PEV: How is life on the road for you? Best and worst parts?

CW: Touring is awesome…we actually do much better away from home than in Philly. Best parts? Playing in parts of the country we’ve never seen. Worst parts? (see best parts)

PEV: In all your travels, which has been your favorite city to play (US or International)?

CW: We really enjoy playing in Virginia, but I’d have to say that so far, Charlotte NC was the coolest town.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

CW: They’re all pretty exited about it, it’s been a slow progression over the years so it’s never hit that hard all at once.

PEV: What can we find the members of Quick Step John doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

CW: I’ll take a guess for the rest of the guys…

Fran – Reading EQ magazine, buying and selling gear on Ebay

Ed – Sleeping, reading about aviation.

Greg – Adding to his massive movie collection.

Dave – playing Guitar Hero and attending various happy hours around Philadelphia.

Me – Practicing rotoscoping and compositing.

PEV: Which artist would be your dream collaboration? Why?

CW: I would absolutely love the opportunity to write with Ben Gibbard… I think he’s one of the best songwriters of the last decade.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for?

CW: My buddy Mike is in The July Week, a great new pop/punk band from New Jersey… they’re on the Warped Tour right now.

PEV: Tell us the story behind the name of Quick Step John?

CW: The manager of Mars, the store where we met, his name was John…one of his nicknames we had for him. PEV: Ten years down the road, where will the band be?

CW: San Diego

PEV: So, what is next for Quick Step John?

CW: Shows….lots of shows

For more information on Quick Step John, check out www.myspace.com/quickstepjohn

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1 Comment

  1. Roto Artist said,

    I never heard of them until I read your post. I searched for their music and I have to say that I like what I’m hearing… Just like Craig, I do a lot of rotoscoping, since its my job, and not just on my spare time though…

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