City Paper is not for tourists
STANDOUT TRACK: No. 16, “Jerry Jermaine,” the closer to the double-disc live release by the Alexandria quartet that, in the words of 30-year-old frontman Andrew Poliakoff, “typifies the Virginia Coalition live experience.” The jokey party anthem needs all of its 16-plus minutes to find room for the band’s various generic descriptors: Southern rock, funk rock, jam rock, and, as a symbol of regional pride, go-go.
MUSICAL MOTIVATION: One afternoon, the band members were hanging out on their porch and began to tease bassist Jarrett Nicolay, 31, whom Poliakoff playfully characterizes as a “pale, skinny guy who listens to the Beatles and R.E.M.” Before long, the other bandmates had developed a Blaxploitation persona for Nicolay named Jerry Jermaine, a gesture that was designed to lend him some “street credential.” In the song, the character talks about “Rollin’ in my Volvo to the Putt-Putt course/I hit the first tee with Tiger Woods force.” Though Nicolay may be the butt of the joke, his alter ego gets a boost from the chorus: “You call the doctor when you’re feelin’ pain/When you wanna feel good call Jerry Jermaine.”
A SOBERING EXPERIENCE: One would expect a song that begins with “Do y’all feel like getting it on?” to be well suited for a live show. Yet for some reason, when first recording the song on 2003’s Rock & Roll Party, the band went for the sterile studio environment. The musicians made a halfhearted attempt to recreate the concert feeling: “We got drunk with 15 of our friends and recorded them,” Poliakoff says, “but it sounded a little stupid.” —David Dunlap Jr.