Thursday, January 04, 2007

Figgs Featurette: Mike Gent

One of the reasons I love the Figgs is for their live shows, but I haven't been able to see them onstage for several years since they don't visit the South very often. On record, you can't appreciate the tight interplay that the band displays onstage. They have been playing together for almost 20 years!

What the records demonstrate better than the live show is the songwriting. The Figgs have two great songwriters in Mike Gent and Pete Donnelly. (Nothing against drummer Pete Hayes, who has written "The Bar", "Wiser Goldfish" and "Je t'Adore"). Mike is clearly a music fan as well as a musician, and his original songs reflect his tastes for classic Stones and the "angry" singer-songwriters of the New Wave era (Joe Jackson, Graham Parker, and Elvis Costello).

On the Figgs' new album, Follow Jean Through the Sea, Mike adds "Regional Hits" to the stack of great songs he's written about the music industry (which include "FTMU", "Tint", "Simon Simone" and "J-Card"). One of my favorite Gent songs on the new record is "City Loft Home", which demonstrates his mastery of economical storytelling (sample couplet: "Fought with my addictions/ Served with an eviction").

Mike Gent also writes and performs with the Gentlemen, a Boston-based quartet that includes members of the Gravel Pit. They have released three fine albums. Here are a few of Mike's earliest songs. "My Mad Kitty" was the b-side of the Figgs' first single, and it's a cassette dub of a scratchy 7". I did my best to clean it up.

The Figgs: My Mad Kitty (1992)

The Figgs: Floored (from the band's first cassette, Ginger).

The Figgs: Go Before (from a 1993 single produced by Adny Shernoff).



At 1/04/2007 9:16 PM , Blogger Django West said...

I'm digging My Mad Kitty. Thanks for that one!

At 1/04/2007 11:44 PM , Blogger Paula said...

"City Loft Home" was my immediate favorite from the new album, and I put it on my 2006 Sampler (expect yours next week-ish).

At 1/05/2007 10:05 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Mr. West, you are welcome. I like what you are doing over at the Driftwood Singers blog!

Paula, I will be standing by my mailbox, like Charlie Brown waiting for a valentine.

At 1/05/2007 10:17 AM , Anonymous Chris said...

Oddly the figgs play here in New Jack City often. You are more then welcome to come and visit. Whats stopping you? Oh is that you are a travel wuss. Is that it?

At 1/05/2007 11:14 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Are you calling me out on my own blog? That is a serious breach of blogger etiquette, sir. I could block your comments if I so chose. Don't tempt me, I'll do it.

At 1/05/2007 1:45 PM , Anonymous chris said...

Is that what passes as blogger aggresion. I am suprised you didnt use CAPS and lots of !!!!!!!!!. you watch out or I will LOL at you.

At 1/06/2007 9:36 PM , Blogger Paula said...

Jon, now we both know that AirTran has cheap flights from ATL to LGA, so get on the stick and come visit. I'd offer to go down there, but who would feed my pet roaches?


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