January 27, 2010 § 2 Comments
A paladin, a wizard, and a thief walk into a Vietnamese restaurant.
A teacher, a math whiz, and a vintage salesman started a band.
Kate and Cat shot-gunned 10 brewskis and walked in a straight line down Brighton Ave to meet up with their new faves, the louder-than-thou garage-surf heroes Girlfriends. You might have heard of them? You know, the ladies you wine and dine and bring home to Ma and Pa? The bane of male’s existence everywhere (don’t we wish we all were gay metal heads)?
No, but, for real. Girlfriends are Ben Potrykus (voice box, guitar), Jennifer Dowty (bass) and Andrew Sadoway (drums) and, believe it or not, they’ve only been around since August. Like most happy fun times (Cat…), their chance meeting and subsequent formation was the result of a series of fortunate coincidences (or the silver lining to not-so-fortunate ones). They were all friends of friends, seeking a new musical project at roughly the same time. The trio’s personal chemistry allowed them to hit the ground as a fully-formed entity, delivering their brand of Beach Boys chord progressions wrapped in Jesus & Mary Chain guitar fuzz.
“We played our first show at Boomerangs, and we were pretty quiet. Some drunk people told us we sounded like shit,” Ben said.
“People thought we were a quiet band. Someone said my drum kit was too small,” said Andrew quietly.
Chaaaanging the subject…influences? Hey guys, what are your influences?
“Our harmonies on tape are inspired by The Andrews Sisters” says Ben, singer and thief.
“Modern frat boy surf rock!”
In the months that have elapsed since their fateful first day in August 2009, they have turned up their amps (“Oh, I can play louder!” says Jenny) and released a bright green tape (through Floating Garbage Continent) that has Boston in a lo-fi frenzy (check the blogs, kid). They’re even playing with members of Low on Thursday [!!!!! (who aren’t the White Stripes, says Cat]! Have they REALLY been together for less than 6 months? Kate thinks they’re lying – they probably went to kindergarten together.
Unlike many bands full of one-upmanship and gross displays of egocentricity, Girlfriends are a commune of love and happiness, with the common goal of making the best garage rock you’ve heard in a while. Their songwriting process is more democratic than most; Ben (self-deprecatingly) credits this to his inability to write complete songs. He brings the riffs, Jen brings the bass and Andy brings the drums – together, the three of them create the songs that make Girlfriends GIRLFRIENDS and not just the Ben McBennyBenBen Project. Sights are set on both a 7″ and a summer tour… jobs taking the backseat to everyone’s dream, the musical equivalent of going to the moon.
By this point, conversation took the backseat to eating pho and spling rolls. We scanned our list of hard-hitting interview questions for something that could possibly shock our dinner guests into talking for a long time while we continued eating.
“Would you wear velcro sneakers if you could???”
“I think I don’t think I wouldn’t.” (was the vibe, essentially)
“Can you assign any extreme labels to members of Girlfriends? For example, who is a neat freak, who writes in a dream journal, etc?”
“Oh, I like [these guys]. They’re nice,” says Jen, rather diplomatically.
“These guys defy categories,” said Ben, beginning the hour-long lovefest between the three. “But Andrew has rage blackouts.”
“Ok, I got it. If we were in a role-playing game…Jenny would be a paladin, like a warrior, riding in on her white house. Andrew would be a wizard. [“My old roommate called me a wizard. I hated it. He listened to really bad music”] And I… I’d be the thief.”
Between the copious amounts of tea and the pictures of guitars and album art being passed around, we realized we were growing to like these guys as much as we like their tape. Toward the end of the night, Ben leaned in close, modestly professing the key to their sound.
“The secret to sounding good is to play as loud as you can at all times,” he whispers. “We could still turn it up.”
Metaphorically speaking, we interpret this statement to mean that Ben believes Girlfriends’ best work is yet to come. Also that tapes will soon be available in blue, not green.