Sounds of Buffalo: The Andrew J. Reimers Country-Punk Extravaganza!

List your band members and the instruments that they play. 
Andrew J. Reimers: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Katie Panfil: Vocals, Fiddle, Mandolin
Josh Mullin: Drums, Vocals
Eric Rovner: Electric Guitar
James Warren: Bass Guitar
What is the name of your group?
Long version – The Andrew J. Reimers Country-Punk Extravaganza!
Short version – The CPX
How did the name of the band come about? When did it form?
Andrew: The band came together through a Tuesday Night groove that took place at the now defunct Jack Devine’s on Chippewa in late 2010. I was a solo act, met a ton of great new friends and went through about 23 different members before solidifying the lineup we have now.  
As far as the name goes, our friend Megan Callahan used it to describe our sound in the early stages of the band and it just sort of stuck. Somehow, we made it work. 
Where are you from originally?
Andrew: We’re from all across the WNY area, now based in the City of Buffalo.
Is your family musical?
Andrew: My mom has a great singing voice, and her love of singing definitely rubbed off on me. My grandmother played piano but nothing too formal in my family’s musical background.
Eric: My sister played the cello in middle school, and hearing the absolutely beautiful sounds of her struggling to get through hot cross buns really motivated me to learn an instrument.
Andrew: Katie is a member of Buffalo bluegrass royalty. She’s from the legendary Panfil family.

When and why did you start playing?

Andrew: I’ve been singing almost my whole life, my first performance being when I was four years old in my pre-school graduation. Singing was such a normal thing for me since I was little, but I decided to add guitar to my arsenal later in life. I was around 21 or 22 when I started playing and writing my own songs. I’ve just always loved performing for people.
Eric:  My dad played guitar and his guitar was always under my bed growing up.  I never really thought about playing it until I went to one of my first concerts.  It was my favorite band of the time, 311, and they played at the Funhouse.  I still remember the song they opened with “omaha stylee” that came in with a huge guitar riff.  It blew my mind.  I knew then that I wanted to do that too.  The next day I stayed home from school and started playing around on the guitar.  Then I saw the Stevie Ray Vaughan live from Austin City Limits VHS and it was over for me.  Seeing him play really made me want to become a better player.  I think I watched that tape so much that it is now unplayable.
What was the first tune that you remember “really” playing well, when you knew that you would be a musician?
Eric:  I still don’t think I can play ANY tune well,  let alone “really” well…

Describe your first instrument. 

Eric:  I played trumpet in middle school, but stopped when I got braces because it hurt way too much.  So a little bit after that I switched to guitar.  Thank god I did.  I might still be a virgin if I played the trumpet.  Oh wait I AM a virgin.
Are you schooled in music? 
Andrew: Just from years of listening to and watching other musicians.
Eric:  Yes just a bit from middle school.  I’ve had so many coors lights throughout my days that I forgot it all though.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
Andrew: Anyone who can withstand the test of time. There are a lot of bands that have one or two great records and that’s it, but look at Willie Nelson. The dude seriously turned 80 last month and just put out another great record. It’s unreal. 
Eric:  I admire anyone who excels at what they do.  When I was younger I was just into the flashiest / fastest guitarists I could find.  Lately I seem to enjoy a well written song more than anything.

Where is your favorite place to play/sing in Buffalo?
Andrew: Nietzsche’s is always fun, and I definitely miss Mohawk Place but my favorite place to play would have to be Sportsmen’s Tavern. 
Where would you most like to play in Buffalo?
Andrew: Town Ballroom seems like it would be a good time, and a Harbor show probably wouldn’t suck either. I think the promoters of those venues hate us though. Or we just don’t fit with any of the bands they bring in, but we’ve never been asked.  Who knows?
How would you describe your music style? Influences?
Andrew: Our band name is pretty descriptive so I guess we’re “Country-Punk”. A little bit of Country, a little bit of punk, and not enough of either for anyone to hate it too much. We’re like a love child of Hank Williams and The Misfits. That’s probably the most sense I can make of it. 
Eric:  It really is tough to describe… Everyone in this band comes from a different musical background and musical taste.  But I think thats where part of the magic comes from.  I have played in tons of different types of bands.  Two of my favorite bands to listen to lately are The Deftones and Winger
.  I went to a winger concert one time and woke up the next day with all my clothes still on.  Thats how much I like Winger.
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How often and for how long do you practice?

