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Scamper Nation (Population: 8,023)
The place for fans of Scamper, local music, the Boston rock scene, and published debauchery.
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The Scene affords you (Ralphio) a peek into what he (Nate) deems to be hip in the Boston and national rock scenes: foxy bands, dope tunes, trendy trends. Get with it.
Oh hello. Come see your once and former Scamps as they bring the pop and the rock in their new projects:Brendan Boogie and the Best Intentions
(featuring Brendan, natch)Myspace
• The Cover UpThe Future Everybody
(featuring Nate and Mike)Myspace
That is all.
The Word Is Hush
Ladyfriends and dudedudes, I'm pulling the plug on this here bloggy. Traffic to the site is, not surprisingly, way down, seeing as how Scamper's not exactly a band anymore. Weighing more heavily is the sad truth that my little service has been rendered increasingly irrelevant with sites such as tourfilter
, and whatever other "feeds" you may get sent directly into your filthy "inbox." It's just another case of the corporate chains squashing the noble little guy, you Starbucks-swilling, Kabloom-frequenting, social networking douchehammers.
I kid! The truth is that I'm just far too lazy to keep writing this thing when no one really seems to care.
Thanks for indulging me all these years, and for your commentary, your suggestions, your shenanigans, and for letting me call you "biscuit."Support local music.
Except Campaign For Real-Time
. Those guys are the worst.
love and squalor,
The results are in, and quite to no one's astonishment, my 2008 WBCN Rumble
predictions were, how you say, EPIC FAIL. But we're left with some strong semi-finals this coming weekend (details below), and ain't no one complaining about that, no sir no ma'am.
Tomorrow, Tues 4.15, Colin Meloy
of the Decemberists
brings his solo tour to the Somerville Theatre
. I was supposed to go to this show, but now I'm not. True story.
John Powhida of The Rudds
is at Toad
in Porter Square on Thurs 4.17. Or you can catch Night 3 of the Harris
Ape-Ril residency at O'Brien's
; I've been to the first two shows, and they have quite lived up to the hype -- not only for the back catalogue stuff we're being treated to, but also for the off-the-wall cover choices they're making. Counting Crows week 1, Queen (featuring Mike Nastri on piano!) week 2... my money's on a Bryan Adams power ballad this week. This Car Up
, The Have Mercys
, and Ben Karis-Nix
This weekend, we head back to the WBCN Rumble
(all shows at Harper's Ferry
):Semi-Finals Night 1, Friday 4.18Girls, Guns + Glory
* Andrea Gillis
* Jason Bennett and The Resistance
: This will likely come down to Andrea Gillis or HUMANWINE; I'll say Andrea
FTW, and give the wildcard to HUMANWINE
, and the judges will once again make a fool of me.Semi-Finals Night 2, Sat 4.19The Great Bandini
* The Men
* CloudsNate's Take
: I'm going to give this one to The Great Bandini
, but I wouldn't be remotely surprised to see A.K.A.C.O.D. run with it.
Going head-to-head with the Rumble semi-finals is Piebald
's two night Final Farewell extravaganza at the Middle East
down. Interestingly, aforementioned Rumble semifinalists Clouds
open for them on Friday. Busy weekend for those chaps. The Everyday Visuals
take the support role on Saturday. I should mention that both shows are already sold out, so you've got some string-pulling to do if you want to attend.
Let's have a moment of silence for The Paradise Lounge
as a venue for local rock; new ownership has decided that Boston desperately needs another Irish bar instead. Scamper had some damn fine times there, particularly our first annual moustache show
/ farewell to Marc Roderick
. Said new management has also unceremoniously shown my door guy ass the door. Boo.
Download now: Nada Surf
's new album Lucky
. I was fortunate enough to catch them at an acoustic in-store at Newbury Comics
last week, and any (mild) reservations I'd had about this new album were blown out the window. It's tremendous. Are you lightning? 'Cause I'm waiting.
