LAKE PLACID - If the Mayans end up being right about the world ending on Dec. 21, a popular local band wants you to end it with a shot of Wild Turkey and an ice-cold beer.
JIM will host its End of the World Holiday Formal on Friday at Lake Placid's Comfort Inn. The Lake Placid-based band - featuring Sven Curth on guitar and vocals, Ricky Fitts on bass, Mike Korpan on drums and Joe Beneshan on guitar - has been playing in the North Country region since the mid-1990s, and has a loyal - and wild - local fan base.
Curth, who also performs and records as a solo artist talked on Saturday about what could be the band's last show ever, although future shows are more than likely if the world continues on Dec. 22. The following interview has been edited for content and length.
(Photo — Bear Cieri)
Chris Morris: First question: If the world is going to end, why do we have to pay a cover charge for this show?
Sven Curth: (laughs) Because the wheels of commerce never stop. Just to be on the safe side, we've got to generate some profit here. Are you sure you can't take it with you? Actually - yeah, there might be some vestige of the human race that survives, so actually, we should probably charge gold and silver. In some kind of post-apocalyptic world that's the only thing that's going to fly. Canned goods, bushels of wheat ...
CM: Have you considered that a JIM show could stave off the end of the world - or usher it in?
SC: The greater machinations of these things. ... I'm not sure what to say to that. I guess we'll see.
CM: There may be a few people in the area that have never been to a JIM show. How would you describe it?
SC: It's frantic. Fast-paced. Loud. Even if an introspective song sneaks in there, it's usually at some kind of ridiculous pace. It keeps things moving.
CM: For those few who've never seen JIM live, what do you say to convince them that they should spend their last moments on Earth with your band?
SC: I haven't heard of anything better that's going on within a 100-mile radius.
CM: Again, for those who've never listened to JIM, how would you describe the music?
SC: It's like a funk-based band. There's a lot of genre change. We draw pretty heavy on rockabilly and country, with a healthy does of James Brown and funk-guitar-driven-type stuff. And shouting.
CM: The band hasn't been touring or recording any new music recently. What is it that keeps bringing you together for these shows?
SC: We're not necessarily against doing anything like that - nothing is off the table. I think all of us got a little sick of the lifestyle surrounding the whole thing. It's fun. It's fun that people come to see us, have a good time - everybody keeps asking that we do more. As long as that's true, I guess we'll probably keep doing it.
CM: Your shows often feel more like a big party than a performance.
SC: (laughs) For better or worse ...
CM: And Pabst Blue Ribbon is pretty key to that. I've heard stories about record-setting PBR sales at local venues whenever JIM plays.
SC: I want to say that we burned through what Brandon (Devito) said was a pallet of PBR at the Waterhole - a pallet of PBR and two cases of Wild Turkey.
(Devito, former Waterhole general manager, confirmed that at JIM's show during the 2011 Winter Carnival, the Waterhole sold approximately 2,880 12-ounce cans of PBR. "And that wasn't enough," Devito said. "I had to switch to bottles of PBR that we used in the downstairs bar." The show filled the Upstairs Music Lounge to capacity at 350 people; nearly 100 more waited outside to enter as others left.)
CM: Does the band make any new music anymore?
SC: We mess with the older stuff a little bit. I was the writer, really, and I've been putting the time into my own stuff, which sometimes is similar, and sometimes isn't. It could happen - again, nothing is set in stone. We've talked about recording again at some point.
CM: When you guys get together for these reunion shows, do you have to get together and rehearse, or can you just get together the night of a show, do a sound check and roll?
SC: If we haven't played together in a year, it's a really good idea to do some rehearsal. And I'm probably the worst offender, because I just will not be able to remember words unless I run through them in my head. Rehearsal is good.
CM: What about you? What are you doing musically these days?
SC: I'm doing the solo stuff. I've got the two albums. I'm always looking to expand on that; I'll for sure do a third and keep expanding the sphere of influence, play a little further afield. I've been sort of putting on the back burner the idea of doing any touring, but one of these days I might bust out and start trying to book some shows elsewhere.
(Curth will perform solo at First Night Saranac Lake, doing two 45-minute sets at 7 and 8 p.m. in St. Luke's Episcopal Church's parish hall.)
CM: Can we expect some fun high jinks from Ricky Fitts?
SC: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Hopefully, he wears clothes.
CM: Why did you decide to make it a formal attire party?
SC: We did it once before, and it worked. People loved it. This time of year, people want to dress up, wear fancy clothes, parade around ...
CM: I want to thank you for not doing the ugly Christmas sweater theme.
SC: 'Tis the season.
CM: Do you want to add anything else?
SC: If we survive, then maybe we'll see you next year. And if not, what better way to spend the end of the world than with all of our friends? How often does the apocalypse fall on a Friday?
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.