by Mike Corrigan
Ska-infected locals 10 MINUTES DOWN always seem to be in state of flux. Member flux, that is, a sometimes irritating but often unavoidable condition associated with having too many college grads in your band. Yep, when promising employment opportunities beckon (and those darned outstanding college loans demand attention), it's tough to hold together a group that plays, largely, for fun. And so, members come and go. As lineups are retooled, the sound evolves unpredictably. Stability is but a dream.
And yet, evolution often produces superior organisms, better equipped to withstand the slings and arrows of rock's outrageous fortune.
"A lot of us were getting complacent," admits founding member, trombonist Ted Teske. "Playing the same things the same way -- kind of getting into a rut. It just became muscle memory."
Enter new drummer John Farley and trumpet player Sean McKenzie.
"They came in with just a whole new set of ideas, ways to look at things, rhythms, all sorts of cool stuff. Our new drummer is just incredible."
The drummer's stool has seen the greatest turnover since the band's formation in 1997.
"He's our fifth in four years," says Teske. "It's getting to be like Spinal Tap."
The current lineup (jelling quite nicely as we speak, thanks) is as follows: Teske (vocals, trombone), Farley (drums), McKenzie and Bill Weeks (both on trumpet), Kyle Bradshaw (bass), Robbie Daytona (guitar) and Worlando Mangrobang (trombone). Recently departed are guitarist Jeremy Kirk, drummer James Wasem, sax man Matt Montag and original vocalist Preston Smith.
Now that school's out and the band's synchronicity is fully engaged, look for 10 Minutes Down to launch into a full-scale performance assault to promote their latest CD, Fluke.
"Fluke came out at the end of April, but we didn't really have a chance to go out and support it until just recently. This coming week is going to be our tour de force."
Super heavy performance week begins Friday night with the band's first-ever performance at Ichabod's North opening for L.A. trash-rockers the Mimsies. Then it's on to a couple of performances at Hoopfest on Saturday and Sunday before a harried road trip to make their third consecutive Warped Tour performance in Boise on Monday. Teske is also working to secure a spot for the group the following day at the Gorge stop.
"We're all gonna die," he laughs. "I'm glad all of us have the Fourth of July off. When we get done, I'm just gonna collapse. Warped is always so weird for us. It's always kind of a last minute deal. We know we're playing in Boise, but we're still waiting to hear back if they're going to let us play at the Gorge or not."
Through their Warped Tour appearances, the band has made numerous contacts and has rubbed elbows with some major names in the industry -- promoters, engineers, club owners and, oh yeah, bands. It's a chance to witness natural selection (as it applies to the rise and fall of contenders for rock 'n' roll glory) in action.
"As always, we're just stoked to meet the people there. I mean, they've got 311 and Less Than Jake, just some incredible bands again this year. There's never any money involved when we go to Warped. Just exposure and the chance to network. "
But Teske and his 10 Minutes Down brethren currently have no time to ponder the fine points of rock Darwinism. They're still enraptured by newfound sounds, solidarity and elbowroom on stage.
"We're down to seven," he says, "which is for us kind of weird [the band formerly sported nine players]. We were looking around the other day going, 'Where is everybody?' And we're still kind of looking for a lead singer. But we're pretty happy with what we've got right now. The guys we have now are all hanging out and deciding to stick around in Spokane. So this seems to be the group we're going with. Finally."
10 Minutes Down play Ichabod's North with the Mimsies, California Girls and Hardship on Friday, June 29, at 9 pm. Cover: $5. Also at Hoopfest on June 30 and July 1, at the Warped Tour in Boise on July 2 and maybe at the Warped Tour at the Gorge on July 3.
Just Plain Warped
And now (ta-da) for the rest of the WARPED TOUR. The reason small regional acts like 10 Minutes Down get to squirm their way into the fray is because Warped organizers have remained more or less committed to aspiring, young and often relatively untested talent. It's one way to keep things edgy, exciting and on the verge of disaster -- a fitting way to sum up the festival, if I may be so bold.
This year, time and market-tested acts such as 311, Pennywise, AFI, Less Than Jake, Rancid, Fenix TX and Alien Ant Farm lead the pack of 30-plus bands scheduled to play. The music never ends thanks to multiple stages and quick changeover times.
