By Kevin Zimmerman
New Medicine Get Serious
When it comes to music, you could say that Jake Scherer was born to it.
The lead vocalist and songwriter for hard rock outfit New Medicine can remember wandering around stages where his father’s local Minneapolis-based band was playing, experiences that he says were practically osmotic.
“His band was playing five nights a week, and a lot of the time I was there. I started out wanting to be a drummer – mainly because I liked to hit things,” he laughs.
Progressing to guitar by his teens, Scherer says it was the omnipresent success of Nirvana’s Nevermind that showed him the possibilities that could be achieved by writing his own material. “That’s when I really got serious about being in a band, creating our own music, and living the dream.”
Scherer began traveling between Minneapolis and Nashville to hone his songwriting, eventually hooking up with guitarist Dan Garland to form a short-lived outfit that was rapidly succeeded by New Medicine. “We really wanted to keep going,” he says, “so that’s when we brought in [high school friend] Matt [Brady, bass] and Ryan [Guanzon, drums].”
Flash forward two-and-a-half years, and Race You to the Bottom, a swaggering debut that moves easily between rock riffage to introspective.
“I had like 75 songs written for it,” Scherer laughs, “and we ended up recording about 25, 11 of which made it to the album. All of us wanted to be sure we were up to the challenge and make the most of it, and I was always pushing myself to try and write better.”
Scherer says most of his songwriting ideas come in the moment, and are immediately saved in his phone for future reworking or to suggest directions for a partly-completed tune. “New Medicine plays songs in a certain way,” he says. “Everyone has their own specific method, and I try to write to that, so that when I bring in a song it’s usually more or less finished.”
Having wrapped a two-month tour with Disturbed, the group is now on the road in support of the group Atom Smash, and hopes to pursue its own headlining tour in the new year.
As the band moves forward with a career that continues to grow they have found a working relationship with SESAC.
“In Nashville, in particular, they introduced me to some really great songwriters. I can really say that I learned how to write songs from them, and helped me to write way better stuff. They’ve got the connections – I even did a song with Meat Loaf – and are always very personable.”