Shoney Lamar and the Equal Rights -- 7/15/11 at UNRegular Radio
- by Andrew Jeromski
It sits behind an unassuming green door a short walk from Downtown Crossing. The entrance to the UNRegular Radio studios gives away nothing of what awaits inside. I heard many tales of the herbal shenanigans purported to take place here, but now it was time to pull back the curtain and see how the myth stacked up against the reality.
I was here mainly to observe the Boston Pot Report’s musical guest for the day, Friday, July 15, Shoney Lamar and the Equal Rights, but it would be disingenuous of me to suggest that I wasn’t curious as to the actual goings on at Boston’s hottest new internet radio station. I assure you, no one had to ask me twice to attend.
Bands and bones. Bones and bands. It was a classic win-win situation.
I knew what to expect from the band; they’re always great, without exception, but the stories swirling around about UNRegular Radio were still unconfirmed, as far as I was concerned.
As I ascended the stairs, the odor of Marijuana permeated the hallway. A good sign that perhaps this place would be what everyone said it was. Maybe it really was the coolest radio station in Boston. A cursory glance around the studio’s main room seemed to back up this line of thinking. There is a performance space directly across from the main door, a counter and kitchenette to the right and to the left sat printing equipment of various type and size. Kids worked on laptops and desktops, and behind a plain white door the BPR’s host, Keith Saunders, the self-styled “most dangerous stoner in America” was on the air.
The band set up with little delay while made hasty and feverish inquiries about the rules governing marijuana, and was delighted—albeit not shocked—to hear there were none. I began to twist one up without delay, and gladly shared with several members of the band just moments before their interview began.
The band is Lamar on guitar and vocals, Peck on drums, Slow Train Carter on bass and Pretty Fingers on guitar. I’m not sure that’s what it says on their birth certificates, but those are the monikers of choice for the band.
After a short while, they were summoned into the studio for a few minutes on the air, and I was fortunate enough to join them. What I saw was a ring of young people—college age mostly, with the exception of Saunders, who appeared to be of a similar vintage as yours truly.
It was about four minutes into my time behind the studio door when the bowl came out. “Today we’re sampling 'Blue Dream,'” Saunders said as he passed the pipe around the table for the ritual “Taste test on the Twenties.” It was pretty much official at that point. UNRegular Radio and the Boston Pot Report had succeeded in reaching the bar. I mean, no one told me they smoke on the air! That’s pretty badass from my vantage point, and I hope it rankles a lot of feathers amongst the law enforcement community.
The band is playing Precinct every Friday during the month of July, in what has been dubbed the Presidency of Shoney Lamar and the Equal Rights, and much of the interview dealt with that night’s installment. The band had also arrived with trays of food from Sam LaGrassa’s, a nearby sandwich shop where Lamar works days delivering food to the hungry minions of capitalism. The food went over well, much as it does any time a room full of stoners are presented with a large cache of free chow, and the cookies were an especially big hit. The BPR’s producer, Matt Tomor, asked Shoney if he knew anything about how they were made, to which Lamar replied: “We have a cookie monster.”
Saunders received a similar response when he asked if the band had any songs about family, the show’s theme of the day.
“No,” Lamar said. “Should we come back another day?”
When asked the least favorite question of any level-headed musician, the dreaded, who are your influences? Lamar proceeded to list Creed and Little Wayne with much levity, before proclaiming he and his bandmates to be “the real Fresh Princes of Bel Air. All four of us.”
Lamar and his cohorts came out of the studio and proceeded to rip through four songs with typical finesse and abandon. Two things not often mixed together easily, but done so seamlessly by the band that afternoon.
Their sound is gritty, raw and vital. They don’t play ballads; they kick in the door and tie everyone to a chair, running off with all the silverware and the lady of the house in the process. Lamar, as I have written before, is one of the best and most unique frontmen in Boston. That point was driven home with a golden-tipped spike and sledgehammer on the Boston Pot Report.
The day’s set list was comprised of Authorities, Lazy Bones, Follow that Taxi and Bikini Work Out.
Lamar sounds like if he doesn’t sing the words he is singing, he runs the risk of spontaneous human combustion. It is that urgent. The band is tighter than spandex on Star Jones, and the four of them put down a great set for the BPR’s listeners last Friday.
They are great. For me, they are one of the ten best bands playing in Boston right now with little discussion.
They could stay humble about it, but humility is for pussies.
“We’re Shoney Lamar and the Equal Rights. We control the weather and we own outer space. We’re playing at Precinct tonight."