Photo Courtesy of Brian Bredenbeck
The re-tooled Chris Piquette Band is off to Zing Studios to crystallize some sonic sugarplums
Many is the band that would love to throw journeyman/utility musician Kevin Bias into the mix. Best known in recent years for his six-string prowess with quirk-rock kings Pallet, Bias confided to your friendly neighborhood Crawler that it was actually a certain bias he harbored for another musician that eventually enticed him to lend his considerable talent to a different project.
"I've known Chris for about 10 years now, and he was, like, 16, playing sick Stevie Ray [Vaughan] stuff," the now-keyboardist for the Chris Piquette Band explains. "And we kept in touch over the years and jammed a few times. But last September, he approached me about coming aboard, and it's just been amazing."
Together with Jackson Smith on bass and Nick Connors of Gaiah fame on drums, the newly re-tooled Chris Piquette Band exploded into the new year, turning in blistering sets of covers and originals at the Southwick Inn, Maximum Capacity and The Still in Agawam, to name a choice few venues. A Feb. 20 engagement at Boston's Midway Cafe is next on the books, then, according to Bias, it's off to Westfield's Zing Studios to crystallize some of the sonic sugarplums that have been dancing in their heads.
"It will probably be a three-song EP," he concludes, "but we can't wait to get some tracks down, because the interest in the band has been pretty immediate and we appear to have the respect of our musical peers, which is pretty rare these days."
In other news, the Crawler caught up with Dopapod (dopapod.com) keyboardist Eli Winderman just prior to his recent Theodores' play to get the straight dope on that band, which seems to have the entire jam community abuzz.
Here's some of what transpired.
Crawler: I understand that Dopapod was officially hatched at Berklee, but are you all local?
Eli: We met at Berklee, but we have members from almost every time zone in the U.S. I'm from Philly, our guitarist Rob [Compa] is from Rochester, Chuck [Jones], the bassist, is from L.A. and our drummer Neal [Evans] from Colorado. So we started out playing house parties in Boston three years ago and it has evolved into what it is today.
Which, if I'm not mistaken, is a band that recently sold out the Middle East in Boston—no small feat. And all with instrumental jams?
We tend to write mostly instrumental music, but once in a while we like to stretch out our vocal chords before a show and pay homage to our musical forefathers and foremothers. This past fall, we found ourselves laying into everything from "Bohemian Rhapsody" to Rammstein and Primus.
Still, quirky covers and long jams with no vocals aren't exactly known as shortcuts to mass appeal in the industry. Yet you guys have come so far in such a short period of time. To what do you attribute that?
I guess, the fact that everyone in the band is down to play anywhere, any time, for long sets. We've done everything from house parties to clubs proper, late-night festival sets on vending strips, lugging my old, heavy Hammond organ from Burlington, Vermont to Key West in the process. Just this past September, we played from four to eight a.m. at Wormfest [in Greenfield]. We thought everyone was spent, but they kept asking for more until the sun came up.
For those whose appetites have been sufficiently whetted, or who may be suffering from Dopapod withdrawal after seeing them perform at Theodores' last week, Winderman adds that the band will be dropping new studio product this spring. The basic tracks were recorded at The Bunker in Brooklyn, home to such artists as the Black Keys in recent months, and the disc itself has a working title of Drawn Onward.
Catch the Nightcrawler every Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. on the Steve Cantara Radio Show, WRNX 100.9 FM. Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, PO Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email email@example.com.