Marchese - Drums and Singing
My full name is Brian Todd Marchese. I was born on December 6, 1972, in Huntington Beach, CA.
My first concert was KISS, in 1978, in L.A. As a youngster I idolized KISS, Neil Diamond and Scott Joplin. They each received about 18 months of obsession from me, during which I could tell you every song title from every album in order.
My first drumset was a Sears Catalog toy, when I was 5 or 6,which was reduced to splinters within 2 months. That ended my music career until I started playing alto sax--that lasted from 4th to 11th grade.
I was a pretty spastic kid, fighting to be heard over 4 older siblings. My first real drumset was a present for my 14th birthday. I remember Miami Vice being on in the background when I was setting it up. I always hated Miami Vice.
I taught myself how to play, using a book for technical guidance. All my free time was spent playing along to the Beatles, the Kinks, the Doors, CCR, the Stones, the Monkees, and later, the Who, the Dead and Hendrix. I had no idea that Keith Moon was a speed freak, so I told myself that I should be able to move around the kit that fast. I'd watch The Kids Are Alright in slow motion, like others my age were watching "Porky's" (which I've still never seen). No wonder it took me so long to discover girls.
My first gig playing drums was an 8th grade talent show. The trio I was with played a lame-ass Van Hagar song. But I'll never forget the bliss I felt from the satisfaction and from receiving compliments after our slot. I'm presently addicted to that feeling, and must continue to feel it on a weekly basis or I will fall hard.
I was basically a Classic Rocker until 10th grade, when I got into the weirder old stuff like the Velvet Underground, Love and Syd Barrett. I wore pointy boots and turtlenecks and fell out of favor with everyone in school except the freaks and geeks. I wouldn't want it any other way. I soon discovered the better current music, and became a big fan of XTC, the Buzzcocks, Camper Van Beethovan, REM, the Stone Roses, Joy Division, Robyn Hitchcock, The Smiths, the Cure, the Pixies, Sonic Youth, etc.
My sister Alyssa was a huge influence on me. Bought me my first Doors tape in 6th grade. I played drums on my bed for a year before I got a real drum kit. Alyssa advised me through the whole "if you like this, try this" thing with bands. We spent a lot of time listening to music, talking about music. We went to a lot of great shows; Dylan, Elvis Costello,Dead, Petty, Monkees, all in a short period (1988-91). She convinced me to become my own person, when I was listening to good music, but still dressed like a dork.
My first real band was called the Mean Wyoming. I named the group, played drums, and co-wrote some of the songs. Most songs were written by my best friend at the time, Matt, with whom I wrote and recorded dozens of songs outside the band. The Mean Wyoming recorded 2 ep's, both cassette-only. We played happy post-punk pop, with guitars and keyboards. Our biggest gig was at Phillips Acadamy, spring of '91. A band called That Cat followed. Though we recorded about 30 originals in a 12 month period, logistics prevented the band from gigging. A great disappointment.
I went to UMass in Fall '91. Graduated in Spring '96, with a 3.01 GPA and a BA in English, with a psychology minor. During my time there I was in 3 bands. Sweetspot was a Western Mass grunge power trio. Opened for Jawbox at Williams College, recorded a demo at American University with TeenBeat records' Rob Christiansen. At this point I could have moved to Washington DC and joined the band Eggs, but decided education was more important.
Next came a band called Princess, a schizo-licious mess of punk, surf, rockabilly and grunge. We played with Papas Fritas at the Loud Music Fest. We also rocked the Iron Horse opening for Amanda's Dirty Secret--I think it was our last gig.
Then came Sourpuss/Pollyanna. This was 1994. My sister Alyssa was in this band, as was That Cat singer Todd McMurray and Ken Maiuri, who's presently a very in-demand session man in Western Mass. We recorded a 7", had a whole bunch of fast, lyrically and musically intricate indiepop-punk songs. It collapsed under its own weight, after dozens of gigs and lots of praise from within the local scene.
