Citing classic rock, punk and soul as primary band influences, guitarist Brent Övar Bergholm believes The Battery Electric is atypical of the current scene in Asbury Park, N.J. At the same time, he’s hard pressed to think of another Asbury Park act “that really punches you in the face.”
And while a hard-hitting sound has helped The Battery Electric to stand out among its peers, Bergholm (at left) says he’s never felt out of place on a hometown bill.
“I’ve always had fun playing whatever kind of show,” he adds. “I think we interact with the audience really well because in the end, we’re not stuck-up, we’re not snobs and we’re not douchebaggy. We want everybody to have fun, and it doesn’t matter what you look like or what kind of music you listen to. All we really care about is people having a good time — that’s it.”
The Battery Electric has been having a good time since forming in 2012. After finishing a tour of Taiwan with his progressive rock band Hsu-nami, Bergholm says he found himself “sitting on my ass, wanting to do something,” so he decided to put together a more straight-up rock ’n’ roll band.
Ron Santee, a longtime Bergholm friend who had played with the Jersey Shore-based reggae band Predator Dub Assassins, was recruited to be the singer and drummer. Alex Rosen, whom Bergholm met years before at a Quiznos shop, where they worked during their respective breaks from college, became the bassist.
Joining forces with Asbury Park’s fledgling Little Dickman Records in early 2013, The Battery Electric released a digital version of its debut album, Weaving Spiders, that March, followed by a vinyl edition in late spring.
From the start, Bergholm says, “there was this cool allure” to The Battery Electric: “A singing drummer in a powerful rock ’n’ roll band; it’s not really a common thing.” But as time went on, people would suggest to him that Santee really should be a frontman, so the group reconsidered its drummer situation.
‘We were like Spinal Tap with drummers’
The Battery Electric subsequently played shows with Santee and Hsu-nami veteran John Manna splitting time behind the kit. Then Manna became the band’s exclusive concert drummer for a while.
The core trio was back at square one when Manna departed following The Battery Electric’s trip to Austin, Texas, in March 2014 for the South by Southwest music conference and festival. “After that, we were like Spinal Tap with drummers,” Bergholm says with a laugh. “We had a fill-in for every show we played. It was ridiculous.” The absurdity ended with the addition of Kevin Troeller this past summer.
Months before Troeller joined, the Bergholm/Santee/Rosen lineup recorded the second Battery Electric album for Little Dickman, The Heart and the Thrill, which the band celebrated with a hometown record-release show in late February at Asbury Lanes.
Working again with Bouncing Souls guitarist Pete Steinkopf as producer, Bergholm says his band’s goal this time around was to make “a grittier record. I feel like this album is a little less polished; there’s a little more buzz.”
Bergholm is already looking forward to the next Battery Electric release, and he says it will feature the current four-piece lineup.
“We’re doing an EP very soon, within the next two or three months,” says Bergholm. “We have seven songs, and it will be more of a punk-rock, garage-influenced CD.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Above photo of Brent Övar Bergholm by Chris M. Junior