Saturday, November 01, 2008

Scott Landes of Collide: a collaborative profile-

Next week- supposing I can finally kick the plague that's been ravaging my innards- I'm going to be writing a review of Collide's recent release Two Headed Monster. It'll run both on and This album has been three years in the making, and as you may have already heard, showcases Danny Carey from Tool and Dean Garcia from Curve, as well as the members of the live band they assembled.

Video for Euphoria, off of Collide's previous album.

Before then, however, I wanted to give a shout out to an ex-bandmate and good friend of mine, who happens to be a member of that live band- Scott Landes. The fact of that matter is that oftentimes the headliners steal all the oxygen from the room- which isn't to say that it isn't warranted. (My respect for what kaRIN and statiK have done aside, I won't deny an almost fanboy-ish love for Danny Carey's drumming.)

However, in this case the other members, who often get referred to in the reviews as "the live band," are all talented musicians in their own right. Who knows the names of the band that played with Tori Amos when touring for Little Earthquakes, or PJ Harvey's bandmates on Rid of Me? (Don't check with Google. I'm just making a point.) This is a fault purely of the press- and the simple bottom line of what sells tickets and records.

I don't know the other members of Collide's band well enough to talk about them, though Kai Kurosawa's muscianship is clearly impressive. However, having known, worked with, and on several occasions lived with Scott, I wanted to share a little of that, and some reflections of my own work with him and how he influenced me- before jumping into a review of Collide's album on its own ground.

I first met Scott in 98 or 99 during my Sophmore year at Bard College. Our mutual friend Jim introduced us, and he promptly blew me away with the intensity of his playing- and in the process snapped at least one of the strings on the Mexican strat that I owned at the time.

From that point on, we began a many-year long collaboration which oftentimes veered into the obscure or plain bizarre. Scott got me to take music more seriously- it was hard not to, what with how passionate he is about it. He would literally stay up all night playing until his fingers bled. (And then keep playing.) One part of what motivated me to take Jazz harmony and music theory classes was so that I could keep up with him on my chosen instrument at the time, bass. On the other hand, I'd like to think that I helped him learn to take music a little less seriously. Oftentimes, we would have absurd jams so ridiculous that we'd fall over laughing. These first meanderings took the form of Bile Shower, a truly awful concoction which was a great deal of fun to create, and which wreaks pain and havoc upon whomever has the poor sense to subject themselves to it.

This did eventually lead to more serious projects, such as Babalon, but throughout I would say that there's always been an underlying comedy in most of the work we've done together, even those which got more production attention, like subQtaneous. (Here is a live recording of Waiting and a demo of Save The World, two of my favorites from what we recorded with Babalon).

After Babalon broke up, Scott joined forces with Collide, and a little while thereafter, with Mankind Is Obsolete. I had MKIO stay at my apartment several months back, when they were still on their colossal year+ tour, and got to briefly reconnect with him and meet some new faces. Here is a band operating completely without a label, living out of a van, playing gigs varying in size and grandiosity from Warp tour dates to some people in a corn field. (Read Part 1 and Part 2 of my review and interview with Mankind is Obsolete from last year before they hit the road.)

Living off of tuna and celery and playing music every night. It just goes to show that though the days of excess Guns N' Roses got to experience might be gone, if you are committed enough, you can hit the road and find an audience.

I've been involved in several musical projects since Babalon, and some studio work with Scott since. However, I've yet to meet someone with his singleminded passion, dedication and drive for the art. It is truly a rare thing. If you have the opportunity to see him perform with Collide, Mankind Is Obsolete, or any other bands that he chooses to work with, I highly suggest you take it. I always look forward to seeing him on stage, or having another opportunity to collaborate.

Look for a review of Two Headed Monster next week.

(As a final note to the Fallen Nation readers out there- yes, the character of Cody was based- in part - on Scott.)

1 comment:

  1. I have always had respect for Scott's dedication to the art of music even through very trying times.



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