Delta Spirit back in Boston again

BMS talks with Jon Jameson of Delta Spirit about their upcoming show

, Staff Writer

"Don’t accept prescription drugs from my mom."

That’s the advice that Delta Spirit bassist Jon Jameson wishes to give fans after his recent arrest in El Paso, Texas. Other than that slight misstep, it seems like everything else is looking bright for the California band, who play the Paradise tonight with Nada Surf. It’s the band’s fourth time in Boston this year, and each time they’ve played progressively bigger venues, moving from the Upstairs to Downstairs at the Middle East and now over to Allston.

"It’s starting to become more and more evident," Jameson says about the band’s growth. "Places where there used to be twenty people there to see us and all of a sudden there are more, that’s really exciting for us. I think we’re really genuinely making dedicated fans that way. People aren’t coming to shows because they heard about us on a blog or something, people have seen us and they want to come back, or their friends have seen us and tell them to go."

BMS caught Delta Spirit at the Middle East Upstairs in June, and it became immediately apparent that the band was going places. Playing songs from their recent album Ode to Sunshine with a vengeance, the band worked the room up into a fervor. A large part of the excitement was seeing vocalist Matt Vasquez absolutely go off. "Sometimes it’s easy to become familiar with the fact that Matt’s a passionate person," says Jameson. "But it’s good because sometimes when you’re on tour playing the same songs every night it can get repetitive, and what helps us break out of that is playing off of each other and the fact that Matt genuinely means what he’s singing up there. It reminds us that we all really do mean this music."

The band’s live show is clearly a strength, not to say that Ode to Sunshine isn’t good on it’s own, but there’s something extra about a Delta Spirit live show. "I think the songs are written in a live manner," Jameson says. "We wrote them playing together and tried to record them that way as much as we could, but obviously there’s one element that you can never put into an album and that’s having people there listening and taking part in your music. I think that’s the huge thing that separates our love for playing live from writing songs. It’s not complete until we’re playing them for people, not at them but with them."

Sunshine was written and recorded by the band themselves in a cabin in the hills of California, a process that helped capture the live sound but also imparted a certain character to the songs. "We leave a lot of room for all of our individual ideas," says Jameson. "We were doing the song ‘House Built for Two’ which has an end of the night bar room kind of feel, so Sean’s like, ‘I’m gonna grab this bag of bottles and go into the bathroom and mess with it’ and we said, ‘Sure, do whatever you want.’ It ended up sounding cool, so we left it there. We actually tried to re-record it better and reproduce it but it sounded horrible and super-cheesy."

Another serendipitous accident resulted in one of the standout tracks on the album, "Trashcan", which features a propulsive riff fighting a propulsive rhythm for three and a half exhilirating minutes. "Matt and Kelly were jamming with some friends and they wrote that riff," Jameson explains. "And Kelly was teaching it to Brandon to play on drums, but Brandon kept playing it too slow so Kelly brought out the trash can lid to keep his tempo up, and I think we were demoing while he did that and it sounded right so we kept it on there. It was kind of a weird accident, like penicillin or something."

The location itself also played a role in the sounds and feel of the album. "I think strangely it did have some sort of effect," Jameson says of the cabin. "I think that’s why we called it Ode to Sunshine. There are a lot of darker songs on it but everything has an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. I think we’re gonna try to find a different location, we don’t know where or when or how yet but we’ll probably try to find a similar place."

For now the band doesn’t have specific plans for a follow-up and is content to play out Ode to Sunshine while demoing new tracks and eyeing studio time in early 2009. "Brandon and I were talking about a direction that we were hoping to go, and the stuff that Matt’s been demoing in his room by himself is exactly what we were looking for," Jameson says. "We’ve always kind of hoped to not limit our sound in anyway. As long as we all like it it’s all available. I think we just want to make things a little less stripped down, a little more weird, fuzzy, overdriven. We want some faster punk songs, we want some slow country songs too. We want to expand the variety even more but still make it feel like an album, and that’s the challenge I guess."

The other challenge Jameson faces is beating his bogus drug rap, which he recently picked up in Texas. "Yeah, my mom is the pusher. It’s weird, I’ve never actually done drugs, so to have a drug charge is pretty strange. It makes me look a little tougher I guess."

Rock and roll.

Delta Spirit open up for Nada Surf at The Paradise Rock Club tonight, December 2. For more information on the band, check out myspace.com/deltaspirit.

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