|Echo Sparks Live At The Pike Bar|
CC: Craigslist! I was really just looking for someone to jam with - I was a hideously bad guitar player and was looking for other terrible guitar players to hang out and be awful with. I answered DA's ad on a whim, and for some crazy reason he was willing to give it a try with a shy girl who had no solo singing experience at all. I was honestly thinking about giving up on it just before our prior bassist quit on us, but Cindy came in like a tattooed fairy godmother, waved her wand, and it's just been pure fun ever since.
Cindy: I first met Dave when he was playing drums with The Rayford Brothers. The morning that I quit The Jackpot Club I came home to find an email from him telling me about Echo Sparks and saying that their bass player had just left. He asked me to come listen and maybe sit in on a few songs. I wound up playing two sets with them. That was August 2011 and I've been playing with them ever since.
Who are the bands/artists that influenced you all to become musicians?
Cindy: Dee Dee Ramone and Mike Mills got me started playing bass. I love listening to music and I learn from almost everyone I hear. I started playing double bass about 6 years ago. It's a very physical instrument, but there's nothing that sounds like it. I haven't played electric bass yet with Echo Sparks, but that might happen some day.
CC: I grew up in Chino, which was this wonderful mix of old-school ranching and Mexican-American culture. My mother raised me on the Beatles and light opera, but then I'd go to friends' houses and hear Hank Williams or Vicente Fernandez. I learned to sing by copying Linda Ronstadt in The Pirates of Penzance. There are so many more amazing singers I've learned from - Siouxsie Sioux, Ella Fitzgerald, Paula Fraser (Tarnation), Melora Creager (Rasputina), Chan Marshall (Cat Power). DA gave me a Nellie Lutcher collection for Christmas and I'm head over heels in love with her right now.
What we really love about Echo Sparks is that it's hard to categorize your sound. We hear so many diverse styles in your music. It really makes for a great listening experience at your live shows. Did you guys make a conscious decision to do this or did it just kind of happen that way?
Cindy: We never sat down and decided to be eclectic. I think our style comes from just appreciating and enjoying a lot of different kinds of music dating back hundreds of years. It does get frustrating when people insist on having a category before they even listen to us. "Oh, you have a stand up bass - you must be Rockabilly." CC came up with the genre "Mexifolkabillyjazzbluesrock" which I think is perfect!
CC: As noted already, such a double-edged sword. People really don't know what to make of us, and it's always so great when somebody GETS what we're doing. But yes, it just happens that way. DA or Cindy will introduce a song, and we just kind of decide what it feels like. Sometimes they have an idea, but sometimes they'll play it for me and I'll just know what the phrasing has to be, what that song is just asking for vocally.
us a little about that?
DA: We are about 3/4 of the way into the recording process. We are working with Walter Clevenger, recording and mixing tracks at his home studio, in Costa Mesa. We have recorded 9 songs for the next album, and have many more, to go on the album after that. We play all the instruments ourselves on the recordings, except for keyboards, we have my old band mate, and LA studio musician, Danny McGough recording the keys. He has played with dozens of artists as well as keyboards with Tom Waits, Randy Weeks, Social Distortion, and most recently on Jonny Two Bags solo album. Not sure of a release date yet, hopefully this year (2014). We plan to have it out on a CD, as well as access to download the tunes. We would love to press some vinyl copies too.
Song titles for the next album are:
Princess of Fresno
End of the Line
I Think It's You
Broken Arrow S
CC: I know what I want the title to be, but I'm outnumbered. I'm just hoping we can settle it without fisticuffs!
Can you tell us about your monthly gig at The Pike in Long Beach?
DA: I contacted Chris, the owner and we were lucky he gave the band a try. It's been a great experience for the band. Like Chris, I also have a deep connection to the old, original Doll Hut, in Anaheim, (The Pontiac brothers named an album after it). I was performing there in different bands since it first started as a live music venue till when it finally closed. The Pike has the same kind of vibe, they treat musicians with respect and support local artists and bands. The Pike has wonderful energy, friendly people, and some colorful characters for good measure, not to mention great food! I was also, like Chris, playing in bands in the Fullerton music scene back in the 80's and got to do shows with the early line up of Social Distortion, so when I heard Chris owned the Pike, I thought, it would be a great honor to play there. From the first time we walked in, we felt right at home. We are always thankful for the opportunity to play our original music for such fun and receptive audiences, in one of the best venues around town! We are proud to be a part of it. We have been playing since April 2013, and it has been the last Tuesday of the month.
Cindy: The staff is amazing and we also love the food!! I start drooling for lobster tacos about a week before the show!
What do you like about playing in Long Beach?
Cindy: The people are so much fun! And it's true, they'll come up and start a conversation with you after the show! We love that.
CC: Long Beach has a lot of style. People-watching while we play is fun. And the Pike really has an amazingly diverse clientele, which I really enjoy. It's like the perfect neighborhood bar. And OH! When people come up after a set and want to talk about music!?!? Heaven! I'm actually a pretty shy person, but it's really wonderful to talk to other music lovers.
DA: My first record purchase was a stack of 45's at a yard sale. It included a bunch of songs from the 60's and 70's. It was like a jukebox in a shoe box!
Cindy: The first record I bought with my own money was "The Monkeys." I probably bought it at TG&Y. Papa Gene's Blues is still on my iPod, and is still in my top 50 all time favorite songs.
CC: Oingo Boingo's "electric cat" EP, on vinyl. I may still have it!