It’s Julia F***ING Gulia!
By Ambar Ramirez
You may have driven by the beach bars on a Monday night to see a line forming outside of Lynch’s and asked yourself why would anybody go to a bar on a Monday night. Well, there is a good reason for that and that’s to see Julia Gulia. And yes… the name comes from the movie “Wedding Singer” for all of you wondering.
Before Julia Gulia, bandmates Andrew Jones, John Jones and Mark McHone were just a bunch of musicians trying to make it in the world. Lead singer and guitarist Andrew Jones (commonly known as Andy) and drummer John Jones have known each other their entire lives, being that they are brothers, if the shared last name wasn’t enough of a hint. They’ve also known music their whole lives.
“I think I started like really singing when I was like 8 or 9 years old and then started playing guitar around the same time,” Andy said. “Our dad played guitar and sang and kinda showed John how to play the drums and taught me how to play guitar.”
As for bass player McHone, music was a big part of his life as well. Funnily enough, he was heavily influenced by his own big brother.
“My brother was in a lot of bands in the early ’90s and I kind of started getting into that, just going to shows around town in Jacksonville, [like] the old Milk Bar, old punk shows and stuff like that in the ’90s,” McHone said. “And then I started playing bass when I was 13 in a jazz band and symphonic, and I just played in a million bands since then.”
Julia Gulia was not the trio’s first rodeo of being in a band together though. In fact, Andy met McHone back in 2008 when they were in a band called Mind Slip. After a couple of months playing with the band for a couple of months, they decided they wanted to do their own thing. Luckily, Andy stayed in contact with McHone and let him know that if anything were to go awry with the next band, he would call him up.
Andy’s next stop was Southwest Florida where he formed a hardcore metal band called Whispers.
“I met these guys off of Craigslist, and they were cool,” Andy recalls. “I sent ’em a couple songs, went down there, and then moved back up here, or I came up here to record and then went back down, played a show, and then I moved them back up to Jacksonville.”
It was all going well for Mind Slip until Andy had to find a new drummer and then shortly after, a new bassist. And so he called up his brother and McHone and Julia Gulia was born. Well … technically they were still going by Whispers at that time.
“We did that for a while,” Andy said. “Got a song in a video game and then, you know, got the record deal with that band, and then kind of been playing ever since that,”
We met on a Monday at Folio HQ. Though it was their first time properly meeting me, I embarrassingly have to admit it was not my first time meeting them. That’s if dancing within a sardine-packed crowd and obnoxiously singing along with them counts.
Prior to our interview, I was lucky enough to be gifted with an acoustic version of their original songs (which you can watch by scanning the QR code at the end of this story). I saw a side to Julia Gulia that I had never experienced when watching them rock on stage.
While they mainly perform covers at their late-night bar shows, Julia Gulia has some originals up their sleeves and more to come. Their original songs still give off the same vibe that the ’90s punk music we all know and love. And when performing live, the transition from cover songs to originals is seamless. Their music depicts a true, unfiltered telling of their personal experiences.
Andy started writing music as soon as he learned how to play just a few chords on the guitar when he was about 10 years old.
“From there, I didn’t really wanna learn anybody else’s music,” he said. “I just kinda wanted to be creative and make my own.”
While Andy comes up with the lyrics, it doesn’t become a song until John and McHone take a look at it and create a beat for it. The band’s first EP, “No Place Like This,” was released in July of 2021. A couple of songs you may recognize from the album are “No Place Like This” and “I Need A Drink”.
“When I first started writing stuff for this, I wanted it to be stories about what we were doing,” Andy said. “I just wanna be as real as possible.”
Their original song “I Need a Drink” is self-explanatory and “No Place Like This” is directly inspired by performing at live gigs and not wanting to be anywhere else. As much as Julia Gulia fans love Julia Gulia, just know that they love performing for us just as much.
“I think knowing that I’m getting people energized at these gigs and moving to it is pretty awesome,” John said. “Plus the therapy that comes with it, man. Like when you’re physically and mentally exhausted from everything you’re doing and focusing on while you’re performing, that’s like, I don’t need booze, I don’t need anything. You know what I mean? That’s kinda like my escape.”
And now with a recently purchased tour bus (still under renovation) and a new song set to release, the band is about to embark on a new chapter. Fans can listen to the band’s latest single on all streaming platforms so make sure to keep an eye out on their Facebook page for release info.
Also a request from the band members themselves: please stop screaming “Freebird” at their gigs. The joke ended before it started.
Watch the acoustic performance here.