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Stacking The Deck with Jocelyn and Chris Arndt
Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Stacking The Deck is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where I bring packs of 1991 Pro Set Superstars MusiCards to artists, and we discuss who they find in each pack.

Armed with powerhouse vocals, and blistering guitar solos, the Cambridge, MA, sibling duo of Jocelyn and Chris Arndt have been embracing the ethos of classic rock from day one.

Now that they’ve placed a song, “Red Stops Traffic,” in the Billboard AAA Top 40, and had it stay there for six weeks, it’s safe to say that listeners are embracing Jocelyn and Chris.

“Red Stops Traffic” – the video for which was filmed in their old high school auditorium, utilizing giant green screens, and footage they shot at Bonneville Salt Flats outside Salt Lake City, UT – is off of the duo’s 2017 album, Go. They’re currently working on their next project, which they plan on having ready for the winter.

I caught up with Jocelyn and Chris before their recent show at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC to open up some packs of MusiCards, and the artists we found sparked conversations about some of their favorite bands, what they’d bite the head off of on stage, and the mysterious, soulful, sound of Chris’ VW Beetle.

The Police

Jocelyn: Favorite Police song, probably “Murder by Numbers.”

Chris: Aw, that’s what I was gonna say. So cool.

Jocelyn: I’ve been a big Sting fan, both solo, and The Police. “Fields of Gold” is beautiful.

{turning to Chris} You took a music class this year …

Chris: Two years ago.

Jocelyn: And they actually studied “Murder By Numbers.”

Chris: Yeah, because of the intro. The drums come in, and it feels like it’s in this one time signature, and then the vocals come in and it feels like it’s in a totally different one. Then the rest of the music comes in, and it all makes sense together. It’s so cool.

And you’re like, I already know all about this song, let me get an A on this!

Both: {laughs}

Jocelyn: Bam! Done!

Chris: Anything with The Police I’m all for.

Do you ever get a chance to cover them?

Jocelyn: We thought about doing “Fields of Gold,” actually. I know that’s Sting, but I don’t think we could do it better than Eva Cassidy.

Chris: She kinda rocked it.

Jocelyn: But I would love to cover The Police.

You mentioned Eva Cassidy. Are there songs you think about covering, but you know someone else has already done it?

Jocelyn: Yeah, that definitely comes into my mind, if there’s a really iconic cover, or if it’s an iconic artist. Like “Free Fallin,” Tom Petty’s iconic, and John Mayer’s cover is really iconic now. We’d have to do something different. You can’t rip any one of those guys off, because they do it better than anybody else.

Ozzy Osbourne

Both: I love Ozzy.

Jocelyn: Jinx.

Chris: {laughs} Black Sabbath is also incredible.

Jocelyn: I actually was just recently was like, “You know who I don’t know enough about, Ozzy Osbourne,” so I went on Spotify and streamed Blizzard of Ozz front to back, and I was like, man, he’s really good, and there are ballads on that album. I’d never heard him sing a ballad, really, until that. He’s good.

You guys have been performing live for a while. Would you ever bite the head off a bat while on stage?

Chris: He also did it in a meeting with the record executives. It’s kind of like cultural fame, he brought a live bat with him, or maybe it was a bird, and he bit the head off it during the meeting with the executives. They signed him after that, so …

Do you tell someone “no” after that?

Jocelyn: Really.

I would not bite the head off of a bat.

Chris: I would say if the bat were made of candy.

Jocelyn: If it was like a bat shaped Twinkie.

Like a gummy bear type of deal. A giant gummy bat.

Chris: Exactly.

Jocelyn: Yes. Band name – Gummy Bat.

The Clash

Chris: Oh, I love The Clash.

Would you consider them an influence?

Yeah, I would say an influence, although not directly. They’re one of those bands that I’ve always loved listening to, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever listened to their songs and come away and gone like like, “Oh man, I really need to figure out how to do that on the guitar.”

I feel like they did a really good job of cultivating a really unique sound. They’re awesome.

Living Colour

Jocelyn: OK, so our dad got really sick once, and he was in the hospital, and in this sleep deprived, drug addled haze at like two in the morning he was watching infomercials and ordered this like 40 pack of one hit wonders … or what was it, hits from the decades?

Chris: I think it was hits from the decades, and most of them were like ‘70s soft rock, like easy listening, but one of them had Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” which is not that AT ALL! {laughs}

Jocelyn: It was like in-between like “Sexy Eyes,” and “Wildfire.” {laughs}

How did he react when the song came on?

Chris: He loves that song.

Jocelyn: He likes rock. We like “Wildfire,” too, but I think we skew a little more towards the rock.

Jeff Healey Band

Jocelyn: I’m so excited we got this card. He’s amazing.

Chris: So good.

Dad showed me a video of him once. Obviously Jeff Healey plays the guitar on his lap, and it’s very distinctive, and at the time I thought, “Oh, that’s kind of an interesting facial expression, I don’t know what’s really going on there,” but the music was just so beautiful, and at the end dad was like, “Yeah, I can’t believe he can do that and he’s blind,” and I was like wait, WHAT?!?!

Jocelyn: Plus the voice. “Angel Eyes,” my favorite part is when he’s like, “What did I do,” when he really digs into it. It’s so good.

Chris: I only discovered him two or three years ago. I never really knew about him before that, but there’s this video of him playing with B.B. King, Robert Cray, and a bunch of other guitarists …

Jocelyn: They’re OK. {laughs}

C: They’re all so good. It’s amazing.

It was like 20 of the world’s greatest blues guitarists.

Luther Vandross

Chris: So the only reason I know who Luther Vandross is, is because when I graduated high school my parents were like, “Alright, for your graduation present we’ll get you a car as long as it’s within a reasonable budget. It should be like a fun car.”

They found this old T-Bird, and I was like nah, that’s not my thing. I wanted a vintage Volkswagen Beetle convertible. They found one, a ’72, so they bought it, and they brought it home and surprised me with it on Thanksgiving.

How many miles on it?

Chris: It doesn’t have an odometer.


That many miles! OK.

Chris: And I turned it on and was like oh, there’s a sound system in this. So I turned on the sound system and a song starts playing, and I was like, who is this? I pulled up Shazam and it said Luther Vandross, and I was like, what is going on?

I saw there was a cassette player, so I hit the eject button, and out comes a Luther Vandross cassette, which I still have on my dresser at home.

That’s my only exposure to Luther Vandross.

Do you still have the car?

Chris: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Jocelyn: It’s at our parents’ house right now.

Chris: It goes 50 mph top speed.

Jocelyn: Our parents take it to get soft serve ice cream and send us selfies, like “Hey Chris, using your car.”

C: The one in passenger seat is taking the pictures.

For more Jocelyn and Chris Arndt, check out jocelynandchrismusic.com, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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