Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bassett, Strange Boys, Strung and K.

{Bassett looks, learns, leaves the local Lost Generation; releases Here Lies the Lion that Lies in Your Bed LP – “first proper solo album” }

from this week's Metro Times

Mick Bassett looks back, admitting that when you’re 20 you think you’re John Lennon. But you’re not. You’re you. Beyond that, you’re only still becoming whatever-you-is…

Bassett had to get away from music for a minute, as he puts it.

He broke up his band and escaped to New York to sample that scene, coming back after four months not any-less disillusioned. He sought sanctuary from the hustle at U-M in Ann Arbor, focusing on himself, just focusing on something else, studying literature and trying to get back to why he started writing songs in the first place. What started with an acoustic guitar, a desk and a sparsely furnished bedroom somehow became too unwieldy, his band burgeoned, re-staffed then stalled.

Standing on the Magic Stick patio at the edge of the shuffleboard paint, hugged by a tight white t-shirt and red pants, dragging one last cigarette before he plays an abbreviated set of White Stripes songs for a special night of cover performances, Bassett’s the first to admit that he doesn’t know what the answer is…But no longer will he force an answer, no longer is he going to force a certain sound, style, or force any song. The trilling troubadour who cut his teeth as an 18-year-old at the tail-end of Detroit’s “garage” days posits whether he and many of the 20-somethings bandying about this town ten years on from that are part of something of a “lost generation” of musicians.

On one level, the post-recession/post-Internet-chaos is increasingly frustrating for any band. Success, Bassett says, is gauged more starkly than ever. But he’s channeling it. “I made music a big part of my life, but I believe in learning from your mistakes; I wouldn’t trade any of the time, though, because of the experience, the people I’ve met and because of how it helped me. I’m having more fun with music now, honestly.”

That said, “It is strange to me,” Bassett says, thinking back to those weird and exciting days in 2003 when Seymour Stein was checking out local shows by his high school band, the Dollfaces, “I don’t consider myself to be a veteran or something; I think I’m just starting. Strange, to be approached like an old man of the scene, like: ‘Oh, I remember the garage-days,’ heh…I feel like this is all in preparation for what I do next. That was the nice thing about starting out young, you can spend all this time and still be young.”

What Bassett will do next, immediately, is perform a spat of release shows for what he considers his first proper album, Here Lies the Lion that Lied in Your Bed, a collection of mostly new and some older, reworked pieces penned either in the meditative dismount post-New-York and in-between U-M classes, or songs that he never brought out live during his time leading the Marthas from ’06-’10, a collective that churned out a capricious blend of New Orleans tinged, wild-waltzed psychedelic folk.

“I could never find my voice with all that going on,” he says of the Marthas. The Detroit night sky yawns above him, stars bleached by light pollution while his bandmate, Anthony Kanakri (also of The Kickstand Band) puts on fake boobs to embody Meg White. Bassett thinks about this run that he sounds more than ready to make; he repeats the words: “comfortable, fun, confident…willing to change…”

Graduating with an English degree, he talks more about “writing” than he does music, divulging where his true focus is: “Writing is hard, it’s not fun, but…it kinda is. Not fun like going to the circus, but fun because it’s important to do, on some spiritual level, as a pressure-release.”

Lions was Bassett finding his voice, presenting it in its rawest form and cooing his crackly coo over the jangly purity of an acoustic guitar. “I think good things are coming, now, because I’m not afraid to leave any comfort zone. I don’t wanna get stuck being content with just having a good weekend. I’m always trying to learn. I’m always looking…”


In Video News:

Ann-Arbor based Nathan K. - with "Leave Them" --from his forthcoming album, Dishes (out June 26)

Detroit-based The High Strung - with "?Posible-o-Imposible?" - the title track from their new full length - which gets a proper release-party on May 19

Austin-TX- based The Strange Boys - who come to play the For The Hell of It Fest - at the Lager House on May 11  - offering "Doueh"

This may or may-not count as my 3rd-to-last- D.C.-post-ever... I don't think it will...but, then, it might...

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