In an effort to pump the Chicago Martyrs’ gig on Saturday, June 9th, for which tickets are now on sale at (800) 594-TIXX , I will dedicate as many blogs as possible between now and then to topics related to the Refreshments.
Our band needed one more member.
Even though Roger played guitar, he was more of a rhythm player, and there was lots of space in the songs for melody.
In keeping with our desire to stay as different from the pack as possible, we wanted any kind of extra instrument that wasn’t a lead guitar. We fantasized about a multi-instrumentalist, or a violin player, in keeping with Camper Van Beethoven. We wanted anything that was going to separate us from the sea of two-guitar bands that populated the Tempe music scene.
From this vantage point, Brian Blush was exactly what we didn’t want.
Brian was a lead guitar player in the most traditional Tempe sense. He played for six years in a band called August Red. August Red’s songs were “serious,” not unlike those of our previous bands. We weren’t looking for more seriousness. We were looking for someone who would get this new project in the same way we did.
Luckily, we saw past all that and set up a meeting with Brian at Long Wong’s. Brian was ecstatic to be asked, thanking us up and down for the opportunity. We learned that Doug Hopkins, the Tempe legend and former guitar player from the Gin Blossoms who had recently killed himself, was Brian’s best friend and mentor, and that our inquiry into his services seemed like a light of hope at a down point in his life. We were surprised he was so interested, so grateful. Roger got Brian a demo tape, and we set a date to practice.
Once Brian hit the intro lick of “Carefree,” it was obvious we’d found who we were looking for. His licks were so crisp and so melodious; they made the songs better than they already were. Our fear, with a lead guitar player, was getting a wanker, someone who only looked for excuses to play.
Brian was the anti-wanker. He played tasteful licks during the open spaces, subtle ones during the verses and choruses. He knew where to play and where not to. He got both the serious and funny sides of the band. He was the perfect reincarnation of Doug Hopkins for our project.
Many musicians talk about that moment of knowing when they’ve found the right guy, the right mixture of elements. As we jammed that night, it was clear we’d found ours. We went through the songs, “Carefree,” “Mexico,” “Suckerpunch,” “Nada,” and the music was so perfect it was difficult to keep from grinning. Something about these four personalities worked together. With the Refreshments, we’d found our collective voice.