Garage rock is not a fad. It's been percolating for over half a century, in one form or another, and shows no sign of letting up. JEFF the Brotherhood is the kind of band that explains why. Nashville brothers Jamin and Jake Orrall are out to extract as much fun as possible from a growling guitar, stripped down drums, and antic-filled live show. Most of the nine tracks on their latest album, Heavy Days - the band's sixth full-length record - scorch by with huge fuzz, fiery tempos, chatty lyrics, and playing that's tighter than the jeans on Valencia.
Like the best garage rock, the duo's simple, pop-aware songs force smiles even after dozens of listens. Despite years on the road playing barns, fields, beauty shops and women's bathrooms, the Orrall brothers are now on only their second West Coast tour, playing with Ty Segall and The Splinters at the Eagle tomorrow night.
We spoke with singer/guitarist Jake about the band's unusual name, how rock lyrics don't matter, and why these hungry brothers from the South aren't excited for a Mission burrito.
How did you and Jamin begin playing together?
We grew up out in the country and there really weren't any other kids around, so it's what we'd do. We played in the woods with sticks until we got into music and then we started playing music.
What's the story behind the name?
We just wanted to name it like it's a person. It's a band -- why not name it like you're naming a baby or a pet or something? We used to be just "JEFF." But then we changed it to "JEFF the Brotherhood" because you couldn't search for "JEFF" on the Internet. It was like naming your band "dog" or something.
What were you guys listening to when you started playing?
Our dad always played stuff like Talking Heads and the Clash and Elvis Costello and Devo. When we really started we were listening to a lot of grunge. Somehow we got a hold of Half Japanese, and we got really into that because we didn't really know how to play instruments at all. They didn't really know how to play either, and just started making these recordings. That was a real inspiration for us, that you could just pick up instruments, and it was like, OK, the big strings make the lower sounds and the smaller strings make the higher sounds. And if you go up and down the neck you can make sound on the guitar, it doesn't matter if you can play or not. So I just started doing that. And Jamin was playing drums.