Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

Black Nite Crash have been making our imaginary hearts pitter-patter a little darker ever since we saw them cover Homeboy's "Adorable" at the Shoegazers' Ball in 2002. Since then, we've seen them everywhere — playing and attending local shows, spinning discs at the Lava Lounge, singing at our karaoke parties, then singing again at our other karaoke parties, and in our favorite coffee haunts. Then their recent debut EP likewise knocked our imaginary socks off.

So we figured it's time we sit down with these boys — Marcel Feldmar {drums}, Jim Biggs {vocals, bass}, and Joel Bergmann {guitar} — to talk and see what they plan for our musical futures together…

TIG: Hi guys! We're going to be spending lots of time together — first at the TIG showcase with the Jeunes and Infomatik on June 3rd, and then at our Rockstar Suicide Karaoke party on the 10th. People might begin to talk…

Jim: (laughs)

TIG: So while we're on the subject… tell us: who's the biggest flirt of the band, and why/how?

Joel Jim. He's always makin goo-goo eyes at his wife, it's sickening. Someone needs to stop that guy.

Marcel: Sometimes I think it might be me, but considering the events of the past few months, I’d have to go with Joel.

Jim: MarcelJoel… I keep getting them confused on this count. They're both so charming. The ladies love those fellas.

TIG: One of the things that WE love is that you guys are the consummate indie-rock fans. We run into you at so many shows. (and guys, please take the opportunity to expound upon your theory of how people in bands should go to at least three shows each week to support other artists). Is that a lot of work? Do you need a special license or training?

Marcel: I think it’s just that we love music, and we live in a city that is seriously overflowing with great bands. There are so many nights when you have the difficult choice of which band to not see. And playing in a band — it sometimes just feels frustrating when there’s nobody there to see you, support you, or even curious enough to take a chance — I know the money is tight, but still — if you are in a band, it seems like it would be in your best interest to see the scene grow, to share the music. You want an audience, so you have to be an audience. We’re here to help each other.

Jim: We all love music, and all varieties of it. Was that theory Joel's? It's true, though. The most common complaint I hear from other bands is that not enough people come out or that the scene is dead. If everyone would come see everyone else play, people would be out all over the place every night. Scenes are funny that way. The more people come out, the more other people come out. Next thing you know it's drunken debauchery and good tunes every night. Does it get any better than that?

Joel: I was just telling someone today that I get pretty excited to live in a city with so many great bands. Considering you can't throw a beer can in this town without hitting a musician, it should be part of the contract. I propose a Club Card — go to three local shows and get the fourth for free. Just like Subway, ..with more meatballs.

TIG: An "Indie-Rock Show" card! We love it! Is it against the law to institute a "TIG Drink Club" card? {tig drink = mandrin absolut, soda water and lime.} We would give away pins and thongs and prizes for purchase of our signature drink. I bet you guys would earn the tig raft in no time!

Sooo… a tangential question: where will you guys be on June 10th?

Marcel: The center of the universe… the TIG 2nd Annual Rockstar Suicide Karaoke Silent Auction!!! And, if possible, filling my head with some good old Jesus and Mary Chain at Neumo’s.

Joel: Yeah, I'll probably singing some godawful 80's song at the the TIG 2nd Annual Rockstar Suicide Karaoke Silent Auction. And loving it!

TIG: We're super excited you're playing our 2nd birthday party on June 10th at the Croodile, and we know you're also playing Kathleen's 40th birthday party at Neumos, the same night. We know you guys have mastered the art of being at every important show in town — but imaginary readers need to know: how will you do both?

Jim: Magic. It was part of the deal when we sold our souls to rock 'n roll. The ability to rock is just one of a myriad of super powers granted us by the godz of rock…

Marcel:I think we're going to play our Jesus and Mary Chain cover before 11p, and then head to the Crocodile.

TIG: Phew. Now that we have that settled, which local bands do you always go see? Which local bands do you never go see, and why?

Jim: Always: Kinski, Infomatik, Juno (if they ever get back together), the Jeunes. Never? Hmmm… must remain PC… must resist urge to trash talk… OK. Let me generalise. I tend to avoid really "mellow" bands and singer/songwriter-type artists live, just because I'm usually out for a drink and a laugh… neither of which are particularly facilitated by introspective whining on about girls and whatnot. I much prefer intense screaming and walls of feedback about girls and whatnot. I also avoid bands that play endless sets and bands that take forever to set up. Less talk more rock!

