EXCLUSIVE! FREE TO ENTER COMP NO. 8
This is your opportunity to be one of THREE winners in this next competition. Answer the three questions below and all three winners will receive an advanced copy of excellent VIVA NUEVA CD, by the RUSTIC OVERTONES, which also features two contributions from David Bowie.
To give everyone an equal chance of winning, please only submit ONE entry. Multiple entries will be immediately disqualified.
(Helpful hint: All the competition answers can be found on this web site or on www.rusticovertones.com - use the search facility on the title page.
All competition entries with all THREE correct answers will be given an individual number, then 3 entries will be drawn at random to reveal the prize winners. This competition ends at midnight (GMT) on Friday 27th April 2001. The webmasters decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
Q1: "What does 'Viva Nueva' mean in Spanish."
Q2: "What is the name of the Rustic Overtones new record label?"
Q3: "Which two songs feature David Bowie?"
"Being from Maine, we're kind of naive," explains Rustic Overtones singer-guitarist Dave Gutter, lying like a fox.
Sure, Gutter and his five band-mates do come from Portland, a little seacoast city better known for lobsters and moose than music. But the swelling waves of sound they make are always smart and satisfying, packed with the kind of thrills - terrific melodies and hooks, pure rock energy, cool lyrics - that great bands are made of.
"In our approach to our instruments and our music, we draw on a lot of different interests," explains Gutter. "We listen to anything we can get our hands on - jazz, hip-hop, Cuban and Bulgarian music - and we find that when we create music we somehow draw on all of that, whether it's for inspiration or for some kind of phrasing. But we always do that within the boundaries of rock 'n' roll. Otherwise it could get chaotic with six of us bringing in ideas.
"As a rock band," he continues, "we believe in keeping arrangements simple across the board. That allows everyone's ideas, what everyone plays, to be heard in the music - whether that's some unorthodox lyric, a keyboard melody that carries an entire song, or the way the horn section works."
Rustic Overtones' Tommy Boy debut, Viva Nueva - produced by longtime David Bowie-collaborator Tony Visconti, Barenaked Ladies producer Dave Leonard and Rustic Overtones themselves - captures the fresh and unique blend of rock, funk, jazz and space-age pop they've developed touring some 200 dates a year. Fueled by slinky grooves and smart lyrics, spiked by fluid guitars and powerhouse horns, sweetened by the breathy beauty of the Hammond B-3 organ, Rustic Overtones have built an adoring fan base in clubs and colleges. They sold more than 30,000 copies of their earlier CDs on the indie label Ripchord and have a near-legendary reputation for incendiary live shows. Onstage the band is like fireworks: explosive horn lines punctuating the bedrock of Gutter's guitar and the rhythm section, keyboardist and engineer extraordinaire Spencer Albee spraying B-3 rainbows through the air as he leaps over his mountain of instruments. And the fans ignited by the group's contagious energy.
Sure, maybe the band were naive once - about nine years ago when Gutter and bassist Jon Roods started smacking out punk and ska tunes in their parents' basements. But in a city where, as Albee relates, "you don't tend to get caught up in the hype of the day because trends just kind of miss us," Gutter, Roods, Albee and the rest of the Rustics - drummer Tony McNaboe, alto saxist Ryan Zoidis and baritone saxist Jason Ward - were able to develop on their own.
"Our originality stems from solitude, in a certain way," Gutter explains. "When we were recording Viva Nueva in New York City, we found a lot of outside influences telling us what is good and hip and what we should be listening to. But in Portland, you can escape from anything you want - including the styles of today and the media's effect on music. That kept us innocent from the trends. That helped us solidify our own sound before we got out there and started touring."
So they absorbed not only the roar of local punk bands and modern rock radio, but the classic rock, soul, jazz and funk in their parents' record collections. "We had really cool parents who turned us on to Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack - old '60s soul, which sounds soooo good," says the charismatic Gutter. At the mention of soul, all the Rustic Overtones - who hang with the easy fraternal cool of a new-millennium Rat Pack - nod their heads in agreement.
