Somewhere there’s an airline employee whose car bumper is covered in job-related stickers –– mostly inside jokes. One such tag on this airliner’s auto caught the eye of North Richland Hills musician Josh Reed as he sat in traffic on his own way to work: “Jet Noise: The Sound of Freedom.” A light went off, and suddenly Reed knew he’d found the name of his new band, a power-popish, U2-inspired trio now called Josh & The Jet Noise. The group, whose members describe themselves as “NRH’s third most OK band,” is about to release its debut album, a seven-song frolic of hook-heavy, affectation-free rock ’n’ roll called Alright.
Freedom is a theme that Reed, who plays guitar, sings, and is the band’s principal songwriter, touched on several times as I sat with him, drummer Chris Grucza, and bassist Matt Thomas at a local coffee shop.
“That is, bar none, one of my favorite things about the three of us,” Reed said. “I can bring in anything, and we’ll see what works. We’re not, like, ‘Well, it has to be a specific sound.’ If we find something we like and it works really well, we do it. And that’s been so cool.”
The three went into Cloudland Recording Studio to record Alright over two days last September. Mean Motor Scooter bassist – and band supporter – Joe Tacke ran the sessions, engineering, mixing, and producing the effort. Tacke’s cohort in MMS, organist Rebekah Elizabeth (I Happy Am), offered some keyboards on a couple of tracks, such as crowd favorite “Deadly Affair,” and she even contributed the buzz of a kazoo on the whimsical “Slam Bang Theater.”
The Jet Noise rose out of the ashes of The Confounded. In June 2017, Reed and Thomas found themselves with another drummer having quit (a common occurrence in that band, according to them) and their lead guitarist planning on moving away. Reed knew he wanted to continue to play with Thomas in some form, and he used the breakup as an opportunity to branch out from the more “straightforward rock” sound of The Confounded. Reed began writing new material largely inspired by his love for ’80s New Wave.
Grucza, a California transplant, came along about six months later after he was randomly introduced to Reed in an unlikely location. Independently, the two use the same chiropractor. One day, the pair sat in the waiting room at the same time. The doctor, knowing them both, played impromptu musical matchmaker.
Grucza remembers the encounter clearly: The doctor “came into the room and was just like, ‘Josh, I know you’re looking for a drummer, and Chris plays drums. You two should talk,’ and walked away, so after he left, we kind of awkwardly looked at each other like, ‘’Sup?’ ”
Though together only a short time, the Jet Noise dudes are anything but the stereotype of starry-eyed rookies. Each has one leering eye on the fast-approaching age of 40. Like most guys their age, they’re domesticated – two are fathers, and they’re all well invested in their careers. But these aren’t simple weekend warriors looking to relive their glory days. They possess all the genuine zeal and enthusiasm for their music as their younger counterparts, but that energy is balanced with a responsible sense of maturity and a calculated methodology, something the three said they hope has allowed them to be welcomed among their newfound peers.
“Every band we’ve come across, in this journey, whether they’re our age or maybe younger bands, have been absolutely awesome,” Grucza said.
Josh & The Jet Noise debut Alright with a release show at Lola’s Saloon this Saturday with Mean Motor Scooter, Prof. Fuzz ’63, and Bruce Magnus