So Jason Hayes from the Last Seen and I were standing around smoking outside the Atomic Cowboy this past Friday night before the Fluid show, when he presented me with a hypothetical proposition: If I were to form and front a band right now and could choose any musicians in town to play with, what would be my dream lineup. Talk about loaded question. What's more, he wanted my answer right then and there, off the top of my head, no deliberation. Nothing like being put on the spot, eh? Luckily, this was something that I'd actually given some thought to as I've watched innumerable bands play. After the jump, here's what I came up with, my all-time dream team of local players.
If you ask me, the drummer is the most important piece of any band, the foundation. So in terms of assembling my dream team, that's where I'd start. A timekeeper with an acute sense of dynamics can make or break your band. I'd want someone capable of beating the drums relentlessly like it cussed his mama, yet someone who's also capable of playing exactly what the music dictates, even if it means laying back and employing the delicacy and finesse of a heart surgeon. There are several drummers whose work I admire -- Devon Rogers from Kingdom of Magic and Minimula, Xandy Whitesel from Bad Weather California, Jed Kopp from Ghost Buffalo and Jen Gilleran, who plays with Gregory Alan Isakov, instantly spring to mind. When it comes down to it, though, the guy I'd want manning the stool behind me is d.biddle's
Numero TresNumber Three (aka Rob Burleson, also of Lion Sized), who has all of the above qualities, times ten.
Bass is an equally integral part of the band. Having a great rhythm section is almost as important as the songs you write. (See James Jamerson and Benny Benjamin.) Much of the music I grew up on -- the hardcore and metal stuff I considered to be my music -- featured a bassist simply doubling the guitar lines to thicken the low end. The older I got, though, the more boring that became. More and more, I found myself gravitating towards guys who played counter melodies, guys like Nate Mendel from Sunny Day Real Estate. That said, although Jacob Sproul from Rose Hill Drive, Chris Martucci from Laylights and Tyler Campos from Cowboy Curse made the choice just a bit agonizing, ultimately, Eric Halborg from the Swayback topped my short list. Dude walks up and down the fretboard with the greatest of ease and seldom looses the groove.
Guitar is a little easier to pick for me, since I'm a guitarist (or I play guitar, I should say). With that in mind, honestly, my first choice for lead guitar would be my best friend Guv. We're musical soul mates. Everything I write, somehow he seems to have this intrinsic ability to play whatever is in my head. Not to mention, he's a badass. Reminds me of Jonny Greenwood. Outside of that, I'd say Halborg's bandmate William Murphy would definitely be a cat I'd like to play with. He's a texture guy a lot like Guv, but he's also got a great sense of melody. His guitar lines are always tasteful and interesting and he has great tone. Besides all that, dude is a fucking rock star. Have you seen him?
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Finally, for rhythm guitar, I picked someone completely unlikely, unlikely mostly because he's thought of more as a frontman -- and for good reason. But as it turns out, Nathaniel Rateliff also a hell of a sideman. The guy kind of reminds me of Prince -- easy, tiger, let me explain: His songwriting and vocals are so strong that often times it's easy to overlook his inherent musicality. This notion never really even occurred to me until I saw him sit in with Bad Weather California one night (or was it Joe Sampson?) and he played some of the tastiest licks I can remember hearing anyone play in a long time. His performance that night elevated the music to an entirely different level. Plus he sings like no other and plays keys.
So, there you have it, my dream band. What's yours?
-- Dave Herrera