The Junior League – Adventureland (Q&A)
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE is the name under which singer/songwriter/ performer Joe Adragna works.
Adventureland is a rock album with great songs. Such a record that makes you move differently, that makes your day better … !
‘The influence of an assortment of bands ranging from the Sonics to the Troggs to Ram Jam to the Knack to the Fleshtones aren’t difficult to detect on Adventureland. But by breathing fresh air into the songs, the Junior League makes vintage genres new again. Here’s an album all good rockers should add to their collections.’, writes Something Else
‘Overall the songs are short and sweet, but most of all they are meant to be played loud.’, says PowerPopaholic.
How did this record come together?’,
Over me. No sorry, that was a cheesy Beatle joke.
I had a bunch of songs I was working on, but it seemed a bit all over the place. Many of the songs were more in the vein of “Eventually Is Now”, the last record I put out. However, I had just as many short rock songs. I thought it would be good to take all the short rock songs and put them together. I had this picture I had taken of a Zipper ride, and I thought it would be cool to make a pop-rock lp that was the aural equivalent of a ride. Hence, “Adventureland”.
When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?
I send them to three people, usually. These three friends are people whose opinion I really trust and I know they will give me feedback. If they think it’s cool, it gives me a lot of confidence. Now generally, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do–but I do enjoy having these three particular people who I respect and like a ton check it out.
For every song you record, how many end up in the bin?
A few for sure. I’d say there are always five or six per record that never get finished because I realize they are absolute crap.
With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?
Yeah, I’d say so. I think I’m becoming better at doing what I want to do. When I started with Catchy, I was riding a wave of excitement and made choices that, if I could rerecord some of the songs, might not have made. But it’s all part of the process. I think everyone wants to get better as they go along, and I think I have….
As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
Well, sometimes. The songs aren’t usually about me, and in fact, a lot of them are about other people or situations that I sort of imagine myself in. I tend to write using first person a lot so it seems like it’s about me. I know which ones are and aren’t! But I do suppose that all of them because they have my take on those situations, expose my emotions to a degree. If they are about me, they tend to be about things that happened ages and ages ago, back when I was younger. I’m still working all that out, hahaha.
Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?
Sharing this interview with as many people as I can on social media
What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?
I have had many memorable gigs I have attended and played, but I have to say that playing with The Minus 5 this last summer was one of the best times I ever had on stage. Perhaps the gig I will most remember is playing with Scott McCaughey as a duo opening for Jeff Tweedy back in 2007 or 8. He asked me to play with him and I remember I just rehearsed my ass off for weeks to make sure I had everything right because as it was a duo, I really had to have my stuff together and I didn’t want to let him down. That was really amazing, those two shows. We sounded really good and I was happy I did a good job. I was very proud, actually! I always enjoy playing with Scott because he is the greatest personally and musically, and I was (and remain) terribly proud and privileged to do so. As far as JL shows? Probably opening for the Lemonheads, because I think Evan Dando is a top songwriter and singer.
When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?
A month ago. But my idea of “hits” is so far out of reality that it’s comical. I think Adventureland has loads of “hits” on it, waiting to be hits! Hahahaha.
Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?
Absolutely. I record all the time. I have another record about halfway done right now! But does anyone care? And I think you have to resign yourself to that if you are in my position. I do this because I have to. It is who I am, and I do it regardless of whether people will listen or not. I will say that things like this blog and other people who spread the word via reviews and such help out such a great deal, and I am grateful for that. I think that there is so much music out there, and everyone has the technology to record…I mean, you can make a record on your iPhone if you want. Think about how much music is thrown out there all the time…who can wade through all that? A lot of things get lost in the shuffle. I think the people who are really good self-promoters do well. I see that sort of thing all the time, and I wish I had that skill. I just don’t. I’m not too good about saying, “Hey! I’m great! Listen to me!” I just sort of quietly sit in the corner and whisper, “I have a new record out if you’d maybe like to hear it” hahahaha.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
I don’t know. I know when I listen to, let’s say, Sloan, I hear great playing, great arrangements and production, great singing, and great lyrics. Consistently. All the time. I also feel like I’m hearing all of my favorite bands and music in one convenient package. I’d settle for ONE of those things when people listened to my records, hahahaha. I just hope the people who buy it enjoy it. I can’t ask for more than that.