At this point, I was considering what to REALLY do with my life. I was ready to just consider music and songwriting a harmless hobby. I had 1 more year at UMass, and was considering my career options. I wasn't even really playing the drums for fun. This was an odd period (9 months--my longest between gigs).
Along came the Figments. For more Figments info, see www.natural-disaster.com. What I will say about the Figments personally is that prior, my experince in bands had been loud, aggressive, more critical than encouraging, and more or less aimless. The Figments forced me to develop a new style in playing, which I'm so thankful for. Not only do I save money on drumsticks, drumskins and bandaids, but I'm a better drummer now. Also, from my first rehearsal, I was blown away by the style of encouragement, constructive criticism, generosity, patience, ambition and productivity. The Figments have more of a "vibe" than most bands.
Then--the Aloha Steamtrain. The band that my entire life was leading up to. Go back to what my influences have been. You will see what I mean. Then go to www.alohasteamtrain.com and freak out a while. Unfortunately, after 5 years of tons of gigs and adoration, the Steamtrain had to end. During the Steamtrain came a few other bands; notably Lo Fine (www.natural-disaster.com), The Greenbergs, The Gay Potatoes (www.thepotatoes.net) and School for the Dead. It's great because now I'm playing music that I could play for another 20 years without feeling old and out of it.
So, What else floats my boat??? I love cats. I like a nice beach. Absurdly funny people. Creative and ambitious people. Ice Cream. Baseball (particularly the Red Sox). Hearing other people's philosophies, and ideas, as opposed to recycling the masters.
I'm a sucker for astrology. I like Spring and Fall the best--it's comfortable, yet you can still look hip. I like people with good fashion sense. I admire people who have dedicated their lives to doing what they truly love (and have suceeded). I like women. I like being alone, and peace and quiet. It would take a lot to make me live in a city, but New York City is really fucking great. I love England. Northampton is a damn groovy place for dozens of reasons. I often hear California calling me back.
After overdosing on books as an English Major, I have successfully forgotten everything, or at least cleaned up the clutter. And after 4 post-college years of Zen-ing myself, I'm ready to absorb other people's works again.
I like beer, I like vodka. I don't like getting drunk. I like temporarily shedding my shy-tendecies. I think that everyone's conciousness can use a jarring every once in a while, as long as you view it as you would a movie--it's just something to fill up your time, and you hopefully enjoy it and learn something. It's part of life, but IT ISN'T life. This goes for all things. Balance and moderation is everything.
It's June 2002 as I revise this, and currently one of my fave things to do is make French Toast on a Saturday while listening to Car Talk and Wait Wait Don' t Tell Me on the radio.
I love feeling like I have the freedom to become a different person tomorrow if I want. I am not a vegetarian, but do not like to eat red meat very often. I still can't swim. I would love to subsist on just playing music rather than get rich sitting in an office 9-5. To me, the Beatles and the Velvet Underground are the bread and water of pop. However, Michael Nesmith and Andy Partridge have my two favorite voices. The last song that made me cry was "Walk Away Renee" by the Left Banke. It was the millionth time I'd heard it, but the first time it meant anything. No, I don't think Pet Sounds is over rated. Sgt. Pepper may be (Revolver is the true masterpiece).
NAIVE IDEOLOGICAL STATEMENT: I think the music industry is barking up the wrong tree. I think they could make this a smarter country if they poured their billions into different artists. What would happen if suddenly everyone had to think about what top 40 artists were singing about? I love commerciality, but I hate what it currently means in music. Suddenly, sitcoms and commercials can be sophisticated, but not pop music? There is no shortage of creativity in the rock/pop genre. It is not a dying art. If it dies, you can blame the few who control the market. They'll have you think that all that's left are the dregs, and that there's nohing left but violence and lethal doses of NutraSweet.
I feel so very fortunate, even if I never prosper, that I have attracted such immensely talented musicians throughout my life. As well as extremely fascinating people, musician or non. They've all taught me so much. I need to document them in a book or screenplay some day. I have big plans. I think love is every dream and nightmare rolled into one word. I think you don't need to know anything else about me.
My fan club e-mail is brian @ schoolforthedead.com.