Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk by phone with Brendan, the drummer for one of our Thursday Music featured artist, Lucille Furs! The band has been together about two and a half years. Their name evolved…starting as something unpronounceable then migrating to an idea using Lucifer…then variations with attenuated French sounds…to Americanizing it (Lucille Ball or Lucille by Little Richard)…to finally Lucille Furs. I asked but despite their psychedelic leanings it had nothing to do with the 80s band, Psychedelic Furs. I think Brendan was surprised I made that connection. By the way, members of the band do in fact wear furs at times…so the name is more apropos that it might seem.
The band’s current sound, to me at least, is eerily familiar. It definitely evokes its psychedelic influences. Although the sound is certainly contemporary…it was easy to close my eyes and sense it was 1969/70 or maybe sometime in the 1980s redux of psychedelic influences. I could feel the eras but I couldn’t quite identify what bands I was sensing.
This all gets more interesting when hearing how the band formed and evolved to the current version. Brendan was drumming for another group and several audience members engaged him in conversation. They were already decked out in the clothing evident in their videos…and the conversation just eventually turned to…so are we going to be in a band together? So the look…the sound wasn’t ever contrived but just evolved from their own interests and their interactions as a band.
And the sound comes from the songwriting and the way the band writes and records. Surprisingly to me and probably many of you, the drums and vocals are the main drivers in the songwriting. Then the rest of the band brings their experience and ideas to bear and the song evolves. The sound and the songs come down to what the people do with other in the room as they write, rehearse and eventually record.
And recording is done like it was in the old days. Live in the studio with layers and reverb and ‘stuff’. And the aim is to work step by step to make every song different and not rely on what has previously been done. And as far as trying for a sound the band has a lot of influences…but they don’t try to rip off how anyone else sounded …but instead copy how their influences recorded. Much of that comes through in the cuts that I have listened to.
As far as direct influences, well the Beatles have been big. Brendan feels the band is in its Please Please Me stage and not yet to the Revolver stage…and that plays into the improving every time and not sounding the same during each step of the way. But current influences find Lucille Furs adding more 60s influences including the Kinks, Brazilian music (sambas and bossa nova) and maybe some Southern Rock. They perform one cover song in their set: “I won’t be the same without her (writers: Gerry Goffin and Carole King)”…preferring the version by the Warner Brothers instead of the better known Monkees version.
Lucille Furs also has a great collection of videos…they exemplify the culture…the sound…and the growth ethic of the band. Starting with self-directed local vids to working with videographers and directors with their own ideas and storylines to work with. One of the newer examples is linked below:
So catch the Lucille Furs at Summerfest this Thursday June 28th on the Johnson Controls World Stage at 5:30 PM. Stop by and tell them that I sent you!!!