The Scandals: Out Of The Basement
An Interview with Jared Hart

Words by Alex Napoliello — Bayonne, NJ

The Gaslight Anthem is a model band that any local New Jersey group can learn a thing or two from. They cut their teeth in the New Brunswick basement scene, and climbed the ladder with each full-length release. Now they’re signed to a major label (Mercury Records), sell out large venues and, most importantly, give back.

The Scandals from Bayonne, New Jersey are on the receiving end. This Saturday at Irving Plaza in New York City, they will open up for The Gaslight Anthem as part of the Red Bull Sound Select Presents showcase. Red Bull’s goal is simple: promote local music by filling a venue with a “headlining” act.

“We’re beyond excited to be playing this show at a place like Irving Plaza with a band like The Gaslight Anthem who we have enormous respect for,” says Jared Hart, front man of The Scandals. “They came from the same towns we came from, played the same venues we’ve grown up in, and they’re the proof that when a band works as hard as they do, people start to notice.”

Red Bull is hosting the show, which is free admission with an RSVP, but Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem handpicked the bands. Along with The Scandals, Dave Hause of The Loved Ones and Nashville’s Frances and the Foundation will also be on the bill.

“Red Bull has been nothing but supportive,” says Hart. “It’s a packed show; every local band gets to play in front of a ton of people…they push everyone’s name and they’ve never asked for anything in return.”

Along with the show this Saturday, Hart entered the studio earlier this month with Fallon to record an exclusive set of acoustic songs. Fallon recorded new renditions of “Handwritten,” “She Loves You” and “45,” while Hart laid stripped-down versions of “Allnighters” and “Sirens.”

“I actually love doing acoustic,” says Hart. “You can dig a greater emotion out of [songs] when it’s just one person pulling it out. When it works, it works.”

For Hart, doing an acoustic set is something he is familiar with. Over the years, The Scandals have gone through lineup changes. When things are uncertain, he gets up on stage alone with his guitar.

“I had some issues where people couldn’t do certain dates and I just want to stay on tour 24/7,” Hart says passionately. “Before I fixed those couple things, I would just take my acoustic guitar on the road and book shows.”

Hart admits there’s more pressure when all the focus is on just one person. He refers to messing up on stage as “amateur hour if you fuck up.”

Like many of The Gaslight Anthem’s songs, The Scandal’s latest EP Trenchknife, recorded May of last year in Little Eden in Asbury Park (Pete Steinkopf of The Bouncing Souls studio), packs a hard punch but utilizes narrative story telling as its core. Acoustically, Hart’s ability to paint a picture with his lyrics transcends The Scandal’s punk sound.

“I like my lyrics to be real, as real as they can be,” Hart explains. “Illustrating a story that someone can take bits and pieces from and put it towards something else in their life.”

On Saturday night, Hart will have the opportunity to do just that, but in front of a sold-out crowd in Irving Plaza opposed to 100 sweaty kids in a basement. | Support Local