George Lump is from Strasbourg
April arrives with a veritable maelstrom of awesome. This Thursday April 3 kicks off the Harris Ape-ril residency
in Allston, with Okay Thursday
, Talk Modern
(Steve from Baker
's new side project), and The Woodrow Wilsons
. The sad news is that this is Okay Thursday's last hurrah, as Sarah's bandmates split off to focus their efforts on the (also awesome) Motion Sick
. I'll be talking about this residency all month, particularly the final week, which rings bells of Scamper's Last Waltz. Check out the dope poster way down below, and take note of THIS little twist: Harris will not play the same song twice during the entire 4-week extravaganza
. (My memory is fuzzy, but I believe we once played "Sophie" five times in the same set
at our 2005 Abbey
On Friday April 4, Northeast Performer
presents The Spinto Band
, Self-Righteous Brothers
, and Static of the Gods
. Next door at the MidEast up
, French Kicks
headline and Aberdeen City
supports. April 4 is also Alena's birthday, as well as what would be the 21st birthday of a pet anole I once had named George Lump. He didn't live to see the '90s, God rest his mealworm-ridden lizard soul.
And now, the annual tradition that absolutely none of you have been waiting for:
* ~ Nate Diggity's Astoundingly Terrible WBCN Rumble Predictions ~ *
All shows are at Harper's Ferry, 10 buckazoids, 18 and up
Funny thing about this here Rumble: I've seen an embarrassingly small sampling of these bands. So I'm judging by hitting up each of their Myspace pages and listening to exactly one minute of whatever tune happens to come up in the jukebox. Is that fair? Who cares?
Sunday April 6
Me + Joan Collins
* Cherry S/T
* Girls, Guns + Glory
: This one I'm giving to Me + Joan Collins
. I was a sucker for Bo Barringer's earlier projects Make Lisa Rich and The Collisions, and this one sounds almost just as awesome. Cherry S/T struck me as Panic! at Linkin Park, Watts was perfectly serviceable ZZ Top-esque bar rock, and GG+G bored me to tears.
WINNER: Girls, Guns + Glory
Monday April 7Wild Zero
* Andrea Gillis
* Daniel Bon and Future Ghosts
: I'm gonna have to throw this one to the soulful and uber-talented Ms. Andrea Gillis
, who already has some of this Rumbling under her belt form her time with The Rudds
, though I could just as easily see the judges going for Wild Zero. (Wild Zero wild card? Brilliant!) DB+FG was actually okay, but I don't think it was meaty enough to make an impression. As for Cortez... well, I loathe metal. Sometimes I can appreciate it; this is not one of those times.WINNER: Andrea Gillis
Tuesday April 8
* The Shills
* The Murder Mile
: I'm having a rough time with this one. Judges in recent years have liked the art-rock thing that HUMANWINE does. I personally lean towards the garage-y 'Mats-esque rock of Dirt Mall, as well as the edgy pop sample I got from The Shills. Murder Mile left no impression on me whatsoever, except that the vocals bugged me. Hmm. I'll give it to The Shills
, with apologies to Johnny Anguish.
Thursday April 10Cheater Pint
* On The Drop
* The Men
: If I were judging, this unquestionably would go to Cheater Pint
and their "Go-Go's on steroids" indie pop. I liked The Men except for, again, irritating punk vocals, which seems to be a theme this year. Clouds was fucking terrible sludge rock, and On the Drop was fucking terrible reggae.WINNER: The Men
Friday April 11Medicated Kisses
* Hel Toro
* The Great Bandini
* Forgetful Jones
: Though I think I prefer Scott Janovitz's other band, The Russians, The Great Bandini
is the only one of these bands that didn't make me want to punch things and/or vomit. Actually, I found something curiously interesting about Medicated Kisses' Paramore-ish mallpunk, but that picture on the top of their Myspace page makes me livid. Hel Toro was just noise, and I can only hope
to forget the funk rock of Forgetful Jones. Wow, I'm a lot meaner than I used to be. Crusty old former scenester!WINNER: The Great Bandini
Saturday April 12Jason Bennett and The Resistance
: I really thought I'd be going with A.K.A.C.O.D. here, but, well, nothing happened
in the one minute of whatever song I got. Same thing for Disappearer, actually -- which might indicate that this is gonna be one boring night at Harpers. Jason Bennett -- oh good, more punk vocals. *shoots self* Perhaps by default, I'll go with Genuflect
, because one metal band always advances, and these guys are actually pretty good at it.WINNER: A.K.A.C.O.D.
