Forever Night is the latest album from Night Shop, the songwriting project of drummer Justin Sullivan and his first full length album on Dangerbird Records. Justin sat down with Rock the Joint Magazine to bring us up to date with the new album and tell us what we can look forward to.
The album was made in March 2021 in LA in the Valley, at an old studio called Valentines, that was a studio in the sixties and seventies that fell into disrepair. “Its been revitalised, and its a pretty cool room. March last year, it was still pretty difficult to get together in a room with people in March last year but we kind of made it happen. I finished it off in a place up in Burbank with Jarvis who co produced it .”
Like so many musicians, Justin had missed playing in a room with musicians again. A personal favourite is the stripped down, simplistic, “Midnight.” The lyrics about not leaving things unsaid and contemplating how we can miss out on life were poignant. In many respects, the commercial pop rocker “Forever Night” gets the album off at a pace, but is more radio pop than the emotionally charged “Midnight” or the interestingly titled “Slow dancing at the Wax Museum.” I raised this last number with Justin and he said: “I really like that one, its a free association over nostalgia, even if nostalgia can be unhelpful. It relates to what was happening at the time, about walking around alone a lot and what would come to me on those walks. I didn’t want to make a record about what was going on in 2020 necessarily, whatever came to me came to me. But this one was about isolation, and what goes in your head when isolated.”
The album does lyrically show how the genesis of “Night Shop” was found in stepping away from music for a time. “I lost a good friend and former bandmate under tragic, heart-breaking circumstances,” recalls Sullivan, “and I had been missing a lot of life events back home, which culminated in me having a panic attack in a tour van in Portugal. I needed to take myself off the road and tend to my mental health and relationships. I also had to accept that I might not tour again — that I might not be able to sustain that kind of life anymore.”
With Covid now starting to retreat, Justin is hopeful he will be back on the road again, “We will just keep plugging along, I am optimistic. Live music and being in a room with others is one of the last things to come back. ” In fact those of us in the UK can look forward to seeing Sullivan live with the popular punk band Flat Worms. They are to be found at the a great little venue called the Cluny in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on June 4th, for example.
In 2022 the year looks positive for this “lifer,” as Sullivan lives for music. His roots remain in drumming, as noted for Flat Worms, but he only plays drums on his own album on two tracks, “For a While” and “The End of Time.” The latter song reminded this writer of George Harrison solo, melodic and soulful as we search for Shangri-La.
I will be there for the UK tour, and I hope the album achieves the success it deserves.
Mark C Chambers (& Benny “the ball” Benson).