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Published: 2006/12/28
by Dean Budnick

Liberated From the Message Boards:The Marc Brownstein Reader Interview

Our mailbox overflowed with a near-record volume of questions for the subject of our latest reader interview. This is not surprising because Marc Brownstein has been rather visible over the past year. In addition to new CD and DVD releases from the revitalized Disco Biscuits, Brownstein and the group hit the road with a renewed vigor (including a current New Year’s Eve run), even as the bassist serves as co-chair for HeadCount. In the following interview he addresses many related topics in his own inimitable, forthright style.

First off, a number of people submitted questions about your bass. They wanted to know how and why you selected it, as well as how much you experimented with it before you first brought in on stage.

MB- My new Modulus, I didn’t experiment with it at all, I just put it directly into action. I knew I needed a new instrument. What I needed was a good back-up bass. I had a great playable show bass and if it went out for some reason I was going to be up the creek. It started to act up one day on the beginning of this last tour and we jerry-rigged it but I immediately started looking for a new bass.

I went into a couple of different stores and I tried a couple of things out. I was thinking about getting a Fender Precision American model or maybe a Fender Standard jazz bass and then I remembered while I was in the store that a couple of years ago Modulus had offered me their artist endorsement deal. I had shied away from it because I felt like it was the road that all the bass players in our scene had been going down. I thought that maybe it would be wise for me to forge my own sound and go down a different path. So I mentioned it to my guitar tech Dave and he said, “Get the Modulus!” And I said, “Really? Shouldn’t I try one out for a little while or check it out in a store?”

So we tried to find a store in Ohio that had a Modulus that was in stock. The Q5 was the one I knew I was interested in. But we couldn’t find one so I called Modulus and said, “Hey, I’m looking to maybe become a Modulus bass player, I’m getting over my hang-ups.” And Anderson over there said, “We’d love to have you still.”

So I said, “Let’s do it,” without trying it out, I just took a leap of faith. I figured if it’s good enough for Mike and Phil and Oteil and Dave Schools and Dave Murphy, them it must be good enough for me. I had played one a couple of years ago and I kind of got the feeling I would like it. It arrived on a Monday, I was using it that night and I’ve used it at every show since.

It’s a graphite neck and the intonation is such that you get a very even tone from the lowest note on the whole bass to the highest note on the whole bass. It’s a little punchier, a different sound for sure but I love how the high end cuts through really clear. It’s a familiar sound, there are definitely times where I’ll play a line and for a second I’ll be like, “That’s eerie-sounding.” You’ve heard this bass so many times if you’re a fan of the jamband scene, you know the tone of the Modulus Q5 because that’s the standard bass of the scene. That having been said I definitely fell in love with the low end of this bass especially at the Hammerstein Ballroom shows you could really feel the bass fill the room. It’s almost everything I was expecting a graphite neck bass not to be. I was expecting it to be a little bit less warm and woody than it is and it’s just a sleek beautiful bass, I’m loving it. And now I have the best back-up bass in the whole business.

Another series of questions that people submitted had to do with the addition of Sean Hennessey on percussion during the first few shows of the fall tour. Can you talk a bit about how that came about?

MB- Hennessey is a really close friend of ours from Phili. We take classes with him sometimes. He’ll come in and give us lessons in rhythm. He’s a master in Brazilian and African rhythms. He went to Africa to study rhythm for many years and he went to South America to study. He has an African drumming troupe in Phili and he’s in the social scene we’re in. Getting to know him, and playing with him and jamming with him and hanging out with him, we started to learn what an incredible musician he is.

We had been playing with him a lot and hanging out with him a lot and one day we said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to bring Hennessey out for five days?” He’s such a fun guy, has such a great vibe and a great work ethic and we thought it would be a nice thing to have around for a week on tour. He’s an easy guy to get along with and he’s so great at the instruments that he plays that we thought we could bring him out just for fun. That was the vibe at the beginning of this tour, “Let’s bring Hennessey out for five days just for fun.” We did it just to have fun and do something different and add another layer to the electronic jams that we felt would be really interesting. There are times where some of the stuff he does is just so unbelievable.

