Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Andy Jansons. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Stephen Moss. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Know Your Enemy Debut Album Release Show! Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ 27/04/2019 Review and Photos by Stephen J. Moss
Know Your Enemy is a New Jersey band who just celebrated the release of their very first full length album! Andy Jansons had the opportunity to interview the band after the show. I highly recommend you check it out by going to;
Prior to this show, I had no knowledge of this band so I didn’t know what to expect from them. After seeing them perform live however, I’m definitely a fan! Not only do these guys make incredible music, they also know how to throw a kick ass album release party.
Let me give you an idea of how the night went:
The venue is called Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse in Dunellen, NJ. The atmosphere is like an old circus. There are pictures of sword swallowing artists, they have skeletons wearing pink wings, Greek mythology characters, and other side show pictures on the wall. It’s a really fun and funky place to hold a show.
Before the show started and in between each band they had a performance by the beautiful Vivi Noir who is an award winning burlesque dancer in the New Jersey / New York City area
Not only is Vivi beautiful she’s also daring. She had one act where she lay on broken bottles while a man stood on her! Don’t worry, she was unharmed!!
Vivi had multiple acts that night and each time, she killed it. After seeing her live, it’s easy to see why she is one of New Jersey’s favourite burlesque dancers.
The first band to hit the stage was Acid Cactus. They are a young New Jersey band that is a cross between Street Punk and Hardcore Punk. To date, the band only has an EP that can be found on Band Camp by clicking here (https://acidcactus.bandcamp.com/releases). It’s your typical loud, obnoxious, fast, and obscenity filled street punk. If you like bands like “The Casualties” then you should check out Acid Cactus. The song I loved was called ‘Left Lane Drivers’ because here in New Jersey, it’s illegal to drive in the left lane unless you’re passing another car. Sadly, many out of state drivers can’t read the road signs and will drive slowly in the left lane and it drives native New Jerseyans bat shit crazy! You can find out more from visiting Acid Cactus’ Facebook Page
Fear The Masses
The Second band to hit the stage was called Fear The Masses. They are from New Haven, Connecticut. Fear the Masses does a fantastic job of balancing post-hardcore metal with hip hop influences. They are in a similar boat to bands like One Minute Silence, Rage Against the Machine, and (hed) p.e. Their lyrics are politically and socially driven and they came out and instantly took control of the stage. They had tons of energy and really gave 100% on the night interacting with the fans and even giving a drumstick to one lucky girl.
My favourite song from their set-list was called ‘Make Me Your Leader’. This song is going to be on my top played playlist!
Know Your Enemy
Next was the main event, Know Your Enemy. They hit the stage with a massive roar from the crowd! This New Jersey band is one you absolutely have to check out! I got a strong “Sevendust” feeling when I was listening to them although, I never felt that Know Your Enemy were simply trying to sound like any certain band. They utilise a blend of metal and hip hop and even though that isn’t anything new, Know Your Enemy do a nice job in taking a blend of music many people are already familiar with and adding their own flair to it!
Know Your Enemy played their debut album “Root Of All Evil” in its entirety. Not only did they kill it playing their original songs, they also did some incredible cover songs taking on Tool’s ‘Hooker With A Penis” along with two Rage Against the Machine tracks.
The energy was top notch! This was their night and they owned it! Despite being a relatively new band, Know Your Enemy acted like they have played a thousand sold out football arenas in the past, they were calm, cool and collected.
This was a very special night for them in more than one way. Not only was this their debut album release party, it was also a night when the band came together with its original bass player, Robert McCann. Due to unforeseen and challenging life circumstances, Robert had to quit the band and move out of state. While Robert was dealing with his challenges, he wrote a song entitled ‘Me Instead’. This song was extremely personal and full of meaning; a very deep song not only to Robert but when Singer Fonz Rodriguez heard the song it also touched a massive nerve with him as well. ‘Me Instead’ reminded Fonz of a time when he and his wife were dealing with their own intense issues. When Know Your Enemy joined Robert on stage the band decided to play Robert’s song.
This was an extremely emotional moment for the band because it was a revisit to one of the most painful times of Fonz and Robert’s life. It was also the last time playing with Robert on stage. Before singing ‘Me Instead’, Fonz stated they would never sing this song again on tour. This was truly a special moment for all in attendance. Somehow, Fonz was able to keep himself composed and made it through the song despite its heavy meaning. He delivered it in an incredibly impressive way. I have mad respect for someone who can put themselves out there in such a vulnerable position. This shows you just how devoted Know Your Enemy is to their fans and to their music. When it comes to their songs and their stage performances, they give it all.
