Secret Chiefs 3 (live)

Last night I was finally able to see Secret Chiefs 3 live..  SC3 is a band with a rotating cast of players, but is the brainchild of Mr. Bungle founding member and guitarist Trey Spruance (He also played guitar on the Faith No More album “King for a Day….  Fool for a Lifetime).  Where as other members of Mr. Bungle, such as Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn are fantastically prolific, Trey has been somewhat reclusive, occasionally releasing an SC3 album and often doing limited touring behind it.  Anyway, I’ve long been fascinated by SC3’s records and have been itching to seem the live for some time now.  I was absolutely not disappointed..

Considering how infrequently the band plays out, it was amazing how tight they were..  Especially given the unusual time signatures and tunings they employ..  SC3’s music is a bit difficult to describe, and you can hear some samples over at their label, Web of Mimicry, who describes their sound as follows:

What does this all end up sounding like? You will hear a kick-ass surf band playing in Arabic/Persian tunings, and then switch over to a wall of Penderecki-style orchestral chord clusters accompanied by AC/DC. Then, perhaps the traditional sounding, pseudo-folk Turk/Central Asian imaginal band will hit center stage with Dhol, Saz, Rabab, Esraj and rock drums and start whacking out to the original, catchy songs that no one knows or cares are in 19/16 time. This might be followed by a totally pummeling, nightmarish, not-kidding one bit blast-beat Death Metal band that employs Boulez-ish atonal serialism, played in dastgah tunings, which of course will naturally segue into a band that specializes in Hindi Film Music from the second Golden Era… you get the picture. We’re scratching the surface here, not exaggerating.  And again, it’s no joke.

Anyway, the band played a song or two as a trio, and then expanded into a 7 piece group for the remainder of the show.  My view was partially obstructed, but I was very close to the stage..  They played for about an hour, switching instruments and roles throughout…  And even though they were the opening act, they even had an encore (perhaps that makes them more of a ‘special guest’ than an opening act)..  Afterwards, Trey was manning the merch booth, and I thanked him for the great set and bought a t-shirt.  He seemed like a very pleasant man and was very gracious. 

Unfortunately, I was too exhausted to stick around for the main act, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, who I hear is wonderful..  Fortunately, they tour all the time, so I hope to catch them in the near future.  But I went to the show to see Secret Chiefs 3, and I wasn’t disappointed;  It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

Music Review: Secret Chiefs 3 “First Grand Constitution and Bylaws”

Ok, I admit it… I am addicted to Mr. Bungle… One of the great things about Mr. Bungle is that the music generated by the band is not only interesting and diverse, but the band members are involved in many different side projects that cover a large spectrum of musical styles. The most visible member of Mr. Bungle, lead singer Mike Patton, has involved himself in many projects. Fortunately, the other members of Bungle have done so as well. This review is of a release from one of those side projects, the Secret Chiefs 3.

Secret Chiefs 3 is a project headed up by Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance, and also featuring Bar McKinnon, Trevor Dunn, and Danny Heifetz. While you can still see some Bungle poke through, this album definately stands on its own. While it has a strong middle-eastern influence (witness Track 2), the album still manages to straddle many fences; There are obviously many different influences (Film Scores, Pop, and Metal, to name a few).

The disc I purchased was a reissue of the original disc, which was released on Amarillo (which went out of business). The reissue is on Mimicry Records, which is the record label owned by Trey. I actually ordered two of their discs when they were reissued, and have been happy with both. Much like the work of Bungle proper, this album keeps my ears and mind interested most of the time, which is saying alot in todays barren wasteland of pre-fab pop. I strongly suggest that if you appreciate eclectic music, or are simply willing to experiment, to check out the band. If you like what you hear, go support an independent artist…

Metti una sera a cena

Mike Felice is visiting Rochester for a few days, for the CSH orientations, and he is crashing at our place. This is good because Mike can cook, and he is hooking us up with some Chicken Franchaise (sp?).

Tonight we get to watch Junkyard Wars. Between Junkyard Wars and Iron Chef, I don’t know how much better television can get. I can’t wait until Junkyard is a regular show… :)

Right now I am just chilling at work, working on some DTD’s and listening to some Faith No More. Right now that is the only MP3 cd that I have which functions properly in my player. The rest of my CD’s are older, and I haven’t gotten around to figuring why the older ones don’t work. Perhaps I will look at that tonight.

I am also expecting to get two “Secret Chiefs 3” cd’s in the mail soon (“First Grand Constitution and Bylaws” and “Second Grand Constitution and Bylaws”). I hadn’t heard much of SC3, but I bought the CD’s knowing I like the work of the bandmembers (SC3 is a sideproject of Mr. Bungle members Trey Spruance, Trevor Dunn, Danny Heifetz, and Bar McKinnon, with other talented musicians on more of a ‘rolling’ roster). I never really get nervous when I blindly buy CDs, because even if they suck, they expose me to new music usually, and I can always sell them used. Last night, however, I found a site that was Webcasting a SC3 live performance. Somehow, after seeing/listening to that, I can’t imagine that the CDs will disappoint me.