Wild cards go to Wild Zero
WILD CARDS: Jason Bennett and The Resistance
Now here's that poster I mentioned all that time ago:
Get Your Balls Involved
mulls whether or not he's going to continue posting in his Journal
, I should probably step up the posting over here, eh, horsies? How about I help you through the remainder of March and then come back full force next week, with zexxy details on the Harris
Ape-ril residency AND my annual disaster of WBCN Rumble
Also check out:
Smoke 'em if you got 'em.
We Would Make Such Good Cheez-It Partners
', Better Cheddars? I'm back just in time to dye everything green and act like a retarded gorilla.
No St. Pat's plans yet? If you want to brave the sea of idiots, my top two recommendations
are Great Scott
for the tremendous bill of Baker
, The Luxury
, The Bleedin' Bleedins
, and the Animal Closet
, or, if you prefer your Irish shenanigans more early, more intimate and more Irish-ish
, Jon Gorey
will be holding down the Sweetwater Cafe
This Thursday is a bear. How dare The Rationales
go up against the LOST mini-finale? But, like a good scenester
, I'll rely on someone else's DVR
to meet Kevin Johnson, and I'm gonna hit BOTH shows. Because I'm a champ. The Rationales
(who, by the by, sound transcendent
and incendiary -- transcendiary
! -- in their newest lineup) and Dan Cray
open things up at Church
(formerly the Linwood), and then I'll zoom zoom zoom over to Allston
's release of Fan the Fury
at Great Scott
. By the way, the album is already available on iTunes
, if you're jonesin
' wicked hard. I think they screwed up and were trying to keep it quiet, but you can count on Nate Diggity
for the sweet scoop. (Actually, you can thank the keen eye of Rachel Cooper, who pointed it out to me).
Friday, Drug Rug
is at the big room at the Paradise
, The Gentlemen
and Downbeat 5
are at the Abbey
, and Hot Box
is at PA's Lounge
. I haven't actually seen Hot Box since some acoustic show at TT's
but I promote them anyway! What a guy.
Saturday we'll be bringing our unique brand of post-Scamper funk to O'Brien's
in the form of the Brendan Boogie Band
(now with shitty MP3s available on the Myspace
page!). Opening are the frightening prodigies of rock known as the Mystery Tramps
, and Soap Stars
close out the night.
Finally, The Luxury has put together a little video for their tune "Malcontent," featuring sock puppets and what I am told was an "inadvertant" scene of a sparkly sperm-covered female dancing inside an oversized pink vagina. Mm hmm. See for yourself
Now be gone with you.
Sitting on the Shelf
Your entertainment for the next couple of weeks, beanie weenies:
- Weds 2.20.2008 @ Great Scott: The Organ Beats
- Sat 2.23.2008 @ PA's Lounge: Ryan Lee Crosby
or @ TT the Bear's: The Everyday Visuals, The Sterns, Thick As Thieves
- Sun 2.24.2008 @ Great Scott: Bon Savants and Wonderful Spells (all ages; 3pm)
- Mon 2.25.2008 @ TT the Bear's: Thom Moran of Bon Savants (acoustic)
or @ Great Scott: Robby Roadsteamer and Casey Desmond (I can't make sense of this bill at all)
- Tues 2.26.2008 @ Harpers Ferry: French Kicks, Bon Savants, and Harris (FREE by RSVPing here)
- Weds 2.27.2008 @ O'Brien's: The Dead Trees (formerly Furvis)
- Thurs 2.28.2008 @ Middle East up: Baker w/Limbeck, John Ralston, House of Fools
or @ Middle East down: Campaign For Real Time (heads up: they're opening for some big deal hotshot band and it costs 20 bucks)
- Leap Day! Fri 2.29.2008@ Middle East down: Hooray for Earth (EP release), Caspian, Age Rings (single release), Zambri
- Sat 3.1.2008 @ the Framingham Civic League: Nightmare of You with Harris (!). I'm so creamy about this bill that I don't even care that it's in Framingham.