I heard reports that people were chucking stuff at him. Did that really happen?

MB- I didn’t notice that people were throwing stuff at him but I’ve also heard that. I heard boos when he was announced at the Sonar and it was unbelievably disconcerting. He’s such a great guy and anybody who would boo him would sit in a room with him for five minutes and they would feel so awful about themselves. He’s the nicest, most harmless guy in the world.

It’s funny because somebody mentioned to me last week when we were in California, that the Northampton show, the Ithaca show and the Rochester show, three of the five shows the guy played, were three of the five best shows of the tour. So much layering that happened in those shows was due to what he was doing.

He didn’t know all the songs and I guess there were times when it was a little overbearing or didn’t mesh perfectly. But we’ve been playing with Allen for a year now and it took a year get where we’re all comfortable with each other. We’ve been playing together for eleven, twelve years and this guy was on stage with us for five days, so there were times where it wasn’t all linked up perfectly. But mostly it was linking up really well and I have to say I was surprised at the initial reaction. But then again when I was sitting there saying, “I can’t believe he got booed, I’m so disappointed with our fans about that,” Allen pointed out, “Look at it as a compliment. These people are loving the four piece so much that it’s all they want. They have an attachment to it and that means something, that they have an attachment to the band.”

I can understand why there would be resistance to change after all the change we’ve just gone thorough. People aren’t looking for more change, they’re looking for stability out of our band. So I understand that aspect of it. And I think Jon was even playing into it a little bit when we realized people were bummed out about it. We could have very easily said, “Hey this is Sean, he’s going to be spending a few days with us, give him a warm Biscuits welcome,” but we were almost playing into it, “Hey this is our new percussionist Sean,” kind of fucking with our fans a little. But all in all it was a great experience for us because every time you get to play with Sean is a very special experience. He elevates your play. He accents rhythms you would never think to accent because he’s the master of African rhythm. Playing with him and learning with him has made us all better players, so I thin it the end it’s obviously for the good.

Here’s one with a similar theme: “Your Fans are often hostile towards your opening acts. Keller Williams opens the show on New Year’s Eve and I like his music, but I fear for the guy. What are your thoughts on the negative response your fans sometimes offer to your openers?” Greg T

MB- Well that’s just absurd. I think Keller will be okay. I think Keller is going to hold his own. Keller is another example of one of these guys who’s a master of music. It’s absurd for somebody to fear for somebody who’s a master of music. If anything he should fear for me, having to get on stage in front of 6,000 people but I think I’ll also be fine.

But that’s just an absurd comment. For one, Keller has a huge draw all over the country. There’s going to be Keller fans there cheering for him. There’s also a lot of Keller fans who like the Biscuits and vice versa. We know that because we’ve played shows with him before and when he comes out onto the stage the crowd cheers. And the vibe is always great when Keller is there.

I’ve also heard somebody say, “What the fuck’s going on, why would String Cheese Incident have Lotus and Pnuma open and you guys get Keller? Isn’t that backwards?” And that person just doesn’t understand the music industry. We can get Lotus and Pnuma to open for us but does that really add any extra people to the concert? We get Keller because it adds people and diversifies the concert. And String Cheese gets Pnuma and Lotus because it diversifies their concert and that’s a good thing. So that’s a cute question, do I fear for Keller? Yeah I fear he’s going to be able to pay his mortgage when he has to pay all the sidemen in his band, I’m so scared for Keller. Keller’s doing great.

Still, at times all sorts of turf wars seem to break out when you are on a bill with other bands, like the Biscuits vs. moe. thread that seems to recur. These are groups that I know you respect, so how do you respond to that?

