Calgary Beat: Julius Sumner Miller

Saturday 05th, August 2017 / 12:11
By Jackie Klapak

Julius Sumner Miller has made being the life of the party a science. 
Photo by Richard MacFarlane

CALGARY – Like a walking Pabst can, carrying balloons and giving out high-fives, Julius Sumner Miller is Calgary’s dream team party machine that’s been charming audiences across the city since 2013. Now set to release their second album Rock Around the Radius, the boisterous band founded by jokes, friendship, and the pursuit of the party has spent the past two years maturing their sound without maturing themselves.

“If you don’t like fun, you won’t like us. Simple as that,” states drummer John Byskal.  

From onstage, to the studio, and even Monday night jam sessions, the easy-going and amiable members remain unflinchingly positive. Aiming to make the most of every moment, the group displays an undying juvenile naivety and passion that’s easy to fall in love with.

Separating themselves from other acts in town, the boys go on to every stage with only one goal: to entertain.

“There’s a lot of bands that are good, but are boring to see live. We don’t want to be that. We want to be the opposite of that,” says newest addition and guitarist, Monty Montebon.

“And it’s not fake either,” adds powerhouse vocalist and local music staple, Darren Ollinger.

“It’s easy for us to get caught in the romance of the party we’re offering.”

With honest and ridiculous onstage chemistry, the atmosphere of any room can change to purely smiles and laughter within seconds of a JSM show.

Since the release of their debut, the band claims to have only gotten better and “more handsome.” Creating a solid sound, advancing songs structures, and adding “more crafty wordsmithing,” the growing confidence as a collective has elevated the live antics performed both on the stage and in the crowd during their live shows.

“We were always pretty awesome on stage,” boasts Ollinger, “But now there’s more confidence. It’s tighter and it flows better.”

After adding new fuel to the fire with a new guitarist, and becoming more structured and committed, the band decided it was time to release their second album. Claiming it to be “one of the best albums ever,” the forever young punks of JSM have every right to brag. With a fuller sound and style, the newest addition of songs presents a true sound replicating the image of their onstage carefree aire. Still keeping some classically punk timed songs, which play under a minute, the album entirely complements the skills of every individual. While creating songs dedicated to inside jokes, last Saturday’s crazy night, or something that literally just happened that needs to be immortalized, every member puts in a piece of comical creativity between beers to build a zany repertoire of fast paced, fun-punk tracks. Every miniature guitar solo, burst of double-kicks and blissful gang vocal chant builds a carnival of songs, all exciting and inviting listeners for another go around.

On track to release a new album yearly, the goal is to create something much like an auditory memory book; one where you can listen back and laugh at the drunken mistakes of the past year while continuing to create new ones.

Exclaims Byskal, “We’re just going to: tell funny jokes, be best friends, drink a lot, play cool shows, and make everyone think that’s the best band they’ve ever seen.”

Julius Sumner Miller releases Rock Around The Radius August 12 at Vern’s Pub (Calgary) for the second annual Weekend at Vernie’s event also featuring All Hands On Jane, Klusterfunk (YEG), and Hedks (YVR).

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