Andrew: Looking at my records over the past couple of years, we practice an average of 1.2 times per week, for about 2.8 hours per session. 
Eric: Wonderful extrapolation of raw data Andrew,  However my records indicate that while we are at practice for roughly 2.8 hours, we only actually practice for 22 minutes.
Where do you practice?
Andrew: In a beautiful palace located at 1689 Main St. I heard Rick James did a lot of drugs there. 
Eric: I heard the CPX did a lot of drugs there.
Andrew: I deny those rumors. 

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Do you play/sing covers?
Andrew: We try to stick to mostly original songs for our shows, with the exception of the random 4 hour gigs we book once in awhile. Cover bands seem to get paid more, but we take great pride in our ability to write and arrange our own songs.  
Do you play/sing original music? If so, who writes the music and the lyrics?
Andrew: Yes, we play and sing original music. Katie and I both write lyrics and a basic foundation for a song then the rest of the band collectively brings it to life.

If you could play/sing for one famous person, who would that be?
Andrew: Bo Jackson. I want to be the musical equivalent of his awesomeness in Tecmo Super Bowl. You just couldn’t catch the guy. “Bo knows” everything else, why not Country-Punk?
Eric: We play for famous people all the time already.  I mean, we ARE the CPX.
What are your strengths?
Andrew: Well according to the Artvoice Best of Buffalo awards, we have (at worst) the 5th best male and female vocalist in Buffalo in this band. Killer guitar too.
Eric:  Andrew and Katie and the beautiful songs that they write.  And I think our unsung hero is James Warren, one of my top 3 favorite bass players in our band for sure.
Andrew: Also, having a band member with boobs is never a bad thing. We’re all pretty good looking though.
What are your weaknesses?
Andrew: Being a country-punk band in Buffalo. And whiskey. 
Eric:  Being a country-punk band in Buffalo. And whiskey. And Bullets.

Do you have a label? A recording studio? Have you recorded a CD?
Andrew: We independently released our debut album in 2012 titled “Wide Right Blues”, and we have a live DVD that will be released sometime this summer. Labels can’t pick up what we’re putting down. They don’t smell what we’re cooking. But it smells delightful. Dummies. 
Eric:  I have a little recording studio at my house that I primarily use to remix Lady Gaga songs into dubstep covers.  One time, to get a good dubstep noise, I literally put a microphone next to the vacuum cleaner and turned it on.  You’ll hear it soon, its life-changing.

Where and when is your next gig?
Andrew: We will be opening for Linda McRae at Sportsmen’s Tavern on May 31st
Eric: We’ll be all over the city this summer, we’re especially looking forward to playing Larkin Square again this year. That one’s 8/14.


Anything else?
Andrew: We are a Country-Punk band in Buffalo, so while we take our music very seriously, you can probably tell from this interview that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. You don’t have to love country or love punk to find something in our band to enjoy. I believe it’s very apparent how much we enjoy playing music on stage and if nothing else, we can promise you a fun show every time. As long as you like music, we can make you dance. 
Eric:  We all have full time jobs and are really busy, but we love playing music and seeing everyone out and having a good time.  Playing in a band is really more work than reward (I can’t even count how many times I have carried guitar amps into my house at 4:30 am in the freezing cold and snow with empty pockets) but I would not change a thing.  Well maybe I would like to be famous and rich.  OK so exactly the opposite then.  Nevermind. xoxo
Twitter: @ajrcountrypunk

All live band photos are by: Josh Underscore Mastroianni

Album cover art by: Josh Mullin

See more Sounds of Buffalo: Free Henry!Mari McNeilDavey OTheresa QuinnJim BohmChae HawkNikki Hicks,FlatbedWhiskey ReverbDjambossaWhat would Mingus do?Prime ExampleWill Holton, Genkin Philharmonic

If you play in a group/band (or solo) here in Buffalo, and have an upcoming gig at a venue(s) in the city, consider sending Buffalo Rising an email requesting to be emailed a Q&A interview that we can then post, along with concert dates. It’s a fun and easy way to get your name in front of another audience that is interested in learning about the local music scene. 

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About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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