Joel: Okay here's only the current, active hotness in Seattle: A-Frames, Akimbo, Anna Oxygen, Black Noise Cannon, the Briefs, the Catch, Cobra High, the Dalmatians, the Divorce, Euphondason, Infomatik, Fear Of Dolls, the Girls, Graig Markel, Heather Duby, Himsa, Kinski, the Lights, the Makers, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Phalanx, Post-Stardom Depression, Suffering & the Hideous Thieves, Transpacific, the Turn-Ons, Vendetta Red, Visqueen, Wormwood, Xiu Xiu and whichever band Bill Rieflin is playing in this week. I probably forgot some obvious choices, the rest suck. Only 2 bands I'll never go see are Bete Noire & Black Nite Crash… do I have to say why?

Photo: Ryan SchierlingMarcel: That's tricky — because so many bands are really great to see depending on the mood you’re in. Some bands really suck the first time you see them, but you hear something that makes you see them again, and they get better. I don’t think it’s good to write a band off on your first impression. That being said, I don’t think I really need to go see any of seattle’s numerous cover bands again… once for Black Celebration, once for Hell's Belles, once for No. 13 Baby, once for Ants Invasion, etc., etc…
but that’s just me… as far as bands I see often: the Lights, Infomatik, Kinski, the Catch, the Turn Ons. There’s also so many bands that are long gone that I used to see all the time, and I miss them: Melody Unit, Matchless, Severna Park — man — I saw like almost every single Sycophant show back in the day… now I’m getting all misty eyed…

TIG: Awesome! Great lists… um, let us know if you ever have a moment or desire to write about any of the shows that you go to. We find that reviewing shows is a great way to remember all of the bands that we've seen and where all our time goes. And you'll earn extra points on your "Indie-Rock Show" and "tig Drink Club" cards!

Marcel, you also book shows. What makes a band more or less desirable to a venue, and do guys have any advice for newbie bands who are looking to crack into the Seattle scene?

Joel: My advice is "if a band plays well in a practice space, does anybody hear?" or Kill Yer Idols. Something like that, it's only rock and roll.

TIG: Dude. Is your name Marcel?

Joel: No.

Marcel: (laughs) As far as booking bands… it’s nice to deal with bands who are easy to deal with. Bands who don’t expect the same sort of stage and sound at places like the Crocodile and the Funhouse, or Chop Suey and the hideaway. Bands should be able to adapt to their surroundings. Venues don’t really appreciate the diva rockstars. Be nice to us and we’ll be extra nice to you. It’s like tip your waiter and end up getting a free drink. So, play nice with the sound man and be friendly with the booker and you’ll end up with a better show. For new bands, you have to just keep trying. Be strong and sure of yourself, but don’t be too pushy and don’t try to come across as the best band you’re ever going to hear. It just isn’t true. Oh, and you can lie about how many people the band will bring in, but be reasonable. Don’t say 100 people will show up when you know you’d be lucky to see 20 in the audience.

TIG: Who is/are the hottest non-imaginary local music person/people in Seattle, and why?

Joel: I still think Mike Maker is still my idea of the quintessential star. The Makers rock over any Jet, Vines, whatever. Yeah, he makes the top of my list because you ain't fresh even if you new. However, those girls in the Catch, wow… and Infomatik are the best dressed band, hands down.

Jim: Why me, of course. I so amazing in so many ways I don't know where to start. Perhaps my hottest trait, though, is my intense modesty…

Marcel: This is the one that gets us into trouble, isn’t it… hmmm… to borrow a word from our friend Amber… The Catch are the Hotness. Shane from the Divorce can be quite the sexy boy, Jenn Ghetto makes me swoon, and as a whole band… I think Hint Hint are damn sexy.

TIG: Agreed. The best and worst thing about the current Seattle music scene is that we could easily "swoon all day." Speaking of swooning, what did you think of your imaginary CD review?

Jim: We were very happy with it. It was a big boost… you never know how people outside of your "circle" will accept (or reject) the things you make. It was really the first feedback from a neutral party we received, so it felt really good.

Marcel: I thought it was great! Surprised and happy, but I also think, "well, if they liked that one… wait until they hear the next one!"

Joel: Just wait for the full length album. It'll blow your socks off.

TIG: Name 8 of your ultimate rockstar fantasy BNC goals (ie — we dream of drinking coffee with They Might be Giants one day).

Joel: Touring across time and space, aka Eastern Europe; getting divorced from Natasha Gregson Warner in Las Vegas; making my pilgrimage to Macclesfield, UK; beat the sophomore slump; Bryan Ferry will sing at my birthday party and Michael Gira will sing at my funeral; be a VIP at E3 someday; own a home studio — on my island; Black Nite Crash — the reality show on MTV2.

