Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 31st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Brothers in Arms

music_middlebroThere’s no sibling rivalry in indie folk-rock supergroup Middle Brother
Ego clashes and battles for control are inevitable in almost every band, but when you put three leaders of established acts together in one group, you’re just begging for trouble. Yet Middle Brother—the new band comprised of Matt Vasquez, Taylor Goldsmith and John J. McCauley III, frontmen for the indie folk-rock outfits Delta Spirit, Dawes and Deer Tick, respectively—seems to have avoided such pitfalls so far. According to Vasquez, the members of the group don’t mind taking turns hanging back, playing guitar and singing harmony.

“There’s zero ego when it comes to backing somebody up, because you believe in them, and you just want it to be as good as it can be,” the musician states. “We’re all fans of each other’s music so much. I love ‘Mom and Dad,’ I love ‘Daydreaming’ I love ‘Blood and Guts’—I begged Taylor to put ‘Blood and Guts’ on the record.”

Vasquez, a longtime friend of Goldsmith, joined Middle Brother after Deer Tick’s manager told him that said musician and McCauley had plans to make an album together. “Through just straight-up jealousy, I convinced them to let me get in on it,” he explains. The two musicians had been writing together for a couple of weeks when Vasquez flew to meet them. Having never met McCauley before, the vocalist/guitarist had no idea what to expect. “I kind of walked in here feeling like the middle brother,” he notes. “I’m actually the only real middle brother in the band, which is funny.”

Vasquez and company repaired to a backhouse studio where “the bar was always stocked.” The new bandmates cracked a few beers and recorded three songs that night. “That was pretty much the pace we worked at, and it just kept getting crazier and crazier,” Vasquez recalls. “We did four songs the night after that, and six the night after that. Next thing you know, the sun’s coming up, and we’re just wrapping up the session.” After a week, the group had 22 recorded tracks on its hands.

The atmosphere that permeated these sessions was very different than the one to which Vasquez was accustomed. “All of us have this kinetic feeling between our own respective bands, and when you step into a room with a bunch of different musicians, that kinetic feeling’s gone,” he says. “So you really have to use your ears and pay attention.” As an example, he cites the song “Million Dollar Bill,” whose vocals and guitars were recorded completely live. “We sat down without a click, and in 30 minutes, we learned the song. I had never heard that verse before—just sang it. We worked out those harmonies all live, just sitting in a room playing it.”

While working at such a fast clip can imbue one’s music with a pleasantly spontaneous quality, it can also leave some musicians wishing they could go back and redo certain passages. “My only standpoint on that is: Let sleeping dogs lie,” Vasquez offers. “The raw nature of it—it’s fun. When I listen to that record, I remember how much fun we had making it. And that’s the most important thing: When people listen to the record, they hear that the people doing it just did it for the pleasure of making the record.”

Vasquez is candid in comparing Middle Brother to its members’ various other projects. “Dawes on its own is better than Middle Brother, I think. And Deer Tick and Delta Spirit on its own—they’re all way better. But the songs are there, and it’s just fun. That’s what it is. Don’t expect anything other than a good time with people who respect and love each other’s music.”


Middle Brother plays at 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 4, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12. For more information, call  479-1854 or go to moesalley.com or folkyeah.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Jailbreak with Reality

‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ revisits one of the most notorious studies of all time
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover