Jeff Two-Names and the Born Agains, DigDog @The Jinx
Thurs., Dec. 13, 9 P.M.
JEFF TWO-NAMES and the Born Agains have made quite a name for themselves in the Savannah music scene for a number of years, playing a clever and catchy brand of punk rock that draws from several facets of the genre. Though the lineup has changed over the years, Jeff Two-Names and Rev. Kev have both been consistently involved and continue to fly the punk flag in Savannah and beyond.
We spoke to the pair ahead of their Jinx show on Dec. 13 to talk beginnings, influences, and the staying power of punk.
For people who might not be familiar with you guys, how did this band get started?
Jeff: Actually, it’s pretty funny. I coach youth soccer for a living, and I originally met Rev. Kev because I was coaching his daughter. And then I did his wedding! We talked about for over a year that we needed to play music together - we wanted to find somebody else [to fill out the lineup] that we liked. We just wanted to have fun, and we finally found someone who we thought we could hang out and play music with.
We thought we’d play a few shows, and that was five years ago.
Rev Kev: We thought this would be really short-lived, to be honest [laughs].
Jeff: We’re on bass player number four - we’re the Spinal Tap of bass players. And we’re on extra guitar player number two.
Rev Kev: Now it’s a pretty steady lineup, and it’s been the same lineup for a while. We have really good chemistry and get along really well, so it’s going really good.
Did you guys listen to the same stuff? Is that what made you realize you wanted to play music together?
Jeff: Yeah. Kev and I had the same background growing up with punk rock. He was more broad spectrum than me with music overall. My wife makes fun of me because I literally haven’t changed my taste in music since the first time I heard The Ramones [laughs]. Kev’s more broad.
Rev Kev: I liked grunge bands and stuff in the 90s, but I had friends who were in punk bands so I always wanted to play in one.
It’s cool because you can hear a range of styles - there’s the whole Lookout! Records style of punk happening, but I can also hear some influence from the 80s D.C. hardcore stuff. Was that some of what you were listening to?
Jeff: Yeah. Our other guitarist, Michael, was really into that. That was his vein of punk rock. Mine was a lot more of the pop punk thing, and Kev was similar to me. Dan, the bassist, is very similar to Michael in terms of punk rock but overall his influences are very broad.
Rev Kev: He’s classically trained - he has a Masters degree or something from Princeton in music composition.
Jeff: We don’t let him write any of these songs [laughs].
Are you tackling current events and using punk as a platform at all like a lot of punk bands do? Or are you looking for levity a little more in your lyrics?
Jeff: We joke that we’re fact-punk [laughs]. You nailed it, though - a lot of bands are driven by the politics of the times or things that people don’t like in the world. But we try to kind of balance the force, if you will, and bring the fun side out. We still think about that stuff, but the way I try to cope is trying to write silly punk songs.
Rev Kev: But they’re all about our lives.
Jeff: Literally, something will happen and I just exaggerate it a lot to make it a song.
Rev Kev: We have a song about my daughter getting a tonsillectomy [laughs]. But like Jeff said - I’m a pastor and I run a ministry for the homeless. I see the darkest of humanity and brokenness on a daily basis, and sometimes you just need a little levity.
Sometimes girls just want to have fun [laughs].
There’s a tradition of that sort of thing in more of the pop-punk vein - not taking yourself too seriously.
Jeff: It’s a statement within itself, really. Not that we’re trying to make any statements, but you can say a lot of things through levity and not taking yourself too seriously.
On a broader scale, why do you think people are so fiercely committed to and passionate about punk rock?
Jeff: I think there’s a beauty and simplicity. I studied music in college, and there’s always kind of an ebb and flow of simplicity versus grandiose composition. There’s always a place for very simple rock and roll, and that’s what punk is. Punk is influenced by early 50s and 60s rock and roll.
We just did a tribute night at The Jinx to The Beatles, and we really didn’t do anything differently to the songs. We just played them a little faster with distortion. The first four Beatles albums are punk albums, as far as I’m concerned. Like I said, there’s beauty in simplicity, and I think that creates a timelessness. And that whole definition that I just gave is so not punk [laughs].