MB- Like everything we try to take it as a compliment. These kids love the Biscuits so much, for many of them the Biscuits are their favorite band. It’s the way the scene is, people get super-emotionally attached to one band that in their head is the be all and end all. I’m guilty of the same thing as a fan towards that band I love the most. Even the Grateful Dead fell into that category when I was going to see Phish, which is absurd to me now, that the Grateful Dead can fall into that category of a band that doesn’t mean that much to me. It’s ridiculous but that’s how you are when you’re young and feisty, you get into something, you get really attached to it.

But I think the relationship we’ve developed with these other bands, there has been so much crossover that it’s been the vocal minority, just like it is with everything. It’s a very, very vocal minority but the truth of the matter is there are tons of people who like both moe. and the Disco Biscuits. There are tons of people who like both Umphrey’s McGee and the Disco Biscuits and we foster and encourage that relationship.

It’s not a competition between us and these other bands, we need to work together in order to rise to the top together. That’s kind of the way it was in the heavy metal scene in the 1980’s. These bands would piggyback, play together and bring all their fans into arenas together and that’s how they all got huge. None of them were able to do it by themselves and we think that’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s got to be. We’ve got to work together.

”What venue have you always wanted the Disco Biscuits to play?” David R

MB- Wetlands. Ever since then it’s all cherry on top.

I don’t know. At this point we’d like to keep our goals attainable. I don’t think anybody’s talking about Giants Stadium or Madison Square Garden. We’re talking about, “Can we play Radio City Music Hall?” That’s a venue that we’ve never played that I think we’d really like to play. Can we play the Spectrum? That’s another venue we’ve never played that’s a very attainable goal and in the league of Madison Square Garden but it’s a different city. It’s the kind of thing where in Phili we may be able to do that and we were very close to playing the Spectrum this New Year’s and decided that it would be more prudent to do the Theater at Tweeter which is a little more reasonable and that’s going really well so it looks like we made the right decision.

”Any hints on what you guys would like to do with the Quadrophonic Sound on New Year’s Eve?” Mike W

MB- No hints.

”Will there be 3 sets on NYE ?” Josh R

MB- No there will not be. Well, there will be seven sets but different bands. The Biscuits will play two sets on New Year’s Eve. We would do three sets but we thought it would be a better party to bring in Younger Brother and Shpongle and Keller and really make an event out of it. When we have an event built around the Biscuits shows we find that everybody has a really good time, including the band. So for New Year’s it’s really nice for us to be able to end. Whereas in New York City we’d end at 3 in the morning and then everybody dissipates and by the time we get of the backstage we’re like, “Okay now what do we do?” Well this year we’re going to do. We’re going to take acidNo, just kidding.

”Do you still take ecstasy or other drugs during your performances, or is that a thing of the past?” Larry S

MB- That’s a thing of the past.

”Since Allen joined the band, what spontaneous changes to the Disco Biscuits live sound that have emerged on stage surprise you the most?” Michael P

MB- What’s surprised me the most is how much it sounds like the Disco Biscuits, that’s what’s surprised me the most. I thought there were going to be many more changes but Allen is such a dynamic drummer that he allows us to retain our core sound without jarring the system too much. But at the same time bringing his own flavor and that flavor is starting to emerge. Technically what he can accomplish during a drum n bass jam is absolutely mind-boggling insane, with all due respect to our original drummer who was fantastic and forged the scene and this style of the scene. Allen just practices so fucking much it’s unbelievable.

Has he learned the entire catalog of Biscuits songs?

MB- He hasn’t learned the entire catalog. Some of it we’re just burying. Not a huge amount but probably about 20, 25 songs we’ve dropped out of the rotation. Some of them are going to seep back in over the next few weeks but a lot of them we’re going to take nice deep long breaks from until it’s such a long time that we’re dying to play them. That’s when playing them will be a super positive enlightening experience.

Here’s another popular one. Folks wanted to know if and when the Biscuits might play “Floes” again?

