Monday, December 31, 2007

First night or last night?

"Tonight's the Night" really is a great record. In all my Neil binging, I sometimes overlook great things, or take them for granted, or whatever. A lot of the time Crazy Horse records go by the wayside. Either way, fittingly, tonight is indeed the night.

We've taken a long time off to prepare for this show. That means get new songs in order, covers, get tight, and promote the hell out of it. Unfortunately, almost none of those things happened. In a rather tumultuous break from band, we've been so busy taking a break, that we literally took a break. The show planning has been a total disaster, with the first gig falling through and then countless venues coming and going for this lineup, and yet, I'm not too worried. In our first practice in a dog's age last night, we sounded OK. The general plan is to do two shorter sets each, probably around 30 minutes. So we'll play second and fifth. We've got two covers planned. While the Facebook invite looks ominously low as far as confirmed guests, people keep saying the show will sell out regardless -- hey, it's New Year's Eve.

It's too bad we didn't get much of a chance to promote the show. It's a good, strong bill with a familiar feel. A lot of the band's worry lately has been voiced over the fact that, well, no one knows about the show. And yet, the Boston Herald deemed the show "Off the First Night radar" today:

Three Day Threshold, Cassavettes, Girls Guns and Glory, Copperfield’s, 98 Brookline Ave., Boston, 8 p.m., $20.

Maybe it’s because Copperfield’s isn’t quite entrenched on the local rock map, but this show rates among the best in the city tonight. Each band could headline its own alt-country New Year’s Eve hoedown, but together they create the closest thing we get to a Nashville new year.


This will be a good, fun way to toast 2007 -- a year that saw us accomplish a lot, fill with optimism, and perhaps for the first time, truly stagnate. Nonetheless, we're ushering in a year that I fully expect to be a big year. A new record, maybe a few, hopefully more touring and hopefully some serious steps. It's all on the horizon, and it starts tonight. Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Year's hype


I want New Year's to be sweet. I know it will be. Tickets should be in soon. But the flyer was finished today by Martin, and posted on all the usual boards. Anyhow, one particularly funny thread, entitled "Cute Boys Alert!!!", contained this user comment: "That one dude in Cassavettes is devastating."

Chris (brokenfuses), a BLT devotee, explains to me (insertiovalencia) while sharing this thread with me at work...
brokenfuses (4:09:09 PM): "That one dude in Cassavettes is devastating."
brokenfuses (4:09:10 PM): Hahaha
insertiovalencia (4:09:52 PM): what does that mean?
insertiovalencia (4:10:12 PM): did martin post it under the title "cute boys alert"?
brokenfuses (4:10:36 PM): The thread is titled "cute boys alert" and that guy is saying that one dude is devastatingly cute -- probably just mike
insertiovalencia (4:10:57 PM): oh really, chris? why mike? haha
insertiovalencia (4:11:06 PM): do YOU think mike is the cutest?
brokenfuses (4:11:21 PM): haha thats conventional knowledge!


Looks like we found out who Chris' Cassavettes crush is: Mike. Not surprising, they'd be a good match. I told Chris the story of when Mike and I first started the band, one of our first discussions about the group. It was just Mike and I, the other guys hadn't joined up yet. So, Mike says to me, "I'll be the good looking one in the band" and I said "Wait, what band? Right now, it's just you and me, so all you're saying is that you're better looking than me." I was joking with him, but he always seemed upset when I'd bring it up. At this point, now that "conventional knowledge" has solidified his place as the best looking, the story is just funny. And besides, I'd take a bite out of Mike.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back on the ball

OK so I'm officially back in work mode with this band. Not to say this break is for naught. We haven't practiced enough, but I think the time off has been good. The interest in the band seems to be high, and the songs are good. I went to Texas on Friday to finish a few demos with Jimmy that we recorded here over a swath of time, mostly from June. Unfortunately, the files were corrupted and we didn't get to do much with them, though I did lay down foundations for a couple possible Cassavettes songs (one of which features a fabulous harmony vocal from Jenna Snavely).

Today, in between catching up on work, I started seeking and booking again. Yes, we're limiting Boston shows (though we seem to nearly be booked through March), but I also need to get on booking regional gigs: Providence, Portsmouth, Portland, Burlington, Northampton, western Mass, and upstate NY. I ended up happening upon the fact that Drag the River was playing in Boston, and I've long hoped to open for them. We landed the show outright, and found out that Girls Guns & Glory is onboard, too! So so sweet. I'm also working on another big show for March, in between all the SXSW planning and some work on out of towners in April (close to a Portland gig). We'll keep contacting bands and trying to build up regionally.

