(EDITOR'S NOTE: Peanut Butter Lovesicle is playing at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival on Saturday. The band is one of only two groups on the entire 186-act festival bill that is from Pennsylvania. Recently, the Sun-Gazette interviewed the group as a part of its ongoing Bonnaroo coverage.)
Picture a cozy, dimly lit bar on the underbelly of a city; crowded with a sweaty, sultry audience grooving slowly to sweet sounds of a band called Peanut Butter Lovesicle. This is the atmosphere seen in PBL's most recent video for "Black Eyed Blues." The Pennsylvania-native band also will perform in a similar cozy, sweaty setting at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, under the hot, Manchester, Tenn., sun.
With a band name that sounds like a groovy, psychedelic group from the late '60s, Peanut Butter Lovesicle would assure you that they are firmly in the present. They will perform at Bonnaroo on Saturday at one of the smaller venues at the festival, called Cafe Where?, which will provide a more intimate setting than most of the other stages. One of the things they are most looking forward to is meeting new and strange festival folk ... and seeing Wu-Tang Clan. They're pretty strange (that good kind of strange) themselves; fans and the unfamiliar who catch them perform can expect "mild thrusting, rampant babbling, existentialism and the occasional toe tapper," - ideal activities, presumably, for those who enjoy psych rock.
Pa.-based band Peanut Butter Lovesicle will perform at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Sun-Gazette Assistant Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor Lyndsey Hewitt interviewed the band prior to attending the festival this weekend as a part of our ongoing coverage of the event.
PBL is made up of two brothers, Mike and Jake D'Arc, and their cousin, Timmy Miller, who are all "strewn in their mid-to-late 20s."
"We all slowly gravitated towards a common interest in music around the same time. Mike and I started playing guitar and bass together back in eighth grade ... American Mike and T-bone Tim," Timmy said.
Although their music takes them all over the place now, their origins are the suburbs of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, respectively; more specifically, Mike and Jake (guitar) are from Windber and Timmy (drums-vocals) is from Newton Square. When they're not on tour, they jump back and forth between the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas to rehearse and live.
Timmy reflects on the fact that, just six years ago, the band was performing at various venues in Ocean City, N.J., playing mostly covers and the occasional original. Now, the band has received press coverage from all over the nation and even has a considerable following in the United Kingdom. Their single, "Black Eyed Blues" appeared in The CW's "Gossip Girl."
"I couldn't have guessed in the beginning, that our band, let alone band name, would still be going strong, playing shows and keeping the momentum that we have," he said.
PBL's amusing name comes from what Jake called "haphazard eating habits" between him and Mike in college; they dipped frozen chocolate pretzel rods in peanut butter.
Bonnaroo will be the biggest event they have performed at, by far. A booker for 'Roo attended a show of theirs in New York City, where they now spend a lot of their time, and decided to book them for the festival - a gig that many bands only wish they could have.
"I think the festival environment is a perfect setting for what we do as a band, the energy in our live performance stems a lot from the energy of the people watching and listening, and festivals are a great opportunity to play in front of lots of new ears and faces," Timmy said.
Timmy, who rocks dirty blonde dreads that hang well below his shoulders, cites "classic heavy hitters of the '60s and '70s, including famous drummers such as John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) and Ginger Baker (Cream), as his influences as a drummer. As a vocalist, he infuses the blues and rhythm of hip-hop. Jake appreciates guitarists who employ emotion over technique.
Much of these influences are evident in their music. For fans of more modern, bluesy sounds from artists like The Black Keys, PBL is definitely worth a listen.
Mike describes the band as "A mother bear protecting her cub, a large, aggressive bird bewildered - or psychedelic blues rock."
Both their EPs, "Dirty Pride" and "Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze" are available for free listening on Spotify.
Find the band at pblovesicle.com, face book.com/peanutbutter lovesicle, and on Twitter and Instagram, @pblovesicle.