can sort of understand where that skeptic was coming from. Gentleman
on the Rocks really does have a laundry list of Saddle Creek
royalty contributing to its production, including Maria Taylor,
Neely Jenkins, Nick White, Kianna Alarid, Andy Lemaster, Orenda
Fink, Matt Baum, Ryan Fox, Dan McCarthy, Derek Pressnal and Jacob
Thiele, with recording credits that include Joel Petersen's basement.
put together that much local (and national) star power you're bound
to get accused of exploiting your connections. But Coyote Bones
frontman David Matysiak said that the plusses of having such a huge
list of talented, well-known guest stars easily outweighs any accusations
by clueless critics.
if I was a music critic and I wanted to take the negative route
I would say, 'This guy is riding coattails,'" Matysiak said.
"All I can say is that I've been there all the time, sharing
stages with these folks or just hanging out with them. I knew the
record was going to be fun to make and a new start for me, and if
this person could bring it to life, why not make that happen? I
don't think it matters who's on the record. It took two and a half
years to put it together, and I'm proud of the songs."
to all those folks goes way back to his old band, Jet by Day, a
gritty, grungy guitar rock outfit that also included Coyote Bones
instrumentalist Mason Brown (who now also plays in Tilly and the
Wall). When I mentioned that I had just listened to Jet By Day's
2001 split single with The Blindfold Parade, Matysiak verbally cringed.
think too much of that 7-inch," he said. "The fact that
you have it indicates that it got distributed better than we thought."
Jet by Day grew beyond the two singles released by Two Sheds Music
(including a split with The Maginot Line). The band also released
CDs on respected indie labels Kinder Core and Future Farmers, nabbed
a feature in Magnet and toured up until the day they fell apart
-- just as they were starting to get noticed.
in Athens, Matysiak became best friends with Tilly and the Wall's
Derek Pressnal and Nick White, and also met members of The Faint,
Cursive and Bright Eyes while setting up shows for them and his
band in Athens and Atlanta. Eventually he took up Pressnal's offer
and moved from Atlanta to Omaha, staying at his house for over a
Once here, getting
people to sit in on sessions was second nature. "If we needed
to add a trumpet or piano, it just so happened that Orenda (Fink)
and Dan (McCarthy) were around to help out." Old Athens pal
Andy Lemaster's contributions -- all recorded at his Chase Park
Transductions studio -- are some of the most powerful, including
a stirring synth hook in stand-out track "Grand Eclipse."
started to write those synth parts and I was trying to sing in a
Depeche Mode kind of way. I love that classic '80s sound,"
Matysiak said. "It's an example of something we couldn't do
with Jet by Day."
The CD, slated
for release May 29 on the Matysiak's co-op label, CoCo
Art, already is chocking up impressive presales from around
the globe, likely based on those Saddle Creek connections.
say if you put those names on your record, anyone will buy it,"
Matysiak said. "Once the record is out awhile, it'll lose that
stigma. It's just a press angle. The same thing happened with Tilly,
where it was first known as Conor's new band or as a tap-dancing
gimmick. Eventually that went away. So will this."
Only time and
touring will tell. The band currently is on the road performing
their songs minus the all-star contributors that fleshed out the
disc, just like they did April 12 at The Waiting Room. Stripped
down, the music was more straight-forward, cutting through the fat
to reveal the songwriting meat and bone that propels the band. They
could (and probably will be) the next big thing to come out of Omaha,
with or without those Creek coattails hanging in their eyes.
Published in The Omaha Reader May 16, 2007.
Copyright © 2007 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
suppose if I was a music critic and I wanted to take the negative
route I would say, 'This guy is riding coattails.' All I can
say is that I've been there all the time, sharing stages with
these folks or just hanging out with them."