For some time, I've heard It's Gonna Change was reviewed in the national magazine Skyscraper. I finally tracked it down in Texas and here it is. So says Michael Meade:
Cassavettes are a young, four-piece roots-rock outfit from Boston by way of Texas, featuring guitarist Mike McCullagh, bassist Scott Jones, drummer Matt Snow, and driving force Glenn Yoder. Looks like someone forgot to tell these guys that alt.country is so over. And good thing, too, because Cassavettes make a satisfying mix of country, blues, folk, and jangly roots-pop. Edges are left nicely unpolished on this largely do it yourself effort, but that's the way it should be. "The Nadir" opens the disc, a catchy country-rock tale of dying young and with little but the anguish of one's survivors to speak of a too-brief life. It could be a veiled reference to Iraq, but works well in a more general reading. "Trouble From the Start" is a sad-eyed ballad, a bluesy reflection on the predictably rote script of failed relationships. Nothing else really matches these two songs here, still It's Gonna Change is a fine first effort with all the attendant short-comings: unsteady group mission with multiple influences, songs that seem to search for identity, uneven pacing, and vocals that are a bit too urgent. While the writing reflects the youth of the band (short intros to many of the songs speak of good things that don't materialize), many of these tracks have strong melodies, and there is certainly evidence of future promise.


Not bad, eh? It's definitely a fair review.

One final thought: I apologize for all the confusion with New Year's Eve. The show WILL be at Copperfield's, near Fenway Park. $20, and we will have advance tickets hopefully in the next couple days. The show most likely will sell out, so contact us at cassavettesband@hotmail.com to get tickets or, if you know us, call us up. Bring all your friends! It's going to be wild!

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Secret shows

The last two days have seen us return to the stage. We didn't really advertise either show, but rather just took them as a chance to get back in live playing shape and get our bearings for the big New Year's eve show. Surprisingly, we haven't lost much of the live part.

Yesterday, we played in Maynard at the Beacon Santa Telethon. This is a sort of charity-type local telethon that gives holiday gifts, a la Globe Santa. When we played it two years ago, we had low expectations, and ended up having a great night. This was how I described it in the first post of this blog:

We finished 2005 playing Matt's former high school's holiday fundraiser, the WAVM Beacon Santa Telethon. A lot of young high school girls showed up and screamed and asked us for autographs and we were delighted to sign said autographs. We felt like the Beatles, even for just one night. Also, as long as we're talking about that show, let me note that Matt got sick off a quesadilla he ate before taking the stage and so in all the pictures with the girls from that night, we had Chris Brook step in as a look-alike. Even though it was in Matt's hometown, I don't know if the girls noticed a difference.


Anyhow, talk about a change. This year, we got no fanfare. We didn't sell any merch. We were nobodies. And we hardly played basketball this time, after a huge game the last time. Still, playing on TV with a monitor in front of us gave me a chance to see how long my hair has truly gotten now. Whoa. Too long. Caveman style even. It is constantly in my mouth and getting stuck in my teeth when singing. Nasty. Since I announced that the dream may really be over, and I may be scaling it back, I've gotten mixed reactions. But even the neutral Melanie said: "Yeah, I feel as though your hair has plateaued." I'll take that. So it may be time to trim it up -- I've been walking into walls, missing my blindspot when driving, and just looking like a scoundrel lately. Either way, the night ended with my car refusing to start worse than ever, so I'll take it to the shop on Tuesday (my day off). A cop suggested it may be the alternator, but who knows?
SET LIST (to the best of my recollection): Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / On the Lam / Whitewashed / You'll Be Crying Soon / Trouble From the Start / Golden Fleece / The Nadir / Debts / Loose Lips / Shotgun Wedding / Shine A Light

The next night we played at MassArt in a room that may be the biggest room we've ever played. It was like half-theater/half-gymnasium. And, of course, there was no one there. But we made a litte money, had an awesome video presentation going on behind us, and best of all, a dude named Forrest happened to be there who was really into hulahooping. He was so good and rhythmic that I invited him onstage to perform during "Loose Lips." He does this awesome move where he smoothly shakes the hoop up his body and onto his outstretched finger. I have a lot of respect for someone as self-confident as this guy. Anyone else would let judgment come between them and their enjoyment. But he just didn't care. He did what he wanted, and what he wanted to do was hulahoop. Matt suggested that he could have been "tripping," but I highly doubt it. I think he just likes music, dancing, and hulahooping. His dance moves actually remind me of Mike's brother John in the way that he enjoys it so much, even if sometimes he dances alone. Everyone quietly respects that, whether they admit it or not. Anyhow, as you can tell, this guy made the show. Everyone tried their hand at hulahooping, including me, despite the fact that I can't hulahoop. I tried to climb into Melanie's ring while she was going (she's quite good), but I ended up getting smacked in the nose by the hoop. It bent my nose up and hurt as bad as when I've broken it in the past. Immediately, tears came to my eyes and I went to the bathroom to check for blood. But today, no black eyes means no broken nose, just a dull pain. And it was worth a shot. After taking Scott home, I caught Rogue Heroes at Matt Murphy's and then went to a quick party at the Matts. All in all, a really great Saturday.
SET LIST: Valley of Gold / You'll Be Crying Soon / On the Lam / Carolyn, Don't Leave Like This / Trouble From the Start / Shotgun Wedding / Loose Lips / Debts / Golden Fleece / The Nadir

Some other things have been up lately, behind the scenes. We're trying to organize the New Year's show, and it's getting down to the wire. We met with a manager/producer on Tuesday, and were flattered by what we heard. We'll see where that goes. And we were asked about this year's Rodfest at the Paradise, which we couldn't be more thrilled about.

This also happens to be the one year anniversary of "It's Gonna Change" being released. Have things changed for us? Yeah, we're in a good spot. Now it's just about finding the path to the next level.

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