Cherry Smoke is a Memphis-based hardcore band that just released their second EP, "I Want to Make Everyone Happy."
The band consists of drummer and vocalist, Eli berry, guitarists DJ Rudorfer and Kevin Gibson, and bassist Bailey Patterson.
The group is set to release their second EP at Memphis Current's gallery and event hall on N. Hollywood this Sunday. Playing alongside Cherry Smoke is Hewer of Caves, Jadewick, 2 Live and Die. DJs Nate and BLKMR will also be performing. Artist Isaiah Kennedy will also be showing work and Relic Oddities will have a pop-up booth selling all things Halloween. Costumes are encouraged. Doors open at 7PM and tickets are $15.
Disclaimer* I, Sam, have been good friends with these dudes for the past 15 years, and am lucky enough to be able to host their EP release show this Sunday. I decided to ask Eli a bit about the band, the new EP, and the stories behind the songs.
Current: (Knowing you) You played a lot of music in your younger days, can you tell us about what initially drew you into music? And some of the initial projects and bands you were a part of in your early days?
Eli: My parents both loved music. Michael Jackson, Elvis, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Steve Miller Band, Booker T & the MGs....there was always something good being played. Honestly, though, School of Rock was probably the biggest catalyst in getting me locked into being in a band and wanting to play rock music. As for earlier projects, I was always playing music with the older dudes in the Smith7 scene growing up. Then, in High School, I started some bands with my peers. Some "worth noting" are Touchdown!, Raleigh Symphony, Wicker, Nona, Guvna, First World, Boxer...yada yada, and some random others.
You took a hiatus from performing for several years, what brought you back into playing?
I missed it. Life happens and things change, but I never lost the desire to want to play music with friends again one day. I am so glad to be doing it again.
How did Cherry Smoke form? How does it differ from other projects and how would you describe the music, lyrics, and essence of the band.
Bailey, DJ, and Kev were messing around with some ideas. I think I sort of forced myself into being the singer of the band. I remember sending Bailey a DM and saying something like "let me sing in y'all's project".
Eventually the drummer they were jamming with moved and so I got behind the kit and sang. It picked up speed from there.
The biggest difference is that everyone in the band is older. With being older, I have noticed the motivation behind playing music is more serious. Personally, I have three kids and a job that keeps me pretty stacked schedule-wise. So, getting out and playing music has become something I need to do to feel human. Before, it was just for fun. It is still fun, but there's also a therapeutic element to it that helps me not get bogged down by the hustle and bustle of life.
As a lyricist, what were some of the themes you tried to focus on with this set of songs? Is there an overarching theme?
A lot happened nationally, locally, and in my life the past few years. There are songs about processing school shootings, the mystery of death, our relationships with substances, wanting the approval of others, and more. I didn't intentionally think about a theme out the gate, but looking back, I think most of the songs are meditations on some things that make me afraid and anxious. Lyrics have been an outlet for processing stuff happening around me.
What are some of your inspirations?
Good question. My kids inspire me a lot. They keep me thinking about how precious life is and about how what we do with our time here matters.
Behind the Lyrics
I Won't Return
I can't begin To step inside the sadness I'm afraid I won't return Unspeakable hate Unending despair A loss so great How could one repair Who's holding the gun In circles we type Empty words on a screen We do this for momentary soothing But in the end It changes nothing Where do we go from here? You value profit more than human life
This song is me processing the Uvalde school shooting. I wrote it the day after. I was feeling deeply sad and angry for all of the obvious reasons. The song directly touches on all the stuff that gets thrown around on social media after a tragedy like that and how a lot of it isn't helpful. It also touches on frustrations with gun laws and gun lobbyists that seem to value profit over creating a healthy society where shit like that doesn't happen. There's also a tone of wanting to respond in a way that is productive but feeling paralyzed by the sheer sadness of it all.
Pain to bliss Up and down My head is all around Articulate the feeling Any state of mind is a waste of time Articulate the feeling Get me to move, but find myself stuck Articulate the feeling Trying to move, find myself stuck Articulate the feeling Pain to bliss
I'm not totally sure what this song is about. It is most likely a reflection on how life is full of both "pain and bliss" and how It is healthy to not try and escape the emotions of it all but to "articulate the feeling(s)".
I see my reflection In broken pieces of glass I need your approval Please fill up my glass
Always looking for your eyes Always Looking for I want you to tell me what you see Zoom in on the best parts of me I'm I dizzy off your opinion of me I just want to make everyone happy Tell me I'm okay Tell me I'm anything I just want to make Everyone happy
Dizzy is about looking for approval and caring too much about what other people think of you. At times, I find myself playing "approval games" with people. It is dangerous to look to other people to tell you who you are. On one hand, it is normal and natural, but if you do that too much, it can make you dizzy. Ultimately, it is not my business what other people think of me and I would like to continue to grow in the realization of that.
They Saw Smoke
Lets pour another round Im not sober Im the one to blame Can you think without it? Can you live without it? Can you be without it? I'm not okay It's got to change I feel okay Just for today It stays the same Just for today I turn thirty in August and
I'm still asking the same questions I asked in high school.
Questions about who I am?
Where I'm going?
I'm learning that life is a process.
You never really arrive.
DJ wrote the lyrics for 2/3 of this song. He sent me some original lines and we worked on the final product together. Our dependence on alcohol, weed, or whatever it is for you, should always be examined and scrutinized. This song is me asking hard questions about my relationship with those things. The end of the song begins to touch on how I always thought I would have it all "figured out" by the time I hit thirty and had a family, but that is far from the truth.
The car will pull over The train will stop No decisions to make No ball to drop At the bottom of the sea What will you find Compassion and crime Time wont stop For me Deep breath Close my eyes What lies behind Door number one
Door number 1 It's okay if I can't see everything in front of me It's okay if I can't see everything in front of me
Bassett Hound is a meditation on not knowing what happens after you die. There are some days when I am consumed with anxiety over this reality. There are also days when I am at peace and can accept that I just don't know and that is okay. The lyrics to this track contain elements of both kinds of days. During the verses, I am accepting of not knowing, but by the end, I am sort of crying out in anguish. "Door #1" is a game show reference...In those games, there are normally multiple doors to pick from, but in life, it seems there's only one to pick from, and who really knows what lies behind it?