Karmic Juggernaut

University Alumni Rocks With Karmic Juggernaut

Local psychedelic progressive rock band Karmic Juggernaut tore up The Press Room in Asbury Park during their show last Friday night. The three-man band rocked so hard that the audience was left slack-jawed and mind-blown.

Karmic Juggernaut (K-Juggs for short) is a heavy rock group whose music mixes forms of funk, blues, metal, and classic rock to form an exceptional band. This sound would be comparable if you had Rush, Umphrey’s McGee, and Primus morphed into one fantastic super group. Their style is truly original and refreshing.

As the band took the stage, the bar had an overwhelming smell of beer and urine. People began to crowd the band with the first squeal of the guitar. Without hesitation, the band unleashed a dark, technical, groovy jam.

Hours before the show the guys sat in their studio called “The Hangar,” and discussed the history and future of Karmic Juggernaut. The band is made up of Kevin Grossman (drums), Randy Preston (guitar/bass/vocals), and University alumni, James McCaffrey (guitar/bass/vocals).

All three members attended Wall High School, and in 2004, they formed the band to try out for a battle of the bands. The first time they played together during the audition, “We just went into the audition and jammed…it was cool,” Grossman said.

After winning the battle of the bands, K-juggs created their first demo. “We made a sick demo and sold it to everyone in the high school,” Grossman said. That recording ended up getting the band their first gig at the Stone Pony.

The Stone Pony really enjoyed having the band play and began to hire them regularly. “We started doing gigs there. I think that year alone we did like 10 or 15 shows. We also played New Years that year,” McCaffrey recalled.

As the band got older, keeping in touch with their audience was not as easy as it use to be. “Once we got out of high school, it was a lot harder to like tell everybody. It was just as easy as walking around the hallway being like ‘show tonight, eight o’clock. Show tonight, eight o’clock.’ It’s not the same anymore,” Grossman explained.

Preston positively replied, “I would say that the crowd has gotten bigger than it was back then.”

“Well, they are better now cause it’s like, people are actually coming out because they really want to come out,” Grossman agreed.

Inevitably, the band has had their issues. “We’ve been through three bass players,” McCaffrey said. Up until the last three months, the band had been playing with a new bassist. He left the band suddenly without explanation.

“He won’t be getting a Christmas card from me,” Grossman joked.

While searching for a new bassist, McCaffrey and Preston switch playing guitar and bass on different songs during live shows and do so with ease.

After about eight years of playing together, they have never officially broken up. The crew even played together while attending different colleges. “Randy was in Boston, Kevin was in Hartford, and I was down here [at Monmouth], and still throughout it all we were still doing stuff. When the summer came especially,” McCaffrey explained.

The name Karmic Juggernaut also has never been changed, and Preston jokingly explained its meaning. He said, “The name didn’t make much sense at first. It was just kind of like, oh, it sounds cool but as time went on it was like, oh…we can make this make sense if you look at it this way, you know. It’s like half of our music is karma and the other half is juggernaut and it meets somewhere between.”

“Karm-Juggers bro,” McCaffrey and Grossman chimed in, laughing and repeating the phrase in a spaced out tone.

Listeners and lovers of K-Juggs waited anxiously for their newest EP, that was released in early January. On the EP, there are four songs, many of which were recorded in Ron Frangipane’s, associate professor of Music and Theatre Arts, own recording studio.

One of the song entitled, “Oo Whaa Hoo” was recorded and taped using only solar electricity in various spots in New Jersey. A music video for that song will be released within the next few weeks and can be found on their website, KarmicJuggernaut.com.

Other songs on the EP such as “Guacamole Genie” were performed at the Press Room. McCaffrey and Preston’s timing while playing was completely spot on as their fingers swept all over the fret boards. Grossman bashed on his red marble drum set and head-banged his long brown hair in beat matching fury.

The bands intensity was contagious. Not a member in the audience sat still.

“They’re incredible,” senior Colton Kayser said, “There are no better musicians out there. My jaw hits the ground every time I see them.”

Kitty Moon, a junior at the University could not agree more. She said, “Karmic is the greatest display of musicianship I’ve ever seen. And holy crap, do they put on a live show!”

The band has a few shows planned for the future including the festival, Some Kind of Jam Seven in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania on April 28. The band also hopes to play in Keyport sometime in March. Updates on upcoming shows will be listed on their website.

Senior Ryan Bernero cannot wait to see the band perform again. He said, “Karmic is where music should be going. Their band is most definitely going somewhere. They have the ability to engulf the audience in their sound, sending the mind to a different planet known as Karmic Juggernaut. People need to know about K-Juggs.”