Monday, October 5, 2009

You Better Watch Out for The Rhodes

While on vacation in New York two weeks ago, I went to Webster Hall in the East Village for $1 beers and came across one of the best live bands I've heard in a while. I was totally blown away. I was just expecting a night of cheap drinks and crappy electro music but was delightfully surprised to find myself magnetizing towards the stage where, if I wasn't paying close attention, I could swear I was seeing the reincarnated spirits of Ray Charles, the early Beatles, Elvis and Little Richard jumping and jiving on stage.

Say hello to The Rhodes.

The Rhodes is a 4 piece Soul and Motown inspired band from New York. Their sound is very Motown inspired. Think of the early Beatles albums versus Ray Charles and a little bit of doowop thrown in. Actually, now that I think of it, they remind me a bit of that band in that movie That Thing You Do.

I (Lucas) was able get a hold of Derek Daunicht, vocalist and rythm guitarist for The Rhodes for a quick little Q&A.

Lucas: I first encountered you guys last Friday night at Webster Hall in New York at a battle of the bands. How did you guys do? Or is it still going on?

Derek: Yes, Webster Hall division of MEANYFEST.

M.E.A.N.Y FEST (Musicians & Emerging Artists New York) is a festival held throughout New York at venues such as  Crash Mansion, The Delancey, Bowery Poetry Club, The Annex, Public Assembly, Maxwell's, Santos Party House and many more. One lucky winner will receive recording time, a guitar worth $5 thousand courtesy of Gibson,  a radio package from Notorious Radio, a chance to perform live at a Village Voice live music event, eligibility to play at the East Coast Indie Stage at Warped Tour 2010 and and an appearance on Fearless music.

No idea how we did yet, no one's gotten back to us. We were excited to play there because of the big American flag backdrop they had on stage in the pictures, but it was just a MEANYFEST banner as a backdrop when we played. Fradulant advertising, that is. We can't all have what we want. Except for Napoleon. But that didn't last long.

Lucas: While listening to you guys, It sounded like you had a really early rock and motown influence. I had visions of Ray Charles and Elvis is my head. What are you guys influenced by? What drives you guys to sound the way you do?

Derek: Love Motown, love Ray, love Elvis, all phenomenal and influential. An honest answer would take more time than we have right now, but at least three of the four of us love the following acts: The Velvet Underground, T. Rex, Of Montreal, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, James Brown, The Strokes, Stevie Wonder, and young Bob Dylan. We don't know what drives our work to be what it becomes, we just know that it's accidental, subconscious. We're not trying to sound like anything - we just play, and let the listener fill in the rest. It's the least exhausting thing to do.

Lucas: I heard about you guys getting kicked out of Washington Square Park by the cops recently. What happened exactly? Have you guys tried to play there since?

Derek: Ah, we've been playing in Washington Square Park for the past three summers. We've watched it change, we went there first in 2007, two of us fresh out of High School, and played almost every day for two months. In 2008, when the park's entire center was fenced off and torn up, splitting it into a small section on either side, we busked for three months under the Garibaldi statue.

This year, 2009, the fountain has been successfully moved a number of feet to the side, and the park's open again (albeit smaller). We busked on and off since May this year, and stopped mid-August, when a couple of cops stopped us mid-set and said that they were terribly sorry, but their commissioner told them to sweep the park and kick out any acts using a drumset. Well, that meant us. We were very shocked, you know, three years of no problems and then this year, bam, kicked out without a distinct reason. Citizen complaints, they said. What, you live in New York City and you make a noise complaint? That's odd logic. Everyone's saying "Gentrification! It's ruining the charatcer of NYC!". We'll see.

Shit, sorry, I'm rambling. Anyway, yeah. That was the story with that. We went back to Washington Square Park, got a police and park permit, and played an electric show in September right in the park. Who's laughing now? ...Well, not us. But we're smilin'!

Lucas: Have you ever thought of coming out West for a tour? They would love you out here.

Derek: Lucas, we think about it constantly. We'd love to tour out West. But we have no connections to do so, and even so, no money in which to do it. We'd love to, though. But you know, the economy and all that. Time to move back in with mum.

The Rhodes have a double-single available later month including the tracks "All You've Got To Do" and "How Long?" They also have a full length album "Modern Sounds of Northern Towns" available in iTunes.

Posted by Lucas Vocos

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