MB- “We’d like to thank you for Onamae Wa’ and Floes,’ we plan on playing them for years.” That was a sentence that we put into the Sammy Song [performed at Camp Bisco IV, as a tribute to their departing drummer, Sam Altman].. Now I’m not sure if we used that sentence kind of just for a joke and to get the big cheer that it got right at that moment or if we actually plan on playing “Onamae Wa” and “Floes” for years but it flowed really well syllabically in the song and the rhyme scheme worked really well. I have to imagine we’ll play “Onamae Wa” and “Floes” and “Sound 1” at some point.

Sam wrote some fantastic songs and they’re three of our best live songs and I don’t see why we would bury them forever. Certainly I think we want to reestablish ourselves with an identity and have it be a really strong identity of the new Disco Biscuits: Allen, Aron, Jon and Marc. I think that when we’ve really established ourselves and we’re the best we’ve ever been and there’s no question that the new Disco Biscuits are better than the old Disco Biscuits, we can put that whole vibe behind us, then busting out “Onamae Wa” and “Floes” would be a nostalgic type of thing that I could see us doing. But it hasn’t been discussed yet. We haven’t really talked about that.

”How is the progress on the new album and will any of the new songs be debuted before the release of the album in a show?” Ian B

MB- I’m sure the songs are going to be debuted in that three month period before the album comes out once the songs are all done but it’s so raw right now. Honestly, a lot of the songs that we have right now aren’t even going to make the album. We have 14 songs, and maybe four of them are going to make the album. It’s great because we have these new songs that we could play live and we’ve been working on it for a really long time but we haven’t really started cutting the album. We’re more in the composing and writing territory.

We do have a demo of the album but we’re going to continue to write songs over the next 2 months and hopefully we’ll have 25 new songs that we can cut down to the best 10 songs. It’s going really well. We could have played a lot of it on this last tour if we wanted but we think the best thing is to hold the material back to figure out what’s going to go on the album and just do it the way that it was meant to be done. Don’t force ourselves to put new music into the setlists to satiate that yearning for it at the live show at the expense of doing some sort of damage to the album. I would like people to have heard the album without being able to compare the songs on the album to their five favorite versions of that song. I want people to hear it and say, “I like this song,” or “I don’t like this song,” not this song isn’t as good as itself.

Do you have a timetable in place?

MB- We’d like to be done in 2007 but things are going really well as a band right now, and we’re not going to rush the album out just because people really want it. I look at is if people really want to hear it that’s good but not enough of a reason to cut corners.

“What’s your favorite Disco Biscuits studio release and why?” Submitted by multiple readers

MB- I think Perfume is my favorite and I think that’s because it’s so different from what we do live. To me that’s what’s so special about the studio. It’s almost a clichthe studio is a different medium and you can do different things than you can do live. That’s almost the clichnswer, the football answer, that we’re going to continue to work hard and continue to do our best and listen to the coach but that’s the truth. Things become clichbecause they’re true.

I like the fact that we composed songs in the studio for Perfume and then ended up bringing them live to the table afterwards. I thought was a really unique approach and we ended up with songs that were different than if we sat down and composed them the regular way that we compose. I just think it sounds the most interesting and has some really interesting sonic textures.

I would like the new album to be somewhere between Perfume and Uncivilized Area, where it has many elements of the electronic side of things but also retains a live feel to it, almost like “Float Like A Butterfly” started to touch on, on the Senor Boombox album.

I like all of the albums, we wouldn’t have releasd them if we didn’t like them, we would have kept working on them until we liked them. Every album we got to the end of it and said, “This is the best.” Obviously our fans have had different reactions to different albums. But much as in the PH scene, am I allowed to use that word? Much as in the Phish scene, people have a reaction to something when they first hear it that is often different to how they end up feeling about it down the line. I read an article where Trey was talking about Bar 17 and how people are panning the compositions and he was remembering how everyone hated Hoist when it come out. And I thought back to the first time I heard Hoist and I was sitting in a car with my friend on Fourth Street and South Street, listening to “Down With Disease” and we were almost mocking it. That’s almost an absurdity to me now, mocking “Down With Disease.” But it was new and it was weird to hear it when it was new. Something about it sounded cheesy at first but it turned out to be one of the greatest songs in their repertoire. It’s one of my favorites, to the point where it can almost bring a tear to my eye.

