Great Caesar

Amy Jacques on November 21, 2014

The Goal is Transcendence

“Anthemic, lush, brass-fueled, choral,” is how John-Michael Parker (vocals/guitar) describes his chamber-rock band Great Caesar. The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based outfit aims to place themselves somewhere among their influences: Arcade Fire, Beirut and Dirty Projectors. The group played their first show as a trio in the fall of 2002 at a party in Madison, Conn., where they attended high school. While studying Shakespeare in freshman English class, the longtime friends had an inside joke about saying, “Great Caesar” in a funny way. Formerly called Great Caesar & The GoGetters—“which fit perfectly in the ska scene we used to run in”—they played in various bands and configurations until moving to New York. This year, they released a music video for their popular song “Don’t Ask Me Why.” Combining art and activism, it challenges viewers to take a stand for equality. After working with Griffin Rodriguez (Beirut, Modest Mouse) on their forthcoming EP, which will feature the track, Great Caesar have their sights set on creating their first full-length album and conceiving “one entire cohesive musical statement.” As far as touring, they’re excited to break onto the festival circuit. “When we get all of us up there on stage, people can feel that. They can feel the camaraderie that comes from playing with your best friends forever, and they get swept up in it. We’re careful to structure a set that comes out swinging, takes people through a few ups and downs, and ends with exuberance and release. The goal is transcendence.”

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