Fill in the Blanks with ... Justin Hallman of Do You Need the Service

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Do You Need the Service

Photo by Sarah Stolfa

You’re forgiven if the phrase “instrumental prog” turns you off. The genre does have a reputation for being deadly self-serious, and almost revels in how far up its own ass it can be. But the guys in Do You Need the Service manage to play it—with Krautrock, new wave and post-punk flourishes—while avoiding its pitfalls. We hear a little Morphine mixed with King Crimson’s Red. What’s more, the band have a great sense of humor. That’s clearly evident on their website ( which is packed with murderous looking clowns asking if you can keep a clown secret (the most serious of all secrets!) and knife fighting monkeys wearing top hats. The guys release their excellent lyric-free debut, Hurl Myself Toward Victory, this week at Johnny Brenda’s. We caught up with DYNtS bassist Justin Hallman, who, along with drummer Mark Sconyers, started the band, adding Michael Tramontana (baritone and tenor sax) and Timothy Day (synths, guitar, Rhodes) later to fill it out—to play a little “Fill in the Blanks,” where his good humor is on full display. (For the ladies, no doubt.) (Brian McManus)

Far be it for me to ... "tell you how to live. So I’ll tell you how not to live: don’t do anything this Saturday, the 24th of July, that doesn’t include being at Johnny Brenda’s between 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. with a drink in your hand, plenty of one dollar bills handy for our drummer (you’ll know where to put them,) and the simple need to enjoy yourself while not bothering people.”

The first impression people get of our group after seeing us is ... "'Boy, they sure don’t sing a lot’ or ‘Man, their drummer makes me uncomfortable ... but I like it.”

To be truly unique ... "you can’t worry about the uniqueness of the end result. Follow your instincts, keep your blinders on, and you will end up with something special. It might not be good, but it will be yours. If you want to know how to be unique and good, I’m sorry ... we don’t need the competition.”

Vocals and lyrics are overrated ... "when you’ve been around a while, and you’ve boiled all your ideals and notions of music down to their purest element, you understand two things. 1.) You play music to get the ladies. 2.) Nothing gets the ladies faster than four married guys in their 30s playing instrumental rock. It’s like catnip ... for ladies.”

We hate it when people describe us as ... "eye candy. Yes, this is part of it, but there is a lot more to us. We’re great lovers, too.”

Album of the year so far is definitely ... "Dr. Dog’s Shame, Shame. Despite the band falling victim yet again to its crutches of ‘words’ and ‘voice-using,’ this is a nice step forward for the band. I’ve always said, ‘Dr. Dog is just an instrumental album away from being amazing.’ If you know me, you’ve heard me say that.”

The thing that makes us most proud about being a part of Philadelphia’s vibrant music scene is ... "being part of a community that is largely made up of bands/artists that don’t necessarily need to be famous. People here make the music they want because they have the freedom to do it. Anything you want to put together here is supported and, to a large extent, appreciated. At least by three or four people. And in true Philly fashion, that sounded bitter. It’s not. That, and the community of players is amazing. People in Philadelphia play music to play music. And to get ladies.”

Don’t get it twisted ... "we’re not a jazz, a jam, or a math band. Though we obviously appreciate our musician fans, we aspire to offer something broader in its appeal.”

But seriously ... "you should buy your tickets early by visiting the Johnny Brenda’s website.”

There’s no doubt about the fact that ... "people who come to our album release this Saturday at Johnny Brenda’s will receive a free download copy of our album, get promptly rocked upon by three great Philadelphia bands, and Johnny Brenda’s Cubano sandwich—if you’re so inclined—is delicious.”

Sat., July 24, 8pm. $10. With Photon Band + Grimace Federation. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave.

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Comments 1 - 5 of 5
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1. Angela Bucci said... on Jul 21, 2010 at 09:32AM

“I am very much looking forward to seeing this band Saturday night after reading this article. This Justin fella sounds like a pretty amusing cat.”

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2. Matt Guza said... on Jul 21, 2010 at 10:16AM

“That Justin fella IS a pretty amusing cat, He also used to sport a waxed mousetache. true story.”

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3. Mark Sconyers said... on Jul 21, 2010 at 10:33AM

“Instrumental Prog Circus Jazz thank you.”

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4. brian said... on Jul 24, 2010 at 03:50AM

“the cubano is good, that much is true.”


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