So I was reading that and thought, “Isn’t that just the way it always is?” When Perfume came out, it was the same thing, everyone hated it. Why did they hate it? Because they were expecting us to put out Uncivilized Area Part II. They wanted to hear all these explosive version of songs we were already playing live like we had done with “I-Man” and “Aceetobee.” People had expectations of what they missed the perfume was going to be and the way we wrote the album blew out all of those expectations. When they first heard it, people’s reactions were negative and ultimately I think if you poll everyone in the fan base, at least 30 or 40 percept would say they’d say they missed the perfume is their favorite album. Many would say they Uncivilized Area is their favorite album. I’m sure those are the two albums that would get most of the votes and it’s just funny that something that was so hated can be looked back on a something that was visionary, which is what many people called they missed the perfume. Nothing like that had been done in our scene at that time. It’s just so different from what people do in the jamband scene. It’s like comedy equals tragedy plus time.

What role does fan reaction and critical reaction play in your creative process and should they have a role?

MB- I think as an artist, critical and fan reaction should have no role but that’s an idealist view that can never be really achieved. When you play these songs you feel the reaction of the crowd live and with our fan base that can be a very intense experience. So in a lot of ways your fans enjoying what you do is the most important thing. From a more pragmatic standpoint this is a business and those are our customers and consumer satisfaction is the most important thing. So there is a dichotomy. There is the pragmatic approach and then there’s the artistic approach and I think that we’re trying to become a lot more disciplined than we used to be.

We used to read Phantasy Tour and that would pollute your brain, it poisons your opinion of something because you start to see other’s opinions. As soon as you know somebody else’s opinion of a show, it’s hard to have a very crystal clear solid opinion for yourself. The second other people’s opinions start to get thrown into the mix, it’s like my mom says, “Once you sling mud into a clear pond you can never get it clean again.”

We’re trying to be more disciplined about it. We don’t read the message boards and it’s great. I just went on my first real tour where I didn’t know what anybody thought about anything other than the reaction of the fans at the shows. And that way you can just go with what you think, you can make a decision for yourself based on your own true feelings, not feelings warped by other people’s perceptions.

A few people had that specific question, how often do you read PT?

MB- Never. I used to read it occasionally and there were times when I read it all the time and I think everybody in the band has read it before. But at the beginning of this tour, we decided as an organization that the band, crew and everybody who works with the Disco Biscuits could not go there. It’s a trade off because a lot of band managers I know have people combing those boards so that they can know how things are going over in their fan base. Even ?uestlove says at the top of the Okayplayer message boards, that he uses them to gauge fan reactions to things. So it is not heard unheard of for band to use it a litmus test to see how their fan base thinks of things.

It reminds me of the time I went out to dinner with Phil Lesh and he asked me if I read the message boards on the Biscuits and I said, “Don’t do it, Phil,” and he said, “Well, I made the mistake of doing it and it’s rough.” Boy, they were so lucky their band started in the 60’s when there was no message boards. But what’s that old quote- “The Grateful Dead pissing off a small group of people since 1965.” This is what Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back was about. It’s so prevalent in our society. Why did Time make the Person of the Year You with a computer screen with a mirror on the front cover? Because the individual person as they say controls the information age.

”What did you learn from that tour with Phil?” Rob S

MB- That’s a hard question to answer. I’m not really sure that I learned anything. I took things away from the tour but I’m not sure I learned anything profound on the tour. We gained experience playing in front of larger crowds. We gained experience playing in front of crowds that a lot of times weren’t that accepting of what we were trying to do with the music. But I learned from Phil specifically that’s not what’s about. It’s about you liking it yourself.

