The band tALKS VENUE HOSPITALITY, bbq in bed and the bars where they are (and maybe aren’t) welcome



JAKE HIEBERT: I got dibs on starting this one off. The burgers are the best. ⁣⁣

CONNOR JONES: The burgers ARE the best.⁣⁣

JAKE: This place is cool. This is where we all kind of met, too. At least for me.⁣⁣

CONNOR: It’s been a big starting point to a lot of nights, because our practice space is right down the street. And ending points, on that note.⁣

WILL THOMPSON: When we were coming up with the new band concept… that’s why this place is important.⁣⁣

JAKE: Yella Belly was created…⁣⁣

CONNOR: Sitting at those booths.⁣⁣

WILL: Connor and I were in this band called Elliot & Ghost, and Jake was drumming for us towards the end, and we all kind of knew we were going in different directions and maybe we wanted to do another band…⁣⁣

The last Elliot & the Ghost show, we had an after-party here, and I remember talking to Steve [Vannelli]— he’s the keyboardist [editor’s note: who couldn’t make the interview] — we were talking about making a new band, and Steve immediately stopped everything and was like, ‘If y’all are doing anything, I want to be a part of it.’⁣⁣

CONNOR: That’s true. We did make all the decisions about this band in here. We decided whether to include this kid [Jack] in here after he auditioned. It was a pretty easy decision.⁣⁣

WILL: I was like, he’s really f—king good.⁣

JAKE: Jack is by far and away…decent at his job. Nah, he’s the best musician in our band, but don’t tell anyone. Off the record, he’s by far and away… better looking than all of us.⁣⁣

JACK MCLOUGHLIN: Now that I agree with.⁣⁣

[It’s right by your practice space… do you have more beers before or after practice?]

WILL: We try to do more after rehearsal, right now.

JAKE: It’s been a learning curve.

CONNOR: It started off the other way.

WILL: Yeah, I think our carpet is mildewed over 20 times from all the shotgunning in the practice space..

JAKE: Yeah, but now it’s classy because it’s all White Claw… Bon & Viv.

CONNOR: It’s basically good for you.

WILL: I kind of like this place because I feel like it’s not our spot and we’re not that welcome here sometimes.

CONNOR: I get that vibe a lot. I ordered my white wine… people are judging me hard.

WILL: For a place we go to all the time, it is so not our spot. But I do love the vibe.

57 Waterbury St, 9718) 576- 3297,


[So now let’s talk about a bar where you ARE welcome…]

CONNOR: Reclamation Bar—best bar in Brooklyn.

JAKE: That’s actually also debatable whether we’re welcome there—that’s a stretch.

WILL: The only reason is like half the band used to work there, some still do.

CONNOR: I still do. It’s the best bar in Brooklyn. Everyone should go every single night. Tip your bartenders…

JAKE: It is great. I don’t work there and I agree.

WILL: It’s our after-party spot.

CONNOR: That’s our real party bar, for sure.

[Is that because you work there?]

JAKE: He doesn’t kick us out.

CONNOR: I have kicked Will out…

They’ve got a great bar. They advertise as the neighborhood living room. And it’s a huge regulars spot. It’s very comfortable, very welcoming. The people are great.

JAKE: It’s very much a meeting spot. Like, of any bar that I’ve actually been to, I honestly think I could go in there any time… for better or for worse.

CONNOR: There’s a really cool community… Everyone’s friends in there. It’s just a good vibe.

817 Metropolitan Ave, (718) 387-5178,


[During the interview, it came out that this is WIll’s business, which he didn’t include on the list. At this point (September 2019), it was a pop-up at Queens Brewery and it had previously been at Reclamation. Currently… um, like most of the world… it’s on pause.]

JAKE: He didn’t even plug himself!

WILL: It’s called Howlin’ Taco… Austin-style Tex-Mex, but mostly focused around breakfast tacos cuz you just can’t get those up here. And every weekend it’s like a little Texas commune…lots of people from San Antonio, a lot of people from Austin always show up.

It’s kind of the meeting spot for people that miss breakfast tacos, but then also like all the locals in the neighborhood… So anyone that is looking for a new option in the neighborhood, they’ll always just kind of wander in and then that will become kind of their new spot. I’m really proud of the food and it’s come a long way and people are loving it.


