I’ve resisted including this song as one of the 350 Jersey Songs because my brother Mike was the guitarist in the band, and I don’t want to be accused of nepotism. But in the past few months, I’ve seen an amazingly thorough new article on Ruth Ruth on punktastic.com, plus a new podcast about the band on apologue.ca. So I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon.
To start at the beginning … Mike Lustig knows everything he knows about music from me. Okay, to start a little later … in the late ’80s, there was a Bergen County band called Janata, which played at the Dirt Club in Bloomfield and lots of other places, got signed to Mercury Records, released an album and did a lot of touring. They opened for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes at the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, and for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s last show, at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis.
In the ’90s, they evolved into Ruth Ruth, which had a more punk-oriented sound (Janata was bluesier), and played at the Continental in New York and lots of other places. Ruth Ruth released albums on the American, RCA and Epitaph labels before disbanding, and also did a lot of touring, and had a minor hit, “Uninvited” (from their 1995 album, Laughing Gallery), which got played on MTV.
I think it’s great, and if you want to hear that from people who aren’t related, check out the links above.
Mike and Ruth Ruth singer-songwriter-bassist Chris Kennedy are still playing together, occasionally, in the Johnny Powers 3. They’re great, too.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.
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