Eastern Pennsylvania had a baby, and they called it Brother JT, a.k.a. John Terlesky, former chief architect of the esteemed garage-party punks Original Sins and now a longtime solo standout headily hodgepodging the supremest sounds of our bleedin’ times. When one slaps JT’s new platter down to savor all of its glammy, greasy goodness, one is immediately struck by the rightness of this cornucopic record’s name: The Svelteness of Boogietude.
“Yeah!” JT enthuses. “I mean, there’s good in all kinds of music, and you want to have a full bag of tricks. It’s all coming from what I hear -- taking it out of its normal habitat and putting it somewhere a little offbeat.”
There’s some prime old-school songcraft in Brother JT’s meltdown mélanges of funk, arena rock, electro-disco, proggy jazz and sphincter-clenching power balladry. Check out the hard- thumping ’70s blast of opener “Celebrate Your Face” or the self-explanatory “T. Rex Blues,” the electro-country-tinged “Things I Like,” the hair-tossing psych scorch of “Many Man Smoke” or the ruminative “I Still Like Cassettes” (“You gotta fast-forward or rewind”).
Brother JT is, by nature, a psychedelic kind of guy, though you wouldn’t call his music “psych” as such. Far from it: He’s actually a bit of a pop artist -- with a twist.
“I love psychedelics, and I love psychedelic music,” JT says. “But when I’m sitting down to write, I’m trying to think about anybody, not just somebody who’s under the influence.”
You’ll want to have a clear head when you peruse Brother JT’s devilishly dense books of automatic writing, parts of which were included in his last two CDs (and can be viewed on his Tumblr page). But you can always catch a buzz for his highly amusing online talk show, "Trippin' Balls," wherein Bro JT and musical guests shoot the breeze about pop culture, zombies, time travel and other world events, usually while the host is frying himself to the max on LSD (the episodes are easily found on YouTube.)
When it comes to cannabis, soon as I got to the practice space, I knew I was in a world of trouble,” he laughs. “We were learning these new songs, and I was remembering the chords and the words, but my vision was severely impaired and I was just freaking out. But a kind of muscle memory of the songs came through in the end.”
He figures you need to know exactly how much and what strain of pot you’re eating -- and if the combination’s just right, the creative sparks might fly.
“The first time I tried this a few months ago, I assume that what I had was sativa-based, because the first thing I wanted to do was write a song. I don’t know how much that would happen with this stuff I’ve got now, because it’s a much mellower kind of thing.
“But still,” Brother JT concludes, “you get funny ideas you wouldn’t get on acid/"
Auto Lysergic Verse:
“I wanted to write lyrics in spontaneous ways, so I tried automatic writing in an altered nature. The results were shocking. When using LSD, mushrooms or pot on automatic writing, it flows out of you, and you don’t have to think about what you’re doing.”