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Disarming the Armory: an Interview with Jack Carter & The Armory

Mar 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Entertainment, Feature, Sounds
Jack Carter & The Armory

Two members of the Armory, L to R - Jack Carter and Harrison Barrow, show us their instrument room (Photo by Keith Warther)

Jack Carter and the Armory have been playing shows for barely 4 months – but they’re already kicking ass. Of the four shows they’ve played at Greensboro, I’ve been at every one, fully supporting this Greensboro supergroup. The band consists of Jack Carter on vocals and guitar, Harrison Barrow on keys, Randy Seals on bass, and Doug Pike on drums. If that lineup doesn’t bring the words ‘hell yeah’ to mind, something’s wrong.

The Armory played a show Sunday evening (March 4) at the Blind Tiger. They were opening up for Langhorne Slim, and I couldn’t think of a better fit for the bill. Each member brought his own charisma to the stage that night, from Randy’s crazy bass playing faces to Doug’s incredible drumming you just can’t keep your eyes off, from Harry’s fantastic piano additions to Jack’s…vomiting?

Yeah, Jack threw up about halfway through the set. In the middle of a song, he glanced over his shoulder and spewed – and then finished the song. True rock ‘n roll at its finest. He blamed it on the cheeseburger he’d just scarfed down. Warning to you Avant Greensboro readers – don’t eat Sonic if you’re going to be drinking and kicking ass onstage.

Anyway, they finished up their set regardless and were incredible. The next evening, Keith and I went over to Harry’s to talk with him and Jack about The Armory. It was a pretty great interview – there was a whole lot said. I’m sure anyone who knows Harry would understand, and I mean that in the best way ever.

How would you describe your sound to a deaf person?

Jack Carter: Deaf people listen to their music by putting their hand on a wall or the floor, right?

Harrison Barrow: I imagine it’d be a little confusing because there’d be a lot of …

JC: … Pleasing vibrations. How do you describe a painting to a blind person?

How long have you guys been playing together, in this band or otherwise?

JC: The Armory has been around since September.

HB: [Jack] went to the desert and came back and said he wanted to do rock ‘n roll.

JC: It started as a project with me, Randy, and Harry at Randy’s studio. We didn’t have Doug yet. There’s also a lot of other people on the album. Lil P, Gary Eddy, Hawke was just there.

HB: He built a fire pit.

JC: Marshall [Owen] was on it.

HB: Tripp Costas. Nathan Myers.

JC: Kasey Horton was a four piece orchestra for us. But we didn’t play our first show until December and we played three shows in three weeks. Me and Doug played together with the Subterranean Bums.

HB: I played a little bit with the Sub Bums too.

What other bands have you been in?

JC: My first band was The Scurvies and then I was a solo acoustic artist. Me and Marshall started the Sub Bums. Then I moved to Atlanta and started a band called Old Soles. That was with Stevie Lee Combs and Matt Luyk.

HB: Stevie was in the Blockheads when I started with them.

JC: I joined Adam Arcuragi’s band about 2 years ago and then started The Armory.

HB: When I was in high school I played in a Raleigh powerpop trio, then I moved to Greensboro and started playing in Come Hell or High Water, I still do. I played at the tail end of the Sub Bums, then the Blockheads for a while. Then I joined Adam Arcuragi and I sit in with the Old One-Two. Now the Armory. The Leeves sometimes too.

JC: I also sit in with the Old One-Two, and I used to play with Israel Darling.

After discussing Doug and Randy’s other bands (you can find some of them listed in my first article about The Armory. Randy also plays in Tommy Flake) this was said…

HB: We’re a bunch of music whores, holy shit!

What do you like about Greensboro?

HB: I definitely say that there’s this weird thing with Greensboro…I don’t know what it is. It’s a centrally located place and a lot of people come to this place, who are very creative and intelligent. The people are the most important part to me. It’s a very nurturing arts scene. In the kind of situation where you play in a band and people like what you do people ask you to join them. You can go participate in everybody’s projects. [Harry rambles on…it’s essentially all about the people.]

What are your favorite bands to play with?                          

Jack Carter & The Armory

Jack Carter and Harrision Barrow discuss their experiences playing live music (Photo by Keith Warther)

JC: Langhorne Slim was pretty cool. That was the pinnacle.

HB: It’s hard to gauge.

JC: We’ve played with hundreds of bands and it’s hard to pinpoint one. I did a tour with Adam with a band called These Nine States. Obviously our friends in Greensboro.

HB: The Leeves. Those boys are good boys.

JC: The Old One-Two. That’s a given.

HB: No question. Miles Nealson.

JC: Between Adam and NC we’ve met some good band buddies. Buffalo Death Beam.

When is your album due?

JC: It would be awesome if it would be done by the end of the year.

HB: All the tracking is done.

JC: It’s a long process getting a record done, I learned that with Adam. It doesn’t happen for a year and a half sometimes. It’s not even worth talking about unless it’s actually coming out. But it’s in the works. It may actually end up being an EP.

HB: there’s been a lot of hours invested and I think there’s a lot more to be invested in it. It’s one of the things that it’s something that you really care about, you wanna do it right. You wanna make sure that it’s the complete vision. Sometimes it takes an undisclosed amount of time.

What bands have influenced your sound?

JC: Bob Dylan and Jack White and The Band, for me. We all have our influences.

HB: The cool thing is that there’s very strong artistic and creative personalities [in the band] and everybody has their own saga with that. There’s guys in different bands with different genres going on. [Harry rambles on…and then stares awkwardly at the floor.]

What’s this so called curse on your band?

HB: Fistfights and dog bites, baby.

JC: Something weird happens every time. First show, there was a giant brawl after the show, with 15 dudes. They were getting into it in the hallway and it was getting extreme and you could feel the testosterone. They were being nice to us and then 10 seconds later they were yelling at each other.

HB: I’ve never heard a friend say “if you don’t leave now I’m gonna punch you in the face”

JC: At the second show, Donna was swinging on the swing and a dog bit her leg and she had to go to the hospital.

HB: At the Green Bean show Jack’s car broke down. Doug’s car broke down too.

JC: At the Atlanta show, nothing weird happened. Harry was sick. Half the band had to drive back with their heads in questionable places. Last night I vomited everywhere. It’s not a curse, it’s a blessing.

HB: That might be my favorite show I’ve ever played. It was the most unbridled rock n’ roll thing. The show doesn’t stop for anything. Blame Sonic for that. Bad burgers, dude.

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2 Comments to “Disarming the Armory: an Interview with Jack Carter & The Armory”

  1. matty sheets says:

    awesome. Love these guys.

  2. […] Keith Warther and Avalon Kenny.  We’re not really sure what to expect, but they have done good work in the past.  I think they’ll be taking a video of us performing a song too.  We’re […]

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