Algoma is infinitesimal.
When a new band forms around here, ya' tend to know the players, their folks,and what they eat fer breakfast any particular morning about 3 practices in. The Tears even more so for me -- Casey: "I'm going to be doing a new band with nickg,Courtney and Natalie."
Me: "Cool. How's the folks?"
Courtney and Natalie are sisters that first graced us with the Take Offs, a highschool punk/garage band that coasted by on energy fumes and stumbled even more often due to the fact that nobody could play their fuckin' instruments. A first band, right? Courtney later laid down a Blue Balls tape that showed a knack for catchy songwriting and vocals that at-least-matched Kim from the Muffs in terms of scream-power and kick-inth'-balls sweetness. Very promising. Casey and nickg had already arrived via projects such as the Strong Come Ons, the Knockers, the Catholic Boys and the aforementioned Blue Balls. Would it rock? I was certain. How good would it be? I dun-din know.
Fast(back) forward to a Milwaukee show where I showed up fashionably late 'n missed their debut. It was pretty packed, and all I heard was "Tears this," "Tears that" and "best debut in years." Lotsa' enthusiasm from a pretty jaded set. Fug. I made plans to meet 'em the next day at the Algoma trailer for the recordings yer hearing here.
Still had to hear for myself, ya' know?
We sat back with some brews while everybody yelled at each other 'n set up mics and borin' shit like that. Click-click-click WHHHHOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH! Jesus! Locked groove organ-rattlin' shit-can r 'n r -- the kind that makes you helplessly switch from sippin' to chuggin'. The kind that cuts all the years of lifeless (re)animation away to reveal the raw nerves and inchoate hysteria that made this stuff worthwhile in the FIRST fucking place. The kind that moves me.
And I'm pretty immovable. And they were adding vocals later, so all I had was the instro-din to play offa'.
When did Natalie learn how to slide her fingers around a guit-neck like that? She's 17 on this recording, but she brings more soul than labels-fulla' "hip" 30+ black-bang white-belt dudes. Supposedly, our very presence was making her nervous, and since we're assholes, we refused to leave the trailer. "It's much better live where they're comfortable," said Casey.
Fast(again) forward a couple-few weeks to their second show. The Mystery Girls and Strong Come Ons had just rolled back into town following their US tour. We checked out pics, tour stories, etc., remarked upon how cool it was that folks outside the area seemed to be diggin' the local sound, and downed a good number of beers. It was the tour capper, a tribute to the 'Gals 'n 'Ons, but the Tearswere gonna' open it up. Didn't really think much of it as they plugged in, but(once more) click-click-click WWWWHHHHHOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHH! Jesus fuck! This is a BAND, a swing-together unit that speaks the same language, and that language is (say it with me) shit-can r 'n r. Courtney drops a beat, the band plays on. Someone throws a corncob at Casey's head, and the band slides on over to cover. Nick forgets a line and Courtney takes over.
They were easily the band of the night.
Ya' know, so many "girl" bands have the lowest possible expectations, because they's girls. Guys like eye candy, women like seeing gene-sisters up on stage. They only have to look cute and perten' to rock. Fuck you if you think any differently -- sad or no, it's an ugly fact. Not the Tears -- they're a rock 'n roll BAND, a unit that brings it right between your eyes. They work off a "garage" base, somewhat Pandoras, I guess, but the rhythm section swings it and nickg & Natalie trade off riffs 'n string-shots that YOU KNOW woulda' sounded diff if the Mystery Girls were from Alaska and hadn't smoked us all with dual string-improv dozens of times over the years.
So yeah -- this is only the beginning, but it might be the most auspicious one I've yet been privy to.
Casey told nickg's Mom about the time Nick smoked crack when the Strong Come Ons played in Ohio. Green Bay is small. Algoma is infinitesimal. Real rock 'n roll CAN'T come from New York. Not anymore. But small towns are timeless.
Can you feel the desperation?
Can you feel the desperation?
-Interview by Dale
What's it like hanging out in an Ice Shanty?
Natalie: I think this is a question for the Algoma folk
What's it like hanging out in an Ice Shanty?
nickg: Being that I'm from the Shanty Village, you'd think I'd've hung out in at least one shanty. I have not. but after seeing "Grumpy Old Men," i always wanted to get a shanty to sit in while i listened to records. I probably would put a line in the water, but I dont' think i'd really be fishing.
