When the band My Jerusalem plays the House of Blues in New Orleans Nov. 2, frontman Jeff Klein will know his way around the Big Easy, even though he wasn’t born or raised there.
“When we decided to become a band, we ended up making our first record in New Orleans, basically above Checkpoint Charlie’s, this wonderful bar by Decatur and Esplanade,” Klein said.
While their official headquarters is Austin, Texas, My Jerusalem has many NOLA connections, including Klein’s past membership in The Twilight Singers (started by Afghan Wigs’ Greg Dulli) in New Orleans.
“Things just kept bringing me to New Orleans. I’m a sponge when it come to music. I try to learn as much as I can with everybody I get to be around,” he said.
Klein was in a hurry to absorb as much musical knowledge as he could, leaving a small city in upstate New York for the Berklee College of Music in Boston at 18 years of age.
But the school was not what Klein wanted.
“Berklee College of Music was a strange place. I only went there for about a year then I ended up leaving. It was more for jazz kids, and I was into stuff like The Replacements and The Lemonheads.”
Klein sank his teeth into the Boston music scene to improve his guitar and keyboard skills. He also developed his vocal style. Eventually, he divided his time between Austin and New Orleans.
That geography ties into My Jerusalem’s musical style, which the band’s website lists as “Post Modern Southern Gothic Soul.”
“It’s the kind of thing you can listen to on a drive from New Orleans to Austin. It’s kind of a little bit dark, but it’s rhythmic at the same time,” Klein said.
The member roster for My Jerusalem’s 2012 tour is Grant Van Amburgh (drums), Geena Spigarelli (bass), Jeff Klein (guitar/keyboards/vocals) and Jon Merz (horns/guitar/keyboards).
“All of us come from different places and loving different kinds of music. Together, I feel like ‘Post Modern Southern Gothic Soul’ kind of describes the weird melting pot of what our sound is,” Klein said.
Life on the road seems right in line for Klein, who enjoys making music with the three other guys and a girl who comprise My Jerusalem.
“The three people in this band are three of my best friends. Everybody is a little bit of a comedian so it’s entertaining. Our main goal is to have fun and play rock and roll together,” Klein said.
Klein has an easy-going way about him, but his commitment to music runs very deep in his soul.
“Rock and roll saved my life since I was a little kid, so for me it’s ‘my Jerusalem’. It gave me a feeling of community,” he said.
Despite the serious tone, Klein certainly recognizes that he has a very unusual and unique reference point as to how much impact music has on the way his mind works.
“I remember the first song I was listening to the first time I bought a car. I remember the song I was listening to when I lost my virginity. I remember everything related to music because it’s such a milestone for me,” Klein said.
As Klein tours with My Jerusalem to promote their 2012 release, “Preachers,” he truly feels at home because of the constant presence of friends and music.
“The salvation in it for me is that when you go through tough times, you listen to music, and it gets you through another day,” he said. “Hopefully, what we do inspires other people.”
My Jerusalem plays The House of Blues in New Orleans on Nov. 2.
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