Still Flyin' might have begun their career as a joke reggae band with jam band tendencies, but that didn't last very long. After a record or two they started cranking out some pretty alright pop music. Their latest record, On a Bedroom Wall, is their best yet. Sounding good enough to inspire John Hughes to rise from the dead and write Pretty in Pink II, Sean Rawls and his band delve deep into the icy synths and heartbreak beats of the 80's. It's not a nostalgia trip at all though, just a really good band using the best parts of the past to build something shiny, new and definitely worth checking out. Sean sent us a list and it's a really good one!
5 Dumb Ideas for the Band That Never Materialized
I know every band with a shred of a sense of humor has a lot of dumb ideas. From playing silly riffs in the practice space to joking about stage costumes, with all the waiting around the comes with being in a band a lot of dumb ideas get thrown around, laughed at, and discarded. As a band that initially formed as a joke reggae band (i.e. the band's existence is a dumb idea materialized) we have no limit to dumb ideas. They just spew out of our brains at all times. Some of these ideas are actually serious suggestions. You can think of them as "ironic," but just because something is ridiculous doesn't make it ironic to us. We actually thought these were good, albeit STUPID ideas, and we had grand designs to implement them and for one reason or another they never became a reality. I'm talking diagrams, schematics, price comparisons, official band meetings, sleepless nights, all of it. We do have a lot of dumb ideas that DID materialize, but that's for another list.
In no particular order:
1. Yacht Zap -
The "start a joke reggae band" came as a package deal with "...and have a free festival called the Mind Zap Festival." About six months after the band formed we held the Mind Zap Festival and it was a rousing success. It was pretty much a real, legit, really tiny outdoor festival and everyone had a blast. All the attendees were frothing at the mouth for another one. The idea wasn't another festival in a park, but a festival on the water. Yacht Zap. The initial thought was renting a cruise ship and having an overnight cruise around the SF Bay but of course that would be extremely expensive. The closest we ever got was renting a bunch of gigantic houseboats at a lake and tying them together with rope and creating a big party barge. For my bachelor party my friends made Yacht Zap happen by renting a fishing boat and putting a keg and a PA and drums and amps on it and having a bunch of bands play. To my surprise the headlining band featured myself as the lead singer. It was my fantasy grunge band Goofoot come to life. Set closer was "Hungerstrike" by Temple of the Dog, in which I passed out midway through and then reactivated my brain to finish the legendary tune.
2. Atlantis Zap -
The natural progression after Yacht Zap was of course playing underwater. We thought about submarines but eventually someone clued us in to these underwater hotels in the Florida keys. Most expensive hotels in the world. We could never throw a festival there. Maybe in 30 years I'll be rich and I'll rent the whole place out and we'll get the band back together for one more. The ultimate jam.
3. U-Haul Tour Vehicle -
In the early joke reggae band days we literally had fifteen people on stage. Now as a somewhat "normal" band who is actually trying to break even on tour or... even... MAKE MONEY on tour (!?), we only take six people. Back in the idiot days we were convinced that touring in a modified U-Haul was the way to do it. Lots of discussions and diagrams. Two band members are high-end carpenters and generally very handy with everything, so the plan was to create a large loft area up top with nothing but bedding were a ton of people could fit up there like sardines for snooze time. A small section under the loft would be it's own little box within a box to hold all the equipment, creating an L shape on the bottom floor. The L would be lined with seats, with bungie contraptions above to put personal effects in. It was going to look like a people mover tank/trunk thing but instead of soldiers/cops it would have us all sitting next to each other, preparing for our next mission.
4. Houdini -
This absolutely would have happened if we'd had more weight to throw around. We'd still do it now if we're ever lucky enough to go on a headlining tour and totally call our own shots without being slaves to the business side of things. We wanted to go on a tour and have one of the bands officially billed as "Houdini," but this band would never show up. Every night we'd say "sorry guys - we don't know what happened to Houdini. They never show up!" But then if it ever got to the point where it seemed that people knew Houdini was a band that didn't really exist, we'd start sporadically playing in masks as Houdini, just to keep people on their toes. I don't remember the reasoning behind this, but Houdini was nothing but Steve Miller Band covers. We practiced several times. I guess it's just fun to play Steve Miller Band songs.
5. Football Laser Stage Prop -
A lot of research went into this one. I think the reason we didn't do this was because our handyman assigned to this project couldn't figure out how to engineer a spiraling football. The idea was about midway through a show, a gigantic football would lower from the ceiling and start spiralling endlessly. That's when we were really in the thick of it. Then a few songs later, a laser would shoot out of the back of the football. Then a few songs later, a huge slice of pepperoni pizza would lower and the pepperoni slices would be mirrors. The laser would be hitting the mirrors and spraying lasers all over the room. Dare to dream.