The FEdAvEEs would probably write the soundtrack to your accidental journey into a new, weird, scary dimension. How did you end up leaving your universe? You probably did something bad. The FEdAvEEs produce in equal parts echo-ey guitar, heavy unrelenting power chords, throbbing bass, and drums that, hm..flirt with dance beats (can one dance in this new dimension?), all this accompanied by the distant, vaguely menacing vocals of frontman/guitarist John Allen. John was good enough to answer some of my questions. Give the FEdAvEEs a listen!
How’d you get into playing music?
In high school daze I recognized a weirdo kid from science class on the T platform at Downtown Crossing. Jae looked cool with long hair, headphones and slacker style–we fast became friends–he played guitar and asked me if he bought a drumkit, would i play it? So I played drums in bands mostly until a few years ago when I had the itch and the time to try my hand at making my own songs and recording. So I made a tape record and called it ‘night cows’. Then started my own band finally.
What would you recommend for a newbie trying to get into playing music?
When I was younger, I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd and Beatles and loved their experimentation. I thought if I took drugs I could find amazing sounds like that, too. I would say hone your craft first–[then] trip balls.
How do you go about writing songs?
When I can find time to play guitar I see what riffs stick or jump out–if I have a day free and I can set some things up to record, I try to lay down and layer until I’m tangled up [in] chords and my stomach gets pissed at me.
Can you think of any problems with song writing people usually don’t hear about?
I think it sucks when my neighbors come home and I have to stop. Why don’t they stay away until I’m finished, goddamnit.
How’d you get your band together?
Tommy and Noah answered my ad I posted on OKCupid. Tommy had pro-gear and Noah had pro-tude.
If someone were trying to get into starting a band, what advice would you give them?
There’s too many bands! Pick up a Tennis Racket! Be a Gangster! Join the Circus! I would say have fun with your buddies, if it sounds good to ya–and you dig it–keep at it. If it’s a serious job with long hours and no laughs….hey, tennis racket…
Did you experience anything forming up a band that was a complete surprise to you, or something that people starting a band would find surprising?
People want to play shows all the time!! What’s up with that? Cool it people!
What do you use for practice space?
A 16 x 24 storage unit off the highway. We run a power strip in from the Dominos next door. They don’t mind–they like the tunes and hook us up with a slice here and there–it sounds so killler in there, man!
How often do you practice?
Usually 5 times a year.
Any horror stories or funny things happen during practice?
One time we were jamming in the STO-YOON (Storage Unit…that’s what we call the spot) and a killer clown crawled in and told us jokes before trying to murder us! Man, that was crazy! But we did have some laughs! Hey Bobo! If you are reading this–fuck you man!
Is there anything that was a surprise to you about the experience of practicing for gigs?
It never sounds the same live. Ever. So don’t be surprised. But once in a blue harvest moon it sounds almost like practice and maybe even feels like practice–damn that’s a curve ball.
Any practical advice for people who are starting to practice for gigs?
Change your strings before each practice, and then for the show put the old ones back on. It’s like cream cheese on a bagel.
What was your first live show–what was it like?
Oh, you mean that sweet 16 birthday party in Quincy, MA? We scared the hell out of the old people and scarred all the small children. One of the proudest days of my life. I remember covering Minor Threat, the Pixies and Nirvana along with our ‘just as good’ original jams.
Any horror stories or funny things happen up on stage?
–I just realized now–that I was doing pretty good paying attention to grammar and punctuation and capitalization and even spelling..but now from this point on-I’m just gonna wing it and hope for the best [We’ll help out 😉 -ed.].
Is there any advice you’d give to someone who’s hasn’t played out yet and is trying to get over stage fright or just the overwhelmingness of playing live?
If Elvis could do it–so can you.
How do you record?
Upside Down! Next!
Any advice for a newbie trying to get into recording his or her stuff, either professionally or as an amateur?
I think starting simple is best–tape recorder > 4-track > Garage Band> iPhone app.
Is there anything you experience when recording that you think would surprise a person who doesn’t know anything about the process?
Feedback ain’t so bad. Shape that feedback into a pretzel. Put some salt on there–you need some mustard? I’m hungry.
Any bands you’d recommend that are from the Boston area?
Oh man, this list is always tough! There’s a few ways to go about it. You can list your friends. Or obscure shit that doesn’t even have a web presence yet…there’s a lot of interesting bands in Boston right now, or close by (Yo Portland!)–I want to get the word out about a few mashed potatoes.
St. Ripper – these ferocious females rocked the Middle East Upstairs recently and blew me away–punk rock and thrash served just the way you like it. Tha! Clitoratti!–these cats have such a pure approach to making music–it’s true art. They aren’t trying to pull a fast one–just making some sounds and sharing them with you. Lucky you. No Way, Jose-is George from Amoroso and Spenser from CreaturoS–who play maybe 2x a year or something–but when they can find time for this project, their milkshakes brings all the boys and girls to the yard.
What are your impressions of the Boston scene as you’ve experienced it?
I have been working at ZuZu for 8 years now and have met some really great people. I would trade my double vision for a photographic memory.
Could you recommend one album by some other artist?
The Wipers, Is this Real?
What do you think is the most interesting thing about your experience with music?
The chess match I have been playing with the devil.
What’s most important to you about playing music?
Playing the same songs and same set over and over again until it’s perfect. Wait, actually the opposite of what I just typed.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve got to meet Molly for coffee before work.
Finally, is there anything we can do as writers to help you out?
Can you loan me a couple of bucks? Or help me build a motorcycle?