Blues-punk-rock outfit Johnny & the Bootlegs released their EP NYC Rags today, for a delicious taste of NYC nightlife to devour whole. Blending a perfect mix of gritty rock n’ roll, heartfelt-blues, and a dash of punk to taste, the band barrels their way through the urban jungle of NYC, with equal parts of debauchery and genuine reflection in tow.
The songs on NYC Rags were written by lead vocalist and guitarist John Santiago (aka Johnny) during his time as a general manager of the legendary New York City venue, Webster Hall. Immersed daily in the NYC entertainment and nightlife scene, the new tracks reflect some of his personal trials and tribulations throughout a “wild six years”. Santiago shared further on the inspiration of the EP’s five-track collection. “‘Thrift Shop’ speaks about the odd underlying nature of wearing someone else’s clothing, while ‘NYC Woman’ is a direct discussion of the extremes present in NYC dating. ‘Hesitant’ is a haunting ballad that piggybacks on the damage of those extremes, causing people to hold back, cautious of city love. ‘Wings’ is a broken hearted guitar tribute to Jimi Hendrix asking an ex to“fly away”. Lastly, ‘Hey, Jenny’ is about the desire and need for love, though unrequited in the face of screaming sincerity.”
NYC Rags comes as the band’s second release, and a follow-up to their full length self-titled album, which was released last summer. “With the addition of Ryan Adams on drums, the sound is transforming a bit to expand our blues and rock repertoire,” commented Santiago. “Our first album was entirely with Danny Kenny, who has taken more of a songwriting/arrangement role, in addition to management duties. In addition, Erik has contributed more to the backing vocals and has switched to Modelo Especial… and I’ve recently become obsessed with J. Cole.” NYC Rags was recorded at Studio G in Brooklyn, NY by engineer Jeff Berner (Psychic TV, Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club, NAAM, Heliotropes) through the summer and fall of 2017.
Santiago runs and manages Johnny & the Bootlegs under his music brand, JSantiMusic. Formed in 2015, he views it as a platform to unite and uplift fellow artists. “The vision is to promote and allow multi-genre songwriters and artists the breath and ability to create whatever they are writing and feeling, freely. Currently, Erik Neuberger (bassist of J&tB) is working on his initial release as CCI, which will debut under the JSantiMusic platform. His style of songwriting isn’t in line with J&tB, nor is my solo acoustic project, John Santiago. We still support these projects, perform on each other’s music and want to share it with the world. As a team, we promote and market these efforts while also working with other artists such as Babyllon, who John & Ryan performed as a rhythm section for, and Cancion Franklin.” Santiago will be releasing a new track “Don’t Blink” under his solo project later this month.
With upcoming NYC dates, and a northeast U.S. tour coming this fall, Johnny & the Bootlegs bring plenty of style and swagger to the stage. Nominated by NJ’s The Aquarian as one of the “Top 30 NYC Bands to Catch Live in 2018,” the band strives to bring good times for all. “It’s a blues show, it’s a punk rock show and it’s also straight ahead rock n’ roll. There is a rawness and a realness that is evident in our playing and performing – you’ll most likely shake your head and grab a beer.” Follow the band on social media for upcoming show announcements. NYC Rags is available for stream and purchase now on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and all major digital retailers today.