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Let’s face it: rock bands are not known for their longevity. Many implode on themselves within only a few years and it can be due to any number of reasons: Sometimes it’s infighting. Sometimes it’s drugs. Sometimes the singer finds his girl in bed with the drummer. Or sometimes it’s just plain ol’ lack of talent. (okay, okay- it’s more often than “sometimes” on that one) So for Pawnshop Roses, now considered a Philadelphia and Local Shots institution, these guys are beyond thrilled to still be providing the soundtrack to their city for twenty years now. So what’s their secret?
Paul Keen [lead vocals/guitar] and Kevin Bentley [guitars/ backing vocals] are the foundation of Pawnshop Roses – a foundation built on respect, brotherhood, and a motto that the best idea always wins, no matter whose it is. Keen describes it as a democracy, “we won’t always agree, but we’re all on the same team.” Pawnshop Roses have had inevitable lineup changes throughout the decades, but Keen likens it to the work of an expert chef: “They always tweak ingredients and refine the recipe until it’s perfect.” The elements that really bring this dish together are Zil Fessler [drums/percussion], Jason Jonik [lead guitars/backing vocals], and Jude Alvarez [bass/keys/backing vocals].
Some accomplishments the band has enjoyed include winning “Best Live Band” as part of a very early YouTube contest which ultimately led to a live performance on Good Morning America. On the early morning of the show they decided to play a crowd favorite called “Get’s So Hard” and ultimately created a real-life Beavis and Butthead moment as Diane Sawyer introduced the title of the song. Their music on television programs didn’t stop there though. The Roses also had a song cherry picked for the MTV show “Real World – Philadelphia.”
These days the boys pride themselves on continually providing the world with an honest and true product. They aren’t middle-aged men trying to be twenty something rock stars. They aren’t mimicking the latest rock trends and sounds. Nothing showcases this more than their latest EP release entitled “Not That Proud” which features four songs of good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n roll.