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  • 4:32:43 pm
  • Thursday
  • 30 March 2017

Violet Nine at Cbgb’s

Hours before taking the stage at the infamous Cbgb’s, Boston’s own Violet Nine sat down with Tweed to discuss the state of the band, the state of the nation—and a little bit of Prog-Rock.

Violet Nine is Ben Consoli (vox), Tom Gallo (Bass), John Ducharme (Guitar), Nick Lewis (Guitar), and Greg Faucher (drums).

Tim Tell us how you guys got started, where you’re from, how you met and how you’ve gotten to where you are now?

Nick We kind of all met each other in college. We had been in previous bands with one another in different combinations and we all wanted to start a new project to kinda gel something together out of all of that.

Tim How has it been touring for you guys? You have been touring since October 2002, more or less, right?

Ben The area we do shows in, most of the time, is within like an eight hour drive from where we live so we are just constantly on-going, touring, trying to build a fan base. I guess the one real tour that we did was when we went up to La—that was really successful. We are probably gonna do that again. But the touring—its just non-stop and really has been great. We met a lot of awesome people and a lot of great bands.

Tim What have been some of your favorite places to play?

Ben New York. Obviously, Boston. It’s nice to go back to the hometown and do that. Connecticut is always fun. Portland, Maine is nice.

Bill What do you guys like about Connecticut?

Ben The place that we play is really cool. It’s always full.

Tim Where do you play?

Ben The Space—it’s an all age place in Hamden. We always have a good time there.

Tim So we’ve read you guys have really diverse musical tastes. You read so much about groups having a unified force—what’s it like on the other side of that coin? What’s it like marrying all those disparate styles?

Nick I think it’s actually—I mean, that can be a challenge but its probably our strongest advantage—that we can all think of different types of musical ideas as opposed to all trying to aim for one similar sound. So it ends up becoming a lot more varied than any one member would expect.

Tim Ben, you write all of the lyrics right?

Ben Yes.

Tim Well, what exactly is the song-writing process? What is the genesis of a song?

Nick Well sometimes one of us will have an idea outside of rehearsal that we will end up bringing in. And sometimes that will end up bringing a song relatively the same as it started. But sometimes it will be totally metamorphosized into something completely different—because of the diversity.

Tim What are the bands that you specifically draw from?

Tom It changes from month to month. I’m trying to think of some—Oh, the new Blonde Redhead album...we all like that a lot.

Nick Air.

Tom The new Air album is really good.

Tim What are your favorite records of all time?

Nick Music for Airports.

Tom Yea, Music for Airports by Brian Eno. It changed the way I thought about sound—it was pretty ground breaking for me.

Bill What about the rest of you?

Ben Radiohead, The Bends. Um, I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. I don’t know, I really think I’d have to say Thriller or Off the Wall.

Tom Off the Wall.

Ben Recently, I’ve really liked Metric a lot. I’ve been listening to them a lot and I really like Doves a lot.

Tom John’s a big Prog-Rock guy. Like Frank Zappa...

John Yea, I mean, but my first album that I listen to over and over again are the Use Your Illusion albums. I wouldn’t say they are my favorite but they all go back to that. Everything goes back to those albums.

Tim So tell us about the current local scene in Boston?

Tom That’s a good question. I’ve been trying to figure that out for years.

Nick I think it’s kinda clicky...but I am not sure if we are a part of that click or not.

Ben The scene is like Mod mixed with Emo kina like...it’s um... But that’s the scene and I’m not sure if we’re a part of that.

Tom [looking toward Nick] You had a really good analogy once about how you got into music and now that you are into music...

Nick Oh right, okay. Well, my whole life, I have never really been socially accepted anywhere I have been by anyone. I have never been the cool kid and that lead me to, through music, express myself, to learn more about myself—just to be able to feel things. And everybody thinks that “everyone in a band is cool” but the irony of it is that now that I’m in a band, I’m not in one of the bands that’s in the click that’s a ‘cool’ band. I am still an outcast but at least I am making music

[Laughter]

Nick I don’t think that we are totally divorced from the scene in Boston but we are definitely not a centerpiece of it by any stretch of the imagination.

Tom We don’t really know the perceptions of other people. In fact, we have been recently told that there are others bands that I thought were bigger than us that haven’t asked us to play shows because they think we’re way too big for Boston. And maybe it’s because we went to La and we have a lot that’s going on outside of Boston and a lot of the bands from Boston are very specifically about Boston. We’re really not about Boston.

Tim So what was it like recording the Ep?

Tom We made the Ep on our own with the help of a friend. That was about a year and a half ago but, just about a year ago, we played at an Ascap showcase for, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Nemo Conference in Boston. We played at a studio owned and run by Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade.

Tim As a band, how do you feel about incorporating political lyrics into your work?

Nick I think that any answer that one of us can give you won’t represent what we necessarily all feel. But I think the band has a definite left/liberal leaning. I think that personally politics is a real complex situation. And I can only go on my instincts on subjects like that. And Bush should not be elected again—to put it mildly. But it’s so complex with media sources that I don’t know if I can trust or not. I think about it a lot and I wish I knew more about it and I wish I were more active. I have very strong opinions but I have no idea if they have any basis in reality so—I’m pretty ignorant I guess.

Tim So you guys are not expressly interested in becoming political as a band?

Nick I wouldn’t shy away from it...

