That 1 Guy:
Imagine the brainchild of Dr. Seuss, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Stanley Kubrick and Rube Goldberg, and you begin to understand the spectacle of a That 1 Guy performance by Berkeley, CA-based, classically trained musician Mike Silverman. As inventor and player of The Magic Pipe, That 1 Guy’s show has to be seen to be believed, as he single-handedly (and foot-edly) plays his amazing instrument, made out of miked steel pipes with a single, thick bass string wired from top to bottom, not to mention an Appalachian handsaw, an electric cowboy boot and belching smoke. Combining elements of classical music with electronica, Silverman puts his classical training to good use creating music that is ethereal, gothic and heart pounding. “It’s pretty serious,” says Silverman, about his one-man concert performance, equal parts music, technology, science, art and spectacle and suitable for audiences of all ages, as he uses his hands and feet to create an industrial tribal rhythm that must be seen and heard to be believed. “There’s a lot to take in. When people see me play, they just intuitively get it.” That 1 Guy will launch his spring concert tour at Seattle’s Crocodile Club, with West Coast dates then moving on to festivals throughout the summer. The shows will coincide with the June 26th release of his second album, The Moon is Disgusting, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed Righteous Babe debut, Songs in the Key of Beotch. The album was recorded over the summer of ’06 with veteran Bay Area engineer Karl Derfler, who has previously worked with such eccentrics as Tom Waits, Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston. “The album was originally conceived as the soundtrack to an animated film I wanted to make,” he explains. “I love music that takes you on a trip, a journey.” Silverman has gone on his own world voyage as That 1 Guy, with performances around the globe, Edinburgh, Scotland’s prestigious Fringe Festival, receiving the Tapwater Award for Best Musical Act, as well as Istanbul and Australia, where he is a revered folk hero, regularly selling out venues. “So much of my music has an indigenous, tribal rhythm feel to it,” he says, explaining his popularity Down Under, where The Magic Pipe is often compared to the Aussie didgeridoo. “And there’s this sort of tubular, pipe-shaped vibe that seems to make perfect sense there.” His audiences range from psychedelic warriors to families of all ages. Last year, he embarked on a five-week jaunt with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Buckethead in which the two collaborated nightly. “We really got out there and had a good time,” says Silverman. “He brought things out of me musically I don’t bring out of myself.” A That 1 Guy concert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, like taking a trip around the world without leaving your seat.
Wolff and Tuba:
Brian Wolff first discovered the tuba at a music store in Austin, Texas. It was the summer of 1994, one of the hottest July's on record. And Wolff, whether deranged by the heat or the instruments sumptuous curves and shiny bell, knew instantly and inexplicably that he would dedicate the rest of his life to the pursuit of Tuba Stardom. Knowing little of the tuba itself, he had few preconceived notions of the tuba's roll in music and thus was under the impression that, as a creator of sound, the tuba had no limitations at all. Wolff quickly dove in, starting a band with old friend Tony Nozero. They called themselves Just Drums and Tuba. Soon they added a guitar player and summarily dropped the "Just" from their name. The band developed a visceral blend of old brass and new electronics, and toured the world extensively with Cake, Primus, Ani DiFranco among many others, building a fierce underground following in the process. But as over 50% of the marriages in the United States are wont to do, Drums and Tuba eventually packed it in and went their separate ways. Determined to strike out on his own in pursuit of the aforementioned Tuba Stardom, Wolff conceived of a solo act appropriately entitled "Wolff." He returned to New York and barricaded the door to his apartment, emerging only after he had perfected a solo electronic tuba rock show whereby all sounds were produced by, with, through, and on the tuba, created live by banging, beat-boxing or singing through it, and playing in a conventional manner. With the use of loop pedals, Wolff was able to tie all these disparate sounds together, forming music that was both out there (somewhere) and yet rooted in traditional song structures and strong melodies. Soon enough, Wolff was joined by drummer Steve Garofano (Triple Delight and Vic Thrill), recently displaced from New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. As a duo, Garofano and Wolff made an instantaneous connection, carving out a sound somewhere between rock and dance music, with Garofano's drums countering Wolff's Tuba-centric loops. The two have honed their sound at delirious late-night shows at Pianos every Friday and Saturday. Wolff's friend David Harris once said there was a mythical brass ceiling in the sky that dictated how big a star you could become when you dedicate your life to playing the tuba. In this prophecy, Wolff would some day wrestle with those demons in the sky, shattering that brass ceiling. Not coincidentally, Wolff's new album, recorded by the legendary Paul Mahajan and Mark Ephraim (TV on the Radio, The Yeah Yeah Yeah's) is entitled The Brass Ceiling