Volume 92, Issue 83
Wednesday, March 5, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The Don of Touch and Go
Photo by Will Waldron
By Shawn Despres
"I'm a little nervous about going over the border," remarks Don Caballero's drummer Damon Che. "It seems when you sneak in and lie you never have a problem. The times that I've lied and said 'I'm taking a shortcut to Boston' or 'I'm going to a party' have worked. The one time we told the truth and said we were in a band and we're just going over to play a few shows they were like OK pull over."
Don Caballero was formed in Pittsburgh in 1991. Since then they have released four instrumental albums and received much critical acclaim. The band is currently embarking on a two-week East Coast tour, which includes shows tonight at Call the Office and tomorrow night in Toronto, for Canadian Music Week.
Reminiscing about the band's formation, Che relates the indifferent attitudes of the members and the callousness of its construction. "Mike [Banfield] had just got back from the West Coast and asked if I wanted to jam. I asked Pat [Morris] if he'd mind playing bass for us. We just wanted to see how things would go and had no plans of committing to anything," Che states.
"Pretty soon opportunities started swarming. We didn't have a singer at the time but people kept on asking us to tour or record. We really couldn't say 'no, we're just jamming' or 'we don't have a singer yet' so we said yes."
The band signed with Touch and Go Records and released their first album, For Respect in 1993. Che has nothing but respect for his record label, as they seek ingenuity and a unique blend of sounds.
"They have been such a mighty institution over the years, that has always sought out creative, vibrant, important and special music. We always gravitated towards that kind of thing."
But the gravitational pull towards the label was sparked by other issues as well. "We also knew people at Alternative Press who had put in some good words for us. We did some recordings with Steve Albini and he told Touch and Go to check us out. So we met with them and really hit it off," Che comments.
The band's latest release, Singles Braking Up (vol. I) is a collection of singles and B-sides, which are mostly from the early 1990s. Encouraged by dedicated followers, the band answered their hearty calls for earlier songs and hard-to-find releases.
The cover of their latest effort shows "DON CABALLERO" spelled out with records in the middle of an intersection. The idea is to show cars and people literally breaking the singles up.
"We shot the cover in Chicago because the photographer's apartment overlooked that intersection. We ran out, put the records down and got out of the way when the lights changed. Then we slowly kept photographing them as the cars ran over them and people picked them up.
"The records were all old junky Sean Cassidy or Sonny and Cher 45s we bought from this used record store," Che continues. "Our only real risk with the whole shoot was the chance of getting fines for littering," he remarks.
On this tour the band will be playing some newly released material. They hope to have a new album finished by the end of 1999 for release in early 2000.
"We all really want to be excited by a new record," Che enthuses. "We have to be excited by it first before we can pass it onto the public. So we'll just have to wait and see what happens."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999