by Jaime Lees
8:00 p.m. September 2
3509 Lemp Ave. St. Louis, MO
w/ The Funs
The ’90s revival is upon us. Chunky-heeled boots and daisy-print dresses are back in fashion, but the most welcome — and maybe unexpected — thing to cycle back into favor is the Breeders. Known for its 1993 radio hit “Cannonball,” the Dayton, Ohio band has recently been awash in productivity and acclaim. Last year it released a twentieth anniversary version of beloved album Last Splash and the influential group has been getting props all over world, with invitations to play at massive international music festivals. The band is passing on the love, too: Midwest/St. Louis art-punker act the Funs is scheduled to open for the Breeders on a five-day stretch of its current tour.
link: Riverfront Times
The Funs Kick Off Tour with the Breeders Tonight at Off Broadway
By Jaime Lees
Tue., Sep. 2 2014
Local artsy/DIY duo the Funs has pulled off the unthinkable: a slot opening for its very favorite band, the Breeders. The Funs will play the first five dates of the tour starting tonight at Off Broadway and ending September 8 in Garden City, Idaho.
Alt-rock band the Breeders has a long history with St. Louis — nearly always scheduling a tour date in the area to accommodate its huge fan base here. This allegiance was most pronounced when the band chose the Lou as a place to film a music video, borrowing our Arch Rival Roller Girls to use as its stars.
The two members of the Funs, Philip Jerome Lesicko and Jessee Rose Crane, have made a name for themselves as an uncompromising, inventive team. Last year, Riverfront Times writer Mabel Suen described the appeal of the Funs like this: “The resulting racket… blasts its way out through a tower of amps, a fuzzy, buzzy wall disjointed by sharp drumming. The two rotate roles between drums and guitar, both crooning through a reverb-drenched haze, floating flawed and fraught with inescapable feelings through outer space.”
We contacted the members of the Funs and had a mutual Breeders gushy-love-session where they praised their new tour mates, expressed their excitement and explained their plans for the future.
Jaime Lees: Tell me how you got the opening slot for the Breeders on this Midwest section of the tour.
Crane: Frank Sharp (Mr. Big) from Sharp Records contacted us from his limo and asked us to play.
Lesicko: I sent an email to an address that I thought might reach Kim [Deal, Breeders vocalist]. The Breeders are our favorite band in so many ways. I sent the email because we care about the Breeders, not because we want to open for a big band. They are one of the few bands that keep it real. And I respect them so much for that. When I received a response I felt… I don’t think there is a word for it. I cannot explain how much it means to us to be able to tour with the Breeders.
Crane: No, really, Philip sent her a video; can you believe that? I can’t. I never would have because I can’t believe that this could happen. Kim reaches out to a lot of smaller bands; it’s one of the billion reasons she’s amazing. We don’t have a booking agent or manager or a big label backing us. We done this all ourselves. We told her we could send more music if she wanted and she said no the live stuff is what matters and it’s really good.
Now Philip can get away with anything for the rest of our lives because if we ever get in a fight, he can just say, “Remember when we went on tour with the Breeders?” and I’ll shut up. It’s un-fucking-real. Most people can’t understand what a big deal this is to me. Unless you could go back in time and see me as kid falling in love with them and talking about them ad nauseum. I’m obsessed. Philip told me and I cried. We were recording at Public House Sound Recordings in Chicago when we got the call and I started to cry. I was just screaming and crying and it was raining and I went out in the rain in my sock feet and was screaming. I thought I was having a heart attack. I had a total meltdown in front of this recording guy, Dave, who I barely knew and he started tearing up I think. He’s really the sweetest guy so it was cool. Really there are no words.
What are some of your favorite Breeders songs and why?
Crane: Well, for whatever reason, “Little Fury,” the first song on Title TK always got me. The breakdown when she sings “Hold what you’ve got.” I love that part, and it just starts so fucking raw. It’s amazing. We actually covered that song once at a Halloween show in Chicago; we did a Breeders set. So that’s on the internet somewhere. I’m dressed like a nun. “Off You” is one of the greatest songs ever written, hands down. The lyrics “I am the autumn in the scarlet / I am the makeup on your eyes.” What? Too good. “I’ve never seen a starlet / Or a riot or the violence of you.” Too fucking good. They just put “Off You” in that new movie Her and I heard it and was, like, woah that’s weird. I would listen that song over and over and over.