But the Vans Warped Tour is -- as always -- more than just a showcase for the latest in punk rock technology. It's also a festival of the extreme and the bizarre. In fact, the festival's side attractions sometimes threaten to out-perform the performances. And this year is certainly no exception. Topping the list of new and atrocious attractions corrupting young minds at this year's Warped installment is a little something called Incredibly Strange Wrestling. Sort of an Americanized, rock 'n' roll version of masked Mexican wrestling, this circus of sleaze features body slams, acrobatics, form-fitting lycra head gear and a cast of characters sporting such decidedly non-P.C. ring names as El Homo Loco and Ku Klux Klown. Add to that flying corn tortillas tossed lovingly into the ring by fans (a practice encouraged as an alternative to the considerably more dangerous beer bottle throwing), and you've got one sick, captivating and delicious spectacle.
Other attractions contributing to your sensory overload at Warped are the professional skateboarding, BMX and inline skating exhibitions, the Ladies Lounge and the paintball cage.
This is family entertainment at its best. And at less than a dollar per band, it's a steal.
Vans Warped Tour at the Gorge featuring Rancid, 311, Kool Keith, Pennywise, Alien Ant Farm and about a zillion more is on Tuesday, July 3, all day long. Tickets: $29.15. Call: (50) 735-0500.
Check Out Thursday
By god, a truly happening THURSDAY NIGHT? That's a rare beast (to say the least). Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's more than one noteworthy bee in... this... bonnet.
First of all, over at The Met at 7:30 pm tonight, folk rocker Jim Boyd and his band will be holding a CD release party concert for his new song collection, alterNatives. Tickets are $10 (call 325-SEAT) and proceeds from the show will benefit the Medicine Wheel Academy.
The latest installment of Tiana Gregg's BOM (Babes of Music, for you insular types) gets cracking at the Blue Spark at 8 pm tonight and will feature fine original tunage by the Square Root, Jani Gilbert, LaRae Wiley and Kari Knudsen.
Over at the E Cafe (410 W. Sprague), get a dose of vintage Midwest post punk courtesy of the Milwaukee band, Modern Machines. It starts at 9 pm tonight and will cost you a meager two bucks.
And rounding out this tetrad of honest-to-goodness original music is the show up at Ichabod's North featuring the frenetic, gritty and soulful rock 'n' roll circus that is the Makers. That's right, Donny, Jay, Michael and Jamie are back in town to take out the trash and kick out the jams. The impenetrable wall of sound produced by opening band, Seawolf will set the tone for this local one-two punch served with verve. A five spot will get you in the door. Expect things to take off at around 9:30 pm tonight.
Now, come ye out of your dens.
Free Concert Series
Once again, those fine folks at the Browne's Addition Neighborhood Council/Steering Committee are sponsoring an outdoor music experience to fill your summer evenings with song. Beginning July 5 (with a performance by the Bone Daddies) and ending Aug. 30, THE 2001 BROWNE'S ADDITION SUMMER CONCERT SERIES will feature a performance every Thursday evening from 6-8 pm at the Gazebo in Coeur d'Alene Park. The concerts are free to everyone and spotlight local and regional artists representing a broad range of musical styles.
It's all free. All summer. Alright.
Got a yen for the blues? Sign up with the acoustic sounds of Tim "Too Slim" Langford (July 12) or Paul Brasch (July 26). Is folk the medicine for what ails you? Then by all means check yourself into the classical meets folk meets Celtic of the duo, Sidhe (July 19), the New Criterion Banjo Orchestra (Aug. 2) or Canned Music (Aug. 9). While pondering life's deeper questions (like just what is it that makes bacon taste so good?), you might be inclined to take in something touched by jazz. In that case, consider the folk-jazz-rock amalgam that is Soup of the Day (Aug. 16) or the ambient sounds of Influential Dreams (Aug. 23). What about rock? It's there, I swear. Yes, Nobody Famous (Aug. 30) has you well covered.
The Browne's Addition Summer Concert Series at the Coeur d'Alene Park Gazebo is every Thursday evening July 5-Aug. 30 starting at 6 pm.