Fete Music Hall & The Bowery Boston Present
with Dick Stusso
Sunday, June 10th
Doors: 7:00 PM
Tickets: ADV $12
The nicest thing anyone has ever – ever – said to Jo Hirabayashi, frontman of Jo Passed, is that his band's debut album sounds like “fucked-up Beatles”. 'Their Prime', the full-length follow-up to Jo Passed’s two EPs, 'Up' and 'Out', does sound like fucked-up Beatles. It sounds like Lennon and McCartney discovered Can and Neu!, and maybe a little Sonic Youth and XTC along the way. It demonstrates that timeless knack for dreamy melodies – chord progressions that sound like they were created in a land far, far away. Lyrically, however, it's imbued with a philosophical longing for answers to questions that have resurfaced for the first time since the explosion of counterculture in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
'Their Prime' is a record about identity and the loss of time that happens as a direct consequence of being in the city with nowhere to rent, no time outside of employment and no realistic expectations to live up to. It encompasses that fear of being beyond the glory years, the most creatively fruitful period of one’s life. Those years were lost to contemporary struggles for working relationships, home, identity and space. “It's me owning my worst nightmare,” he admits. “A lot of the Jo Passed project has been about confronting fears. I was afraid to move away from Vancouver to Montreal on my own. Afraid to leave musical relationships I had. Afraid to bear the full responsibility of a project. Being open about those fears is a good way of dealing with them. You end up at this point where you hit 30 and you're like, 'Oh what happened? Am I done? Did I not activate my main creative energy?' It's a ridiculous idea but 30 feels a little like 1000 in rock n roll terms.” You can hear the frustrations and the jitters in the crashing loud-and-quiet motifs throughout the album's twelve tracks, which offer up a patchwork quilt of sound, similar to Faust's IV or Fugazi's Red Medicine.
Jo Passed originally consisted of Jo and his friend and drummer Mac Lawrie. The two moved to Montreal together, and toured the far-right corner of North America. After Jo’s return to Vancouver, multi-instrumentalist Bella Bébé joined the band in January of 2016, and multimedia artist Megan-Magdalena Bourne joined on bass, after working on a video for the song “Rage” (from Jo Passed’s 'Out' EP).
Having worked with Bella, Mac, and Megan to create the live experience of 'Their Prime', it's touring and hearing people's reactions to the album that are at the forefront of Jo’s mind. “It's like I've put all my negativity into a place and now I'm lighting it on fire as a way of releasing it... by putting it out on Sub Pop, ha!” Indeed, sometimes you have to banish the bad vibes to get to the great ones. credits
That old blues hound dog Bonnie Raitt probably sang it best and most lucid in her timeless, pedestrian hit "Nick of Time": "Life gets mighty precious when there's less of it to waste." And so now, her wise lyrical turn seems to be ringing true for Oakland muso Dick Stusso. When we last caught up with this Bay Area BBQ gaucho on his debut, Nashville Dreams, he'd hit that special zen layer of loserdom. He'd thrown up his hands into the folly of failure. He was the affable, bumbling red-cheeked drunk lurking around the edges of the cookout - bumming smokes, putting down all the white wine and cocktail shrimp he could get away with. But now, a couple years on, that early-30s existential dread has crept its way into Dick's purview. With his sophomore long-player In Heaven, Stusso's numbered human days are on his mind. Without stumbling into pomposity, Dick has taken back the wheel on his life and is doing a bit of hotdogging.
The album sounds so assured, you'd never guess the whole endeavor was almost completely down the tubes. "I was about 75% done with the album and then my apartment got burgled," Stusso said of In Heaven's bummer origins. "They took it all." Having laid it almost exclusively to tape, there weren't even files to pull from. But what seemed like another sour turn for Dick actually ended up being a little lemon zest in his G&T. He ended up teaming with psych visionary producer Greg Ashley in a defunct old church, making for a leap in fidelity on In Heaven.