Schwartz-bound Love Seed Mama Jump celebrates 25 years

Delaware's own Love Seed Mama Jump, which is marking its 25th year this summer, performs at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover Saturday night at 7:30. (Submitted photo)

Delaware’s own Love Seed Mama Jump, which is marking its 25th year this summer, performs at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover Saturday night at 7:30. (Submitted photo)

Rick Arzt jokes that if he knew Love Seed Mama Jump was going to be around for 25 years, they would have come up with a better name.

“We were sitting around one day and our guitarist Will (Stack) blurted it out and we all thought it was funny. It was literally a one-minute conversation,” said Mr. Arzt, the group’s lead singer.

“People always ask ‘What’s the origin of the name?’ They assume there is some deep meaning to it. But I wish there was. I would have a better story to tell.”

Formed in 1991 by six Cape Henlopen High School grads just looking to have some fun over the summer, the quirky, high-energy pop-rock band has gone on to become a Delaware music staple, providing the seaside soundtrack for what is now a quarter of a century.

“That’s just crazy to think about,” Mr. Arzt said earlier this week.

“I guess it’s true. Time does fly when you’re having fun.”

The official party marking 25 years will come July 30 at The Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach, where Love Seed has been a Thursday night summer staple. But Kent Countians can catch them Saturday night at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts.

Looking back over the 25 years, Mr. Arzt says much has changed.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“Dewey really wasn’t the place where a lot of bands played. You had the Bottle & Cork but they mostly had the same bands over and over again from New Jersey,” he recalled.

“So we played at places like Arena’s and Sydney’s. Then in July of that first year we played the Rudder deck and that’s when things started to take off,” he said.

“We took that back to the University of Delaware in the fall and played The Stone Balloon and a bunch of frat houses and it went from there.”

The group’s first album, “Drunk at The Stone Balloon,” released in 1994, was recorded at the storied former Newark nightspot.

Another thing that has changed in the past two-and-a-half decades is the rise of social media. When Love Seed started out, there was no Facebook or Twitter. So it was word of mouth that got them recognized.

“‘Drunk at the Stone Balloon’ and a couple of our other albums went on to sell a couple hundred thousand copies for a good six, seven, eight years just from people hearing about us and coming to our shows. It was a different world in those early days. People would burn the CDs onto a cassette,” he said.

Through the years, Love Seed achieved regional and also some national success for their live shows and albums, having had a couple of record deals.

Touring from Vermont to Georgia used to be part of the band’s itinerary before some of the guys got married and started raising families. The band is still a regular part of the entertainment at Washington Redskins home games and still performs from Virginia to Pennsylvania.

But for Sussex County beachgoers, it’s those Thursday night sessions on The Rusty Rudder deck that has made the group legendary in these parts, with the place jammed and the band’s music drifting out far across the bay.

Mr. Arzt still remembers that first agreement the group had with the venue.

“(Rudder founder) Jay Prettyman paid us 75 bucks each, plus all the beer and Jagermeister we could drink,” he said with a laugh.

Four of the original members are still with the group. Along with Mr. Arzt, there is bassist Pete Wiedmann, guitarist Brian Gore and drummer Paul Voshell.

Rhythm guitarist Mike Curry and percussionist Tim Kelly are the “new guys,” having been with the band for about eight years.

In an age when bands break up due to all sorts of reasons, 25 years with most of the same guys is quite an accomplishment. And it’s not lost on Mr. Arzt.

“We’ve been friends for a long time and we love making music together. We’re also incredibly grateful that a crowd still enjoys watching us play,” he said.

Highly influenced by alternative rock groups such as Camper Van Beethoven and Violent Femmes, it’s that tongue in cheek take that Love Seed has on its music and also themselves that Mr. Arzt thinks is part of the reason why folks keep coming back.

“All we’re trying to do is have a good time when we’re on stage and I think it’s that camaraderie between us and also the audience that is a huge factor,” he said.

Mr. Arzt says fans now plan their vacations around summer shows or come up and tell them that, now married, they met each other at a Love Seed show.

And most shockingly to Mr. Arzt, children of former fans are now starting to show up at gigs.

