In front of a dimly lit stage, there are two guys standing closely together watching just another local band play their set on a Saturday night in Covington. One resembles a human teddy bear — complete with a jovial smile, full beard and friendly demeanor, greeting everyone who passes his way. This is Tim Carr.
The other, seeming a bit more reserved, stands with a slight hunch, wearing black rimmed glasses, a white tee that's become his signature apparel choice and a ball cap that pushes his ears out slightly. This is Jeremy Pinnell.
Focusing a little more closely on their stance in front of the stage, a glimpse can be caught of Carr resting his arm on Pinnell's shoulder. When these two aren't standing next to each other watching shows, they're on that dimly lit stage. They're two guys with guitars, both with cigarettes resting in their capos.
Together, in life, they're best friends. Together, musically, they're The Great Depression.
Ten years ago, Carr met Pinnell when he used to go see him play with Cameron Cochran. Pinnell heard that Carr could sing, so they decided to collaborate. This was in 1997, and they've been inseparable since.
Over time it became just the two of them, writing together and separately. It's been about five years since they settled on being The Great Depression.
"This is a documentation of our 10-year friendship," Carr says. "These are our 10-year diaries."
Dark diaries that include songs of heartbreak, despair, addiction, drug use ... you name it. It's all there, and it's raw.
Some of the songs on their recent self-titled release are evident in subject matter. Others, such as "Sheila Ann," are stark odes to family. After listening to the album, it's hard not to wonder how these boys have gotten through the things that are resounding themes in every track, and their responses always end up right back to the subject of their friendship.
"We're alike. Our families are alike," Pinnell says. "We rely on each other."
"Yeah, tonight we'll end up sleeping on a twin mattress watching movies together," Carr adds.
Though they've been The Great Depression for five years, an album was released only in February. There's been demand, but supply was put off. Fans have been listening to demos, but those only exist because they have friends who have been diligent in getting their stuff out.
"We never had the intention of putting an album out," Pinnell says. "(But) people with money to spend wanted to get involved."
The CD has provided professional opportunities, and their future looks promising. They just got back from a tour with Rocky Votolato. And they have an upcoming tour with The New Amsterdams, who have shown more than just touring interest — they're currently planning a recording session for a split album with the GD.
When broaching the subject about the recent split of Pinnell's former project, The Light Wires, he simply steers the conversation back to plans for The Great Depression. There are many opportunities to get out of the city, and that's where they're focusing their attention. They're excited about touring, but their devotion to their hometown is apparent when they bring up seeing the Cut-in-the-Hill on their way back home from touring.
"Our main goal is to tour, but man, seeing that, you wish that second would last longer," Pinnell says. He closes his eyes as if envisioning the Cincinnati skyline coming around that bend.
In five years, Carr thinks he'll be making burritos at The Comet, and Pinnell says to drive through Burger King and he'll get you a Whopper. Laughter ensues on their part, but dubious eyes can see that there's more to The Great Depression than self-depreciating humor.
When they play, the room stops. Their guitars mesh with alternating chords, and their flawless harmonies and despondent lyrics could rip the heart out of the hardest criminals. During each song, their eyes are shut tightly. Their legs subtly kick in sync with each other. Carr picks at his Pabst Blue Ribbon label, and after he mumbles something between songs Pinnell lightly pushes his head in a brotherly manner.
Their interactions and songs lend the listener a vivid image of heartbreak and despair that only they seem fit to delivery. And since they rely on one another, such despair seems to have a remedy, even if only temporarily: friendship.
For more on THE GREAT DEPRESSION, check myspace.com/timandjeremy.