By Keith Demanche
Over the last few years, the Amorphous Band has steadily built a strong and enthusiastic following. They’re now signed to Red Fez Records. Bob Lord of Red Fez says the release of Primeordia marks a big step in their career. He’s got his PR down pat. But then can’t resist: “Plus, Keith Foley is a complete and utter maniac!”
Anyone who has seen the band or the Amorphous Trio will know what he means. Foley really rips it up on his seven-string custom fretless bass. The band is having a CD release party at the Muddy River Smokehouse this Saturday, November 22nd. Along with the full band-guitarist Chris O'Neill, drummer Mike Walsh, bassist Keith Foley, keyboardist Dan Shure and Cindy Kaza on vocals-there will be special guests Peter Prince of Moon Boot Lover and the Belligerent Victims.
The Amorphous Band’s new release is a fantastic jam/pop sonic excursion that showcases both the trio’s sonic improv abilitites and talents on more structured songs with vocals. Most of the disc has Cindy Kaza singing and Dan Shure on keys, which is the same arrangement that plays at the Barley Pub in Dover every Wednesday night. The instrumental tracks showcase why this band is so memorable.
I got the chance to talk with crazy man Keith Foley about the new CD and his sordid click track past.
The Wire: When did you start playing bass?
Keith Foley: When I was 16. I actually sang tenor in chorus, but there was something about the bass vocals that I was attracted to. I became a huge Pink Floyd fan, and I really got into the slippery bass lines of Roger Waters. That low end really sealed it for me.
TW: When did you hook up with the Amorphous Trio (band)?
KF: I met Chris at the Stone Church maybe five or six years ago. He was playing with Fran Mason of the Friday Night Haircuts—they asked me to sit in with them and we started gigging. I left that after about six months and played in a blues band for about a year, then Chris and I hooked back up about three years ago as the Amorphous Band.
TW: Why did you expand the trio?
KF: Well, hence the ‘amorphous,” I guess! We are always in a state of change, and it seemed like a good thing to do. Everybody involved is an incredible musician, so it’s a lot of fun.
TW: Is the freedom of the trio more fun than the more structured songs of the band? Or does having vocals and keys do more for you?
KF: I’m torn there because the instrumental improv. Is what I lean toward, but when Cindy and Dan are kickin’, it’s truly wonderful. If I absolutely had to choose… I would probably choose the improv… you’re more put on the spot but it’s still really about staying in the pocket. You still gotta be careful to keep the songs tight or the music gets washy.
TW: How was the recording process?
KF: Great—we had a blast! We recorded in Barrington with Joshua DiJoseph. We did mostly live tracking with the whole band and then Cindy put the vocals on after. The instrumentals were live and D’jango’s Mangos was a one shot. I do a fair amount of studio work and I really enjoy it. Laying down bass tracks for the London Symphony orchestra for Tim Janis was a memorable session.
TW: Was that the highlight of your musical career so far?
KF: Yeah, I think so. Tim Janis, who I’ve known for about 10 years and done studio work with a lot, called from Abbey Road and asked if I would lay down some tracks. When I got down to recording I had a hard time following the click track, which everybody was using, it just wasn’t working out. Finally, we figured out that even though the players have click tracks they all follow the conductor instead, so I got rid of the click and just played by feel. It worked out wonderfully.
TW: What do you think is the band’s career highlight?
KF: Honestly, playing the Barley Pub is Dover every Wednesday for the past two years. It is so much fun, it’s just the greatest group of people you could possibly hope to play for. It’s the best room I’ve ever played, seriously, because it’s more than the room, it’s the people, they make every show a good time.
TW: How do you think the seacoast music scene is doing these days? Does it feel vibrant and growing to you or is it slowing down?KF: Growing! There is an incredible amount of talent here. There are so many great bands around-Truffle, Ed Jurdi, Northern Roots (who I sit in with sometimes…) Charlie Strater rocks, there’s so many! And it’s gotten better over the years, the scene has turned, there are many different styles of music around now. And it just keeps getting better.