Phil liked it a lot which is why he had us there, because he thought the Disco biscuits were in in his estimation doing true improv. He told me that he thought a lot of bands were out there just playing with the changes and he could see when we were playing that we were ditching the changes and really improving together. What gets to me about Phil is it kind of puts your whole experience of being in a band into perspective. He’s someone who has achieved the dream and is still out there doing it. Not because he needs the money, I’ve seen Phil’s house, he doesn’t need the money. He’s doing it for the love of music. That’s kind of what you take away from an experience like that, you have to be doing this for the love of music or else there’s no point in doing it.

“What’s the most challenging aspect of being a member of the Biscuits, both on stage and off stage?” Punch P

MB- I’d say on stage for me, the most challenging aspect of being a member of the Biscuits is listening. Since we’re not a Type I band, we’re a Type II band where most every jam is an open jam where we’re composing a song on the spot. So listening is the hardest thing- trying to identify what notes the other guys are playing and what chords the notes that they’re playing are inferring. Because a lot of times I’ll lay out in A or something and then chord changes will develop out of the melodies and the harmonies that people are putting down on top of me. And you have to figure it out right there on the spot in front of people without guessing. Guessing is not an option because that leads to wrong notes 66 percent of the time. At any time you can guess and 4 notes of the 12 notes on your fret board are going to be good but you need to use deductive reasoning and everything you’ve learned in music school and otherwise to figure out what the intervals are, what they’re playing.

Oftentimes in the Disco Biscuits I’ll be playing a D chord and they’ll just started playing all the notes in the C sharp chord and it sounds really awkward and weird at first and I’ll have to figure out what makes it awkward and weird and maybe that means dissonance and maybe dissonance means half-steps, that kind of reasoning.

That’s my job. My job is to play a groove, keep a groove and frame what everybody else does harmonically with bottom notes. And being a bass player in an improv band that doesn’t rely heavily on pre-existing chord changes is a really hard job, it can be quite stressful at times.

Off stage I think just travel is so difficult. Being away from your family for five weeks at a time is trying. It’s a hard life. Being in a band is very glamorous at times and at other times it’s just sitting in a hotel room by yourself waiting to fall asleep so you can wake up and go on the next city. That’s what it is, being a traveling musician. I’m not the first and not the last to say that it’s a very difficult job. It’s hard on your psyche and that’s why you see so many people in the entertainment industry falling victim to drug abuse. It’s not an easy path to go down, you’ve got to really love it to want to do it because you’re making all these sacrifices and the pay-off is the great jam you play every night or the five great jams you play if you’re playing really well.

As a musician who has done work with various organizations, do you feel musicians and other artists have a responsibility to exploit the inherent leverage they’ve obtained in their popularity to bring about positive social change? And what lessons, if any, have you learned from your work with HeadCount that might help others be more effective?” Chris P

MB- Well I definitely don’t think it’s a responsibility of musicians to give back to the community any more than I think it’s a responsibility of everybody to do things to give back to the community. It’s no more my responsibility than it is your responsibility than it is anyone’s responsibility. The thing is certain people are just prone to doing philanthropic work and giving back to the community because it makes them feel good and makes them feel like they can continue to live in a society where so much of what the society does on a day to day basis is destructive of the culture and to the earth. So I do think it’s a responsibility of mine personally because in the thirty-three years I’ve been alive, I’ve done many things that have been destructive and I want to start to erase that ecological footprint that I may have left.

HeadCount has been a very interesting experience to me because it’s a thing that’s really difficult to manage on top of another thing that’s really difficult to mange, only you don’t get paid for this one. The payback is all feeling that you have when you’ve accomplished something.

What I’ve learned from HeadCount is anything can be accomplished by a random group of people who come together with a common goal or common idea or common wishes. I think that seeing this group of volunteers come and lay their entire lives on the line in order to try to increase the involvement of youth voters has been nothing short of awe inspiring.