Can I just say “Cannonball” is not even close to one of my favorites? And I’m not saying that to go against the grain, but it does annoy me that people are like “Oh, the Breeders? They have that song ‘Cannonball’ right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, and dozens of other songs that are amazing.” All their albums are good. You should listen to them all. Oh yeah, back to the question: I love the song “Doh!” Because it’s weird and oddly beautiful. She is seriously underrated as a songwriter and vocalist. Like, Kim is Bob Dylan and Billie Holiday. Name your biggest names. I don’t care who they are, she is that.
Who do you consider your influences?
Lesicko: Honest, hardworking people in life, art and everything else.
Crane: Well, I think you know, maybe. The Breeders. They are really the only one I can count. Kim has always just been herself and stayed true to herself and who she is and what she does. She really cares about the music and recordings and I feel the same way. She has been a great inspiration to just keep doing what we do.
How do you describe your sound?
Lesicko: It is very intense, in a way that hopefully engages the audience in a positive way. We make music that is natural to us. We care about it. We don’t try to do one thing or the other. Its an extension of who we are and what we are. It’s not for everyone. But I think when people connect they really connect. If you are interested, we can easily be found.
Crane: It’s hard, you know. People have told me more than once that we play emotion. That our songs sound like feelings more than musicians. I can agree with that. I don’t consider myself a musician, for some reason. I would say I’m an artist though. It’s innate, for sure, and all that “whatever” comes out. I don’t think about it or analyze it. Our music is Philip and I’s brains transformed into sound waves. That is what we sound like: fucking crazy brain waves.
Aside from playing live, what are some of your other projects?
Lesicko: We run a label called Manic Static. I put everything into that. We are rehabbing our home called Rose Raft in rural Illinois. It will become a residency for working artists and musicians in the not-too-distant future.
Crane: I make hats out of tin foil and glue and costume jewelry. You want one? I spend a lot of time with tin foil. I sculpt flowers out of plastic bags. I draw cats. I sew little dolls out of socks I call Peekers and sell them at shows, because I’m broke and am bad at money. And yes, I am turning my home into an artist residency. Rose Raft.
What are your plans for the future, band-wise?
Lesicko: The band will never end. We will always write songs together and record them. And I know that people out there dig them, and that is so amazing to me. We will be recording a new record this winter. We hope to have it out in the spring. Followed by non-stop touring.
Crane: I plan to keep making music until my life functions cease. So, lets say an album a year ’til that happens. I’ve been doing that a while now, and you are asking me these questions. We are going on tour with Breeders. As far as I am concerned, I don’t need to do anything else with my life.
link: Riverfront Times
Songs for the First Day of Summer
By Jaime Lees
Wed., Jun. 20 2012 at 12:09 PM
Ah, summer in St. Louis. A time for tank tops, sunscreen, cold beers sweating in koozies, frying at music festivals, hooking up with randoms, slapping mosquitoes, listening to a member of the Buck family narrate and — if you’re lucky — not dodging too many stray bullets.
Today is the first official day of summer, so we thought we’d celebrate one of the best music-listening seasons by sharing some must-rock summer jams. There are tons of options to choose from: It’s a season for blossoming, for growth, for partying, for enduring and hopefully, for a little fun break in your busy life.
Yes, there is a song out there for every feeling, situation and time, but so many good ones center around this hot, sexy middle season. There’s a summer song for you if you’re feeling romantical. There’s a summer song for you if you’re feeling nostalgic. There’s a summer song for you if you’re finally finished with school. There’s a summer song for you if you’re cheesy. There’s even a summer song for you if you suck.
My favorite summer song is the Breeders’ “Saints” off of the classic ’90s album Last Splash. It’s a dead obvious choice, with lyrics about crowds, fairs, hot metal and the repeating line “summer is ready when you are.” In fact, the whole Last Splash album just sounds like summer, with its surf leanings (“Flipside”), hit sing-a-longs (“Cannonball”) and songs custom built to listen to while cruising with your hand out the window and your palm open to the breeze (“Drivin’ on 9”).
Our hometown hero, Nelly, has given us not one, but two instant summer jams. First came “Country Grammar.” Summer in the Lou cannot start without giving this mega-hit a spin, especially with all the nods to familiar scenes and locations in the video. Then, a couple of years after “Country Grammar,” our golden boy gave us “Hot in Herre,” which is both a club hit and a phrase that is repeated for months ’round these parts, given the hairstyle-ruining humidity.