- Mon 3.3.2008 @ the Abbey Lounge (pub stage): Me. Featuring an acoustic guitar, a giant beard, and a tall glass of Jameson's. Old Scamper songs (now certified "retro") and new songs. With members of Baker opening and Jon Gorey closing. FREE!
Also. Go visit the MySpace of She and Him and download "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" That's the one and only Zooey Deschanel, of Almost Famous, The Good Girl, and, um, Elf. It's kick-awesome.
Lastly, the new video for "Warm Out" by Hooray For Earth. Campy!
Post-script! For anyone who actually reads this and gives a damn, the request line
is NOW OPEN for my March 3 solo show. Forgotten Scamper / Puzzlebusters / Playfair Roland / Combat Shock / Who-Patties songs? Nelson covers? Richard Marx / Five For Fighting medleys? Give me your best. And seriously, don't be lame and suggest, like, "Needless to Say." Come on, cub scouts. You can do better than that. If I actually get good suggestions here, I promise you that I'll actually do at least one of them.
Ready set go.
Streaks on the Cupid
So, evidently people still play shows, even after
Scamper has pulled the plug. I'm aghast and/or outraged.
First things first. Kate of My Little Radio
just posted the best emotronic 80s synth pop tune ever. I'm in middle school, moussed hair, popped collar, pegged jeans heaven: Drive Me Crazy
Anyway. I'm not really in a snarky/clever place right now, so I'ma just cut and paste right out of my tourfilter
and tell you to hit this shiz up.
Weds and Thurs Feb 13-14, Okay Thursday
presents (and Great Scott
hosts) the Pop! goes the Cupid
Valentine's Day love-hate-fest. I don't really know what any of that means, but I know I'm playing on Wednesday (as is new daddy Joe Welsh of Fooled by April
), and there's candy hearts to spare, and that if a band is gonna call themselves You Can Be A Wesley, they sure as hell better cover the Mr. Belvedere theme song.
Weds 2/13: You Can Be A Wesley
, The Brendan Boogie Band
, Ben Pilgrim
, Dig in The Dirt
Thurs 2/14: This is How Rumors Get Started
, Okay Thursday
, The Toothaches
, The Piddly Kids
On Friday 2/15, The Luxury
brings the goodies to TT's
. What goodies? I'm not allowed to tell.
Sunday 2/17, Middle East up
, all ages, 1pm: The Appreciation Post
, Math The Band
, The Mystery Tramps
, and more. Nicely. Sunday night, back to Great Scott
for Drug Rug
. Because you have Monday off.
2.2.2008 | photo by K2
Thank you for an amazing ride and the perfect send-off.
I'm still choked up, and I think I will be for awhile.
To the fans.
photo by Adam Salsman
Retrospective III: On Brendan
So, the running gag has been that I was going to confound all your expectations and show up today with pages of praise about Marc Roderick. And then follow that up on Friday with an entry about Tom Polce. And spend the next couple of weeks running through Kay Hanley, Alena, Mike Nastri, Mark Bates, Nicole Anguish, Doug the Penguin, Robby Roadsteamer, Scher, Tina Cervasio, Pete Stone, Pete Galea, Pete Weiss, Pete the Greek, and Halogen before finally, begrudgingly, getting around to Brendo. Since he's such a joker and all.
But I'll be nice.Brendan
I think it's a bit unusual for a late addition to a band -- and a bassist
, at that -- not only to have a noticeable impact, but to actually be the missing piece that finally gets a band to where they always wanted to be. But Brendan was exactly that.
Before his Scamper days, Brendan (known then as Brendo Frendo) was known to us simply as a Fooled by April
superfan who looked a lot like Mike and occasionally showed up at a Scamper show, drunk and heckly. In 2004, as we were parting ways with Marc Roderick, we hatched the idea of the Rotating Bassist Show: instead of tedious, traditional auditions, we'd have a whole army of bassists learn two songs apiece. We'd display our revolving crew of bassists at a live show, and at the end of the night, would unveil the newest Scamp. Brendo heard the idea at a party and wanted in. We all thought he was kidding, and that he just wanted to get on stage for a laugh and a lark. Which was fine by us.