At the end, the band had intended to end the show with a metal cover of “Lose Yourself,” an Eminem song. The crowd, however, had other plans. When Lose Yourself was over and the band went away, the crowd erupted with chants of, “One more song!” Know Your Enemy seemed a bit surprised because when they came back on stage for an encore, lead singer Fonz Rodriguez made the comment that he thought he would end with the cover but they were so good live that people just wanted more! For the encore, they band played homage to their beginnings with some old material.
This, for sure, will be a night to remember for Know Your Enemy, as well as their fans. I personally feel honoured because this was my first time seeing them. I’m glad I was able to be part of such a special night. Currently they are unsigned. After seeing them live and hearing their album, however, I know it won’t be too long before people take notice of them in a big way. So to the band I say, remember Jersey when you’re big and famous hahahah!
My top six songs are:
01. Me Instead
03. Fooling Ourselves
05. New Energy
Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephen Moss and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photographs reproduced here with kind permission from Stephen Moss
Interview with Know Your Enemy Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ April 27th, 2019 By Andy Jansons
It’s always nice to see young bands ascending to new heights, more so, when they are from your own state. New Jersey’s local rockers Know Your Enemy have just released their first full length album called “Root Of All Evil”. Their material is fantastic, but to find out more about that you’ll have to read Stephen Moss’ live review.
I was fortunate enough to attend Know Your Enemy’s album release show and sit down with band members (except drummer Ralph Riccardi who was running late) and discuss their music, influences, new album and to introduce themselves to a new audience.
Andy Jansons: So this is your first full length album. Talk about the emotions, how it is to get your first album out?
Fonz Rodriguez (Vocalist): Well, I mean it’s super exciting, I’ve been like really excited, nervous, but in a good way, for a week or two, I’m just…the anticipation has been just crazy. You know, for me as a vocalist, to express how I see the world and how we see each other, from my own perspective. It’s really important for me personally because it’s difficult to get those emotions out verbally, you know? It’s not easy to just speak to people, so when you can you do your best, and the reaction and the feedback that we get, makes me feel like it’s worth it. This is a complete collection of how I truly feel like, really what embodies me as far as like me trying to be part of society. To me this album is like my feeling.
Jay Kent (Guitarist): Yeah. I’m very excited about the album. We put a lot of work into it. It’s a big collection of all of our thoughts on a lot of different subjects. And I think if you listen to it, you know enough, you’ll definitely feel what we’re trying to convey. I think we did a great job expressing our thoughts.
Steve Bishop (Bassist): Great lyrics, good music to it. I think it’s going to be something real exciting for people to listen to. It means so much to me.
Andy: Who wrote the lyrics for the songs?
Fonz: I would say on this album, probably about 80% of them I did. And the songs that I didn’t write fully, it was collaboration, let’s put it that way. You know, Jay wrote some of the lyrics. He wrote the lyrics for ‘Deep Inside’ and ‘Bound’, and there was a time period where I was not playing with the band and, for example, the song ‘Bound’ already existed. But it’s just the way he may have wrote it, the way he puts it, and then the way I deliver his lyrics, perfect and unique. Like he told me, they had a couple other guys try. He even tried himself. I’m not boasting myself or anything; this is just what he told me. So even though, I didn’t write the lyrics for it, I was able to tap in the emotions, the feeling of when he wrote those lyrics down.
Jay: He (Fonz) is a perfectionist, which really shows through, because he got so much of it just like spot on. Like what he’s trying to say. You can understand it fully; he did such a great job in writing the lyrics.
Andy: How would you guys characterize your music and the genre you play?
Steve: That’s a little iffy. Um, we’ve been compared to a bunch of other bands. Most of them were like back in the rap rock genre, like P.O.D. We’ve had that more than a few times and Killswitch and Sevendust. I guess hard rock with like some hip hop and a little bit of blues.
Fonz: I would say alt metal, not alternative itself, because we got something which seems like a mixture of genres. It got a metal base to it, and then we bring in just different genres. It’s really not intentional, it’s just like you hear it and you go, oh this is the part that it needs to be because this is how I feel it needs to go. I would say personally alternative metal, that’s how I feel it. As far as comparisons, recently someone said, Oh, you guys are like, if P.O.D. and Killswitch had a baby. It’s a compliment (laughs). And the other one I got that I liked that we sound like Anthrax and Faith No More. I mean I’m a huge fan of Anthrax. My favourite is the album with John Bush “The Sound of White Noise”. I always think, you know, we kind of like to admire someone and we try to like mimic in some way, something. So to me, and I know it’s hard, because I love hip hop and I love all genres, it’s hard to really like just one. So I think we bring a lot more stuff, which brings me back to the alternative part, so we bring a lot more, more different styles.
