J-39 is a British alternative rock four piece band composed of David Roberts on guitar and vocal, Richard Gill on bass, David Kavanagh on drums and Daniel Pickering on guitar. They hail from Whitehaven, located in the Cumbria region in the north of England, and have played all over England getting rave reviews wherever they have played. They have listed in the top ten in the uksounds.com polls, and have received a legal mp3 award for their music in the U.K. A recent review in Kerrang magazine had the following to say, "All Fours is a stunning collection of powerfully emotive rock complete with killer melodies, glorious harmonies, thundering drums and razor sharp riffage."
J-39 has attracted a huge following worldwide through their dynamic Internet site, and their live shows are stupendous, with a reputation for giving their audiences their moneys worth.
There is a huge cloud that hangs over the county of Cumbria, a cloud in the shape of a huge nuclear power station. Maybe this is the reason that J-39 is a strange type of mutant musical band.
It all started a long time ago in a rehearsal room far, far, away.
David Roberts (guitar/vocals) and Richard Gill (bass) were both performing in a band that ran under the aptly titled LOWLIFE. As a band, Lowlife at the time was starting to cause a few ripples on the surface of the local music scene. At this point, Lowlife was beginning to turn into a very tight, professional act, but there was a flaw in the plan. The rhythm was falling behind, and Lowlife had to find a new drummer - someone with outstanding ability and flair, and also original and dedicated. After one audition, David Kavanagh (KAV) was immediately welcomed onboard. His percussion skills and flamboyant style are a law unto themselves, and often the law for other drummers to follow.
Lowlife had been working with a manager from Newcastle, who in turn put them onto a producer situated in London. With the help of a small grant awarded by the national lottery fund, Lowlife was able to fund a marathon recording session that lasted seven days, with sessions lasting up to thirty hours at a time. The sessions began in London with professional producer John Ravenhall, who recorded two tracks, then moved up the motorway to start five days recording at Trinity Heights in Newcastle. Some of these tracks are still J-39 favourites, in particular, Interbreeder, which J-39 is re-recording for their forthcoming album.
On the basis of these recordings, people started taking interest in what Lowlife was doing, and live shows were coming thick and fast. Now the band was in demand for some of the top gigs, opening for many established acts, including:
Kerbdog, Goldblade, Rachael Stamp and sic amongst others, as well as headlining their own gigs in various venues.
As Lowlife began to peak, a hefty case of Rock n Roll set in with one member, which caused a rift too big to fix. After an amicable parting of ways, Lowlife had no doubt about whom to recruit for the lead guitarist job. There was a boy who had been impressing everyone at the rehearsal rooms with his guitar style, as it was totally original. This boy, Daniel Pickering, was the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and he brought with him a new dimension to the sound and look of the band. With only a couple of rehearsals, Dan was thrown in at the deep end with a showcase gig for Generator at the Richmond Hall (Carlisle). Dans performance was perfect and the feedback from the night was phenomenal.
It was now screamingly obvious that Lowlife had grown into a totally different outfit. Davids songwriting and vocal style had matured. Richard had turned into a bass monster. Kav had added a new dimension, and Dan had delivered the final blow.
Eager not to be put in a pigeonhole, the songs could go in any direction, with no style or genre discarded. The foundations were set in the usual format of two guitars, drums and bass. A mixture between clean sounding guitar and powerfully overdriven guitar, mixed with a booming, punchy bass and massive drums, with a cutting snare, enabled this combination a dynamic and diverse sound. Recently samples and synths have been introduced to take songs a step further, combining piano and strings, which add extra emotion to the sound.
First things first, change the name, cut off all ties, and bring it on.!!!! Whats the new name gonna be? All kinds of suggestions got thrown in from Red River to Blind, and we could have been called Siren if we were women. Weeks went by and still there was nothing anyone could agree on. After a rather boozy fuelled night out, the subject came up in a taxi on the way home, OK taxi driver! Give us a name for our band, and dont just say the first thing that comes into your head. At this point, the taxi driver passes a road sign and the first thing he comes up with is A595 the name of the road on the sign. The seed was planted..
The band was due a write up in the gazette, as local music journalist Mark Campbell was keen to know what they were doing. Unbeknown to the other members of the band, David had decided the road number thing wasnt such a bad idea, with all the travelling up and down the M6 motorway to do gigs. Junction forty was always a pleasure to see, as it meant they were nearly home. The interview with Mark Campbell went like this:
Mark Campbell: so David, whats going on with the band?
David: Well mark, new direction, new name.
Mark: Really!! What is it?
David: Were named after our favourite motorway junction, junction thirty nine..J-39.
Mark: Ill mention it in my column this week.
David: Nice one, see ya.
Well thats that. I hope the rest of the band likes it. Hmmm junction thirty-nine, J-39? $@!& % , it's supposed to be junction forty!!!!! TOO LATE. THE PAPERS GONE TO PRINT.
So due to a slip of the tongue and absence of mind, J-39 stuck (junction thirty-nine incidentally is one of the most bleak and barren places on the face of the planet).
Gigging was going well, and J-39 was getting about and building up an enthusiastic fan base. J-39 was also impressing people all over the country with their new recordings, Already Dead, Use It, and Something For The Weekend. The band was invited to play a showcase in London and then asked to appear on the Radio one sound city festival at Newcastle. They also played a headline slot at the Night and day club (Manchester) and still appeared regularly at a local level.
Still, living in Cumbria is a bit of a stumbling block, as getting A&R to leave London to check out bands is nearly impossible, The Internet was a blessing. Davids girlfriend (Lou) constructed a web site, with the idea that the Internet could get j-39s music heard in places that usually would be difficult to reach. And it also gave them a chance to pass on information with a simple address www.j-39.co.uk . The website was an instant success. J-39 also uploaded material to various sites, such as mp3.com, and uksounds, and received a legal mp3 award from Narcopop. Already Dead reached number one on uksounds chart for a number of weeks.
Meanwhile demand was growing for new J-39 material. A new working relationship was being formed at Penrith (Cumbria), with Guy Forrester, producer and owner of Linden studio, who recorded Take Me 100% digital. What a revelation - digital recording. It was By far the most impressive results of J-39s recordings yet. Guy was on the same wavelength as J-39 and vice versa. Now they had production worthy of the songs.
Good band. Good recordings. Its time to take the next step and get a record released. So, J-39 decided to send their web address out to some record companies and see what happened. Henderson Entertainment got in touch, and now J-39 is recording an album for them, with Henderson Entertainment having released a promo single including Already Dead, Take Me, and Use It.
J-39 believes their music deserves to reach a wider audience, via Radio, T.V and other means. Everyone who has listened has had positive feelings about the music and has gone on to tell others about J-39. Songs by J-39 were being shared and talked about on Napster, and people wanted to hear more.
Some songs carry a message and alternative opinions and may make people think about subjects in a different way. Were not trying to change the worldYET!!
And that completes the brief history of J-39 up to now. The rest of the story remains to be written
Watch your back!!!! Well be coming up fast!!!!