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Sep 25, 05 01:47 PM

Oustin' in Austin.


OK, no actual ousting, but it makes a lovely phrase, yeah?


Let's get the bad news out of the way first. I did not get to the Salt Lick. I did not get to the Iron Works. There were no ribs for Mikey.

And I slept through Bloc Party, the Fiery Furnaces, and Def Cab. Reports from Chuck and Handsome Dan state unequivocally that Bloc Party is actually good.

I was sad yesterday for some reason. I don't know why. I was lonely.

The good part = the show. I love doing these one hour, hit 'em and quit 'em, slam-pow gigs. It's really our fort. We played the show short, too; I skipped out of doing a little Skittish-y solo bit show-within-the-show, but I realized after we got offstage that we would've had time for it.

It's all about my drummer, Pete McNeal. I mean, it is all about Pete McNeal, the guy is a fierce talent. What a force he is onstage. I laid out the stage plot in such a way that he's parallel with me at the front of the stage, rather than in the back. For one thing, he's amazing to watch, and I want the crowd to get a real good look at him in action. For another thing, I want to watch him!

Best drummer I've played with since Yuval Gabay, and I auditioned a shitload of dudes before hiring him. He's very different from Yuval in a number of ways. Yuval's strength was that he was a machine. He was the first guy I ever heard, circa 1992, who could do hiphop beats that sounded like hiphop; he was the first guy I know of who understood that doing hiphop meant getting the sounds right, not just the actual beats.

There was a downside to it, though; he wasn't a very sensitive player. Our bass player Sebastian spent the first couple of years of Soul Coughing wanting to quit the fucking band because Yuval just did not respond to what anybody else was doing; the mountain always had to come to Mohammed. He was also ridiculously loud. The upright bass was constantly feeding back; when the drums are like that, a big old hollow bass becomes like a gigantic kick drum mic. It was a huge, huge frustration for all the non-drummers for the life of the band.

Pete is all about grace. He's also much more musical than Yuval. He gets the sounds right, can sound like a breakbeat, but he always locates himself within the song, rather than making the song have to find a balance on top of him.

And he rocks like fuck. I love looking over at him as we play; he's so fierce and fantastic. He sounds huge and ferocious even though he's not pushing for pure volume and force as a player. I think that a band really is the drummer. Hence, I have an awesome fucking band. We rocked the bejesus out of Austin.


Posted by Mike on September 25, 2005 1:47 PM