Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Finding Happiness Through Heartbreak

evnet TFBNew Jersey punks tackle life's troubles with self-awareness and wit

Acoustic guitars aren't generally associated with the kind of propulsive, punk rock music played by New Jersey quartet The Front Bottoms. But in the DIY spirit of every true punk band, they make it work.

In fact, according to Brian Sella, the band's guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter, playing acoustic, rather than electric, was all about making due with what he had.

"I never got an amp," Sella says. He couldn't afford one in 2006 when he started jamming with drummer Mathew Uychich. Plus, it wasn’t practical to play electric guitar in his small house.

At the band’s first show, Sella was delighted to learn that he could amplify his acoustic guitar through the venue's PA. "It just kind of worked out," he says. It may have thrown people off, but he believes it "added something to the sound."

Now that The Front Bottoms are signed to Bar/None Records and touring the country, Sella says he could choose to pick up an electric guitar, but he doesn't really want to. These days, playing acoustic is more of an "artistic decision," he says.

And it's the right decision. Sella's acoustic guitar adds a thickness and raw immediacy to their sound—similar to what you might hear from other acoustic punk acts, like Jonathan Richman, The Violent Femmes or The Mountain Goats.

On "Au Revoir," the opening track off 2013's The Talon of the Hawk, Sella's single note guitar line carries an acoustic punch that works double time—filling much of the same sonic space that an electric guitar and bass would working together. As his guitar's strings rattle and ring, Sella sarcastically chides his muse: "Au revoir, au revoir/I bet you don't even know what that means."

It would seem, Sella is directing this invective at a girl named Chelsea, who he again addresses on the eighth track, "Funny You Should Ask."

"Come on, Chelsea, speak a little French to me," he intones. "Heard you spent two whole semesters drinking wine/while I was stuck in Jersey trying to save some money/I guess I'm just another thing you left behind."

This is par for the course for Sella. The singer says he taps into deeply personal experiences from his life and others. But instead of weaving those stories into total downer tracks, he employs a kind of manic, self-deprecating wit to spin tales of doubt and heartbreak that are just as likely to make you laugh as they are to make you cry.

It's a formula that resonates with fans. Sella says he is accustomed to people approaching him after shows to tell him how his lyrics helped them in some way. At first it was a bit overwhelming to have strangers explain how they understood his life, he says. But he came to realize that although he may be writing about specific events in his life, that his troubles probably aren't that different from what his fans are going through.

"People are listening to the music and really relating to it, which is the whole point. Everybody has gone to a party, everybody has felt like shit, everybody has fallen in love and fallen out of love," Sella says of fans connecting with his lyrics. "I think it's great. It makes me happy." 


The Front Bottoms play at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12. For info, call 429-6994.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food