Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Oct 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Out On The Streets

music_themorningbendersThe Morning Benders find success and homelessness
If you want to learn what it was like for The Morning Benders’ Chris Chu to work with co-producer Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear fame) on the band’s 2010 album, Big Echo, you can refer to, well, pretty much any other interview with Chris Chu. Just how many times has that topic come up?

“I guess I couldn’t tell you because I’ve lost count,” says the vocalist and frontman. “I might say over 100 times.”

If nothing else, having to answer the same question over and over is evidence that The Morning Benders—coming to the Rio Theatre on Friday, Oct. 15—are moving up in the indie world. Yet success is a relative thing in the post-Napster generation, as the band’s grueling touring schedule would suggest.

“We ended up leaving for tour in March, finding out over the course of March that we would be touring for six or seven consecutive tours and that we wouldn’t be home at all,” explains Chu. “So we kind of gave up our apartments, and lived solely on the road. So we are kind of homeless, actually, at the moment.”

Incidentally, the band had attempted to relocate to Brooklyn from Berkeley, where three of its four current members attended Cal. And for sure, Chu seems like the kind of guy many Santa Cruzans may have met before; a Southern Californian who moved to Berkeley for school, often coming south on weekends for friends at UC Santa Cruz. But just how did someone turn to music for a career, despite attending such a competitive campus?

“I was skipping classes to work on songs or play shows and be in a band,” Chu explains. “Before long I knew that’s what I wanted to do, and songwriting became more and more natural and more and more gratifying for me, so I felt that was what I had to do.”

Still, New York is a far-flung place from the California coast, and Chu admits that having the band establish itself outside of a traditional music hub (Gilman Street nonwithstanding) was probably advantageous. In Brooklyn, for every Grizzly Bear or Dirty Projectors there are hundreds of bands which never make it out of the borough.

“It’s positive and negative, to have that kind of passion and drive and enthusiasm,” says Chu. “It challenges people, and people are really working hard out here, I love it, I find it very inspiring. But at the same time it can be kind of cutthroat, because there are so many bands, and so many shows all the time, it’s hard to distinguish yourself, and it’s hard to win over the attention of the press people and tastemakers that are here, because there are only so many of them.”

Perhaps this is why Big Echo, the band’s sophomore album, feels like it wasn’t informed by any one specific locale or time period. Rather, The Morning Benders have become something of a Renaissance band, adept at capturing the diversity of sound under the ‘indie rock’ halo, while refusing to forgo hooks.

“Especially with Big Echo, our idea going into it was to try and embrace sounds from all over the place, not just geographically but timelines as well, the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and present,” says Chu. “So when I listen to Big Echo I hear all these sounds coming from all these different places, and our hope was that it didn’t feel too rooted in California or New York or anything because it took from so many different places. And all the parts were juxtaposed in such random ways, our hope was that it would kind of make its own space, so that when you listen to it, it kind of transports you to this strange other world.”


The Morning Benders perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, call 423-8209.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Field Work

Santa Cruz Mountain winemakers explain how the harvest works, and what kind of wine to expect from this year's crop

 

Libra's Two Choices

Libra (our last week) is the sign of creating right relations and values. In Libra we are asked to choose how to be, our identity in the world. We can maintain a hermetic sealed-off attitude (my life, my work, my money, etc.) or we can gain knowledge of world events and learn more about those in need. Libra is a group sign—self with others. Here are some events occurring in our world this week concerning food, poverty, spirituality, values and global realities. The UN (a spiritual experiment) each month places a “light” upon world problems. This week a light shines on Rural Women, Farms, Food & Poverty. Before we choose to respond we must have knowledge. “So we can each do our part.” Oct. 15 - International Day of Rural Women (unrecognized with few resources); Oct. 16 - World Food Day & Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth; Oct. 17 - Eradication of Poverty Day (international). During the month of Libra (with Saturn exalted), we pause, contemplate and assess what it is we know, don’t know, and need to know. Libra receives and distributes Ray 3 of divine intelligence, right relations, right choice and right economy (Venus). Use your intelligence “tips the Libran scales” in terms of being able to see and then choose between the two paths Libra offers (return to the past or step forward into Scorpio’s Discipleship). Libra (the oscillating light) prepares us for the great tests and conflicts in Scorpio. In Libra we are subtly tested as we learn the nature of polarized energies (s/he loves me, s/he loves me not). In Libra we learn more about ourselves through others. Libra’s Ray 3 asks us to become more adaptable and skillful. And then we are to teach each other what we know. In Libra, we all become teachers. In all these ways love is cultivated.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Docs Without Borders

United Nations Association Film Festival showcases documentaries from around the globe
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Nut Kreations

Co-owner Craig Olsen goes nuts over nuts

 

What artist or artists participating in the encore weekend of Open Studios should not be missed?

Santa Cruz | Teacher

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Friends who are wine club members of Martin Ranch invited us to the winery’s fun and festive annual barbecue, where the wine is flowing and the food just keeps on coming. Music and dancing are part and parcel of the action, and a good time is guaranteed.

 

Beer Bus

Santa Cruz’s new Brew Cruz, award winning ales, mole by el Jardín, and Wildcat Ridge Chardonnay