July 28, 2006 § Leave a comment
by Cat Pilgrim
TT the Bears, July 2006
Huddled around a cluster of tables hastily shoved in front of the entrance to the Middle East Upstairs, The Pilgrims found themselves both an interview and a fire-hazard. The two Pilgrims plus Boston pop-rock sensation Baker successfully blocked the flow of traffic into the restaurant, creating an obstacle that made serving tables a contact sport. However, the five delightful members of Baker provided enough amiable chat to make us forget all technical difficulties and slip into a dreamy world of pop hooks, all-night dance parties and swimming competitions.
Pilgrims of Sound: How long have you guys been playing together?
Baker (collectively): About 10 months? We’re coming up for a birthday at the end of September.
James: No music, just partying.
Andy: I was really into 80’s music because I had an older sister…stuff like The Smiths and The Cure kind of stuck with me. But everyone else is totally different.
James: I just like the band Bread. That’s all.
Nicole: I come from a pop-punk background…Weezer and stuff like that
James: Harry and the Potters!
PS: They rock.
James: You know them? That’s Nicole’s favourite band. She’d quit this one to join them.
PS: Anything you want the readers to know?
Andy: Conan played water polo with Prince William.
Conan: He was a little boy when I played against him.
Andy: Last week Baker had a swim race, and Steve, the owner of the pool finished dead last. I think his afro slowed him down.
Conan: And I kicked him in the face!
Andy: Conan is very competitive
James: I thought it was all for fun, but then I saw Conan. (gestures wildly in a manner that vaguely suggests swimming)
PS: How was the race regulated?
Conan: I just said I won and no one disagreed. I had that glint in my eye, like, “I won, right?!”
Steve: I lost. Put that down, that I lost.
PS: So where do you guys hope your music will take you?
Conan: To the top! I think as far as we can go, no limits, you know?
Andy: We don’t do anything else.
PS: Day jobs?
James: I just live off Baker’s wealth
Andy: I live off the 15 drink tickets we got paid in New York this weekend. We got paid in beer last Saturday.
Conan: Yeah, they walked over with a tray of beers and were like, “Here you go guys, thanks for the music.”
Andy: I called all my family and people I went to high school with, was like, “See, I told you I’d do it!”
PS: How was your recording experience?
James: We just kind of bashed it out, we had 2 days to play, we just went up [to Vermont] and recorded. I had just as much fun hanging out…It’s very isolated, there’s like, one store in the town, no cell phone service.
Andy: Steve had a mental breakdown because his cell phone wasn’t working! We didn’t tell him until we got there, and he was like, “OH MY GOD I DON’T HAVE RECEPTION”
James: At one point I walked into a separate bedroom and Steve is pacing back and forth with the antenna.
Conan: Its cool being isolated, so we could concentrate on recording.
Andy: We didn’t know each other that well then, so it was a good way to kind of get to know each other…sexually.
Conan: Yeah, we all had sex.
PS: How do you measure your success as a band?
Conan: Well I have report cards that I have people fill out after a show. We give out report cards and you can grade our performance.
PS: Can you assign any extreme labels to band members?
Conan: Nicole is a big journal gal!
Andy: Nicole draws weird pictures in the car coming back from NYC. Like, elephants and stuff. We’re like, you’re such a dork! So me and Steve drew dicks and stuff on it. You can’t draw rainbows, you need a fuckin’ dick on this page! She’s like, “What the hell is WRONG with you?
Steve: Conan is the comedian, James is the jerk.
Andy: (grabs recorder and hunches over it, whispering) James is a complete dick.
James: Steve is a Mama’s boy
Steve: I’m not a Mama’s boy!
PS: How would you define your sound?
Andy: Like, pop rock, but like maybe if this guy gets a little too drunk he might punch someone…all the sudden a light goes off and he’s angry? It’s like that.
Baker’s pop-rock comes with an element of danger. The five members put on an engaging performance, interacting with each other and the audience with obvious glee. They launch into a story about the time Steve whipped an egg-shaker at his own grandmother. How rock ‘n roll!
“I normally throw shakers into the crowd…” Steve starts to explain.
“I said, DUDE! Throw the shaker to a hot chick!!” Andy interjects. Steve looks a bit pained at the memory, but continues on.
“I saw my grandmother going [makes shaking gesture] and the maraca was going [enthusiastic shaking gesture]!!! And I hit her right in the face.” The band is silent for a moment.
“The song was at a pause when it happened, and Steve got up from behind the drum set and walked up to the microphone and was like, ‘Sorry Grandma!'” James says. I laugh. It can’t be helped, the interaction between band members is reminiscent of a group of old college buddies recounting the crazy stories that bonded them so close together.
“We were SO CLOSE to being cool, then Steve had to apologise.”
The band counts performances at UMass Amherst among their most enjoyable. “Andy’s brother goes to UMass Amherst and lives in a big house. We play his basement every few months.” James says. “There were songs we don’t have recorded and they were singing all the words…everyone was dancing.” Conan explains it further. “They knew the words because we printed them on a giant board and had this kid hold them up.” Bright, melodic and well-composed, Baker offers a feast of delicious pop-rock that is as danceable as it is catchy. In fact, their music is rumoured to be so sexual, audience members are frequently inspired to take off their clothes during the set. However, not naked fans, nor power outages can distract this band from their purpose. When the power went out at New York’s Knitting Factory, the band carried on with their set a capella. Stripped of electric instruments, the members sang their parts to keep the rock alive.
Baker is currently working on their full-length debut and playing as many shows as possible. In the mean time, satisfy your sweets cravings with their debut EP “Happy Birthday”, available for purchase at http://www.bakertheband.com.
PS: Would you sell your soul to the devil for the perfect song?
Andy: I sold my soul to the devil for like, a PBR. Sell my soul to the devil for the perfect song? Fuck yeah.