Monday, September 10, 2012

The Memorials to bring music fusion to Columbus

Courtesy of The Memorials
The Memorials is scheduled to perform Sept. 11 at Skully’s Music-Diner.
Sometimes a band’s sound is so unusual and new that people in the industry have a difficult time placing it into a genre. And for at least one band, it likes it that way.

The Memorials is scheduled to play Tuesday at Skully’s Music-Diner as part of its Water Guns, Bar B.Q., and Hot Chocolate Tour. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s a fusion project, juggling up everything, said drummer Thomas Pridgen. “I don’t know if we can name it (the sound) and I don’t know if we really want it named. I think it’s cool that people can’t put their finger on what it is.”

Interlaced in the fusion are genres such as afrobeat, progressive rock, R&B, jazz, soul and hard rock.
The Memorials formed in late 2009 after Pridgen ended a nearly three-year run with the Latin-infused progressive rock band The Mars Volta, which won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Hard Rock Performance for its song “Wax Simulacra.”

The Memorials’ tour name, Water Guns, Bar B.Q., and Hot Chocolate Tour, is a playful tribute to daily occurrences in the lives of the band members and the cities where the band is slated to perform, Pridgen said.
“We were just thinking of all the stuff we like to do, things we would do on tour. I like to drink hot chocolate and we’re going to all these places that have awesome barbecue,” Pridgen said.

Although Pridgen and Viveca Hawkins, the vocals of the outfit, had fun naming the tour, the duo is all business when working.

“When you start a band, you’re starting a business. It’s hard work, it’s expensive, it’s stressful. You’ve got to deal with a lot of people’s emotions and a lot of people’s opinions, and for me it’s about (getting) to tell all those quitters to eat s--- when I go to accept my Grammys,” Hawkins said.

Pridgen, who was endorsed by cymbal manufacturer Zildjian Cymbals at age 10, Hawkins and former guitarist Nick Brewer all attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Brewer is no longer with the band, after leaving around the time the tour began, and other members have come and gone working with other projects, Hawkins said.

Pridgen said the band’s songs are open to interpretation and that even he and Hawkins interpret them differently.
“(Brewer and I) would go in and try to write the hardest song, and in my mind I’m singing about hate. And then Viv hears it, and she hears love,” Pridgen said.

Pridgen praised Hawkins’ talent as a vocalist and lyricist.

“She writes what she knows. A lot of it is crazy in itself because she’s writing over stuff that’s not normal to anybody. She’s stylistically creating something that doesn’t exist,” Pridgen said.

John Vishak, production manager and house talent booker at Skully’s, is expecting a well-attended and energetic show.

“It’s a good sound. (The Memorials is) definitely a West Coast band, heavy on the percussion. Thomas is a great drummer, really high energy. One hell of a show,” Vishak said.

Vishak also had trouble verbalizing the sound created by The Memorials.
“I really can’t try to describe them. They’re well-polished. They’re a tight band regardless of what you might think of their music,” he said. “When a band has a good attitude it transfers to the audience.”

Mission Bells and local band Forest & the Evergreens are scheduled to open Tuesday’s show. Skully’s is located at 1151 N. High St., and tickets are $8 at the door for those over 21, and $11 at the door for 18 and up.

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