So, remember Sal? She wrote for TVD about a year ago then went M.I.A. But now she's back. And we couldn't be happier. —Ed.
Sal Go here. The last year was crazy, and I only remember half of it. My editor is currently hungover and craving pancakes out in the ruins of Detroit, but I'm back in the mix now. I start my contributions to The Vinyl District with a short interview featuring Burleigh Seaver. Seaver is in Shortstack, a DC-based rock and roll quartet, influenced by the likes of Credence Clearwater Revival and John Lee Hooker.
How coincidental! They are playing the Black Cat Mainstage this Friday! Birds of Avalon and Suns Of Guns will support. The show celebrates their new record, Please Leave My Mind. After this party, it's a few shows over the summer, and mini tours up and down the east coast to promote the new album, released by Free Dirt Records.
Even better news! The band will give away two tickets and two albums to two lucky Vinyl District readers! To win, just comment below with your email. On Thursday morning, we shall print out your names, fix them to our dartboard, take a few swigs of bourbon, spin around in an office chair, and fire away.
Seaver plays guitar and provides backup vocals in Shortstack. He also mixed the new album in his studio. "I have my own studio, but it's not my full time job. But I do audio for a living." Seaver says. He talks about his awesome job at National Geographic, where all in one day he could work on a show about wolverines, then about submarine salvage, and on to Hitler's secret weapons. I am extremely envious of his career.
I ask if putting out the record on vinyl was considered during production. Seaver confirms. "We really wanted to do it on vinyl. I'm sure you know that more and more things are coming out on vinyl these days. And we all have bought records for years. I used to work in a record store. So it's definitely something we wanted to do. We ended up doing 180 gram vinyl on it, which is awesome. Thanks to our label, which is very cool."
That is very awesome. 180 gram vinyl that you slip out of the case and instantly want to lick. I am distracted by this vision. Meanwhile, Seaver sounds easy going over the phone, unfazed by the three dropped calls and my struggles with the tape recorder. I get it going again and he talks about their label. "It's a label called Free Dirt that's based here in DC. This guy John runs it. He's been really helpful. A lot of the stuff they do tends to be more like, old-timey, or like string band music... but it's pretty cool. I think we're definitely the most rock and roll record that he's done. But we've known him for a while, he's done really good work.
"The record looks so cool. I think the modern model of when you buy a record and you get a digital download with it is fucking brilliant. Because it's so much nicer to just buy a record cause it's like this big... THING. You can look at it, it's heavy, you know, it's just cooler than a CD, but everyone also has ipods and all that. So it makes it easy to enjoy. Our old drummer Scott did the artwork. That's what he does, so we're lucky to have him for many years. A good way to get cool flyers done."
I look through my notes to see that Mr. Seaver has been in Shortstack for approximately 50% of their existence. As the lead guitar player, he must hold a pivotal position on the band's sound. Has he changed their direction completely? Is the group dynamic different?
"Um. " Seaver is quiet. 6 seconds roll by. But before I get worried, he continues. "Yeah I do. The person whose spot I'm in now only played slide guitar,
What's so great about playing music in DC? "Well I grew up in DC. So I like it. I mean, DC has changed quite a bit during my lifetime. Well, I think DC is unique it's really like a small... like if you took the government away, it'd kinda be like a small country town. The government brings a lot of people who sort of come and go depending on what's happening. A lot of people who aren't from here. But it's small enough though that it creates a unique vibe as compared to New York or other places."
"Another thing is that there really isn't a manufacturing base here at all. Nothing gets made in DC, as compared to Baltimore or Philly, or NY or Boston, things get made there. So DC is more of an idea town than anything else. So it makes an interesting place to live. If you read the DC paper it's so different from anywhere else because it focuses on like, concepts of government and things like that."
Great, so you like DC. It's interesting and small and doesn't make shit except ideas. Do you play out a lot?
"We want to make each show more of a unique event. We wait until we have something new or more interesting to do than last time, rather than banging it all out again on a Friday night."
Shortstack - Breathe (Mp3)
Shortstack - Greyhound (Mp3)