Jason Bambery and I go way back. Fact: I may or may not have bought drug paraphernalia from Jason back in the day. Fact: His band, Hypnotic Velvet Propellers rank up there in my top local bands ever. Fact: I’ve never really gotten on board with most of his other bands and cover endeavors because I’ve always felt Bambery’s talent was greater than all these vanity and novelty projects. Fact: I may or may not have held a knife to his taint and forced him back on stage to do his perfect rendition of Prince’s “Beautiful Ones” a time or two.

Despite our history, Jason’s newest project, Friends and Heroes, is without a doubt, his best showing in over 10 years or so. The concept of this album is simple; invite some of Indy’s top players to back him up on an album of near-perfect songs. The songs are all over the map. From the hard, fast rules of “Gito Gito Hustler” to the acoustic beauty of “All That We Know” to the straight rock of the title track and of course, the lusty funk of “Life Goes Off.” The hand-picked players combining with Bambery’s 20 flight vocal skills makes for an incredible picture of Indy talent in the year 2020.

“My Masala” kicks things off with a short burst of Bollywood wonderment featuring Jason’s soaring high and gutbucket low vocal skills. Some of the Mr. Clit gang rocks out on the glorious “Punk Rock Night.” Indy top dogs Mark Cutsinger and Craig Bell push out an awesome “Religion is Stupid” while two Toxics (J.J. Pearson & Tufty Clough) and  a Dr. Roadkill (Danny Thompson) combine to amp up the punk protest “Pence Must Go.”

“For The Money” is a perfect and hilarious country hoot featuring Thom Woodard on some awesome slide geetar.

Ironically, the best song on this collection, the cozy “Pajama Jam,” is all Bambery on every instrument. Although it was written in late 2018 this song is absolfuckinglutely the best Coronavirus anthem that will ever come out of this current mess we’re in. This song needs to go viral -no pun intended- and make Jason Bambery the superstar he needs to be. Shit. With all the time we have on our hands, somebody should be able to make a kick-ass video and send it to Kimmel.

The first verse says it all about these times. “Hey babe whatchu wanna do? Lie in bed and play video games with you. Maybe cuddle watch a movie too. Lie in bed and play video games with you. … We’ve got each other, and that’s enough for me. Being with you is my favorite place to be.” Perfect, right?

Jason Bambery – Friends and Heroes is available on Spotify and iMusic. It’s a perfect companion to your quarantine projects.

Writer Music

After walking into the original NUVO offices in fall, 1990, wearing a leather jacket, sporting a purple Mohawk and scaring the bejesus out of the editorial staff, Jeff Napier quickly proved indispensable to NUVO, Indy’s music scene and its readers