“That’s pretty trippy. We used to get my ‘My older sister used to come see you’ and now ‘It’s my mom digs you guys.’ We’re getting a full-on family thing now. But it’s all very gratifying,” he said.

Saturday night’s show at the Schwartz may be unlike any show that folks have seen by Love Seed in that it will be in a theater setting.

“We’ve done theater shows before and they are fun. They are different. It’s nice that people can bring their kids if they want and people can have a drink but drinking isn’t the central theme of the night,” he said.

“These kind of shows allow us to play a few more of our originals.”

But never fear, staples like their punked-out version of John Denver’s “Country Roads” is perennially on the playlist.

“I think we’d be murdered if we didn’t do that one,” he joked.

Saturday night’s date has a family connection as Mr. Arzt’s mother Sydney is the theater’s executive director.

“They brought her in to revitalize the Schwartz and she’s brought in so many different types of acts — Latin, blues, jazz. She’s also done some rock shows and I guess we fit the bill. We’re Delaware boys playing in a Delaware theater,” he said.

“It’s hard to say ‘No’ to Mom.”

Tickets for the 7:30 show are $14-$20 and can be purchased by calling 678-5152, visiting schwartzcenter.com or stopping by the box office at 226 S. State St.

So is there another 25 years in store for Love Seed Mama Jump?

“That’s a good question,” Mr. Arzt said.

“We still enjoy what we do. So as long as people want to continue to come see us, we’ll keep playing for them. We don’t take it for granted but so far, so good.”

Songwriters at Schwartz

It’s a big weekend at the Schwartz. Tonight sees Smyrna singer-songwriter Sol Knopf welcome a quartet of national musicians to the stage in his “Songwriters and Storytellers” show.

Sol Knopf

Sol Knopf

Along with Mr. Knopf, the night will feature Nashville Music Hall of Fame songwriters Tony Arata (“The Dance”-

Garth Brooks) and Thom Schuyler (“Love Will Turn You Around”-Kenny Rogers) along with hit writer Craig Bickhardt and million record-selling recording artist Cassidy Catanzaro.

During the show, which starts at 7:30, each writer sing their biggest hits, and share the stories behind each song.

Tickets are $28-$22 and can be purchased by calling 678-5152, visiting schwartzcenter.com or stopping by the box office at 226 S. State St.

Kramer on track

Word came Thursday morning that rising country music artist and actress Jana Kramer will perform a free concert at Dover International Speedway’s Victory Plaza prior to the AAA 400 Drive for Autism NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15.

Ms. Kramer’s show will begin at 10 a.m. Her most recent album “Thirty One” came out in 2015 and features the hit “I Got the Boy” and latest single “Said No One Ever.”

Her self-titled debut album was released in 2012 and included the popular track “Why Ya Wanna.”

Country music singer and actress Jana Kramer will perform a free concert prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 6. (Submitted photo)

Country music singer and actress Jana Kramer will perform a free concert prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 6. (Submitted photo)

Ms. Kramer, 32, first hit the spotlight as a cast member on The CW’s drama “One Tree Hill,” where she played actress Alex Dupree. She also has appeared on HBO’s “Entourage” and NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”

A Rochester Hills, Michigan, native, Ms. Kramer has opened for country music superstar Blake Shelton, was nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year in 2015 and won the ACM Top New Female Artist honor in 2013.

She also appeared at last year’s Big Barrel Country Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.

Also in Victory Plaza, on Saturday, May 14, country music artists Sam Grow and Tom Dixon will appear for free concerts prior to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash race.

Mr. Grow, recently named one of the “Top 20 Country Artists to Watch in 2016 by the Huffington Post, is a Maryland native. His show will begin around 11 a.m.

His recent single “Is It You,” has received significant airplay across the country.

Opening for Mr. Grow will be Tom Dixon, a Nashville recording artist.

His performance will begin around 9 a.m. and he also will sing the national anthem prior to the NASCAR XFINITY race.

For tickets or more information, call (800) 441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.

Now showing

New this week in theaters is the faith-based sequel “God’s Not Dead 2” and Mike Epps in the comedy “Meet the Blacks” and the Sally Field comedy-drama “Hello, My Name is Doris.”

On DVD and download Tuesday is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.