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Local Spotlight - Abe's Bones

local spotlight abe's bones

Abe's Bones is a Southwest Rock Band in the American Rock Tradition. They play frenetically, needlessly fast, and like to get attention.

We asked James from Abe's Bones 5 questions about their experiences as band in Tucson. Here's what they said:

What's your favorite venue to play in Tucson?

We sound the best at Congress, because they are very professional and can afford very talented sound people. We usually work with Jake or Ty and they always mix us really good. Any venue where I can hear myself is good. I like venues where people are dancing and not afraid to be in the front, where they can feel my spit and smell my feet.

What's the funniest thing that's happened during a performance?

The funniest was probably when there was a miscommunication between us and a visual performer we were working with. We had done a set before where he made a piece of visual art during our set. It was fun, and he had a gallery opening we played at The Steinfeld. But we didn’t fully understand he was going to do that again, and make an art piece while we played.

So halfway through the set he comes out and begins to make this art while we play, and we are just riffing and jamming. The result was a 20-minute long jam session. No one playing knew when it was going to end. When it started I just began playing a E and we played E for 20 minutes. There were sparks flying. There’s this photo of Farrukh (our main drummer) after the set and he just looks completely dead in the eyes. It was fun. We laugh about it now but in the moment tensions were high.

What's your first memory as a musician?

My first memory as a real musician was probably nailing Billy Strange’s guitar for Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang”. I was really into that cinematic type of 60’s music like Scott Walker, Nancy, early Leonard Cohen when I was 17 or so. Before that I wasn’t a musician, I was just banging drums. As a band, I recall this one time in rehearsal when we were playing “King Spindle” and it was just perfect. We were all smiling. It felt so good to be a part of something larger than each of us.

What's your favorite song to perform?

Right now, I would say “High in Class” or “Downtown Girlfriend”. It depends on the venue though. We have a new song we just played at Congress called “I Fell in Love With Bigfoot”. That song gets everybody going.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

For myself and the band as a whole, I would say the best application of advice we’ve received (I think from Mark, our bassist and resident pro) was to stop playing all the time. When we went down to a three-piece instead of a four, I kept feeling like we were lacking a melodic element. But I’m singing too, right? So stop playing guitar and just let your (my) voice carry the melody. This approach gives us a much “bigger” sound despite usually playing as a trio. We have a lot of songs now where we control the dynamic by limiting how much space we are actively filling. For instance, in our song “Downtown Girlfriend”, during the verse I hit each chord once on the changes and that’s pretty much it. Crank the sustain and let it ring.


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