Birds at the End of the Road
I got a request on Sunday to “like” Birds At The End Of The Road, a band from the 90’s, from my friend Jason Baker. Jason played guitar in the band and he and I crossed paths while I was doing promotions (everything is marketing, eh?) at 101.9 THE MIX Chicago. After we connected on music he told me about the band he was in and after the first song of the first show — I was instantly a fan.
At the time I had transitioned from being terrible at guitar to being mildly ok at drums (a fact that rings true today) and while I was influenced by a number of national acts (Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Rush, 311, Tribe Called Quest, Rage Against the Machine) my drumming took form under the influence of three bands, The Gufs, Verve Pipe, and Birds at the End of the Road. The last band being the one I watched the most and thus the one I stole from the most. Henry Jansen hit the drums like they owed him money and at the same time used syncopation in a way that seemed enchanting and moved me to want to play more like him. When he moved over to Dovetail Joint and Ivory Wire hisplaying kept evolving, I kept learning and to this day you can hear nods to his style in my own (not to say I am anywhere near as talented).
So when I got the facebook request I was excited because their first record “Chowderbox” had long been lost to my record collection that didn’t make the move but honestly is one of those albums I genuinely missed. The track that most people gravitate to is the cover of “Sweet Jane” and while it is sublime, for me “Stories” or “Eye Your Soul” are some of my favorites.
As they jumped into the studio to record another record the band shifted names to Mother Factor and the album “Querry” manifested itself (Drybeing my favorite track) and it keeps a lot of the musical themes of “Chowderbox” it also brings into it a jazz element that is nuanced in the first record and a core competency of the second.
All of that is to say that this band that you likely have never heard of has had such a profound effect on how I play today at The Story or in Decoy that I thought you might enjoy the context. I have no idea if the guys are getting back together or if there is another album on the way but the fact that the internet makes this sort of musical reflection possible is one of my favorite parts of what makes up the connection economy.