Soul is the life's blood of all their songs. Not just as a musical signature, but as the essence of what they do. Gutter's singing and the enticing flow of the arrangements of tunes like "Hardest Way Possible," which sounds like a lost Marvin Gaye gem, and the pumping "Check" echo back to the heyday of early '70s soul and funk. But even in the ironically space-age "Sector Z," which, along with "Man Without A Mouth," features David Bowie on backing vocals, there's an open-hearted quality in the playing and in Gutter's voice. The first single "C'Mon," is a joyful burst of R&B-charged positivism, it's unforgettable chorus declaring "If I try, I'm half-way to triumph" over supercharged guitar chords and an infectious groove that bristle with rock power.
Although Gutter's voice - which seems cloned from the same genetic material as Bowie's when they perform together yet possesses a falsetto cry inherited from Gaye or Stevie Wonder - leads the way through Viva Nueva, Rustic Overtones are a genuine partnership of vital, creative musicians all around. Gutter provides lyrics, but the band collaborate on the music for every song they write and visibly click into synch during their sweaty, joyful concerts. Off-stage, a breeze of relaxed, funny conversation follows them everywhere. "We truly are friends all the way across the board," says Gutter.
That helped Rustic Overtones thrive in the past two years, when the release of Viva Nueva turned into a record industry soap opera. A&R man Kurt St. Thomas had originally signed the band to Arista in 1998 and helped team them with producer Visconti, but management shake-ups at the company put the release on hold. As Rustic Overtones waited, they toured and wrote more songs. The band cut two new tunes with Leonard, but did more recording on their own in Portland as Albee's engineering talents grew. The excellent tracks "C'Mon," "Love Underground," "Combustible" and "Boys and Girls" come from these homegrown sessions.
Early this year St. Thomas moved to Tommy Boy and made Rustic Overtones his first priority. "The whole experience just made us stronger as a band," says Albee. "It might sound cliché, but our friendships really did become tighter, we grew together as musicians and as people - and we're better for it. That includes Kurt, who kept working with us all the time. He's our A&R guy, but he's also a close friend."
For that reason, Rustic Overtones chose to call their album Viva Nueva. Although the name's also a nod to their former road manager Christian Villanueva, it's pigeon Spanish for "new life," Albee explains. "It boils down to a simple thing - a new life for the band, a new start after all the waiting. And we're really excited."
1. C'Mon #!
All songs written by Rustic Overtones Lyrics by Dave Gutter. Published by Trailer Park Players/EMI-Blackwood Music Inc. (BMI).
Dave Gutter - Lead Vocals and Guitar.
David Bowie appears courtesy of Virgin Records America, Inc.
$ Produced by Tony Visconti.
@ Mixed by Tony Visconti.
Recorded by Roger Sommers, Tony Visconti, David Leonard, Steve Drown, Frankenstein, Ryan Zoidis, Jon Wyman.
Assistant Engineers: Scott Young, Paul Conaway, Brian McConkey, Alex Chan, Ryoji Hata, Chris Mazer.
Recorded at: Longview Farms, North Brookfield, MA. / Avatar, New York, NY. / The Studio, Portland, ME. / Star Struck, Nashville, TN. / The Practice Space, Portland, ME. / Looking Glass, New York, NY. / Room 6, Portland, ME. / Big Sound, Portland, ME.
Mixed at: Avatar, New York, NY. / East Iris, Nashville, TN. / Water Music, Hoboken, NJ. / Longview Farms, North Brookfield, MA.
A&R Kurt St. Thomas.
RUSTIC OVERTONES - VIVA NUEVA - AVAILABLE IN STORES JUNE 5
Check out the official Rustic Overtones website @ www.rusticovertones.com.
IMPORTANT: Please address all entries DB COMP 8
COMPETITION ENDS midnight Friday 27th April 2001 (GMT)
© Paul Kinder
28th April 2001