Laminated Menu is…


Laminated Menu rocks sparkly and real. Moving indie- and alt-like from vivacious power pop to blazing rockers and back down to earth again, the Hudson Valley-based band spins clever lyrics, colorful imagery and twisting progressions into quick-hit narratives, with passions ignited and the embers illuminated at every turn. There are hints of garage rock, psychedelic, post-punk, dream pop, and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. But mostly, Laminated Menu has a sound all its own.

The band dates from a sunny summer day in 2009. Sophia Jackson, an artist/puppeteer/Alexander Technique practitioner, was painting faces at a kiddie party in Garrison, NY. Neal Santelmann, a freelance writer, was chatting about bands he’d seen on YouTube. She’d sung with Crazy Mary, an idiosyncratic band out of NYC. He’d been playing guitar for decades pretty much on his own. Somebody suggested a jam session.

The duo plugged in a few weeks later. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Neal recalls of the steps that led to Laminated Menu’s first full-length CD, Sugar Cookie. “So we just did it.” Sophia encouraged him to sing along, and he was happy to strum rhythm whenever she dreamed up a lead. They set their sights on surviving a local open-mic night. “We needed three songs,” Sophia remembers. “By the time we got up the nerve to play, we had five. So we kept going.”

And going. The open-mic appearance garnered an invite to a music showcase. They hooked up with a producer, released an EP in 2011, and found gigs from the East Village to Rosendale, NY. Then came the rhythm section: drummer Candace Cole, an artist, is self-taught; bassist Margaret Hundley Parker is a writer who worked in the music biz, waited tables at CBGB, and was in a band called Speed McQueen out of Chapel Hill, NC. All together, they’re striking on stage, drawing attention and eager applause.

The Sugar Cookie CD was released in January 2014 with 11 original songs rhapsodizing imaginatively on life, love, triumphs and travails. Listen closely and you may hear yourself in Laminated Menu’s lyrics. Either way, don’t be surprised if the songs are ringing in your head long after you’ve unplugged.

Check the “Events Future” page to see where Laminated Menu will be playing next.

Sophia Jackson

245A0977Sophia has always been interested in finding language that speaks to human connection. She began in the visual arts as a painter, and found she was more interested in exploring ways to collaborate within a group. In her early twenties she learned a few guitar chords on her own, and then hung her guitar on the wall for many years. In between, she modeled for portrait artists, played with puppets, worked as a wardrobe and makeup stylist for independent films, became a teacher of the Alexander Technique, and sang lead vocals in a New York band. Eventually she dusted off that guitar and discovered the absolute joy of rockin’ out!

Margaret Hundley Parker

245A0946Margaret loves kittens, sunshine, PJ Harvey, the Savages, and Peaches. Margaret began piano lessons at age 5, and with the help of a cool older sister she learned songs like “Locomotive Breath” along with “Fur Elise.” Way back in the ’90s, she was a DJ and music director of WUSB FM, a college radio rep for Caroline Records, and a cocktail waitress at CBGBs, where she enjoyed free beer at shows. She played bass with the indestructible all-girl Speed McQueen, and with the fake French band Purplay Pas at a monthly cabaret on the Lower East Side. When she is not laminating, she edits the dictionary and teaches grammar to college students.

Jennifer Paull

HeadshotJennifer Paull is a musician by day and moonlights as an electrical engineer. Or possibly the other way around. She has played the violin since the tender age of 9 and drums since 28, though she has yet to master playing both simultaneously. Her addictions include coffee, cute cat videos and classes at Beacon Music Factory. She also enjoys tennis and singing the National Anthem a half step apart from her younger sister. On purpose. Jennifer joined Laminated Menu in July 2014 when, after watching her play a gig, three perfectly lovely strangers approached and stuffed her and her drumsticks into the trunk of their car.

Neal Santelmann

245A0681Along with finding a job, Neal’s priority after college was to finally – finally – learn to play guitar. He took up classical because that was the guitar he had, studying in DC and NYC and practicing relentlessly for a dozen years. Then it struck: “I don’t even like this stuff…” Two years after closing his classical guitar case for good, he bought a placid blue Stratocaster. It’s the only guitar he ever plays. A freelance writer, Neal has jumped out of airplanes, run the Navy Seals obstacle course, galloped horses, toured Antarctica, profiled NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and pondered the significance of Cheerios for assorted publications and websites. He writes songs, sings and plucks strings for Laminated Menu, too.