April 22, 2018

In an usual gesture, the artists are offering a free copy of their EP. Be sure to check them out:

Bitters and Distractions debut Black EP

If you are not familiar with Bitters and Distractions here’s the scoop:

Bitters and Distractions is a punk band right here from Long Island, and consists of Jeremy Quitko and Travis Johnides.

The lyrics of their songs are written by Jeremy, and they reference a time when he was traveling across country and eventually settled in Arvada, Colorado. While working in Arvada, he met another musician named Charles Jeffrey Fields.

He and Charlie formed the band We Glew. We Glew wrote and recorded music embracing the idea of living like a nomad, and they cleverly categorized their style as “Hobo Rock”. We Glew existed as an art project more than just a rock band, producing graphics, stickers and t-shirt designs even for more than just promoting music. He and Charlie eventually moved away from each other but continued to record music and make art long distance.

In 2005, Jeremy decided to focus on a career as a teacher and slowly he and Charlie lost touch besides random snail-mail communication back and forth that was more abstract then informative. By 2017, Jeremy had lost touch with Charlie despite numerous attempts to contact him. The absence of a dear friend inspired Jeremy to revisit lyrics he had written years ago and compose new ones about his missing friend.

When Jeremy sent the lyrics to Travis, Travis was inspired by the stories and quickly interpreted them into songs on the guitar. After years of touring the country with his former band, The Goodwill, which consisted of releasing albums nationwide and touring with and opening for bands such as My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, AFI, The All-American Rejects, fellow Long Islanders Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, and more, Travis started a band with his sister called We’re All Just Passing Through. After 6,000+ album downloads for this completely DIY brother/sister duo, coverage on television and in The New York Times, and more, he’s thrilled to be composing and making music with his friend, Jeremy, under the band name Bitters and Distractions.

Jeremy and Travis were kind enough to let this blog interview them:

UTR (Under the Radar): Please tell us the names of the band members and their musical roles.

Jeremy: Jeremy Quitko is the lyricist, and Travis Johnides is the composer.

UTR: How long has the band been around?

Jeremy: The band started as a simple idea between two friends in the summer of 2017. The idea was for Travis to add music to Jeremy’s lyrics.

UTR: Unlike bands I’ve been in, where there are matching names around the country, yours is brilliantly original. What’s the origin of the band name?

Jeremy: The band name comes from our song “We Were Once Waitstaff.” The exact line from the song is “create an army full of bitters and distractions.”

UTR: What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?

Jeremy: As a long time Hot Water Music fan, I find myself frequently listening to Chuck Ragan’s solo work which seems to have evolved right alongside where I am in my life now. My favorite lyrical song writers at the moment are Craig Finn(The Hold Steady), Ezra Furman, & Frank Turner, but have never lost hold of my love for Jawbreaker and Guns N’ Roses.

Travis: I find my taste in music to be quite eclectic. My favorite songwriters are Dave Pirner, John Prine, Laura Jane Grace, Conor Oberst, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Gram Parsons. I am currently drawing inspirations from all of them to form a sound I find unique to Bitters and Distractions.

UTR: If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?

Jeremy: A former version of myself would have loved to say Guns N’ Roses, for the stories of epic tours and concerts. Now in his life, he wants to play with bands that I can learn from and inspire me musically, like The Hold Steady.

Travis: I’d love to tour with Conor Oberst, whether it be solo Conor Oberst shows, Bright Eyes shows, Desaparecidos shows, Monsters of Folk shows, or Conor Oberst and the Mystical Valley Band shows. I’d love to get into Conor’s head and get a sense of how he goes about writing his songs. He has such a vast catalogue of amazing music, and he’s the same age as me.

UTR: Are you really offering a free copy of your EP – Black?

Jeremy: Yes, and to download a FREE copy of our debut EP Black, click here: https://tinyurl.com/yct27ulz

UTR: If someone wants to stay in touch with the band or learn more about Bitters and Distractions, what are the best ways?

Jeremy:Here are the best ways:

  • Our website: http://www.BittersAndDistractions.com
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bittersanddistractions
  • Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bittersdistract
  • Instagram http://www.instagram.com/bittersanddistractions

    Thanks guys and keep up the great music!

    Have a story or idea for Under the Radar, or want to get your band noticed?  Please contact me at the email below.