Smokey Junglefrog 101

Smokey Junglefrog formed at Syracuse University in the fall of 1990. I hung a few flyers around campus and two guys replied: bassist Paul Perreault, and guitarist Jamie Dunphy. We recruited drummer Tod Salmonson and performed our first show in the spring of 1991. The band released three albums in three years, performing in New York City, Boston, and beyond with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Samples, Dada, Bim Skala Bim, and Chucklehead.

And it was a great time. My fondest memories are from jam-packed house parties: people dancing, people spilling beer and laughing. We’d play three forty-five minute sets pausing only to swill Boone’s Strawberry Wine and pour shots of tequila for the audience.

It’s long been difficult to reach the same level of excitement on stage. For one thing, the guys and I lived together, rehearsed a few nights a week, and partied the rest of the time. Drunken adoration never sounded louder. That and it was college and all.

We’ve all gone on in one form or another. I released my first solo album (1993’s ‘Always Almost There’) three months after SJF’s last, and, as you know, am working on my eighth solo CD. Jamie’s heavy into jazz, and has his Ph.D. from UMass. Pablo’s band, Planet Sandwich, is working on its debut release. And Fish, er Tod, had twins last year. (I don’t care how many albums you release — twins win.)

So earlier this year I suggested to the guys that we compile our favorite and best songs from our three albums (we released cassettes in those days), master them, and release them online and on iTunes in time for Christmas (it’s all about Q4). 3/4 of the guys were interested, so we’re moving ahead.

It’s not like there are that many people Googling some band they vaguely remember from college ten years ago. The thing is, between those three records, there are at least fifteen cool songs that deserve a larger audience. And the internet and MP3s and iTunes and all of the things that have changed since 1993 mean that SJF can find a larger audience, even without playing a gig (‘cuz that will never happen). So… what the heck. If nothing else, it’ll be cool to have copies for ourselves.

As Pablo always used to say, if our songs aren’t amongst favorite songs, how can we expect them to be anyone else’s?

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