Any list of timeless summer songs should include a song by the Beach Boys, whose occasionally mercurial front man Brian Wilson turns 70 today. Almost any early song by the Boys works, really. The band’s whole image was designed around those guys being the ultimate groovy summer ambassadors, with their songwriting centered around California, surfing, cool cars and tan girls in bikinis. Of course, any Beach Boys fan can tell you that the talent and focus of the band goes deeper than their sandals and Hawaiian shirts, and the members eventually became some of the most revered musicians in pop music history. Still, let’s take a minute to honor one of the best songs ever written, the twinkling opener to Pet Sounds.
What are some of your favorite summer songs? What song do you queue up to listen to with the windows down? Do you have a set soundtrack to nights drinking on your porch, walking your dog around Forest Park, driving down to the Cardinals game or getting (un)dressed to go sweat it out on the dance floor? Let’s share. Post your favorites in the comments.
- link: Riverfront Times
9 p.m. Friday, August 7.
Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City.
By Jaime Lees
St. Louis is frequently a flyover city for national touring bands, but that’s not the case with the Breeders. They have love for us, and it’s documented: The band returns to town on Friday for the first time since filming a music video here in February, a clip which starred our own female roller-derby league, the Arch Rival Roller Girls. The song in the video, “Fate to Fatal,” is the lead track off of the band’s limited edition EP of the same name. Like 2008’s Mountain Battles, the new EP showcases the same candy-coated indie-pop harmonies that made the band so magnetic during its first wave of success in the ’90s. It’s been nearly twenty years since its first album, Pod, and it’s clear that the Breeders haven’t lost any of its magic.
>> interview with Kelley Deal HERE<<
The Breeders + V-DAY + STL = LUV4EVER
Wednesday, Feb. 11 2009 @ 2:57PM
We’ve been sittin’ on this one for weeks, people. We tried to get official announcements and press statements but they weren’t forthcoming.
So here it is: The Breeders are scheduled to be in St. Louis on Valentine’s Day to shoot a music video with St. Louis’ all-female roller derby league, the Arch Rival Roller Girls. The video is reportedly for a song on a new Breeders EP that will be released this spring/summer.
We’re not authorized to leak specific details (this is a private shoot), but we will say that one wouldn’t have to work too hard to find the location and scam an invite. It’s a “friends of friends” style event so start asking around.
Ahhh… It feels so good to spill the beans. Check back at A to Z where we’ll give you details and other information as we have it.
See you there, my hearts,
She’s Crafty: The Breeders’ Kelley Deal talks knitting, nudity and Steve Albini’s bodily functions
By Jaime Lees
Published on May 07, 2008
Kelley Deal co-leads the Breeders with her sister Kim, who’s best known for being a member of the Pixies (and later, the Amps). The Dayton, Ohio, quartet first found fame in the early ’90s with songs such as “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer” and is in the midst of a most welcome comeback thanks to a new album, Mountain Battles.
Its first release since 2002’s Title TK, Battles displays all of the familiar Breeders qualities — i.e., sugary vocals and inventive songwriting — while highlighting genre experimentation and improved instrumentation. Written and recorded over years with quite a few influences (most notably, engineer Steve Albini), Battles is an album that becomes more accessible with each spin, as its dazzling subtleties grow more prominent.
The sisters’ voices together are as striking as ever, producing Phil Spector-worthy harmonies that sound angelic in any language. (No, really: The Deals sing one song in Spanish and another in German.) Other album highlights include “Here No More,” a simple, prairie-style folk song and “We’re Gonna Rise,” which is a shifting and hopeful ballad. “It’s the Love” sounds the most like a classic Breeders pop tune, and seems to be a crowd favorite.
We caught up with Kelley last week while she was on a tour stop in Las Vegas.
Jaime Lees: Tell me about when you were recording your album. I love Steve Albini and obviously you like him, ’cause this is the third Breeders album you did with him.
Kelley Deal: Well, here’s the thing: We did not do that much of this record with him. But people read his name and just go [with it] because he’s such an interesting character, and he has such an interesting history with the Breeders. The thing is, on the album credits, we don’t go through everything, ’cause we went to a lot of places and worked with several different people.