To our complete and utter astonishment, not only could the guy play bass, he played our songs really damn well
. And he immediately -- and spontaneously -- launched into third-part high harmonies, which really opened our eyes. This guy could bring something to the band above and beyond filling Roderick's Chuck Taylors. And the real kicker was that he was already our friend, and really and truly fit in seamlessly.
We scheduled a meeting at the Tin Tin Buffet (exciting Brendan so much that he forgot to bring his bass) and offered him the gig. With apologies to Chuck Young (dude, seriously, you were this close
), it was a no-brainer.
Rehearsals in the fall of 2004 took on a whole new life. Brendan infused Scamper with an energy and lifeblood that had petered out in what was, behind the scenes, a rather tumultuous period for us. With our newfound ability to construct three-part harmonies in our tunes, Scamper had finally completed the puzzle. We began to take on what has become our signature sound, and his presence in the band absolutely propelled us to the next level. Suddenly, you couldn't read a review of us without a mention of harmony -- and while it obviously referred to our voices, I think the double meaning rings just as true.
Brendan's first real gig with us (outside of Rotating Bassists and some shit gig in Worcester) was our CD Release show for Leave Your Glasses On
. He got to walk out to an enormous, adoring crowd, and he absolutely shined. And when he experienced first-hand exactly what it meant to be in Scamper -- spotlights, photos, synchronized jumps -- how did he respond? By losing 75 pounds in a matter of months, because he wanted -- needed
-- to be in shape and look good for the band. That, my friends, is what you call dedication.
And Brendan's ability to hit those high notes meant more than just three-part harmonies; it also, finally, afforded us the opportunity to do Def Leppard and Journey covers. (He also relieved Keith and myself of stage banter duty, which has led to some of our more legendary, if not especially proud, stage moments.)
Finally, it cannot be underestimated how much Brendan has contributed to the Scamper marketing machine. He has tirelessly posted to his journal
almost every day for over three years, finally giving Keith the "sticky web content" that had so eluded us. (Does anyone out there remember the MadLibs, or that original "message board" that looked like a clunky Facebook wall?) And he took the reins on the podcast, writing all of the skits (Nate Sets U Str8? Completely Brendan material.), producing and directing each episode, and
editing them all together every week. It's probably the most work anyone not named Keith has ever done for the band. The podcast was not only one of the most fun (and ambitious, honestly) projects on which the band has ever embarked, but it expanded Scamper Nation into an untapped world community. Sales of our records actually skyrocketed
, and that's not exaggeration for the sake of sentiment. (Make a note, bands: sexually-charged fairy tales featuring gingerbread men and faux-English accents will MOVE YOUR RECORDS.) He's also been the impetus behind so much of the little stuff: the coordinated outfits, the choreography (from the shared mics to the kicks to the sexy robot dance) -- all the little things that get people to take notice.
Behind all the dick jokes, Brendan is a tremendously sensitive guy, who really and truly cares about everyone in the band. If any one of us is acting a little out of sorts at rehearsal, he wants to pull you aside and talk it out. He's made us all into more honest and open people, he's helped us keep our priorities in check, and, more than anything, he constantly reminds us to enjoy every goddamn second of being in the band -- as he
has, without pretense, since 2004. Brendan has said many times that his favorite part of being in Scamper isn't the swooning ladyfans or radio interviews or the Mtv auditions (what, you don't know that story?); no, his favorite part is the downtime between a soundcheck and a show, when the four of us simply get to hang out together. A lot of bands kind of hate each other; we've been extremely fortunate to be each other's best friends, and I think that bond is evident in our music and our stage show. Brendan has really helped us appreciate everything that we have, and in return, I hope he knows how much we appreciate him.
I can't express how pleased I am to be part of his new project, because -- we now find out -- he's also one hell of a songwriter. He calls the Brendan Boogie Band
his vanity project, but you know what? He deserves that chance to hog the spotlight. He's absolutely earned it.
Brendan's first appearance, and synchronized jump, with Scamper, 9.3.2004
Please note the shorts.