DETROIT — Poongang vocalist John Newman increased his stage efficiency last week by purchasing a new effects pedal pre-programmed with common between-song phrases, according to sources close to the jam-rock band.
“I used to start shows by yelling, ‘How’s everybody doing tonight?!’ It worked pretty well, but I just never knew where to go from there. By the middle of the set, I’d be saying stuff like, ‘You guys still doing okay?’ ‘Can I get you anything?’ ‘How’s your mom doing — she still working at that card shop?’ It was pretty embarrassing,” said Newman. “The new pedal gets the crowd hyped and keeps me on message.”
Drummer David Epstein agreed that while Newman was trying his best, his banter never really ended up going anywhere.
“I remember we were in Grand Rapids one night. The crowd was going nuts. But before they even stopped applauding, John launched into some knock-knock joke. People were pretty confused,” said Epstein. “By the time someone thought to say, ‘Who’s there?’ he’d forgotten the punchline, so he asked people in the front row what religion they were.”
Newman said all that changed when he walked into his local pawn shop and saw a used banter pedal behind the counter.
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“The guy told me it was the same pedal Keith Richards used to say, ‘It’s good to be anywhere, really,’” said Newman. “The second I heard that, I knew I had to have it.”
According to guitarist William “Munchie” Sullivan, Newman is still figuring out how to use his new pedal.
“The first show where John used it, he just plugged it in without changing any of the factory presets, so all his banter came out in Korean,” said Sullivan. “There were some foreign exchange students in the back laughing their asses off, but they left after the next song, so we never got to ask them why.”
“I’ve gotta find that perfect balance between local references and road stories,” said Newman. “But some people already seem to love my banter. Last night, I hooked five different pedals together to try some more experimental stuff. I was pretty wild!”
Newman is allegedly plotting a summer solo tour, currently called I’d Like to Thank You All for Being Here.
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