Artist Interview: 1-on-1 with Blackberry Jam

I am proud to introduce to you today a band that I have had the chance to see perform numerous time and become a big fan of over the last few years. These guys bring nothing but raw talent and a funk and soul attitude to the stage when they perform. Offering something to get you out of your chair and dancing and the beats to get you tapping your toes all night long, they have everything it takes to make a great party band. They are energetic, full of passion, and heart, and skilled in every sense of the word. I am proud to introduce to you Blackberry Jam.

Where did you guys all meet?

We met by being into the same types of music and being in Indianapolis.

How long have you all known each other?

The band consist of a nucleus of four people including Poncho Hedrick who is our bass player and our musical director. Solar P who is out MC an on background vocals and our tambourine man. Stacia Murphy is on the trombone and is our administrative guru. And then we have Jumbo Shrimp who is our front-man, lyricist, and lead vocals.

Solar and myself, I am Poncho by the way, are brothers with over 30 years of sibling ship (if that’s a word). We’ve known Jumbo Shrimp going on 10 years and we’ve all known Stacia for 5 years.

When did you realize that you wanted to make music a career choice?

I started Blackberry Jam in late fall of 1996. From the very start of the band’s existence it was a goal to do music as a career; however bills have to be paid, money has to be made, and all that good stuff, so it’s up to the higher power to say when. All BBJ can do is be true to the cause.

Do you guys have jobs outside of music?

None of us are making a living just playing music. At least not with Blackberry Jam. (Laughs)

How long have you guys been together?

We had our long-time guitar player and drummer leave just weeks apart from each other to pursue other money-making schemes. 3 months going strong the four of us left in the band still haven’t bumped into a reason to “Throw in the towel” yet. You can’t stop a well oiled machine that has been moving since 1996

Is there a ringleader of the group?

I am but I prefer to be called “Huckleberry”.

Where did the name come from?

Although not in the band at the time Solar came up with the name Blackberry Jam. It’s a cool name for us as a funk rock outfit because either you think blackberries are good or they are nasty; however nasty has a positive meaning to it in the “Funk World’, and that’s the dealznik.

What should someone expect when they come out to a show?

Hopefully we throw people of guard with something unexpected that jams hard.

What is the largest crowd you have ever played for?

A crowd of 400 or so is the most.

The smallest?

There have been a couple of shows where the size of our crowd was bigger during our sound checks. (Insert sad face here.)

Any tattoos in the group?

Solar and myself were raised better than that; however Jumbo and Stacia have between the two of them about 3-4 tattoos on there bodies, and they are located on their backs and arms. They are nothing too crazy.

Who has the most?

I think Jumbo has two or three tattoos. It’s a front-man thing.

Describe your genre in one word.

FuRoul(Fu/nk,Ro/ck,So/ul) We get FuRoul on those fools.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

I would say everyone that we heard that has a message with great music behind them are who we are influenced by…totally.

What is your favorite venue to play?

We play at Locals Only a lot. The Vogue will always give us a sense of stardom whenever we play there. There is no favorite venue; except for the room we are rocking at the time, so we are fair and appreciative to any venue that allows us to play.

If you guys could live anywhere other than Indianapolis where would you go?

Atlanta, Georgia is a cool and musical city that we could make as a second home very easily. The scene down there seems to be booming with enough boom to go around and around.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage?

We don’t get embarrassed any more. It’s FuRoul music son.

Let’s get some pizza. What toppings?

We don’t eat beef or pork so chicken with extra cheese and some veggies is the pizza of choice. Sorry Ricky no pepperoni. (Insert another sad face here.)

If you could tour with anyone in the market right now who would it be?

Rage Against The Machine, U2, Prince, Common to name a few we’d love to tour with. Oh! TV on the Radio is a group we admire and pair well with; and we (Jumbo and I) actually met those cats when they came to the Vogue the first time, and they were very cool people, so we definitely can’t forget them. Our image came after certain songs were written. These songs all have a rather raw feel to it along with socially charged lyrics. Some people would suggest that we are political; however none of us in BBJ are running for office, so we aren’t political. We do see some things going on in society that we like to touch on in our music. The best way to get ones attention is with the raw BBJ flavor.

You guys are still unsigned. Any leads to a record deal?

We aren’t signed yet; however we feel once we can finally record a record it will be worthy of some attention. We can’t really afford to release anything but our hottest material; so the process of deciding which tunes to work on and release is the hardest task as of yet with this band, and actually we have been approached by a representative of a major rock label after seeing us perform live. At our shows we play our songs with intensity; so it’s not uncommon for the crowd to get drawn in, and catch the vibe we help create, so it was one of those moment where the label rep witnessed and has been into us from that point on. We actually like the idea of being signed and having a deal that allows us to have make some noise and be able to make music for a decent living.

Where in the world did the name Jumbo Shrimp come from?

It means “big little man”.

Do you guys have any thoughts on a tour anytime soon?

We will hit the road with force as soon as the recordings are done.

Where can I get some Blackberry Jam Merchandise?

Right now we are in the process of working on a project which fully represents what we are about musically. When it’s available to purchase you will be one of the first to own a copy.
Do you guys actually eat blackberry jam?

Those berries are for the patrons only.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

Being in our 5th year of intense rock stardom.

What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?

The truth is BBJ’s fire was lit to provide the light so we can see where we are going. We have grown accustomed to having this fire. The fire allows us to never be denied. It’s that simple.

I always let the artist get the last word. Go.

Thank you Mr. Ricky Potts for giving a damn and to the music lovers around the globe. Peace.