Courtney: A What?
Have you ever "done it" in a Ice Shanty?
Casey: Done it meaning Fish? Yes, I have ice fished in an Ice Shanty.
nickg: I don't know what you mean.
Courtney: Done "It"?
Who's the diva?
nickg: Are you asking who the diva of the band is? Obviously I'm the diva, and you don't have to look much further for the definition.
nickg=diva=nickg. i'll throw down with Celine or Mariah or even Aretha. anytime, dude. Diva upside ya head.
Natalie: Casey is the diva, he's the only one with a real fashion sense.
What defines a diva?
Courtney: A Really Tight Jean Jacket.
Casey: A diva seems to be someone who has an inflated sense of reality around/about them. Their demands are unreasonable usually involving extraneous blah...shit like temperature control and fruity additions to their mixed drinks. Not that nickg asks for anything extra or out of the ordinary, but he's the hardest to please. If you know what I mean.
Does nickg have multiple personalities?
Courtney: No, He has a period.
Casey: Yes. Multiple Multiple personalities. At first you may think it's just drunk = happy nickg w/ sober = unhappy/sad/mean/et cetera nickg but eventually you realize there is the happy drunk nickg, the something other than happy drunk nickg, the something other than happen sober nickg and the not quite happy but still not exactly not happy sober nickg. There is nothing between sober and drunk though, it's either all or nothing. It's very complex. nickg's life is in temporary permanent grayscale.
nickg: I wouldn't know too much about this, but nickg has sworn to me that he does not, in fact, have multiple personalities.
Courtney: My Body
nickg: There's so many different ways to use the word smooth. I could say, "dayamn, baby, yo' ass is smooooove like a mothafucka." That doesn't really tell you anything. I like the word "slick" a little better.
Natalie: Dressing like Marty McFly is pretty smooth.
Did ya ever go through a hip-hop phase?
Courtney: Fuck Yeah, Fifth Grade!
Casey: Not really. There were moments back in my pre-formative, formative years that had touches of hip hop. Summer of 91 or 92 or whenever that one "Summertime" song by Will Smith (does he count) came out. There were moments of endearment to it for me, but even then it was a guilty guilty pleasure. A few Snopp Dogg moments. Most of it was in passing, nothing to live by.
Natalie: I don't think so, does rap count?You can't fuck with "The Chronic"
nickg: I don't know if I'd say hip hop, but one of the first cds I ever bought with my own money was by my brother Warren G. I also really liked slow jams when I was in like 5th grade. I wanted to be in Boys II Men.
Beat on the brat with a baseball bat?
Natalie: Oh yeah!
nickg: I prefer the backside of my hand.
Courtney: Beat on the What?
What makes Lionel Ritchie so outrageous?
nickg: The obvious answer is that his wife beat him up, and he didn't kill himself. That's pretty outrageous but really i think it goes back to his days in the Commodores. check out the funky hairdos and the OUTRAGEOUS costumes. Silly Lionel Ritchie.
Natalie: It's gotta be the hair.
Courtney: Lionel Who?
Casey: I think that fact that he's introducing Pat Benatar Videos on VH1 classic on Valentine's Day using the relationship turned to marriage between the guitar guy Neal and the singer women pat. I really don't know Lionel Richie,but I know Pat Benatar made some bad videos. She seemed to be able to handle the Nazi's well, and well that's a good thing.
Care to describe the perfect cheese curd?
Natalie: A good cheese curd is squeaky.
nickg: I'll just say, when you get the perfect cheese curd, you KNOW. and it most likely has the word "renards" somewhere on the package, if we're talkin' the raw curds as opposed to the fried variety.
Casey: Are you talking about the breaded cheese curd or the fresh cheese curd? While I'm a fan of the breaded cheese curd there is nothing that cantop the unbreaded fresh from the cheese factory made that morning still sitting out under cheese cloth squeaks when you bite into it cheese curd. You haven't really experienced cheese curds until you've experienced them likethis. You can reheat them after they've sat in the fridge for a few days to regain some of the pure feeling they once had, but it's not exactly the same.
