Friday, February 18, 2005

The Business of Being Young

Pong celebrates the release Bubble City tomorrow night at Room 710 with Les Saucy Pants. I scrawled a few words about it for the Chronicle here (you'll need to scroll down a bit). It took them over three years to get it out, but the album sounds great.

Bassist Larry Strub told me he'd done too many recordings where things didn't get done properly because "you're looking at your watch and you're looking at your wallet," so the band made a collective decision to take as long as they needed and spend as much as they needed to get things right. "I'm not going to cringe if that album is playing at a party," he said.

In interviewing the Real Heroes for a forthcoming story, we had a similar conversation about the length of time it took them to finish Greetings from Russia, another very strong second album (that, incidentally, would've been on my year-end local top ten list had I heard it in time). While two bands don't make a trend, I think those stories illustrate the marked difference between teens/twenties and thirties/forties local band life.

The Wannabes have a great song called "The Business of Being Young" that romantically nails the paradigm of ditching college to be in a rock band, getting too drunk to play, having your equipment crap out and always being right on the verge of breaking up. When you're living against such a tenuous backdrop, it seems natural for a sense of get-it-done urgency to follow. So you put out material you're not completely satisfied with because it's better than never having done it at all.

I guess age makes you take a longer view of these things. Once you've proven you can do it, you can start trying to figure out how to do it right.

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