Forest Hills, NY
The Shake's LP, Go Crazy, is more than a collection of songs, it is the embodiment of a band allowing their music and creativity to lead them through a recording process that can only be defined as Rock 'n Roll. The gang teamed up with producer Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr's Yours to Keep) and spent two months immersed in an often frantic, off-the-cuff process. What emerged is an album that is as raw as it is intelligent, and as massive as it is focused.
The young New York City four-piece is a unique band of musicians. Lead singer Jon Merkin, guitarist Eliad Shapiro and bassist Jeremy Stein were raised in Orthodox Jewish households, which prevents the band from playing on Friday nights. And while many Jewish artists play up their faith as a marketing tactic, the members of The Shake have never let their two seemingly conflicting worlds interfere with one another. “You have to draw lines in the sand and have values and rules,” Merkin says. “We won’t travel on the Sabbath or eat non-kosher or play on Friday nights. But for Rock 'n Roll, well, we made a rule to have no rules. We're always gonna try something out before dismissing it as being 'not us’” That is not to say that their upbringing bears no influence on their material. In fact, the lyrics of one of the tracks on Go Crazy, "I Can Remember," depict the terror and tragedy of the Holocaust, culminating in the haunting reprise, "riot in the streets, hear the people they scream in their sleep."
To make Go Crazy all the more, well, crazy, The Shake invited a number of other New York City rockers to participate in the creation of the album with them. Tash Neal (The London Souls) adds his ever soulful, perfectly-dirty guitar musings to “Merry Musket (Reprise),” a down home 12-bar delta blues. The multi-talented Ezra Huleatt (Black Taxi) picks up his trumpet and gives “Pop Goes The…” just the right amount of whimsy to send you away whistling. And, finally, Matt Butler (Reckless Sons) lends his explosive voice to “Time Bomb,” making the already huge track even more dynamic.
While many City bands have spent the years since Room on Fire hitting the thrift stores for tattered clothes, changing their MySpace location to "Brooklyn" and trading in their guitars for synths, The Shake have stayed true to what drew them together as a band in the first place: Good ol' guitar-driven Rock. Theirs is music that is poppy enough to remember and edgy enough to satisfy. It also includes a certain unique sophistication. And it's the balance between these pop/Rock fundamentals and the band's innate intelligence that allows them to create a distinct and singular brand of Rock 'n Roll. What is special about The Shake is "the willingness to take chances," says drummer Vishal Kumar, "both in the studio and on stage. Each member is encouraged to draw from his own unique musical background and contribute throughout the song-writing process."
Unique. Open-minded. Rock 'n Roll. Meet The Shake.