Monday, August 22, 2011

Bands in the Neighborhood: SweetBread Jim's

This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood is on SweetBread Jim's, who play Americana/indie rock and are owned by a mysterious benefactor. Or are they

They play next this Saturday at Columbia Heights Day at 2 pm.

And if you're a Band in the Neighborhood and would like to be part of this series, email me.

What's your musical background?
Linsay (Songwriter, Vocals, Guitar): The members of SweetBread Jim’s come from very diverse backgrounds. I have been singing since early childhood and have a background in choral music, musical theater, and classical singing. My songwriting influences span many genres. The songs I write definitely tend to be melodically driven and put a strong focus on the vocals.  Lanou and Lewis are the ones who really make us rock!

Jon Lewis (Drums): I obtained my musical inspiration from my father, vocalist and music educator, Gregory Lewis. My musical background started in church in the 6th grade, playing gospel at my home church, Lincoln Park United Methodist Church.  I was brought up under the wing of Calvin Jones Jr. and other great musicians.  I started embracing music more in junior high where I studied under Richard Gill and then moved on to study with a great percussion teacher and mentor, Kenneth Dickerson, at Wilson High School. Currently, I am obtaining my music education degree at UDC and plan to be a music educator and working musician the rest of my life.

John Lanou (Bass):  I studied classical music criticism in college (not performance -- I have little training) as well as African rhythm.  As a result i think i focus on classical harmonies but add a bunch of syncopation.  Most of my prior projects have been instrumental and post-rock.

How did you come up with the band name?

Linsay: Well, the owner of the band, SweetBread Jim, decided to name the band after himself. SweetBread Jim is from Wheaton, MD. He had always wanted to break into the booking business because he was getting sick of working at his dad’s used car lot scraping the old car prices off windshields and writing on the new prices.  He found us on Craigslist and purchased the band for $20; he has been trying to get us gigs ever since. He still works at the used car lot, though. So, SweetBread Jim’s is actually short for SweetBread Jim’s Band.

How many members live in Columbia Heights? Whereabouts?
Linsay: Two of us, Lanou and I, live in Columbia Heights. Actually, I lived in the apartment below his group house a few years ago and that is how we met. When I went to view the apartment for the first time, he was having band practice with another band upstairs;it was loud and rockin’. I knew I had to live in that apartment after hearing them. Now I live on Sherman Ave NW. And although Lewis doesn’t live in Columbia Heights, he is a DC native which is pretty awesome.

Lanou: I live next to Bloombars, the new epicenter of local home-grown music.

Working on any records?
Linsay: We’re taking it slow since we’ve only been together since October 2010. We are working on our DEMO CD!!! right now. It will feature 3-4 songs.

Lanou: If SweetBread Jim says "make a record," we make a record.

Lewis: I feel good about the recent demo recording session. I’m ready to get back in there and get started on our first album.

Any crazy or terrible tour stories?
Linsay: I wish! We haven’t gone on tour yet. But we do have some crazy stories...

Lanou: Playing local gigs has been quite sufficient for the collection of ridiculous anecdotes.  To protect the identities involved, we will not name names until we're rich and famous and have a PR team from L.A.

Lewis: Lanou, that doesn’t mean I won’t name names. Frits ok, but Ed is a

What’s your take on the music scene in Columbia Heights and in DC?
Linsay: I’m still trying to get a grasp on the music scene in the neighborhood and in DC. This city is so diverse in its population and that is reflected in the music scene. I know that the scene I am involved in is pretty cool. Musicians here are very friendly and always trying to help each other out. At the Wonderland on Sunday nights, Ian Walters hosts a weekly unplugged show that always features local and regional artists. That is the best spot in the ‘hood to catch some good music. We play there from time to time.

Lewis: Don’t get me started on musician's compensation in DC.I feel as though musicians are not appreciated enough on DC’s music scene. The appreciation for the music culture in the DC area has depleted and has forced musicians to do gigs for low wages.  I look at this as a blatant form of disrespect. That’s why I’m with SweetBread Jim’s...Jim pays. lol

And if you had to rename your band for something Columbia Heights-related, what would it be?
Linsay: “The Columbia Heights’ Awesome Band”?
Lanou: "SweetBread Jim is Buying Your Neighborhood"
Lewis: “The Shnermsters”.lol

You can find them online at
and can follow us @


Anonymous said...

Wow Sweetbread Jim's. Made the blogosphere. Simply astounding music. If you get a chance check em out.
Bernie K.

Raging Null said...

It's funny how I stumbled upon Sweetbread by chance through a friend of a friend, but it's like giving a lift to a strange hitchhiker that takes you hostage and makes you drive to a place you've never been that may just be the most spectacular place you've ever never-been. A coincidental happenstance, but you can appreciate it happening. Especially happy I stumbled onto them when I found out they're DC based and I live in NEBRASKA! haha