Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Do not be fooled by the cheap, crap plastic sunglasses (those accessories that have taken the place of the trucker hat) that Coyote Bones lead singer David Matysiak wore indoors on this day in October. We're talking about the bendable and soft frames of neon color and standard black shade lenses, the kind that used to be available as limited edition collectibles received free for ordering a new and special family feast meal at Pizza Hut, signing up for a new checking account at a bank before they had iPods to give away and for sending in four proofs of purchase from Frankenberry box tops, plus $1.50 for shipping and handling costs. They are fashionable among a certain scruffy indie rocker sect these days and these glasses get fought over by bands like Dr. Dog and Dios Malos, but Matysiak has more of the period of time when those classic shades were just the norm in him than he does the Pete Doherty-ironic-living-in-squalor mentality that latches onto certain dated trends in an attempt to play the pauper, whether it's real or fake. Some people are just paupers and there's no getting around that. Dr. Dog and Dios Malos are allowed to wear the glasses as they are paupers for now. We're not talking about them.
Matysiak's appearance really has very little to do with what he writes and records, and that's good, for the things he's written and recorded for his band's long time in the making debut album, Gentlemen on the Rocks, a no-nonsense piece of music that hasn't been scrubbed clean, but is still woven with strands of poignant thinker's thoughts after drinks, are not the creations of an apprentice or a worshipper. Bear with me here. Every once in a while, some people have the urge to revisit Bush's Sixteen Stone and Third Eye Blind's Blue for no good reason (this really happened this week) and no one should have a damn problem with that. It was a passing fad, says anyone who fancies themselves a rock and roll diehard, who attributes Bush and The Darkness to temporary insanity and nothing any more substantial. There are people in the world who can go on with their lives still believing that "Glycerine" is a pretty good song no matter what the year, no matter if they're wanting to fill their heads exclusively with Radiohead, Spoon and Les Savy Fav. It shouldn't be a problem to carry with us the oddities of past favorites or even to have them slip into our singing voices every once in a while.
Coyote Bones does not sound like Bush, if that's what you're thinking. They also don't sound like the normal suspects. They aren't pulling from any Talking Heads or Stones albums. They aren't even pulling from any of the other Omaha bands that they could be pulling from, especially with the helping hands of all of the Saddle Creek and Team Love homies that guest on the record. The shared sounds that are absolutely possible are neglected. The Old Market charm is eschewed just as natives The Faint eschew it, working different sidewalks and channels. Matysiak, who shares part-time touring duty as a guitarist for Tilly and the Wall and is forgetful when it comes to the location of his guitar at times, touches on the kind of rock and roll that the indies were lovingly releasing back in the early to mid-90s, the heyday of those flimsy sunglasses that were a part of high traffic promotion nights at ballparks all over the country. It's the rock and roll of Chicago's great Fig Dish, a band that was rumored to have begun playing together again recently, but has only been seen over the last few years playing Halloween shows as a cover band.
These are songs that have older brothers on Fig Dish's 1995 record That's What Love Songs Often Do and the tone in Matysiak's nicely frayed voice is one of toughing out the bumps in the road - after a bender or two - but never whimpering over a hurtful broad. The beer and harder stuff had to have been flowing when the foundations for many of these songs were begun. They are the fruits of getting shit on and then doing that bootstraps thing that's often talked about folklore-ishly when someone rises from out of the steaming heap to crack their knuckles and get back on the horse. It's not the roll over and give up junk or the get into the pants fluff that comes out of the mouths of so many men during these days of sappiness. Coyote Bones howls at the moon - it's that strength in longing, that knowing toughness that makes that guiding yellow light the object of the dizzy buzz that finds a way to clarify things.
Click here to visit Coyote Bones' myspace page.