The Caw! Caw! of the wild


I’ve been really digging on Caw! Caw! from Chicago. I finally got a chance to interview them, so I busted out old favorites like “What’s you musical aesthetic?” and how do they reply? “LOUD!”

Then they explained that their name means “harbinger of pestilence.” Hmm I’m liking this band even more.

But the response that put them over the top with me was when I inquired about what feelings they were trying to stir in audiences with their carefully orchestrated surging guitars and full-spectrum keyboards: “Maybe a vision of leading a goblin invasion force into your town, then burning it all down and dancing in the flames.”

That’s exactly what I want from my music!


Caw! Caw!‘s wry sense of humor counterbalances the multi-layered and somewhat more serious nature of their music rather perfectly.

When I asked them what their worst experience had been since they left their Chicago home for Los Angeles (where they are playing with my band, Cockwind, at McWorld tonight—details at the end of this article), the Caw! Caw! cackled: “Our weirdest experience was trying to get some sleep on the living room floor of a house in El Paso while being kept awake by a very angry big guy demanding to know who took his bag of E while the Ghostbusters DVD menu played an 8-second clip of the theme song on a loop for hours.”

Scary road stories, and a whole lot more. Keep reading:

Please tell us your names, ages, and what instruments you play.
The lineup is Tim Tsurutani, 23, on vocals/guitar, Evan Burrows, freshly 22, on drums, Steve Kozak, 23, on guitar and occasional keyboards, and Dan Rico, 23, on bass.  Can’t argue with the four-piece rock band.

When did you guys form and what brought you together?
Tim and Evan were founding members of the band back when we were all 14 and 15 years old and the music was more along the lines of political hardcore.  The lineup has changed over the years, and the music’s been all over the place since then.  Steve and Dan joined later, and the current lineup was solidified in 2008.  We all went to the same high school, and played in a lot of crazy musical projects with each other over the years. I think we were (and still are) pretty big weirdos, which sort of brought us together. A confederacy of variously alienated kids.

Where does your name come from?
Tim came up with the name back in the day and sent it along in a letter to Evan while he was away at summer camp.  A harbinger of pestilence?  A long-suppressed shriek from a simpler, forgotten world?  Totally asinine and irritating to almost everyone?

What’s everyone’s favorite performers?
This is a toughie—we all come from pretty different musical backgrounds.  Dan is particularly fond of a wide range of classic pop and rock artists—T. Rex, Elvis, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, etc. Tim likes almost anything that puts interesting pictures in his head.  Steve is a lover of widescreen productions that have fallen by the cultural wayside, from Depeche Mode to Yes. Evan likes just about everything, but Mount Eerie and Xiu Xiu above all else.

What brings you to L.A.? Is this your big tour for the year?
Yeah, we’ve been on tour on and off since SXSW, still booking things ourselves and sleeping on lots of good peoples’ floors.  We’re promoting our new debut full-length, Bummer Palace (click here to download the album), which was recorded here in L.A. a year ago. Our plans for the rest of the current year are still up in the air for the most part.

What is ‘Enya rock’?
That was a two word review we got from one of our aunts after a show.  A huge compliment, because all Enya is missing, for the most part, are tom fills and guitar solos.

What have been your best and worst road experiences so far?
We love to play in this garage in Waterbury, Connecticut called Li’l Tommy J’s. Our great friend Emily puts on shows out there and there’s a really great scene of kids who love and live music. We feel privileged anytime we can be a part of a passionate music community like that.  The bad nights are probably spent in bars with disgruntled employees and disinterested drinkers, but our weirdest experience was trying to get some sleep on the living room floor of a house in El Paso while being kept awake by a very angry big guy demanding to know who took his bag of E while the “Ghostbusters” DVD menu played an 8-second clip of the theme song on a loop for hours.

When people are listening to your music, what kind of feelings are you trying to provoke in them?
Maybe a vision of leading a goblin invasion force into your town, then burning it all down and dancing in the flames. Elation, horror, wetness.

That’s what I’m talking about. Thanks, guys.

Don’t miss Caw! Caw! tonight at McWorld, 9:30pm:

Corima
Many Arms
Cockwind
Caw! Caw!
Karmavision
Timothy Young

$3 or spin the wheel

Starts 9:30pm / all-ages

Read about Cockwind the gay Hawkwind tribute

Click here for a short video about McWorld

More show info here

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