Since the dissolution of indie-rock mainstay Pedro the Lion in late 2005, Pedro frontman and songwriter Dave Bazan has managed to keep himself plenty busy. He released his first solo effort, the EP Fewer Moving Parts, last June, and saw its second release on Seattle-based Barsuk Records this May. But life as a one man band is a lonely, occasionally high stress business, and when the latest full-length offering from Bazan comes around in early 2008, it'll present the sweet sound of Bazan getting by with a little help from his friends.
I was lucky enough to catch Bazan on the phone for a few minutes between rehearsals of new material to get his take on his solo career, life after Pedro and what happens next.
“Once Pedro kind of retired… in the fall of 2005, I just started hitting the road doing solo shows, cause that was what I knew to do,” says Bazan.
While his solo work was satisfying for a while, Bazan's real drive is to play music as part of a whole, with his anticipated solo record quickly turning into a team effort.
“I really want to be in a band at this point,” he said, “so that's what the record will be in 2008 most likely, me and a couple of other dudes making a band record.”
Initial plans are for the band to work under the moniker David Bazan's Black Cloud, though the eponym is a temporary feature that Bazan looks forward to dropping, hoping to avoid him and the band being thought of as the same, a phenomenon that plagued Pedro the Lion throughout the band's career.
“Pedro was the David Bazan show, for better or worse,” said Bazan. “I want to be in a band where it's not like that, where people are just as psyched to see the guitar player as they are to see me.”
And though Bazan seems uncomfortable with the prospect of having his name so tied to the band, he understands the business need behind it. “I loathe the word, but it really is branding. You're trying to build a recognizable brand so that people will come out and see the show.” As for other names associated with the band, Bazan is tight lipped. With the new group still forming, he's reluctant to let spill the names of members he's already got on board or people he's trying to recruit.
For the moment, though, Bazan's been playing on his lonesome, and the solo tour has been a learning experience for him.
“When you're the only one up there, you've got to figure out how to…do stuff that people want to see,” says Bazan, who went on to eloquently sum up the increased pressure of a solo show thusly: “If it's sucking, it's your fault. You can't blame the drummer.”
The experience has made Bazan a better showman, though. More capable of “throwing down” on an acoustic guitar than he ever thought he would be.
You can get a look at some of the new moves Bazan has learned on his tour this Friday at the Underground Coffeehouse, and he'll be up to some old tricks as well. Fewer Moving Parts consists of songs that Bazan wrote while still working with Pedro, but never got to record with the band, and his live set is dominated by Pedro the Lion tunes guaranteed to please fans of the now defunct act. For those of you who aren't familiar, just take my word for it, and head down to the Underground Coffeehouse for a great last show of the year featuring on of the best songwriters working today.