During what Falconetti dubs the "Midwestern Waffle House tour," the Porticos breezed through dates in Wichita, Kansas City and Omaha last summer to promote their release; they found plenty of time to discuss crayon-colored sunsets (whether in the hue of Carnation, Indian Red, Aquamarine or Flesh) in addition to playing an opening slot for South Carolina's Galactic Heroes in Nebraska. Back home in Colorado, the unlikely venue of Wheat Ridge Lanes staged Schneider's final appearance as a permanent Breezy bandmember. To the sounds of rolling Ebonites, crashing pins and merriment, the "Aloha Bowl" (complete with colorful plastic leis and Hawaiian drink specials) featured a performance by the Porticos with all proceeds going toward Black Cats Hockey -- one of several intramural adult teams in a league organized by former Fuzzite Cincy Woods. ("Playing for Cincy is like joining the Marines," Falconetti says.)
When Almond was recruited into the Breezy P's, he brought plenty of touring experience with him. A road veteran (the Minders recently completed a West coast jaunt with San Francisco's Fuck), Almond sees the logistical difficulty of continuing to satisfy two bands, especially when one of them is based in Portland. "It was a lot of fun, but realistically, [the Minders] need to find someone who lives closer to them," he says.
If Denver's loss was Portland's gain after Minders leader Martyn Leaper left town, maybe the opposite is true regarding the Breezys' acquisition of Almond, a fluid bass player and eloquent back-up vocalist.
"I think that's one of our strengths -- three-part harmonies," Falconetti says of his current lineup. "Not a whole lot of bands in town do that live. For a one-guitar band, I think we really fill up a room with music, too. But with only three instruments, you have a lot more work to do."
Citing the Zombies and Kinks as big influences, the Breezies issue a live sound that recalls classic '60s Brit pop. Though to hear Almond speak of performing in his hometown (it's Falconetti's and Van Leuven's too: All three are CU-Boulder grads), the Mile High city sounds like one big cultural sinkhole: "Denver has nothing going for it music-wise," he rails. "The scene sucks. It supersucks. It's not supportive. I'm not saying it can't happen. The lack of intensity in the scene is part of what I like about it, too. I can't dis on it entirely. At least you're free to do your own thing."
Falconetti agrees, at least about the general lack of local support.
"There's the same core hundred people who come to the Apples every time they play," he laments. "It's sad that it doesn't go beyond that."
Van Leuven sees a few distinct advantages to being Denver-based. "It allows you to develop more because you're not competing against a hundred people that all sound alike," he says. "A lot of people moved here to do outdoorsy things, and going to a club to hear a pop band isn't high on their list. But the population is growing enough that we're getting more support. And KVCU has made a huge difference."
Weathering such obstacles, the Porticos sally forth. A recent western sweep through Grand Junction, Florence and Salt Lake City found them in a caravan with Denver's Maybellines and Kudzu Towers as an effort to promote Amateur Rocket Club -- a split seven-inch featuring all three bands plus the Utah-based Jenni Jensens. For their part, the Breezy P's enlisted sound engineer Mike Jourgensen ("the J Mascis that's better than J Mascis," Almond enthuses) to record the two songs they're most proud of: "Starry Eyed" (a pearl of beachcombing-paced espionage) and "Cloud Ninin'" (a bit of harmonic, tempo-altered daydreaming).
Once again favoring vinyl (Rocket Club comes in both clear red and blue), the Breezy P's maintain a curious insistence on releasing all of their music on flat, seven-inch platters with stylus grooves -- a technical artifact that has gone the way of Howdy Doody and the eight-track tape. (A numerologist might find significance in the fact that if you total the ages of all of the Breezy players -- 100 -- and divide by the number of bandmembers, you get 33 1/3, the number of rotations that your average full-length album makes in a minute. But since the records are played at 45 rpm, that theory doesn't wash -- even though "Yard Sale" is an absolute hoot at the slower speed.) Still, there must be some reason the Breezies are opting to release "Breaking Away" and "Gee, Your Math Looks Terrific" -- two leftover cuts from the Hill sessions -- on yet another upcoming split seven-inch; this time it's with the New Jersey-based Gwens on Florida's Happy, Happy Birthday to Me Records.