Locals: Bummers finally letting the good times roll

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In spite of its depressive name, Bummers is currently on the upswing.

The fuzz-rock quartet recently landed coveted slots on a pair of high-profile festival bills (Bunbury and Nelsonville), and the crew will finally celebrate the long-in-the-works vinyl release of its self-titled debut with a concert at Strongwater on Friday, March 6.

Indeed, the only downside to this lingering uptick, according to singer/guitarist Jeff Pearl, who joined bassist Chris Steris for a late February interview at a campus-area music venue, is good times generally lead to a dearth of new material.

“A lot of the album is bad relationships and the job getting you down; that’s what I feed off,” Pearl said. “When things are good, like this week — really good week for us — I won’t be able to write anything. We have a couple new ones I was listening to today, and I was like, ‘I have nothing.’ I need the pain to fuel it.”

He’s not exaggerating, either. Check the jangly, garage-pop nugget “Lucky,” for one, which centers on the hopelessness that settles in when it feels as though you’re spinning your wheels while everyone around you passes you by.

“That’s one I wrote when … I was in Cleveland with my family and couldn’t get out. I stayed there for months, and it was like, ‘Man, I’m not moving forward,’” Pearl said. “When you get to certain ages there are these milestones and things society or your parents [expect of you], like, ‘Oh, you’re 30, you should have a child and a house and be making close to six figures.’ It can get you down.”

Bummers’ recent good fortune follows a long, trying stretch for the band, which included a lineup shift — drummer Mike Murtha replaced Cody Smith, joining with Pearl, Steris and guitarist Steven Sikes-Gilbert to complete the current roster — and the mentally fatiguing process of shopping a record to labels before opting for a self-release (the group self-financed a 300-copy pressing at Cleveland’s Gotta Groove Records).

“There was a dark age, for a while, and we were all getting fed up, like, ‘Why aren’t we further along in the process?’” Pearl said. “There was definitely a point where it was like, ‘I don’t want to play this song anymore and I don’t want to do this.’ But having the vinyl done is a breath of fresh air … and I’m down to record another album right now.”

Photo by Maddie McGarvey

Strongwater Food & Spirits

9 p.m. Friday, March 6

401 W. Town St., Franklinton


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