Gumball, FOOD bassist takes the lead in The Full Counts, and new music from Spinning Jenny
April 20, 2017 12:00 AM
Pittsburgh band The Full Counts.
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Eric Vermillion has a deep, 40-plus record history in the garage rock world, having started in the late ‘80s with the Harrisburg band The Stump Wizards and moving on to major-label New York band Gumball and Pittsburgh’s own Steel Miners.
When last we heard from the bassist, he was playing for FOOD (the band, not the stuff you eat) with Ed “fROMOHIO” Crawford of fIREHOSE. That ran into some “artistic differences,” he says. “Ed and I just weren’t seeing eye to eye on things in regards to what we wanted to do with the band. He’s an amazing, talented guy, and it was a difficult decision for me, but I decided to stop playing with the band.”
Having a backlog of his own songs and some new ones on his mind, he ventured into a studio session as The Full Counts with FOOD drummer Mike Quinlan, new FOOD bassist Mark Urbano (on guitar) and guitarist Rich Hirsch.
The Full Counts debut album, “First Out,” allows him to do his thing, from the opening psych-garage roar of “(No You) Don’t Let Me Down” to the Velvet-y “Be With Me” to a hazy ballad, “I Got the Time,” reminiscent of solo Joey Ramone.
“The Full Counts may be a little more flexible than most of my previous projects,” Mr. Vermillion says. “We’re all a little older now and have seen and done some stuff that has given us a perspective on music that I didn’t have before. The current band definitely brings a rock ‘n’ roll sound, but we can step back and show some nuances.”
Among the special guests on “First Out” are Cynics frontman Michael Kastelic on harmonica and Gumball’s Don Fleming, adding some guitar leads.
“It’s kind of crazy what you can do now with internet, software and emails,” he says of Mr. Fleming’s contribution. “He’s been so tied up in so many projects, like being the director of the Alan Lomax Archives, putting together the new Lou Reed Archives at New York Public Library, and producing the music for the ‘Vinyl’ series on HBO, not to mention other new music.”
In other words, a Gumball reunion is not in the offing at the moment.
“Gumball hasn’t ever gotten back together to play as a band. We’re all still good friends. There’s been talk of it, but I don’t know if it will ever actually happen or not. None of us live anywhere near each other, but that never stopped us before. It’s kind of nice that we’ve all been focused on doing new projects, and making new things happen, rather than just leaning on the old days, but you never know. Those guys are all great, and I’m sure it would be a blast to turn on the amps and rock out with them again.”
The Full Counts release show is at Brillobox, Bloomfield, at 10 p.m. Saturday with A.T.S. and The Spectres; www.brilloboxpgh.com.
JENNY, JENNY: Steubenville, Ohio band Spinning Jenny — consisting of sisters Julia (20), Talia (16) and Angelina Balzano (15) and their dad John — won the Diesel Rock-Off Battle of the Bands competition in September, earning them a package that included studio time.
Now, Spinning Jenny, which formed in 2011 at a family reunion and released the debut album “Outside the Lines” in 2014, swings back through Pittsburgh with a new release, “Hey Jenny,” sporting crunchy guitars, shout-along choruses and sibling harmonies.
They will play their first Pittsburgh headlining show at Diesel, South Side, at 7 p.m. Saturday with The Brighton Boys and The Semi-SuperVillains; www.spinningjenny.com.
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner.