There’s life in the old dog yet. Details next week.
There’s life in the old dog yet. Details next week.
Once I became a father, I had no idea how to make music fit in my life. It took a long time to adapt to raising a child–those first 6 months were especially rough–but I finally felt ready to step back into the musical house I’d spent six years building and start re-decorating, weather proofing, fixing the leaky roof and such. There wasn’t a band anymore, but I had batch of new songs and plenty of half-finished hopefuls–almost 30 in total–so I decided to reclaim my past and restart my solo career.
No sooner had I made this decision, fate came calling.
A drumming acquaintance of mine wanted to get together and play music with me; not just any music, but the material I had recorded with The Dark Pioneers. I may have wanted to move on from the past, but I was flattered and thought to take a chance. Better still, this drummer knew a bassist, and the bassist had a housemate who played guitar. Eventually, that guitarist’s brother would join in on keyboards. By this point, I thought “Jesus H! Instant band!” Of course nothing is that simple and, roughly 8 months after it began, I had to put The Dark Pioneers 2.0 down for the dirt nap.
Things started going south pretty early. The rhythm section was also part of a popular local band who gigged and toured frequently. Our one-night-a-week rehearsals were always shuffled around to make way for the bigger band. (Okay, I could try to live with that.) Two of the guys also worked at the same restaurant and it frequently meant they couldn’t make rehearsal. (Okay, I *totally* understand that one since you got to pay the rent.) But if I had known that, within less that a year’s time, we’d have only played one gig together, have a repertoire of only 9 songs, and that I’d have to fire the very drummer who started this ball rolling…would I have said “no” from the get-go?
Things started looking up for a hot minute when a very competent replacement drummer stepped in and seemed to pick up the material pretty quickly. And then he quit after three rehearsals and my hopes were crushed. It was already becoming a struggle to get the remaining members to make room for even one rehearsal a week, and playing the same 9 songs over and over felt like a purgatory where my music was the soundtrack. We were finished as a band and it was time to call it; I had to set myself free before I lost my mind trying to salvage all of the wasted effort and lost time. Whatever comes next is completely my choice, but it’s going to take a while for the sting of this particular failure to subside.
Here’s the scoop: there’s a new version of the Dark Pioneers fresh out of TDP Boot Camp and we’re playing a Secret “Warm Up” Show on Monday night (I know I know…Monday). The show was so secret that even I didn’t know about it until recently, thus the last-minute hoopty do.
MON, May 13th @ 8:30pm
THE COMET TAVERN ($7/21+)
922 E Pike Street, Seattle, WA
w/Leopold and his Fiction
And, yes, Leopold and his Fiction is a pretty awesome band, and yes we’re trying to start things as early as The Comet will let us because *it’s frickin’ Monday night!* If you’ve got a spare hour or two, come check out the new 5 piece version of The Dark Pioneers as we make our live debut. Also: it’s been too long and I miss you.
UPDATE: The Mad Caps have also joined the bill. According to The Comet, The Dark Pioneers are still the opening act.
This one has sat on my hard drive long enough–then I went and fiddled with a cover design for weeks. Long story short: here’s the last live recording by the original trio version of The Dark Pioneers back in 2011.
How quickly I forget my responsibilities as a 21st Century musician. Announce yer damn shows!
Joining me for the bill will be Annan and Enoch Bowlby–brothers from the same mother–sitting in as guest rhythm section for a handful of songs. As a last minute thing, I’ll also be filling in on lead guitar as a guest Harborrat with Sam Russell, who will be leading us through the Rock & Soul mines of music. Should be a good time if you’re up north for the night.
I’ve maybe mentioned a few time how much stuff I had sitting in the archives. Now that I find myself with some free time (as much free time as a now 1 year old (??!!) baby will allow), I’m finally in the head-space to let it flow to the masses.
First is the follow up to 2010’s surprisingly successful album of improvisations, Argot: Vol. 1. While I know this isn’t everyone’s cup o’ joe, Argot: Vol. 2 was the very last thing the original line-up of The Dark Pioneers recorded before packing up the rehearsal space and going our separate ways. The fidelity is a step up from Vol. 1, plus I managed to get a little fancier (and freakier) with the reassembly. Rest assured, this was all recorded live with little-to-no forethought.
The end result was actually pretty damn musical with the ghost of Miles Davis (circa 1970) hovering over the proceedings, both musically and in technique–i.e., the “record hours of improvisations, then sort the whole mess out in the editing room” method. There are a few odes to the synth-heavy scores of director John Carpenter and an electro-love letter to the Roland Juno synthesizer, aptly titled “Tribe Of Juno” (with Sam & Nathan creating loops and sequences, then dropping them in on the fly). Toss in some techno, some reggae and twisted, ambient explorations and you have yourself a stew. It’s on Bandcamp for free–or you can toss a few coins in the fountain if you are so inclined.
I haven’t touched this site in six months! Where has the time gone?
After starting 2012 with a baby boy and finishing it by losing my day job of over seven years (??!!), I’ve felt untethered from the world of music. I’ll try to be more specific when the time is right, but I felt it was fitting to drop in when the supposed End Of The World/Mayan Apocalypse was to occur. The year 2012 really was the end of world–at least as I knew it–and while I wouldn’t change a thing (except for some of the depressing stuff that happened in the middle), I’m looking forward to the new year.
Happy holidays and happy New Year! Now how about a little something from the Book of Revelation to sing along with?
It was great to get back on the stage after a long hiatus and to catch up with a lot of folks I haven’t seen in ages. (I also felt completely awkward and under-rehearsed, but I guess that was to be expected.) That being said, it didn’t take long to recall how burnt out I was on the whole booking/”selling yourself to strangers” game that I played for many years, and the prospect of re-entering that Gladiatorial Arena sent me scampering back to my cage for a little soul searching.
In the foreseeable future, I can see myself playing some low key gigs in smaller venues to take the pressure off, allowing me time to get my act together–both figuratively and literally–and to learn how to rehearse again now that there’s a 5 month-old kiddo in my life.
I’ll be back, I swear–I just don’t know when or where.
Have you ever asked yourself “when will Nathan play another live show?” I’ve been asking myself that same question for months and I finally have an answer:
It’s my first show since last November (holy crap!), and I have to thank my friend Sam Russell for dragging me out of my baby-laden torpor for this. I’ve never played solo at The Tractor before, but I’m rested and ready for action.
And, in case your eyes glazed over at my last, overly-long post, I recently uploaded a less-than-recent live show from 2010; it’s free, so whad’ya got to lose?
Oh, and I’ve been in the mood to write again, so I scraped the barnacles off my blog and made sure she’s sea-worthy. While my time to make music has been limited, at least I can write about it.
From early 2010 until our final show at the end of June 2011, The Dark Pioneers & I played at The Skylark in West Seattle a whopping five times. Four of those shows were actually recorded on a multi-track digital workstation by Charlie, the Skylark’s house engineer. For the longest time, I held on to the notion that I’d one day release a live compilation that drew material from all four of those performances.
Well…I had an awakening last month while listening and tracking the best songs from that stockpile–and what a painstaking (and sometimes physically painful) process it was, hearing the highs and lows of our live show over time. Once the involuntary cringing stopped, I was able to conclude two things:
1) Our April show back in 2010 was…not great…BUT pretty damn entertaining and so full of in-jokes and references specific to that particular night that it seemed futile to do anything other than present the show as a single piece, warts and all. (Okay, I shaved a few of those warts off in the editing process.)
2) Aside from a few jewels found in our June 2010 and February 2011 shows, the final Dark Pioneers show in June 2011 was actually the best of the bunch. We went out in style, it would seem.
So what to do? My friend Eddie Williams, who had previously recorded my solo debut, The Dead Leaves Sing, had already mixed that April 2010 show nearly two years ago, and it’s been sitting on my hard drive ever since. Now that I’ve decided to let it all go as one piece, I’ve made it available as a free download. Full details are over on the ARCANA page, or you can just _click here_ to download the zip archive (MP3s, plus a pdf file with photos and credits).
Our final show will be mixed and released as part of a bigger package later this year. In the meantime, I’ll be busy mixing and editing Argot, Vol. 2, which will (hopefully) see the light in a couple of months. And, like our first volume in the Argot series, it will be a free download on Bandcamp.com.