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51 Shortfalls, a better part of me

The band "51 Shortfalls" came together in 2009 with Jonathan Rusk on lead vocals and guitar, Kenny Parker on guitar and drums and Sean Yebba on bass. They rang their first chords together in an old brick building in Charlestown, Massachusetts alongside the Mystic River.

51 Shortfalls
Provided by the band.
51 Shortfalls Band
Provided by the band.

Their sound is an alternative rock and pop punk fueled with diverse influences such as Green Day, Karnivool, 311, and Hot Water Music which have helped shaped the bands unique sound. Their lyrics paint a picture of triumph over adversity, tell the story of the voiceless and shine light on hope in the darkest of situations.

51 Shortfalls present dynamic songs delivered with conviction and heart that only real world experience can render. Their new album “The Age of Empty Hearts," voices the tribulations of life and the journey taken to overcome and accept them.

Their songs have melodic hooks along with layers of thick chords, potent bass lines surrounded with cleverly painted beats.

At this moment, the band is currently writing new material and producing a video. They will be touring the New England area this summer, and also launching their own record label.

Examiner sat down with Sean Yebba, bass player for 51 Shortfalls.

Examiner: You have a unique sound. How did you guys get together?

Yebba: "51 Shortfalls was started when Jon Rusk met guitarist Kenny Parker through a fellow musician. Rusk was looking for a guitarist for another project he had started about a year before. They spent about a month at the Charlestown Studios jamming. The music that started pouring out of the old brick room was a very different feel than the project at the time and instead of catering to the present we felt like a fresh start was in order. They decided to find other musicians for our new sound.

Not even a week later, they got in touch with our drummer “B” (Parker) who played with Kenny in his last band. “B” lived in Malden and had his own practice space at his apartment so we moved from the Bean, to the semi-mean streets of Malden MA. Sean (B’s twin) also lived at the new practice space and was the natural choice for our newest member.

We deemed our new home/secret venue/rehearsal space “the outlet” on account of all we get off our backs there, it helps keep our sanity. The Boston music community is not as huge as you’d expect for such a big city. It’s a tight group of musicians and music lovers that all play shows together. We had all crossed paths at shows, which reinforced our bond quickly. We set out to bring that feeling of community along with us in our music."

Examiner: Any original recordings?

Yebba: "Yes, we are an original band with all original recordings. You might find a few videos of us doing covers of Robert Teppers “No Easy Way Out” or Rod Stewarts “Forever Young”. You can find all our music on our bandcamp page.

We started pre production on our own about two months before we left [for the studio] in Florida. Yebba (Sean) has a do it yourself recording set up that was much better than the [microphone in the middle of the room technique] we were used to. We recorded, re-recorded, re-re-recorded, and we wrote, re-wrote, and re-re-wrote fifteen songs till we thought they were awesome. Then we re-wrote them again! Once we got to Florida we picked ten and got down to business. Matt LaPlant, our producer, started recording new demos of the songs with us and the process began again. After everything, it took us seven months writing rough songs, two months in our studio doing pre-production 4-5 days a week, along with a few all-nighters, and a month in Bieler Bros. Studios pre-producing, engineering, and recording the album, 6-7 days a week, 10hrs a day.

We released “The Age of Empty Hearts” in the summer of 2013. It is available for download at our bandcamp page."

Examiner: What advice would you give other artists looking to impact their community as strongly as you do?

Yebba: "Do things for your community! We volunteer everywhere, and any time we can. There are walks, marches, benefits you could do, every area has them so donate your time, play for them, promote for them, people will see you and your cause will be stronger. Some benefits we try and do annually like: The Walk for Hunger, Walk for Cerebral Palsy, Autism Speaks Benefit, any and all Community Day’s, the list goes on… The point is you have to give to your community if you want it to be there for you. Take part in community causes and they will take you with them."

Examiner: You were nominated for a music award?

Yebba: "A while back ago we were involved in a contest for radio station WTYT960s hottest band. The competition was fierce but we came out on top. We will say that we actually became really close with one of the bands we were competing against. Eventually, we would trade shows with the band “Yellow Tie Guy” who are based out of Maryland."

Examiner: How did you wind up in the music business?

Yebba: "That’s a good question. As kids we all dreamed about becoming rock stars and being on stage, playing instruments and singing. We certainly have to work a 9-5 job in order to get equipment and put gas in our cars to get to shows. Sean went back to school to become a medical assistant; Jon and Ken are full-time electricians, Bryan started working at Band Gig in Dedham, a new music retail store and school of performance. Ken and Bryan also help out at some events put on by Midday Records and Satellites Fall."

51 Shortfalls song: "A Better Part of Me" is available on itunes.

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