Real talk with 2013′s Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble finalists

Will wild card Twin Berlin take it all?
Will wild card Twin Berlin take it all?

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble has been rattling the rafters of some of this town’s most venerable clubs for 34 years, longer than a lot of the people who’ll be packing into T.T. the Bear’s Friday night have been alive. After six grueling (raging) nights of competition, the Rumble judges have narrowed the competition down from 24 bands to the three that remain (plus, the Dogmatics are headlining as special guests — those dudes were Rumble competitors way back in ’85). Rather than even attempt to crystal ball the winner, we thought it might instead be fun to up the competition by making them all talk about each other. It comes down to three very different bands, bringing some very different noise: Eddie Japan (60s-vibing retro pop sextet,) Glenn Yoder and the Western States (guitar driven folk-rock balladry,) and Rumble wild card Twin Berlin (no-frills, old school rock n’ roll).

If you had to lose to one of the other Rumble contenders, who would you prefer?

Twin Berlin: “Really, everyone deserves to win for one reason or another, but we’ve already been bested by Eddie Japan in the Semifinals. So, let’s give it to Glenn Yoder and the Western States.”

Eddie Japan: “We’d rather lose to Glenn Yoder and the Western States. He’s a great songwriter, and when you watch him play, he makes you feel like he’s been doing it for 20 years. But he’s just a wee young lad. And his band is quite incredible, too.”

Glenn Yoder: “Let’s hope for a three-way tie. Everyone wins…and everyone loses. No, in all honesty, it’s a tough question because I only know Eddie Japan. We lost to them in the prelims, so it’s funny to be paired up with them again. They’re good guys and musicians with an insane pedigree. They would be worthy victors. As for Twin Berlin, I’ve never seen or met them. I went to their semi-final night and saw Eddie Japan’s set, but my ride pulled me away before I could catch any of Twin Berlin. I know, I’m a loser. But I do recall hearing that Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker produced their latest album. That dude works with P. Diddy! So that, too, is a pretty impressive pedigree. Really, though, it’s the Rumble. There are 24 good and deserving bands. There’s no wrong choice.”

Glenn Yoder and the Western States
Glenn Yoder and the Western States

OK. But what if you had to be stuck on a desert island with the competition, then who would you choose?

Twin Berlin: “Eddie Japan. They’ve got the biggest group, so that would give us the most people to eat if we had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive.”

Eddie Japan: “Again, Glenn Yoder and the Western States. They’re all pretty easy on the eyes. But if we’re talking about all 2013 Rumble contenders…well, let’s just say all of greater Boston will soon want to be stranded with Ruby Rose Fox. She’s just warming up. That voice and those lyrics — a thoroughly modern old soul.”

Glenn Yoder: “Eddie Japan has about 50 members, so with that kind of manpower, I imagine we could build some sort of a makeshift city on the island and create our own society. That’s just plain smart.”

Eddie Japan
Eddie Japan

Fair enough. If you could see any battle of the bands at T.T.’s — between musicians past or present, alive or dead — who would you pick to rumble?

Twin Berlin: “Misfits, Nirvana, Queen, and The Doors.”

Eddie Japan: “Ziggy-era Bowie vs. The Stooges vs mid-’60s Tom Jones. One wouldn’t make it out alive.”

Glenn Yoder: “If we could play in a battle of the bands at TTs against any band living or dead, there’s two parts to this. One, the non-competitive aspect of who would you want to play with, living or dead, because you can safely assume we would lose to whoever this legendary band is — Beatles, Stones, Neil Young, etc. — but not care because we’re so psyched to be playing with our idols. Two, the competitive aspect. Because if you simply want to win, then wouldn’t you want to play a really bad band? In this case, I would nominate my first band from fourth grade. So all that being said, while I think it’d be really trippy and strange to play against/with my fourth grade self and the other wee members of Electrified — yes, that was our name — I think I’d rather lose badly and quite gladly to an idol. Bring on Neil.”

How about who’d you just like to see battle it out?

Glenn Yoder: “I’d like to get pretty weird with it. Obviously, energy is everything for a great live show. So, with that in mind, I’d like to see Jerry Lee Lewis (in his prime), Bruce Springsteen (doesn’t have to be his prime, the dude is as energetic at 63 as he was at 23), and — you guessed it — Andrew WK. These three would be a hell of an energetic show and extremely confusing to see onstage together. I like everything about this idea.”

Let’s get ready to Rumble:
T.T. the Bear’s Place
10 Brookline St., Cambridge
8:30 pm | 18 + | $12
ttthebears.com

Can’t make it? Media Boss TV will be live-streaming the whole evening, so you don’t have to miss it.



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