The Terminally Well are an independent American rock band conceived of and formed by Rob Runkle – who has previously released several album’s worth of music as Intense “The Bohemian Pimp” from Philadelphia hip-hop group Schoolz of Thought (having worked with Questlove of The Roots, 88-Keys, Pink, Scratch, Zap Mama and Illmind, among others).
by Kyle Johnson
I have an incredibly vivid memory of the first time I heard Bad Brains. It was the first punk rock I had ever heard. I was fourteen years old, and I’m twenty-one now, but I can still conjure the feeling of that moment. The music tore through me. I felt the sound more than I heard it. It was summer, and I was staying in on a beautiful day to listen to music that a youtube algorithm was recommending me – but I’m so grateful I did. It made something click in my brain, like a light in a dingy basement being flicked on for the first time. I felt completely at home in the break-neck speed and sheer volume of the music. If you know that record, the first Bad Brains record, it is insane sounding even by today’s standards. I left the first playthrough of hundreds a completely changed kid. The world looked and felt different. I was in on some kind of secret.
I would later learn, of course, that I was far from being the only person that had this exact revelation. Very far. But it felt so special to me. I’ve played in bands and written at least a couple hundred songs since that day. I started a band with my best friends (Bad Nostalgia, check us out) that’s still kicking to this day, and we’ve played countless shows. We made an album by ourselves. I have grown as a person and lived through trial and tribulation as we all have. But that first experience hearing punk rock music was my watershed moment.
It encapsulated everything I love about music, art, and life. It’s all lead to me starting Pet Traits. I wanted to capture that feeling of excitement and wonder and use it as a creative power-tool. I threw out a lot of what I knew about music: the conventions, the chase of perfection, the safe bet, for total creative liberation. This is how I did it.
Apart from being behind the band SoundFields, I (Robert Fields) am the main character in a screenplay about someone who started thinking back in 2007 that he is the one John Lennon wrote his song, Doctor Robert, about.
You might wonder how someone comes up with such a thought. One reason is that I was already around when the song Doctor Robert has been written. The Beatles’ songs filled the room where I lived when I was just a little child; when something dramatic happened: I nearly died.