WILL: Mabel’s…

CONNOR: Will very clearly made this list

WILL: Mabel’s is great barbecue. It’s like the Tex-Mex thing. Good barbecue is kind of hard to find in New York. Honestly, there’s maybe a handful of spots. And Mabel’s is… a dude from Texas, his wife’s from Kentucky. And the thing is, New York, I found out you can’t have a smoker, which is obviously integral to barbecue. So these people actually smoke all their meat in…


WILL: In Vinegar Hill. It’s essentially where the Navy Yards are. So they’ll actually like transport it and it’s this whole ordeal… it’s astounding that they keep that routine up. It’s amazing and you can taste it in the food. It’s incredible, it’s so good. The music’s awesome. They have Texas beers and cocktails and…

CONNOR: And they deliver. Fun fact. I’ve had some hungover days when I’ve had that delivered. It’s been fantastic. Like a full barbecue meal. You have to clean your sheets the next day, but hangover’s gone.

817 Metropolitan Ave, (718) 387-5178,


WILL: I think that’s one of our favorite venues.

CONNOR: That’s my favorite venue to play by far…

[After a break to take photos: OKAY! We were talking about Rough Trade…]

CONNOR: Will just saw the Raconteurs there. [Editor’s note: um, this was a while ago…]

WILL: But I played with them a long time ago. So it was it was cool to see them and they’re awesome. I love those guys. And I like Rough Trade a lot because I feel like it’s one of the last venues that actually kind of respects artists a little bit more… There’s a hospitality person there. You would see them all the time but, I mean, that was the first position to get cut whenever venues would go downhill.

CONNOR: I also think it was actually designed to be a music venue… like the sound in there is actually good. It was built properly…

WILL: A well-vetted sound person and a hospitality service. Artists can’t get over that.

CONNOR: They have beers! They give you pita chips and hummus.

WILL: Maybe salsa…

[What’s on your rider?]

CONNOR: White Claw!

JAKE: We actually got our rider accepted: We got pizza, a bottle of whiskey and decent beer.

CONNOR: But that was last time. We changed it…

WILL: And then we have chips and salsa….

JACK: 5 1/2 Juuls.

WILL: Bon & Vivs…

JAKE: We changed it to Bon & Viv’s?

CONNOR: We talked about it.

[Going for the sponsorship?]

WILL: We tried to do that one time with Espolón And we got almost, like…

CONNOR: A cease and desist.

WILL: We just kept posting us wasted with Espolón bottles.

CONNOR: At first they would retweet it and stuff and they were like super psyched about it but then they started tweeting back, at us like, “You’re misrepresenting our brand. We do not support overconsumption. Please stop.”

817 Metropolitan Ave, (718) 387-5178,


WILL: We’ve been going there for a while. We’ve recorded all over the place and we always kept going back to Degraw. I think that became our primary spot to record. It definitely felt like a family of people. When you walk in the room, there’s always someone that you know, someone hanging out..

CONNOR: We’ve developed a great relationship with the other bands that record and work there as well. [Jack’s] in another band.

[At the time of the interview, Queue. Now Forever Honey.]

CONNOR: And they’re fantastic. Great friends of ours.

WILL: Me and Ben [Rice]… I went into Degraw when it was being built, like when I first moved to New York. A friend of a friend was trying to hook up a studio for me and I kind of put that in the back of my mind. And then a year later, when it was built, I went in there and Ben and I just automatically got together. And we have all these shared interests. He was more or less doing the rock ‘n’ roll resurgence in New York when I was trying to do it in Austin when we were both kids. We’ve played with all the same people, we have all the same interests in music. So I immediately just felt some kinship as opposed to like pay-by-the-hour studios that you can go to when you first move here and you don’t really know anyone. What’s really special is like someone that’s your age that’s like, not necessarily in bands, but his passion is recording and producing and obviously running a studio. So… to get together and collaborate… it’s so cool. It’s always been a great relationship. It’s nice to have people like that.

597 Degraw St, (913) 788-6506,


Follow the band on Instagram at @yellabellyband, buy their music on Bandcamp (+ add it to your Spotify playlists!) and find all things Yella Belly at

Feature Image: Ben Curry

[This interview has been edited and condensed.]

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