Jonathan Fire*Eater

Wolf Songs For Lambs

Merch isn’t just fun to buy and great for periodically pushing exceptional concert memories back to the front of your mind. Merch is useful. For real!

(OK, I know I sound like someone who’s reaching to justify compulsive behavior, and that’s because I am. But I swear I have a point.)

While I was up in Baltimore for a wedding the weekend before last, I got to see a good friend and fellow wedding guest (my W. Mard t-shirt twin, if you’re scoring at home) who lives in D.C. and had caught one of The Walkmen’s recent pair of shows at The 9:30 Club. About halfway through the unofficial after-party at the Irish bar around the corner from the hotel, my friend struck up a conversation with a stranger who walked in wearing a Walkmen shirt. This Walkmen shirt, to be exact. I listened in as they spent some time comparing notes on the show, which they both enjoyed, and in the late stages of the gushing exchange, the merch-wearing stranger told us about Jonathan Fire*Eater, the mid-to-late 90’s band that three of the five Walkmen — guitarist Paul Maroon, drummer Matt Barrick and keys player Walter Martin — played in.

Now that I’ve heard about — and heard — Jonathan Fire*Eater, three things are certain:

  1. Their music bears some of the traits that I love most about The Walkmen, particularly Maroon’s signature guitar sound, which is wonderfully bright and always makes me think of the word “loose,” for reasons I can’t entirely figure out.
  2. They were ahead of their time when it comes to creative use of punctuation in band naming.
  3. I wouldn’t know that Jonathan Fire*Eater existed had that dude not walked into the bar wearing that shirt.

See? Merch is useful! It’s like a lighthouse for enthusiasm, except you steer toward it, not away. If this were a mathematical proof, here’s where I’d say quod erat demonstrandumdrop the mic, and toss up deuces triumphantly. (At least, that’s how I imagine it went when Pythagoras made right triangles his bitch.)

Check out an early favorite Jonathan Fire*Eater tune — “I’ve Changed Hotels” — below and click here to buy their 1997 album, Wolf Songs For Lambs, on iTunes.

Jonathan Fire*Eater — “I’ve Changed Hotels” [YouTube/iTunes]

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