Today’s Feature – November 3-4: Jerry Cherry

November 5, 2008 at 12:02 am (Today's Feature)


While we’ll need to forgive Jerry Cherry’s NFL team preference, we here at PEV also need to recognize that Cherry has done something no one else in PEV history can claim: landing a gig with the legendary Chubby Checker. What an experience: Shredding the guitar with the man behind The Twist for one amazing set at The Cutting Room in New York City. Not too shabby eh? Jerry’s name lends to some of the musical legends of yesterday, and you can hear it in his own melodies – a spin on the influences that has landed Cherry where he is today.

And speaking of today, Jerry is currently all about his debut record, “Life is Sweeter.” He calls it “a story line of a year of my life in New York City.” While Cherry was born in New York, he spent his childhood in Fort Lauderdale, eventually making it back to NYC where he is now ripping the scene a new one. His style is his own; he says, “I don’t ever try to emulate anyone. What you hear is me being me. Telling my story.”

Jerry describes “Life is Sweeter” as “Warm. I use a lot of natural sounds. Acoustic and Semi hollow body electric guitars. Cello, Violin. Acoustic drums. But we’re not always pretty. We can get really loud.” Loud doesn’t even begin to describe a Jerry Cherry live show. This guy and his band get into it – pouring tons of sound directly into your ear hole with no apology. It’s a good thing, I promise. You can catch them around New York before they hit the road for the new album. Get into the XXQ’s for a lot more.

XXQs: Jerry Cherry (PEV): Tell us about how you first jumped into the music business? Was it an instant connection for you?

Jerry Cherry (JC): I started playing parties and clubs when I was 15. It was in a city that had no real music industry. It was just a way for friends and fans and fellow musicians to meet and have a good time.

PEV: A Brooklyn native, what kind of music where you listening to growing up? What was the first concert you attended?

JC: I was born in Brooklyn but I moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida when I was 6. I suppose I retired early. Kidding. I remember loving Elvis as a kid. Then came KISS and then more heavy metal. My first concert was AC/DC on my 11th birthday. As you can see I grew admiring amazing performers.   It’s hard to pinpoint when I started really understanding the art of songwriting. I mean I always loved Queen, the Stones, Beatles, Bowie as far back as I can remember.

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

JC: For the most part I have to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown in order to write. It’s not something I can do everyday, or week, or month. For me it starts with an emotion, goosebumps. Then I try to capture that feeling with music and lyrics. At the same time there are some occasions when it just comes together effortlessly. I have to quote someone in The New York Times who wrote “Catch and Release,” using that as an example of songwriting. Capturing the moment. The more you put into it, you lose its original meaning.

PEV: Having performed together for quite some time, what can fans expect from a live Jerry Cherry show?

JC: 1000 percent – energy, passion, ME.  I want the audience to have fun. I also want them to think and to feel. I don’t want to build walls between me and my audience. I try to perform my songs the best I can to bring the listener into my world.

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

JC: My first performance as Jerry Cherry was a show in Florida and we all wore black suits. It was a good show. Sonically, we were a much heavier band back then. It was at time that I was finding my voice.   I was experimenting with a lot of different musical ideas and sounds trying to find my direction. I believe my song writing has improved dramatically since then.

PEV: What can fans expect from your debut album “Life is Sweeter”? What was the collaborative process for this album?

JC: A record that’s interesting from start to finish. I didn’t just put the best songs first. It’s kind of a story line of a year of my life in New York City. Most of the songs were written in that year. I seemed to have found 11 songs that fit well together. I put everything I had at the time into this record. I lived it. It was all I had. I wanted to make an album that really sounded great as well. I wrote the whole album and produced it but I have to give a lot of credit to all the people who helped make it. Especially my engineer Mike Rogers. He helped me get some great vocal takes and made “Life is Sweeter…” sound like a record.

PEV: How is this album different from others out right now?

JC: C’est moi. It’s me. I don’t ever try to emulate anyone. What you hear is me being me. Telling my story. There’s no picture of me on the cover. That’s different. I didn’t want this album to sound like anything that is out all ready. I just wanted to perform these songs the best I could. I wanted to make a record that stood the test of time. I hope that it will be loved for years to come.

PEV: How would you describe the sound of Jerry Cherry? How do you plan to stand out above the other musicians in your genre?

JC: Warm. I use a lot of natural sounds. Acoustic and Semi hollow body electric guitars. Cello, Violin. Acoustic drums. But we’re not always pretty. We can get really loud. My music is very passionate. I like to incorporate different instruments in the mix. We’re a rock ‘n roll band but we’re also much more than that. Our sound is very pure and simple.  I also stand out because of my unusual body shape. I’m kind of lanky with freakishly long fingers. I’m a tall glass of water.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

JC: I’m very much an introvert. Performing my music allows me to open up in ways I couldn’t do normally. I’m a very quiet person. I tend to only talk when I have to.

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

JC: Yes. When my mom bought me a guitar when I was 12. I started jamming with my drummer friend down the street. Every Sunday morning we woke up the neighborhood. We were very loud…and not that good. But we had our moments and that’s when I knew that it was those moments that I never wanted to end.

PEV: What one word best describes Jerry Cherry?

JC: Tenacious

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

JC: The best parts are performing for and meeting new people for the first time. I also enjoy talking to them. It’s interesting how different people’s lifestyles are around the country. The worst part is trying to find something healthy to eat. There’s a lot of junk food out there.

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

JC: I really loved performing in London. It’s seems the farther you are from home, the more your words make sense.

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

JC: They’re excited for me. They know how hard I’ve been working at this. It’s really cool to have always had friends and family who believed in me. They’re proud of me for being focused and for keeping my eye on the Cherry.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

JC: You can find me at a sports bar watching The Steelers play. I’m a huge fan. I also love to walk in Central Park. It’s so refreshing. I love great films, great food, and great people. I’m also a big supporter of the local music scene. Everyone who steps up on a stage inspires me.

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

JC: Jack White. I think he is the most electrifying performer in a long time. He gives something special in everything he does. I would love to just jam with him. It would be insane.

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

JC: Yes. Randall Shreve. Ever since his CD release show, I haven’t been able get all of his songs out of my head. He’s an amazing, memorizing singer.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music, what would you most likely be doing for a career?

JC: I would’ve pursued playing football. As a kid I played until I was bitten by the music bug. But that probably wouldn’t have happened. I think I would be some mastermind behind saving the world from some evil powers.

PEV: Ten years down the road, where do you hope to be?

JC: On my sailboat in Brazil with a loving, beautiful wife. And creating beautiful music.

PEV: So, what is next for Jerry Cherry?

JC: I’ll be very busy playing some New York shows and getting ready to hit the road in support of my record “Life is Sweeter…” Look out for a video for the first single “Turned Around.” I’m also in the studio recording a new song called “Vampires,” which I’m very excited about and will be on album #2 in ’09 or ‘10.  And look out for Jerry Cherry coming to a music venue near you.  You definitely won’t be disappointed!

For more information on Jerry Cherry, check out:


1 Comment

  1. mommacherry said,

    excellent interview,so true,so u,ROCK ON,

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