Tom I would definitely be open to, for example, if there was some kind of pro-voting show...actually, we played one. We did play a show encouraging people to vote. I think it’s important to vote. Outside from that, I’m not sure we would ever take any clear stance on anything.

Ben At this point in our careers and what we’re doing- 99 percent of the time is dedicated to writing and doing shows. But if an opportunity came to play some sort of a political geared event, we would definitely take it, take advantage of that situation. Like this magazine—I mean, there are not many politic/music magazines. This is actually the first and only that ever came up to us. It was something that was really interesting to us because we didn’t know what to expect. It’s better than getting the same old questions.

Bill John, you had something to say?

John Outside the band, I am probably the most political out of everyone here. I have Internet now which I got a few months ago. I am sick of watching Fox news.

Bill What’s your beef with Fox?

John It’s Republican! I laugh at it all day. I just got that movie Outfoxed which shows—if people don’t think it’s Republican then they have to watch this movie. And it was great. I have Republican friends and we have heated discussion all the time and we agree to disagree and what I love is that we can talk about it because no one else is. All my other friends—they don’t know what to say. They just watch the blurbs that you see on the news.

Tim Right. It feels like that what you’re being told is that dissent is not okay at this point and, that you know, conversation on it, discourse on it, is not ok.

John And lately I have been feeling that—it feels like school again where you are being pushed into the corner and it’s like ” I don’t have to put up with this anymore.” And I’m starting to learn how to be more talkative and active about it in a civilized way. What people want these days is for the left and the right to be against each other so they can get off the real issues. People just have to take a step back and really look at things.

Bill How do you feel about the two-party system? How do you feel about Ralph Nader?

John He’s a great guy but he is really in a tough situation right now. I wish there could be more people rather than just him. There should be ten more people like Ralph Nader running. So it wouldn’t be like “Oh, Nader is gonna make Bush win.” If there were ten people more like Nader then Bush wouldn’t even be a problem.

Tim What do you guys think about the whole thing in Iraq and the War On Terror?

Nick Whenever I open my mouth about the subject at all, I am aware of how tense the situation is and how split people can be. I think the thing for me is the so-called “War on Terror”—I don’t think there is any single human being that could be elected as the president of this country that would guarantee 100 percent the safety of this country.

I don’t necessarily think, “Oh, well September 11th will never happen again.” I’m not that naive. I don’t want to live in that insulated kinda mindset where I feel safe because I choose to feel safe and pretend that there’s nothing else going on in the world. I think what upsets me is—with polls saying Bush and Kerry are roughly fifty/fifty at this point—that’s upsetting to me from the standpoint of how clear a decline it has been in the past four years, that half the country is still saying “this man is a good president and he is protecting my interests.” We have wars and American soldiers dying and I don’t know why we have these wars. I would like them to be wrapped up as smoothly and quickly as possible—I realize that is a very idealistic, naive kinda statement.

I was listening to the radio the other day—a kind of conservative radio station. The topic was that “1000 American soldiers had died in the conflict, call in with your opinion” and what they said was they need to get back to “killing more damn Iraqis.” And I thought, “well those ‘damn Iraqis’ are mothers and fathers and sons and brothers just like Americans, just like all people in the world. I don’t want any of them to die! This is fucking ridiculous! I don’t think the answer is to just keep shooting people with turbans. That’s my brilliant political statement for the day.

Tim The War on Terror—the term is a little unbelievable...

John That’s a point right there. People aren’t even sure if it’s a “War on Terror” or a war in Iraq. People try to blur everything into one big mess...

Ben What’s gonna make Bush win—and I’m not quite sure if he’s gonna win or not—but I think what is gonna make him win is if people associate the war in Iraq as the War on Terrorism. If they can get that through the debate, he could leave the debate saying “A War in Iraq is gonna keep us safer”—then, he’s gonna win.

Tim So what’s it like playing Cbgb’s?

John I walked into the main room while we were loading in and I didn’t realize how graffitied that place was. I was like “Wow!”

Tim It’s really weird to be in a place with so much history concentrated.

Ben It’s just one of those places you just have to play. If you haven’t played it, you haven’t really played Ny.

Tim Ok, so what should everybody know about Violet Nine?

Ben I want people to know that when you listen to us and when you see our show, it’s a full and true collaboration of fives people’s completely different influences. I think that’s rare and I think that something that is really a strong point of this band.

Keep an eye out for Violet Nine’s next release, recorded live at the Cutting Room in Nyc. Check out their website for updates. www.violetnine.net



Tim Rogan, William Wallace
Sunday, 26 September 2004
Battle of the bands at CBs 313 Gallery.

Battle of the bands at Cb’s 313 Gallery.

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Violet Nine in Cafe Kudos before the show.

Violet Nine in Cafe Kudos before the show.
Nick Lewis

Nick Lewis
Tom Gallo

Tom Gallo
Ben Consoli

Ben Consoli
John Ducharme

John Ducharme
Nick responds to Tims questions.

Nick responds to Tim’s questions.
Bill listens as Ben explains.

Bill listens as Ben explains.
Memorials for recently departed Johnny Ramone outside CBGBs main entrance.

Memorials for recently departed Johnny Ramone outside Cbgb’s main entrance.
Battle of the bands in the basement.

Battle of the bands in the basement.
Violet Nine at CBGBs

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Tweed Magazine content report:
2017-03-30 16:32:43
Barsuk Records, congress, Everloving Records, Everloving Records, Maura Davis, Polyvinyl Records, music, Iraq, Washington, Nirvana, End report.