Jim: 1. Last act playing the mainstage at the Glastonbury festival,
2. Playing John Peel's show,
3. Be on the cover of the NME,
4. Release an overindulgent triple LP filled with sound experiments and massive dub hits produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry,
5. Megalith World tour with reformed (original lineup) versions of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, Ride, and My Bloody Valentine,
6. Live televised concert at the large theater venue of your choice where we are backed by a twenty piece horn and string section along with cage dancers and including special guest performances from Kevin Shields, Lydia Lunch, Lou Reed, Terry Bickers, Martin Carr, Johnny Marr, Blixa Bargeld, Jason Pierce and Stephen Morris all to be filmed by Martin Scorsese and then re-edited for acclaimed theatrical release,
7. Election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, subsequently to be rejected by the band on the grounds that a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the most utterly absurd concept ever devised… aren't monolithic museums and big organizations exactly what rock and roll is supposed to be trying to kick in the nuts?,
8. Die on stage at the age of 85 while, when leaning into my amp attempting to sustain the longest feedback loop in live concert history, my head explodes under the weight of my own genius

Marcel: 1: to open for PJ Harvey
2: to release a full length album on touch and go records
3: to have a song in a film by Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch or Sofia Coppola
4: to tour Europe
5: to be able to say "no thanks" to Winona Ryder
6. free socks at every show
7: to get sponsored by Guinness.
8: live, on the Conan O’Brian show… Black Nite Crash! (and the crowd goes wild)

TIG: Awesome! It is good to know a couple of our goals align. Will you get us backstage to the Glastonbury Festival? We want to have a sitcom too! We could have special guest spots on each other's shows!

What's the ultimate indie-rock cocktail, and why. Do you drink it? What would you advise never ordering at the Cha Cha, and why?

Jim: PBR. It's cheap. Yes I do. What's the Cha Cha?

Marcel: Pabst Blue Ribbon! Oh… cocktail? Ummm… do indie rockers drink those? I’ll go for a Myers and Coke if you’re buying, though. I never order anything but Rainer at the Cha Cha… so I have no idea. Ask Joel.

Joel: Pina colada! Either that or a bourbon and beer chaser. Personally I can't afford much else but cheap beer. At the Cha Cha NEVER ORDER THE "SHRIMP COCKTAIL". I am not at liberty to discuss this further.

TIG: Who are your favorite music journalists, and why?

Marcel: I don’t really read musical journalism. Much. I write it, and that’s bad enough. I liked Lester Bangs, his voice and his energy. I like Jack Rabid, just his passion and his knowledge.

Photo: Ryan SchierlingJim: Lester Bangs jumps immediately to mind… though (obviously) not commentating on current stuff, he still reads well. Very entertaining, and he definitely had a different approach to music. He always wrote from a much more fan-oriented direction. He was not a cheerleading fan, he was someone that held his idols up to a standard, and would call them on it whenever they fell short. I like reading Greil Marcus' stuff when I'm looking to think about what it is I'm listening to. I used to swear by Jack Rabid's reviews, too, just because he and I seemed to agree on a bunch of stuff. I used to buy bunches of records based solely on his thumbs up. Locally we have Kathleen and Jennifer from the Stranger staff, whose work I never miss (hell, if it weren't for them I'd never know what was going on in this town). Even one of the big papers locally (The P-I) has Tizzy Asher, who seems interested in writing (and writing well) about bands that I would have expected mainstream press to skip out on…. I also read the TIG site pretty religiously… and I swear that's not just quality ass-kissin'…

TIG: Aww, thanks Jim!

Jim: You're welcome!

Joel: I am more of a fan of publications than particular writers. NME because it's People magazine for hipsters. Wire, Mojo, BB Gun. I'm sorry America, but Britain has cornered the market in music magazines. Locally, I like that writer who stole a Jesus & Mary Chain song for a column name and the other one who went to the same school I did. They're my favourites.

TIG: You have all had some incredible karaoke moments at our TIG functions. Can you tell us what some of the stellar highlights were for you, on a personal level?

Marcel: I still get stopped on the street by people I don’t know who say, "Man, you really do look like Ric Ocasek." – ‘nuff said.

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, watching Marcel Ocasek-it up on the (non-Ocasek) Cars' classic "Drive"…

Joel: I think my personal highlite was yelling at everyone in the audience during our rendition of "Send Me An Angel" at the first Rockstar Suicide Karaoke night. I was pretty much convinced we could sing that song in unison and heal the wounds of society. At least that's how I prefer to remember it. Unfortunately any song with the lyric "My defences are down a kiss or a frown" is never going to do anyone any good — especially if you're drinking for free…