Jay: Uh, I am a huge Zack Wylde fan with Black Label Society, Sevendust, the old Metallica, you know the good Metallica? I love blues guys. I love Hendrix and Stevie Ray, all these guys and you can hear that in my playing, you know, from my solos and a little bit of the funky kind of melodies that we bring along to the music as well. So, yeah, that’s me.
Steve: Yeah, I think it’s a healthy mix. I don’t think you can pinpoint it in one way or another. I think we flow with a lot of different bands because of that. We play live shows all the time. And whether we’re playing with a metal band or a hard rock band, or occasionally with a sort of post hardcore, punk kind of band, I feel like we always fit because we don’t play one genre. What binds inspire me? I’ve been playing music since I was a teenager. I was really into Nirvana and Green Day and like all that stuff at the time. But since then I’ve listened to so much stuff. Uh, Gary Clark Jr and The Cure and I just love music. If it’s good, I’ll listen to it.
Fonz: One of my favorite bands is He is Legend; I love The E-Town Concrete, which is a New Jersey band. Honestly, my all time favorite band is Tool. Like, I just love them, I feel like they’re the band of our generation, like the Led Zeppelin of our generation. Their contribution to metal and hard rock is like, it’s unique, It’s different, It’s real rock. It’s like real rock star mentality; we didn’t give a shit about anybody. They don’t care. 10 years we’ve been waiting for their album now, we’ve been waiting forever. To me it’s like, every single member of that band is super important. You can’t replace any of them. So I would say Tool is number one for me. Yeah, definitely but we can’t forget about Rage Against the Machine. Yeah, that band changed my life!
Andy: Cue, the name of your band?
Fonz: That’s right! ‘Know your Enemy’, that song. They are an influential band, and I think for anybody that has this dissatisfaction with the way that things are, they deliver it right. They’re really super smart guys. You know, they were unique at the time and when it comes down to really going against the grain and being brash it’s RATM
Andy: Okay guys, let’s get back just to you. What are your plans now?
Fonz: Well, we definitely want to go touring, we’ve got a bunch of festivals planned for the summer, so that’s mainly what we’re going to do. I think we’re not going to be able to tour until after August, but we want to, definitely. I just want to take it on the road. I would love to go up to New England, you know, maybe down the east coast, and show what we do. That’s ideal. We talked about it a lot. It’s just difficult. You got to pay bills and it’s a little bit more of a balancing act if you’re going to go and hit the road. But that’s definitely going to happen.
Andy: Right now you are unsigned band, are there any movements towards finding a label?
Fonz: I would love to. I would love to, but I think we need to get the tour done first. We actually have already started writing the next album. So ideally if we can make the timeline correct, then we’ll tour, put new record out and then try to show to the label and see what happens. It’s so much work being independent, and trying to do everything. Even for example, the record release show, we did it independently and I feel like we’re lucky that we were able to find a venue and other bands and make it happen. It really takes away from rehearsing and writing and working on the other things to make more progress. And so a label is definite, you know, I mean it only makes sense to do that.
Andy: So obviously this is an important stepping stone with moving forward and how you see the road from here?
Jay: Uh-huh, I think, like Fonz said, we’re going to concentrate on continuing to write new material, get a new album going. The one that we’re just releasing today we will see where it takes us.
Steve: We planned to play a lot of gigs recently to support this album. We’re just going to keep writing, keep doing it. We put a lot of hard work into this particular album where I feel like we all learned what to do, what we do well and how to just keep doing that, and just to get our music out and see what happens from there.
Andy: Lastly, what have you got to say to your fans?
Fonz: If I could say anything, I just want to thank everybody who helped us and believed in us. And I mean there’s our friends, our family, and new friends and people that we’ve gotten to know as, you know, as we make our way through the scene. But I think that would be all the people out there who’ve listened to us. I feel like that is the number one most important thing is to be thankful and grateful for. I want to say that I’m super grateful for these guys (points to band mates). You know, because I’ve so many bands that we played with and we’ve met throughout the last few years. And I would say that a lot of ’em aren’t together anymore and there’s always problems! I could say that this is probably the smoothest relationship. These guys have made it, we just chill!
Jay: Likewise. Yes. We are very lucky to have a talent front this band, it’s been a long time for myself personally looking for somebody like him to come in and do this and he just blows us away every time he goes up there. So we’re just proud to be with him as well as, as any other.
Steve: That’s one of the better compliments we get. People think that we sound really tight. Our chemistry together, especially live is good. I hope it really comes through on this album. We tried to put it that up front and centre!
Andy: Thank you very much guys!
Huge thanks to Know Your Enemy and Andy for the interview!
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