Fastest Land Animal
During the pandemic, what do you do to bide your time? Easy. Start a second band!!
"The act of writing a song can be daunting. You literally start with nothing and have to pull notes, lyrics, and a melody out of thin air and shape them into something that resembles a tune with a hook that people can hopefully sink their teeth into and get stuck in their heads."
KM: Hi John. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. You can check us out at www.trurockrevival.com and see what you’re getting yourself into here. We publish live online on the 5th of each month. You’ll be in our June publish with some pretty cool company in Rick Allen of Def Leppard, some other cool bands and a surprise interview. Let’s get this thing started.
JC: I'm ready.
KM: It looks like the pandemic wasn’t so bad to you. New York shuts down and you begin a side project, another band away from the Cringe, Fastest Land Animal (FLA). Was this something you had planned on doing before the pandemic?
JC: I had this idea for a side project called “Fastest Land Animal” for at least a year prior to the pandemic and even had a few songs written. Once I was in lockdown mode I found the time to finish writing the rest of the album.
KM: FLA’s sound is completely different from the Cringe, having more of an alt/punk sound. Was your intent from the get-go to create a sound that’s a sharp contrast to that of the Cringe?
JC: Indeed. I wanted to steer clear of the big arena rock sound that is inherent to the Cringe and focus on making a garage band/punk rock record with fast and loud songs. In fact, I enforced a rule that every song on the FLA album had to be at least 150 beats per minute.
KM: I think you nailed that! It's a fast moving record. On the song “Too Close to the Fire,” you’ve got a bit of a falsetto going. Was that a challenge for you?
JC: It’s not necessarily difficult for me to sing falsetto, but it is a bit challenging to sing the lower notes in my falsetto range loudly. We had to turn those vocal mics up nice and loud.
KM: You’re an attorney, producer, singer/songwriter, producer and actor. Which do you find to be the most challenging for you?
JC: Definitely songwriting. The act of writing a song can be daunting. You literally start with nothing and have to pull notes, lyrics, and a melody out of thin air and shape them into something that resembles a tune with a hook that people can hopefully sink their teeth into and get stuck in their heads.
KM: When did you decide to get out of the courtroom and into the recording room?
JC: I feel like I’ve always been in the recording room. Playing music has been front and center in my life for as long as I can remember.
KM: What did your colleagues think when you decided you’d had enough of law and wanted to venture into an industry that can be very fickle? Did they think you were nuts?
JC: I remember years back the band Blind Melon was auditioning lead singers. I was lucky enough to draw the band’s attention and actually record some music with them. As it turns out I didn’t end up getting the gig, but I got far enough along in the process that it was a very real possibility. My friends and colleagues were really supportive and rooting for me to go into music full time.
KM: Very cool. Blind Melon was a cool band. Too bad Shannon Hoon couldn't have been around longer to enjoy the success.
The Cringe has enjoyed success on its own and now FLA is picking up some steam as well. How are you finding the time to do both and keep up with your wife, Rachael?
JC: My wife has been nothing but supportive of all my musical endeavors so it comes down to calendar management, working a lot, and probably not sleeping as much as I should.
KM: Sleep? Who needs sleep! Alright, I have to ask this question. At home, who’s the better cook, you or Rachael?
JC: Is this a trick question?
KM: No tricks. Bring on the truth!
JC: I always tell Rachael that she “ruins” dining out for me because quite frankly, I’m going to get way better food at home.
KM: I don't doubt that. Does Rachael offer any input to your songwriting? She sang on your cover of “Right Back Where We Started From.” She’s got a bit of a Helen Reddy sound in her voice. Is she thinking about changing careers too?
JC: Indeed she does! She is quite the excellent lyricist and in fact contributed to some of the lyrics on the Fastest Land Animal record.
We also have been able to perform a few songs together on her TV show this past season.
KM: Is she going to have credit in the liner notes for her lyric contributions?
JC: All songs written by Fastest Land Animal.
KM: Going back to FLA, how long did it take to write and record the 9 songs that are featured on the album?
JC: We were originally going to make an EP but after about 3 months of songwriting, I had enough material to make a full length album. Once the songs were written, the entire recording process – which we did remotely from our home studios – took maybe 2 months or so.
KM: What’s the plan for the band (FLA) now that live shows are starting to make their way back to the mainstream?
JC: The plan is to take this show on the road and to a town near YOU!
KM: Bring it South Florida. Venues are finally scheduling shows again. Maybe a Cringe / FLA tour?
JC: I was planning on focusing on FLA for the time being. That being said, I like your idea for a combo tour!
KM: It would just be a quick outfit change and a change in tuning. Bam! Besides Maxine Nightingale’s “Right Back…,” let’s hear another cover you’d like to do that is on the completely other side of the spectrum.
JC: I’d like to get down with a punk rock version of “Ride Like The Wind” by Christopher Cross. A yacht rock classic!
KM: A punk rock version of a Christopher Cross song. Chris would probably cringe (no pun intended by the way). Any plans to do some more acting?
JC: I’ll leave the acting to the professionals.
KM: Ha! You held your own. We’ll keep an eye out for FLA and/or The Cringe to make some South Florida appearances. Good luck with everything and stay safe!
JC: Thanks so much for reaching out and including us and hope to see you in a music venue down in South Florida soon!
KM: We'll definitely keep an eye out for you.
For further information about John and Fastest Land Animal, check them out on
Kreig Marks, Founder/Publisher, TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.