Locals Only: : Meadoe Blaster

Two local musicians find a wealth of material down in the Meadoe

Apr 14, 2004 at 2:06 pm

Northside bar The Comet has been a hangout for creative people of all types for years, and it can also take credit for being the breeding ground of some of the area's best local music. With new group Meadoe, The Comet has once again spawned an exciting local original project.

Rob Deslongchamps (vocals/guitar/drums) and Christa Gregory (vocals/guitar/drums) met through mutual friends at The Comet. Through their conversations over Miller High Life and giant burritos at Rock shows (some of them involving Deslongchamps — he also plays with two eclectic local acts, Montclaire and The Haywards), they came to the conclusion that they should take their ideas about music from the barroom to the practice room. And so Meadoe was born.

It was meant to be "just for fun." While Gregory played guitar already, she only picked up the drums a few months ago when this project began. "I didn't expect it to be this much," she tells me. "I just expected to goof around on the four-track."

"We had a format sort of in mind, but ... we were just gonna go for some really simplistic lo-fi kinda stuff," Deslongchamps says. "Actually, the first song that gave me the idea for the project was this Nancy Sinatra tune, called 'Some Velvet Morning.'

But actually we never ended up working on that."

Instead, the duo has been working away at creating original material, already producing a pretty impressive seven-song demo. They played their first show at the Comet on Feb. 14, an apt date, since most of the songs they've written talk about love. "Paid for Kisses," with its alternating dreamy, swirling notes and edgy riffs, veers from the mellow to the raucous and back again, much like the course of a relationship. "Veggie D" tackles the theme of the uncertainty and excitement of the first stages of a relationship, with a sensual beat, and clever, sexy lyrics ... much like you'd hope your date would have.

Their influences are the kind you might hope your date would list as well. "All the Neils — Neil Peart, Neil Young. Neil Diamond," Deslongchamps laughs. "I don't necessarily think our influences are directly affecting what we're playing. But Jonathan Richman is one for sure. That's the first name that comes to mind. That or Robyn Hitchcock. But I could never write a song like he can."

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this duo's music is the way they play it. They both play drums, guitar and sing, and they switch off from song to song. The way they play is a result of the way they write.

"It started off that whoever was playing guitar was the one who wrote the song," Gregory explains. "But now it's starting to shift."

"Yeah, it's starting to mingle, because we're writing melodies independently sometimes, and we're writing lyrics together," Deslongchamps continues. "Usually the person writing the melody on the guitar has already got the lyrics figured out, and then we just go from there. But now we're like, 'Well, let me try to play that.' "

So what started as a small project "snowballed," Deslongchamps says. "We get to the point where we can't even stop writing, and write three to four songs at every practice. "

He credits Gregory with the abundance of material they've already come up with. "I'll see her, and she'll say, 'Wait'll you see,' and she'll sketch something out, and I'll say, 'What does that mean lyrically?' and then she starts writing stuff down. I don't know how she does it."

"It's exciting," Gregory says enthusiastically. "Our sensibilities are so in line, I think that's helping us have more of a focus and direction."

The duo's excitement isn't lost on their audiences. They've gotten a great response from the local scene so far. And they have just as much enthusiasm for it as it has for them.

"I love it! It's so exciting, it's so diverse, and there are so many great bands right now," Gregory says.

Deslongchamps adds, "I'm not sure we would've had much recognition if the scene weren't so good. People seem to be a lot more enthusiastic about stuff these days."

"We're just really enjoying what we're doing, and we hope people get into it," he continues. "We're not a traditional band format (for) this town, and I think that people will pay attention for that reason alone. I think it takes a lot of courage for two people to get up there and do that."

MEADOE (meadoe.com) are recording a new full-length CD. They play next at the Northside Tavern on May 28 with Campfire Crush before embarking on mini-tour of New York City June 3-5.