Five Percent back to 100 percent


February 19. 2013 11:37PM
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Drummer AJ Jump is one busy musician.


The 28-year-old Kingston resident is currently performing with King Radio, Gino Lispi and Abstract Peoples, and Underground Saints, among other groups, but he??ll never forget his formative years in The Five Percent.


Jump, who was playing with the Black Lung Brothers at the time, began as a substitute drummer for the popular Wilkes-Barre pop rock act during his freshman year of college when they were still a cover band, formed from members of The Collective and Six Second Yellow.


??I came home that summer and subbed a couple more gigs and I said, ??Man, I really want to be in this band. I really like this band. I??m all about this band.?? The next thing you know, they were like, ??We want you in the band.?? It started with me taking a semester off of school for some personal reasons, so I started playing with them a lot,? Jump recalled.


??I went back? (and) I tailored my schedule so I was able to play with them. ?Friday and Saturday I was playing with them constantly ?? driving, driving, driving. I was fine with it. It didn??t bother me. I??m 21, and I??m like, ??This is great. I??m doing what I love.???


As they started transitioning into the creation of original music, Jump left school to pursue the band more regularly, recording two of their overall four records with Matt Ralph on vocals/guitar, Neil Nicastro on guitar/backing vocals, and Brian Keating on bass.


??All the guys in the bands would agree that when it was the four of us and we were traveling all around the country, that was the focused unit. ?I like to say we played from Maine to Spain because clearly we played all over the country ?? California and Texas and Washington and Chicago ?? and it was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I??ll never forget it. I??ll take so much from that. I learned so much. I grew up so much because of it. It just really was amazing, those guys were such great guys to do it with, too. We were like a band of brothers, so to speak,? Jump enthused.


??When you??re in that van, when you??re driving straight down the pipeline from Kansas City to Colorado and you see those mountains just keep getting bigger and bigger ?? you have to just do it. We did that while the sun was coming up. I??ll never forget that, too.?


Each member had their own vision for the future of the band, however, particularly about whether or not they would be playing covers, and other line-ups were introduced after Jump departed, eventually dissipating in 2011.


??I still think that this band really could have worked it to another level. I do. I really do feel that, but things happen for a reason,? he noted.


About a year ago, Jump started an original entertainment showcase at the River Street Ale House, which eventually moved to Canteen 900 (900 Rutter Ave., Forty Fort), inspired by his experiences touring in other cities.


??There??s nothing mundane about this. It??s always different music; it??s always different artists. It??s always something different,? he described. ??That??s why I put these events on ?? I want to give people something cool to do because I??ve seen what??s out there, and that??s where I got all my ideas. I want to bring what I was exposed to here.?


It is fitting, then, that he would organize a Five Percent reunion at UnMundane on Dec. 28, which includes a dinner menu starting at 6:30 p.m. and is BYOB.


??I thought, ??This would be the perfect place to do the reunion,?? because it??s family-friendly; it??s an early show. People are older now ?? the parents could come, and they could bring their kids if they want. They can have something great to eat,? he said.


??We were never like a loud rock band. Neil always said this ?? we were the chick band. Girls came out to see us. The girls would come out to see us, so the guys would come out to see us.?


The highly anticipated reunion has not only brought back memories, but proven that old habits die hard.


??In true Five Percent fashion, the show is in one week and we haven??t even played a note. The singer e-mailed me and he??s like, ??Oh my God, I haven??t listened to some of these songs in forever! I??m relearning some of this stuff!?? Me too. I??ve been listening to the CDs all week, relearning it. A lot of it has been really nostalgic, too,? he expressed with a smile.


??The one record, ??Making Some Sense of Today,?? is kind of about all our experiences together. ?There??s a track about us partying and making bad decisions. Being on the road, sometimes you do some crazy stuff that you don??t want anybody to know about!?


They??re rehearsing only two days before the show, but the now experienced drummer isn??t worried, encouraged not only by his own fond memories, but by their fans?? recollections as well.


??It??ll be fine ?? it??s like riding a bike,? he insisted. ??A lot of people are really excited to come and hear these songs again. A lot of people really liked this band.?




UnMundane: The Percent Reunion: Dec. 28, 6:30 p.m., Canteen 900 (900 Rutter Ave., Forty Fort). Tickets sold day of event. Limited dinner menu and BYOB.





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