The guy we worked with most on this record? His name is Manny Nieto. We met him in East Los Angeles. He had a studio there and his people call him “Albiner” ’cause he’s a huge Albini fan. He knows Steve, he talks to Steve. Now, we did go to Albini’s and we recorded. “Here No More” and “Walk it Off” were recorded and mixed by Steve. He recorded “Overglazed” and “It’s the Love” and he mixed “Regalame Esta Noche” and he did some other stuff. But “Overglazed” was mixed by Manny, “Bang On” was recorded and mixed by Manny. “German Studies” was recorded and mixed by Manny. So he actually did most of the work.
And there’s this other woman, her name is Erika Larson, she recorded “We’re Gonna Rise” and “Regalame Esta Noche.” But it’s interesting, I’ve noticed when I talk to people they say, “So you worked with Steve Albini again on the record.” And I explain it, but a lot of times they just say “worked with Steve Albini” and I don’t blame them, ’cause Steve Albini is a freak, basically. He’s a wonderful character to talk about.
Yeah! I always wanna know if he’s as serious as he leads on. I’ll watch him in interviews, and he’s just so serious.
Oh, totally. You know, in the middle of a serious discussion, he’ll lean over a cheek and fart without blinking an eye. And it’s not like he’s doing it to get a reaction, and it’s not like this huge stinky thing. [He’ll say] something about, “It’s a natural bodily function.” He’s just gonna give it a poot! If you did the same thing, he wouldn’t blink an eye. He’s just the weirdest guy. He’s so smart, too. He’s so smart it’s weird.
All of the records he makes always sound really good in my car. Does that make any sense?
Absolutely! That’s the mark of a great engineer.
OK, so, tell me about your knitting book. [the forthcoming Bags that Rock: Knitting on the Road with Kelley Deal]
[Laughs] Yes, you know, I like to knit. I did an interview with somebody in San Francisco, and when we got there I saw the interview [in print] and the caption said “Kelley Deal knits up a new record.” And I started blushing. ‘Cause, you know, it’s so uncool. But on the other hand I’m like, fuck that, man. I’m not gonna be embarrassed by it. You know, I’m gonna let my freak flag fly. You know, I like to knit, fuck everybody else. But just the word “craft.” “I craft.” It’s so lame. But anyway, yes, I like to knit. And I have a book coming out in October. Enough said about that.
What else are you doing on tour to just, like, chill?
Let’s see, what else are we doing on tour? What do I like to do? You know, I do a lot of reading. When you’re on a bus with a lot of people, when you get some time, you kind of just want to have “me time,” whatever that is. Also, I’m in Las Vegas, I’d really like to hit up a meeting, as they say. A twelve-step meeting. I’ve been to a meeting before here in Vegas, and there’s nothing cooler than that, go to an AA meeting in Vegas. You can bet it’s raw, you know? [Laughs] Like, “Oh, look at that guy. He sold his car. He gave his baby away.” But I want to go, even though I feel like I’m just an observer. I mean, and I need to go, I think it’s a good idea.
I think it’s great that you talk about stuff like that.
I never… everything is kind of open, it’s all up for grabs. I’m totally, I’m so Midwest, you know? Like, Chatty Cathy. I don’t feel like people hold back or, like [whispers], can’t ask me something because it’s inappropriate.
I’m glad the tour is going well. When I saw you guys in Austin in March you seemed kind of nervous. Oh man, but the audience was freaking out. They were really stoked to see you.
Oh good. Damn! Good! You know when we play the new songs, people love ’em. They fit right in. It’s not like people are just sitting there looking at us.
So you’re gonna come here to St. Louis. Do you know about the place you’re playing? It’s kind of like that place you’d go to see a Journey cover band.
Ha! The place that we’re playing there? Really? Oh God, I hate when you tell me shit like that, it’s so weird!
No, it’s a fun place, but it’s in East St. Louis, and it’s sort of like, you have to stay on that street or you die.
So don’t go roamin’ around there.
OK. I mean, will people not come because of the location?
No, you can totally go there, you just have to go straight there and then leave. Its like, in the middle of a couple of strip clubs.
I can take my clothes off, that’s what you’re saying?
Well, uh, next door at least. Or, uh, probably there, too. It’s your show.
I’ll just take ’em off there, too.
8 p.m. Saturday, May 10. Pop’s, 1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois. $17 in advance, $18 at the door. 618-274-6720.