FireBug: Hollywood Bowl is (not) the limit
If you ever think about having a hell of a party, make sure you call at least two people: Juliette Tworsey and Jules Shapiro. The friends from Chicago who came together only for the desire to make good music are the core of FireBug, one of the most explosive bands you will meet in this (almost) post-pandemic year. While Jules conjures up B.B.King and makes misery with either his Gibson or his Fender, Juliette is one of those unapologetic for breaking your heart with a voice that resurrects Janis Joplin and puts even some of the Americana queens to sleep.
Oh yes. And what is a minimalist blues-rock band as grand as this doing on an independent blog when they should be headlining festivals? Jules may have the clue: “I could talk about our past relationships, representation, management that in the past definitely kept us from moving forward to where we should be now”, he explains, but without losing his humility, “we love what we do and we know the stars will align and we will take the stage”.
The Hollywood Bowl dream
Perhaps the stage could be the Hollywood Bowl….Who knows? Unless they get enough votes to be one of the opening acts of this historic place for music. “To perform a show at @hollywoodbowl would be a dream of a lifetime!“, highlights the band on their Instagram. And the best part is that we can help you achieve this dream by voting on the link below:
About “No Return”, the last album
On their latest album, “No Return”, FireBug consolidates its move from Chicago to Joshua Tree and follows the trail of bands like U2, who turned to the vastness of an arid desert as their main inspiration for a classic rock and roll that embodies and reflects on the United States today.
With 7 great blues-psychedelic-rock songs written by Juliette and Jules, “No Return” was released in Jan/2022 and recorded with the help of engineer Charlie Stavish (Imagine Dragons/Jenny Lewis / Starcrawler) at The Clocktower Recorders in Joshua Tree.
The result of this is a brutally intimate sound made in California, with a mystical touch of the 70s and a guitar that dialogues brilliantly with “The End” by The Doors in the song that gives the album its name. And just like Jim Morrison communing with indigenous entities, FireBug members look to the desolation of the desert for their muse.
Gazing up into the vast universe is a regular ritual for us . Shooting stars are a frequent occurrence. Star gazing has definitely had an influence on our latest collection of songs.
Juliette – FireBug’s frontwoman
“I’m off for the journey to no return”. And we also have no return to the real world once we hear Juliette sing.
2 3 Things about Firebug by Juliette & Jules
RC -It’s funny Joshua Tree being a part of some of their scenarios, because since U2 released an album of the same name I haven’t seen a rock band praise this controversial America so much. Wide, arid and distant: is the desert an inspiration for your music?
Juliette: This entire region is inspiring, so of course that inspiration often finds its way into our music. Sometimes it’s intentional and at other times it happens on a more subconscious level. We have a high desert (3400 ft above sea level), a low desert (440 ft above sea level), Salton Sea ( 200 + ft below sea level), and two vast mountain ranges within view. We can literally go from being in an arid desert environment to hiking mountain trails lined with pine trees and manzanita trees. In The Mojave we have one of the oldest/longest living organisms on earth known as the Creosote. The famous King Clone Creosote ring is thought to be almost 12,000 years old! There is also tremendous magic in the nighttime sky out here in the Hi-Desert. Gazing up into the vast universe is a regular ritual for us . Shooting stars are a frequent occurrence. Star gazing has definitely had an influence on our latest collection of songs.
Jules: Speaking as a musician who has lived here now for almost 5 years, the desert is really what you make out of it. There is so much spectacular beauty and mystique everywhere which draws so many artists and creatives to this place. The desert also can be very unforgiving and difficult to adjust your life to coming from an urban environment. It took me some time to get used to the isolation. You never really get used to it, but you learn how to use it to your advantage to work on your craft and skills as an artist.
RC- Despite the small name and the lean band, your sound is colossal, full-bodied. What so far has kept you from being one of the greats of blues-rock, especially when it comes to women like Janis Joplin and Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)?
Juliette: Luck, time and place, connections, and money.
Jules: That’s so great to hear thanks so much! Well to be honest we have been close to achieving that goal more than once in our career. I could talk about our past relationships/representation/management that in the past definitely kept us from moving forward to where we should be now. So many artists who are deserving of a career have been there. We love what we do and we know the stars will align and we will take the stage!
RC- Contrary to current productions, which abuse computers and formulas that guarantee hits even for social networks, such as TikTok, your sound is far-fetched and organic. Is there room for guitar chord music in today’s showbiz or are you seen as aliens by younger audiences? And, most of all, what’s your favorite guitar?
Juliette: There is always room for diversity in music. In fact, being organic is an asset in our view. It’s a flooded market, so logic would suggest that when there is less of something there is going to be more of a demand/want for that thing, whether it be a song or a product. Of course, the most important thing, irrespective of style /genre, or sound, is if the song(s) has an ability to reach people in some way that sticks over time. I’ve heard some great electronic-leaning songs that have made me want to get up and say “Yes! I want to hear that again” and the same goes for all the great organic music that is out there. Great music can come from anywhere, irrespective of genre. Organic music isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. People, young and old, are always going to crave that primal emotional connection that comes with being moved by a song that makes them feel a bit more in the moment. My favorite guitar is my Pure Salem Tomcat! It’s an amazing guitar! Great tone and feel. FireBug is endorsed by Pure Salem Guitars. Check them out at www.puresalemguitars.com
Jules: Yes the landscape has changed considerably for guitar oriented rock. It’s really difficult now for artists that have a guitar based sound that is ‘organic’ in nature, etc..to get heard by the masses. There is a place for it now more than ever before and there is a large younger audience for this sound. We are saturated as listeners/playlists etc.. with so much EDM and the sub genres that branch off from EDM..That is where we are at now. For FireBug we try our best to navigate the playlists that fit our sound, etc.. My main guitars are my vintage Gibson Les Paul Custom and Fender Tele Custom, They have such a huge sound and I can grab some amazing moments both in the studio and live shows. Thanks so much for the interview!
Also check another brilliant track “Change”:
Foot note: If Lucinda Williams were to meet Kate Bush for a drink, the song that would be playing at the bar would definitely be FireBug’s “No Return”. To some extent, you just can’t know where the band’s vocalist is going with her falsettos amid raw guitars that recall the more punk phase of Patti Smith, but one thing we can be sure: it will be fun.
And it’s time for us to hear from you what you thought of the FireBug sound. Please feel free to comment below!