Jammin’ with Mood Ring
This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Mood Ring, an eclectic jam band hailing from Maplewood and South Orange.
Mood Ring is not your typical band. In fact they have a total of six members. Bill Pearsall operates the drum set and leads on vocals while David Gomberg rips the guitar. Gary Tyler strums the bass, and Marina Stern plays the flute. Then there is Andre Schuetz on congos and the one and only Nate Knight on keyboard and back-up guitar.
“Gary and I have been playing together for nine years. But we have been in this particular formation for about three,” explained Tyler.
“We all met each other while waiting for our kids to get out of school, and convinced Gary to come out of retirement and play bass,” Gomberg added.
In fact, all of their children went to Clinton School. If it weren’t for that, Mood Ring may have never formed in the first place.
“Bill was recruited as a result of his kid's birthday party a few years back. He’s been our drummer ever since,” stated Stern. ” stated Stern.
Ultimately, the group formed the perfect hexagon and began jammin’ together.
“We are a jam band, that’s one of the reasons we chose the name Mood Ring. We play for whatever the mood or setting is calling for,” Pearsall explained. “We have a very wide and diversified range. We play anything from jazz to rock to blues to original and cover songs. We also try to evoke that 70’s vibe,” he added.
The sixties and seventies influence much of the music Mood Ring plays. The sounds of the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead live on through Mood Ring, who claim to perform just as many original songs as they do covers.
“Even our covers have our own original twist to them.” Pearsall added.
Mood Ring last performed at South Orange Performing Arts Center, but they enjoy playing a variety of settings.
“We play at block parties, private parties. We also love to jam at Hat City Kitchen and Highland Place. Those are two places responsible for helping bring back the Maplewood and South Orange music scene,” explained Gomberg.
Mood Ring’s first album was titled “One” and showcases their unbelievable talents. They are also currently in the middle of recording a demo, which will include four songs that they hope will demonstrate their range and versatility.
“The key to our success, and part of the reason why I believe we have been able to stay together and work virtually drama free is that we all get along very well. We write songs by starting with lyrics or chords, and then let everyone add their part," stated Gomberg.
That is not easy to do when you have six artists with totally different styles.
"It is important to start at a foundation, and then let everyone creatively collaborate. That is the definition of writing music together. Listening to everybody is important. We let our skills and diversity compliment each other,” Knight explained.
"Llistening is key", emphasized Tyler, hoping to highlight the importance of working together to create something special.
"We all have been around the block, so it is nice to find a group of people who get it, and just want to jam,” Stern added.
Mood Ring is blast from the past, and in a great way. They treat their music with creativity and experimentation in an era where that is sometimes forgotten. In addition, Mood Ring demonstrates a diverse and eclectic blend of rock, jazz, blues and world music. Whatever the mood, they jam it!
You can also check out their peformance at SOPAC.