To see what HeadCount accomplished this year has made me so proud. The youth vote was at an all time high at the midterm elections this year and that was after an excessively apathetic youth vote in 2004, after we had spent a year and a half working our tails off to get the youth vote out. So we did all this work and we got to the end of the first election and it didn’t happen. But then as the next year went on, we realized we had laid a foundation for something very important and when Dave Matthews came back to us and said, “Hey, are you going to do this again for the midterm election? We want to do something for the midterm election,” and the guys from The Dead came to me and said, “We still want to do this,” and Topper from moe. said, “What are you guys planning?” that all kind of reinforced that there is a need for what we’re doing. A very important need and even though the youth vote hadn’t come out the first time, we had laid important groundwork.

For us it’s not did the Democrats win or did the Republicans win as much as did HeadCount accomplish their goal and did young people go to the polls? Can we account for all the young people in the country? Obviously not. But seeing that the youth vote went up so much for this election was very encouraging. The message is getting out there and the message was huge. We hit millions and millions of people with emails right before the election through all of the different websites, organizations and fans that gave us access to their email lists. That can have an effect. My father, who was a politician, said to me, “Don’t think you can’t change the world, one person can, I’ve done it myself. So can you.” So can every individual kid out there, every kid who’s reading this interview right now can take a step back and say, “I can be involved in something that can change our country and change the future of the world.”

I’ve had days where I thought is this working? Is this worth it to be spending 15 hours a day working for free for a cause? Am I crazy? I’m glad to say that now I know I’m not crazy. Well

I told Andy [Bernstein, HeadCount co-chair] this year that with the Biscuits being back on I have to take a huge step backwards in terms of how much I put forth to HeadCount. It is so much work and what he did for the organization this year was just unbelievable because he took on a new job with this company in Canada and has been completely 100% overwhelmed by his new job and still managed to manage the organization for all the right reasons. It’s really hats off to Andy who single-handedly kept the candle lit.

Final question. A lot of people also wanted to hear your opinion of your favorite all-time show or the your favorite from the past tour.

MB- Let me stick with the current tour because it’s fresh in my head. It’s hard because this current tour had so many moments where I thought to myself, “This is it, this is what we are, this is the Biscuits at their best,” that it’s hard to single one out But certainly the Fox Theater show, both sets. A couple of weeks ago we played out at the Fox on a Sunday [11/19] and it was truly magical. There’s no other way to describe it, it was just on from the first second to the last second, there wasn’t moment of the show where I thought, “Oh this is weird,” or “This isn’t working out,” or “We’ve got to get out of here, change this or do something different.” It was just there the whole time, it was pure Bisco right from the first note.

That happened so much on this last tour but mainly the second sets were the hot sets. Cincinnati, I felt the same way, the second set Buffalo I felt the same way. The second set of Illinois I felt the same. Certainly the Hammerstein, the second set both nights I felt the same way.

I just felt like, “We’re doing it, we’re back. We’re finally back.” And there were moments throughout the whole year that were like that. Certainly the “I-Man” from the Stone Pony this summer [6/23]. It was a first set daytime “I-Man” and it was over 30 minutes and it was just perfect. The first jam was amazing, the second jam was amazing and I walked out of there thinking, “That was it, that’s what we do best, that was us at our best.” Getting that feeling now with Allen is what we were praying and hoping for in those two years when we didn’t know what the future was going to be like.

You had those years where Sammy was leaving and we didn't know how it was going to play itself out. I still don’t know how it’s going to play itself out because we’re the Disco Biscuits and the Disco Biscuits never know what the future is going to hold. Part of why we’re creative and exciting is because we’re volatile. We’ve mellowed out but we’re still volatile. There’s still a fire in us and that’s where those shows come from, from that fire inside that burns heavy, hot and bright.

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