• Arthur King

SpringWood, Ukulele and Rock... Tell Me More...

Updated: May 11

Yup, you read that headline properly, and I hope you are as curious as I was, when I was contacted by a member of this very interesting and unique band.

A couple of weeks ago we received an email, from a fella named Johnny Knight, who plays guitar in a "Ukulele infused rock band" called "SpringWood." Naturally I was curious to know more about it, so I gave them a listen on Spotify, and I immediately wanted to know more, so we set up an email interview so that Johnny Knight (Guitars), John DeMan (Drums), Michael Medina (Lead Vocals & Electric Ukulele), and Clive Williams (Bass), could tell us a little more about "Springwood."

"Can you tell me a little bit of the backstory behind your "SpringWood," take us on a little walk down memory lane, how did you meet, how was the band formed?

"Johnny and Mike first met on Bandmix, a website like FaceBook for musicians. When they met, they realized they lived literally down the block from each other. They hit it off immediately and became fast friends. Originally, the initial idea was that we were going to do a Tenacious D cover band or maybe a two-man acoustic duo. But when we started playing we came to the agreement that what we needed was a full band for the songs which we were writing and the sound that we were starting to create together. After forming an amazing 4 piece band, we hit the music scene ripping up New Jersey playing so many amazing venues. Around the 3 year mark, we took a hit when our Bassist and Drummer broke up with us at a Hooters family restaurant due to creative differences. Mike & John forged ahead though, and went back to BandMix, where we found our new Bassist Hyper-Clive Williams . A few months later through some close musician friends, we found our Drummer, John "The Man" DeMan. With this new roster, we all knew that we had finally formed the official SpringWood Sound."

The sound of "Electric Luau" is very interesting and like little else that I've ever heard, on the one hand it seems like very conventional Hard Rock, but the ukuleles and the sort of South Pacific sound really make for an interesting blend, can you maybe explain how you came upon your sound?

"We got our sound mainly because of Mike’s Love for Ukulele and Johnny’s love for 80s rock. During the initial first few months, we wrote songs and worked on finding a unique sound for the ukulele within them, while not getting lost in the mix. We found an amazing brand of ukuleles from a company called Teton Guitars. They made a solid body ukulele and we created a pedal board for my ukulele sound to compliment it. The combination of these two elements gave it a new life and a truly unique sound unlike anything we have ever heard on the ukulele before. The ukulele is an amazing instrument and we feel it gets a bad rep due to the fact it is so user friendly that anyone can pick it up and strum out a few chords. When people think of the ukulele, they will typically think of Hawaii or Pacific-Island music. We really wanted to show people that ukuleles can rock and that they could be in an actual rock band. By this token, we created the genre "Ukulele-Infused Rock" which is and has become our signature brand."

"Here's that same boring question I ask everybody in every interview but I can't help but feel like it's one of the most important, who are your biggest musical influences and why?"

"Our biggest influences for the band would have to be David Bowie & Jake Shimabukuro. These two amazing artists in their own right are the very pinnacle of their respective genres. Personal influences among us would also include The Doors, JImmi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Dragon Force and Mötley Crüe."

"You guys sound like you have a lot of fun when you make music, and I've got to imagine you have a lot of fun on stage, are there any particular stories that stand out in your mind that you'd like to share with us?"

"Well, we definitely have a lot of amazing stories. There was one time that Mike almost got hit in the face with Clive’s Bass on stage at the "CrossRoads" for our debut show. It would have been so Rock & Roll if that had actually happened. With all the excitement on stage, it was a near miss a few songs in, but thankfully it all turned out ok and just a crazy live band story. Once at the end of our set, John finished the last song and was hitting the drums so hard from the excitement of a great show, that his entire kit fell over. It didn't stop him in the least. We finished the song and show and the crowd went crazy. But the most fun I think we all had was opening for the Legendary Rock Star Joey Ramone from The Ramones. We had a fantastic time that night at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch NJ. The crowd was just Amazing! That night was a huge feather in our cap as a band. Joey watched our entire set and gave us great props afterwards."

"What are your plans for the band's future, both near and distant... What does fate have in store for Springwood?"

"2020 has been a challenging year for us all. In spite of the difficulties and detours this year presented to us, we managed to come together and become that much stronger as a group and friends. To that end, in mid-November we just dropped our new EP titled "SpringWood’s Electric Luau," on all digital music platforms along with a music video release for the single "I’m Free" which is set to drop on 11/25/20 on all social media platforms. We have really high hopes for the new EP and video to keep growing our following by showing people that Ukuleles Rock ! We hope in the future that we will once again get back on stage soon. The bars and music venues in our area are struggling to open this year with everything going on. But through it all we've kept our music going and alive. We all have the faith that music, and live music in New Jersey, will make a strong come back in the new year ahead and SpringWood will be one of the bands leading the way along with so many of the other talented bands that are here in New Jersey fighting the struggle with us today. Keep local music alive and in your heart. We thank you for listening & being a part of this journey with us."

That concludes this interview with this seriously awesome band. Make sure to check out their music video for "I'm Free," below, and be sure to follow them on social media using the links also provided below to stay up to date with all things "SpringWood."

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