A new biweekly music column bringing you music news and reviews from local artists…

By: Brittney D. Herz

“Steak Gravy”, “Pulled Pork”, “Midnight Snack”- these are not items on a late night food menu; these are songs from the local band The Hot Meals. Justin Crockett is the bass player for this funky, bluesy, sometimes jazzy band that hails from Salisbury, MD. The band got together after playing an anti-cancer benefit in 2008. I interviewed Justin to get his take on new artists, some older influences, and of course the local music scene.

BH: So Justin, what are some current singers, artists, or bands that you are listening to right now?

JC: It changes vastly on mood and just general preference but right now: new Sabbath, new Queens of the Stone Age, The Roots, Janelle Monae, and Mastodon.

BH: Is Janelle Monae that chick with the 50′s Mohawk thing?

JC: Yeah she’s badass. Big Boi from Outkast discovered her. Her new album is out in September.

BH: How do you like the new Sabbath, I’ve heard mixed reactions.

JC: The new Sabbath is a strong B. I miss the original drummer but the Rage drummer did his homework. Rick Rubin really gets a band to rediscover their essence.

BH: Of the newer songs on the album which do you like the most?

JC: “Live Forever”, “End of the Beginning” could have been on their 1st album, “Zeitgeist” is good. Not really a clunker on the whole album. There is a bonus track called “Methademic” that is just silly though.

BH: Why is it silly?

JC: Just pure metal posturing, trying too hard. You could tell it wasn’t strong enough for the main album.

BH: What about the new Queens of the Stone Age, I haven’t really heard good or bad about it.

JC: It’s good. Dave Grohl is back on drums. Elton John is even on a song. It’s darker than their other stuff.

BH: What about some older stuff, what are some of your influences?

JC: Parliament and Funkadelic and Brothers Johnson taught me everything about a groove. Beatles were my first love for music and will always be there. Metal is big, not many genres have that energy. Any progressive rock is good; Yes, Genesis, ELP, Dream Theater. I love lots of parts. I like jazz too, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.

BH: With all those different genres and artists in mind, if you were stranded on an island with a CD player and could only listen to three albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?

JC: “Tales from Topographic Oceans”, Metallica “And Justice for All”, and Beatles “White Album.”

JC: Can I make it five?

BH: Five! You’re stranded! Beggars can’t be choosers. But for curiosity sake you can pick five.

JC: Trust me I would make time to grab five Genesis “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” and Funkadelic “America Eats Its Young”.

BH: How do you feel about the local music scene here on the Eastern Shore?

JC: Seems to me there are willing musicians in town here but nowhere for them to play. You could go to OC but most tourists honestly don’t want to hear original music. With places like Break Time failing, and with other venues overly conscious of trying to keep band volume at a minimum and not knowing how to promote music, it’s hard. There is tons of talent though.

BH: If you had to say what are some of the local places that help cater to local music?

JC: EVO seems to get it. Burley Oak is fun but I don’t think they want rock bands. Dogfish is great but hard to get up with. Boonies is a good time but with the rural location I think it’s hard to get people out there. As far as the Hot Meals we have the best friends and fans that will follow us almost anywhere. I just think some bands might not have that, and in Salisbury at least it will be hard to develop that without venues.

You can catch Justin Crockett and the rest of The Hot Meals at the following locations:

  • Evo in Salisbury on August 31st
  • Boonies off of Nanticoke Road on September 14th
  • Evo on September 20th