There's a certain age when a body starts to give out, when the joints start to rust and the connective tissue deteriorates. Sooner rather than later, the bone begins rubbing against bone, the back feels as if it needs to be excavated and replaced with something springier/stainless/sexier and the crow's feet near the corners of eyes are slowly spreading around the face, eroding the formerly tight and young skin. There's a time when you will be smart enough to realize beforehand all of the things you shouldn't do because once the morning comes, you'll be paying dearly for them.
You'll have become the closest thing to a retiree, though you'll be closer to your high school prom than all-day euchre tournaments in gathering halls that smell like moth balls and rotten teeth. You'll be old, exactly what you'd rather not be. You'll be far from ancient, but you'll be unfavorably old, regardless of your actual age. To a 13-year-old, the 30-year-old man is on his deathbed. There is no more string cheese for snacking or chocolate milk for sucking out of twisty straws. Adult problems lead directly to that pain in the ass sense of responsibility that comes, like clockwork, to everyone of a certain age.
The regimented way of life is barking its death knell and settling into the way "it's got to be" is as difficult as swallowing pride and then burping the alphabet. It cannot be done, but carefully. Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse forever rides the fence line that separates the young bucks from the destitute, the has and the has been way of thinking.
The trio, whose music could most emphatically described as smart and pointy - while maintaining a wooly sense of nostalgia, is fearless of standardized timelines. Playing by the numbers and performing the natural progression toward a head of gray hair rote, stock and barrel is not going to happen without a.) a fight and b.) a second fight. The way that lead singer Mike Pace sings is the way a youth in denial does, but it's also the way that youth hangs onto the light that's getting smaller and smaller as it moves down to the far side of the tunnel.
The stories and lyrics on Remember the Night Parties are not simple reflections, not only remember whens. They are more celebratory, clinging to the very spirit of the better times - the parties that years later still make the right people glow and think to themselves that it would have been nice had that night never ended. They are tattooed with the rakish piquancy that is usually found in conjunction with salad days and the beginning notes of original discovery. Most of what Pace, bassist Adam Rizer and drummer Dan Fetherston make live together is an offering to the saints of lingering memories and hoping that they never wander off. It's holding onto the carefree way of expressing oneself with a chippy attitude and more of a powerful declaration of what matters most.
The Daytrotter interview:
*How did this band start as a joke? What was the joke?*
Mike Pace: The joke was that we started off as a four-piece that basically didn't take ourselves seriously at all, and which thought it would be fun to make as much noise as possible and flail around. When we lost our original guitar player/vocalist to the country of Sweden, the joke wasn't funny anymore, and it was time to get serious.
*I saw Adam about a billion times, walking around Austin during SXSW. He was always drunk and seemed lost on both occasions. Is this how he usually is?*
MP: This is true, but a penchant for alcohol and the worst sense of direction on the planet never hurt anyone!
*Does he miss being a woodworker? Has he ever made anything for you or the band? What day job do you miss?*
MP: Adam is still a woodworker, and currently designs furniture for people, under the name "Cuyahoga Furniture Company." He does great work and has reasonable rates. He actually made me a pedal board that has been malfunctioning since I started using it. I still have my day job, working as a studio tech for a video company that I enjoy when I'm there but don't really miss when I'm away.
*What's the best thing you've ever bought used?*
MP: I bought a 1974 Guinness Book of World Records once when I was 12 for 25 cents and found $50 in it. Other than that, I'd have to say my guitar, a 1978 Gibson Marauder. Saw it on eBay, was able to go to Manny's Music in Manhattan and tried it out, was the only bidder, won it, went back to Manny's and picked it up. Great story, huh?
*Other than these fake weekend tours, what have you guys got planned for the summer?*
MP: We're trying to get creative and come up with a ton of songs for the upcoming, ill-fated, disastrous, difficult, double-fourth album, so we're staying grounded at home for the most part, other than a few one-offs like the Pitchfork Music Festival and a real-life "School of Rock" performance for campers only at St. John's University.
*How do the three of you work off of one another in the creative process?*
MP: It's all very democratic with us. Almost everything comes out of jams. Occasionally I'll bring in a riff but it's usually gutted or rearranged immediately. Everyone has a say in everything from lyrical ideas to song titles to the arrangement of each other's parts. When everyone is happy, we've got a song.
*Was there a certain party you were thinking of when you named your record?*
MP: If you grew up Jewish on Long Island like I did, you probably went to a lot of bar/bat mitzvahs in your early teens. Everyone knows that the parties that happened at night were the most fun. Sometimes someone's dad would let you take a few slips of a White Russian, and you'd get buzzed before you even knew what that meant, and you'd dance until midnight.
*Is there a lot of punk in you three?*
MP: Yeah, definitely. It's what we all grew up on and have always been interested in. There's such a wide array of good music that has existed under the term "punk," over the years and we're influenced by a lot of it.
*What made you laugh this week?*
MP: Your question about Adam always being drunk, and a remark I made about Dr. Dog performing an "emergency woofectomy" in the van that got a great response.
*In your tag, you nickname the Daytrotter studio the Terrordome. What is the reference for that?*
MP: "Welcome to the Terrordome" is an awesome song by Public Enemy off of their seminal Fear of a Black Planet LP.
*Speaking of references, give me your best one, without any context whatsoever.*
MP: "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet...but your kids are gonna love it."
*Who are your favorite bands to play with back home?*
MP: We always have a great time playing with our tight broz from way back when, CaUSE Co-MOTION! and our main man about town, Emperor X.
Click here to visit Oxford Collapse's myspace page.