Cheap Wisconsin beer?
Natalie: Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Courtney: PBR me ASAP
Casey:There are so many quality WI beers, and so many I've yet to experience: Rhinelander, Huber Bock (both brewed by the Huber Brewing Company, Monroe, WI) both cheap and quite tasty, Point is good, Leinekugels is fine too, especially the Creamy Dark, Blatz originated in WI, Milwaukee's Best Ice-it's a Miller Product but it's cheap.
If you could be a cop for one day-What would you do?
Natalie: Arrest Casey for being too sexy. Then give him my own special "punishment"
Courtney: Make Question Interviews Illegal.
nickg: I'd shoot lots of inanimate things. That's the only reason I'd want to be a cop.
Girls-What's it like touring with two boys?
Natalie: Ha! Not as easy as you'd think. nickg gets his period.
Courtney:They have worse PMS than we do
Boys-What's it like touring with two girls?
nickg: This is a good question. Lots of people warned me that it would be hell, to be quite honest. actually, though, I'd rather be on tour with these two girls than anyone else i've been on tour with. not to say I like them better than anyone else, but I got along with the band much better while on tour with the Tears than with anyone else. For the most part, anyway. so yeah, sometimes you gotta carry the heavy stuff or whatever....but that makes me feel like a man, or like I'm doin' something besides being a pansy,so I'll take it but yeah we all have our bitchy moments, but I'm far and away the bitchiest. they put up with it remarkably well and it helps. Not to be sappy, but I couldn't be happier with a couple o' girls.
Casey: It's something like I'd imagine heaven to be like. Perfect. That's sounds good. Or they have breasts. It's really no different than touring with Gus (Strong Come Ons drummer), except the competency level is much higher and they're better looking, smelling and more loveable.
Who do you fear most behind the wheel?
nickg: Casey's really the only one behind the wheel at any given time. I guess i have been afraid a few times, too. I think when I drove one time, no one really loved the idea.
Casey: Is this from the perspective of being in a vehicle driven by this person or driving along side someone in a different vehicle. Gus scares me when he drives (that's twice I've made Gus references), and I'm basically the only who drives. I thought nickg would scare me, but he handled himself quite nicely.
Courtney: Casey In New York State
Are some places just too nice to practice rock-n-roll in?
nick g: Yeah. Some places are just too nice to BE in, though. I don't wanna fuck shit up, so I try to stay outta nice places. I don't feel as bad if i drop a beer on the floor at the Punk Mahal, as I would if I was in my mom's house.
What gives basements their vibe?
Natalie: Is it the darkness? Those poles? I don't know.
Casey: Concrete walls, leaky pipes, over all dankness or Carpet floors, bright lighting, et cetera.
nickg: You need carpet. Carpet is where it's at. And shit on the walls. Not, like, shit shit. Just stuff. Posters, curtains...something. I like being cozy.
Would you rather be paid in diamonds or marijuana?
Courtney: What does better on the Black Market?
nickg: Okay, well this depends. Say we get diamonds...are they only worth as much (money-wise) as the pot we passed up to get them? If so, then give me the weed right away. If we got big ol' expensive diamonds, compared to like an 1/8 of weed, gimme the diamonds. Then I'll sell 'em and buy a bunch more weed. Unless it's like the shit my roomate got recently. These dudes tried growing their own and fucked up somehow. They ended up with what I'll call "fools weed." I thought i was getting high for a moment, but then I realized it was just that i was smoking so much, there was no oxygen going to my brain.
Casey: I honestly believe there is too much of an emphasis placed on the material/bodily aspects of this world. Through performance I transcend conventional boundaries imposed by society, wealth and drugs and gain my most rewarding payment through self-satisfaction. Diamonds: sell diamonds, buy marijuana, or something to that effect.
Natalie: I'd rather be paid in cheeseburgers.
Do the Tears write love songs?
nickg: I can't speak for the rest but all the songs I write are love songs. Awwww.
Casey: "Blew My Baby Away", that's got love running all through it. "Don't Care About Nothin'" actually has an implied "But You" at the end of it that the others don't even realize. We are capable.
Courtney: Only love songs and songs about puppies.
Natalie: All the Tears songs are love songs.