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WITF Music: Coffee With Lions

It's never too late to start a punk band.

  • Joe Ulrich
of Coffee With Lions performs for WITF Music. Jeremy Long - WITF

 Jeremy Long / WITF

of Coffee With Lions performs for WITF Music. Jeremy Long - WITF

Back in the 90’s four friends from York played in various bands together. As they got jobs, got married and had kids, playing music tapered off. In 2018, they got back together to hang out and jam and unwittingly started the band Coffee With Lions. Singer John Grove, bassist Doug Moore, guitarist Aaron Pendergast and drummer Kevin Ness stopped by our studio to chat with WITF Music’s Joe Ulrich.

Joe Ulrich: I read on the website this dates back 30 years or something.

John Grove: The three of us were in a band back in high school. And then it kind of fizzled out. We all kind of went our separate ways.

Doug Moore: We all took 10 years off of music altogether. Wives, families, kind of get that stuff going. And then Aaron moved back in town.

Aaron Pendergast: I moved back in town and I hunted John down at his job and was like, Hey, you want to start a punk rock band? He was like, I just talked to Kevin last week.

Kevin Ness: The original idea was just to get together as an outlet to play music and hang out. And then it just snowballed into something that I don’t think any of us really expected.

Joe Ulrich: What’s the funniest or weirdest or most embarrassing thing that’s happened during a show?

Kevin Ness: My drum set fell apart.

Aaron Pendergast: Our record release party and the tom just fell off.

John Grove: Mine would definitely be Aaron’s Orange amp. I got caught with my foot and that came off. I kicked a glass off the stage and I fell off the stage all in the same night.

Aaron Pendergast: The show that grabs my attention the most was the record release party we did. The first couple songs, I kicked the guitar chords out, it was a packed audience. Thankfully the kind of music we play tolerates this kind of behavior.

Joe Ulrich: Did all your wives see you behave like this before they married you? Was this a surprise to any of them?

Aaron: Yes, for me, for sure. My wife, I don’t think she was prepared for me to get into a punk rock band in my late thirties and constantly be going to shows.

John Grove: I think I surprised myself, because I didn’t think I was going to be jumping around.

Kevin Ness: I don’t think anybody thought that we were going to be in a punk rock band again. You asked my wife ten years ago if that’s what was going to happen, she would probably say no. I did play in other bands, so she had an idea how stupid I could be.

John Grove: I don’t think anybody expected it to come back. We had figured we’d gotten the end.

Aaron Pendergast: I certainly didn’t think I was going to be jumping around playing like loud guitar or even writing punk rock songs.

John Grove: Yeah, I didn’t think that was ever going to be. It was definitely not in the ten year plan.

Joe Ulrich: I was looking at your Instagram feed and I noticed that most of your posts were other bands and I was trying to find photos and just watch you guys. But that struck me as really interesting and kind of cool. I was like, Oh, they’re just really promoting other bands.

Is there a sort of feeling of family or something?

Doug Moore: Yeah, the DIY scene, I think especially, I think with the promoting each other and that cross promotion, yeah, that definitely drives it.

Aaron Pendergast: For sure. We have friends in so many different bands and different places and, yeah, supporting them is always, I think, a priority.

Music shouldn’t be competitive. it’s a, art form.

John Grove: It’s better than competition. I think the scene grows and gets exposure together. You just don’t do it by yourself and I think that’s what it’s all about.

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