Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The first time that I ever talked to Meric Long was six years ago next week. It was near the end of SXSW week, 2007, and it was the first time that we'd ever been down to Austin for what has to be the most stimulating and overbearing musical experience that one could ever treat themselves to. It likely wasn't the first for The Dodos, although it certainly could have been their maiden voyage as well. The reason for the call was to unfortunately cancel a Daytrotter session with them that was supposed to happen later that afternoon. It was one of those situations where everyone was disappointed. The day had gotten away from us due to my atrocious planning and some beat down engineers who wanted simply to grab a Mexican Coke and have themselves a decent meal, or to just go and throw themselves into Barton Springs and not tell anyone where they shoved off to. We were a full session behind what the schedule was calling for and sadly, Long and his percussionist Logan Kroeber, were trapped in schedule purgatory. I reached him on his cell phone just as he was packing up his guitar and cords at another gig, readying himself to get them over to our studio. I had to break the news to him that we were going to be unable to make it happen. He took it fine, but I couldn't help but think that he might never take a call from me again. Thankfully, he's taken a lot of my phone calls and returned many of my emails since then because the three previous sessions that these Bay Area boys have taped are steeped in wild invention and more heart that we could ever know what to do with.
It turns out that that first time in Austin wasn't the only time that we would be preparing to party together and then had to call the whole thing off. Another time, two years later, the band was hurtling through New Mexico to try and make it to their main showcase of the week and they'd been slowed to a halt by a pile-up on the interstate. They were running hours and hours behind and they returned the cancellation by pulling out of what was going to be a collaboration with Akron/Family, a what if moment of potential genius that we'll never, ever know about.
One of the main reasons that we exist is to expose more people to what might be an unheard of group of artists, biding their time to consciousness through soul-sucking dues paying, playing to weak draws in cities that don't want them. The Dodos are something a bit different for me as they are actually a band that - had we not started this site with this sole purpose - I would likely never have discovered for myself. It might have happened, but the odds would have been much greater that it wouldn't have happened. They were presented to me through a mailing of a CD that had the name Meric Long written on it in Sharpie. It came in an envelope like all the rest of the records that show up in my mailbox and that one got played. And it was great. Every SXSW, I think of the time that we almost didn't make it happen and every time we tape them again, I think about the tall boys in paper bags that we shared on one of my last birthdays before the age of 30 that we shared on a deserted East Moline, Ill. street, across from a closed taco joint. It all worked out.
The Dodos Official Site