May 2006:

Brotherly Love

The band pared down to a two-piece in Philadelphia. The resulting sound, the exact opposite of Austin, was stripped down harmonically with plenty of room for long distorted drones. They bought a couple of minidisk players adding a few sound effects and beats to make it more interesting .

The band only played one gig during their year in Philly – they attribute this to everyone in town hating them – everyone but the local rock bodybuilding legend they affectionately referred to by his band name, “Muscle Factory.” They lived on South Street and seemed to wind up in an altercation each time they ventured outside. Plus, they were justifiably paranoid that the local scenesters thought they were on drugs. So they rarely left the house until a feud with their next-door neighbor made it impossible for them to practice and they wound up rehearsing in a cold scholastic book warehouse. As their savings dissipated, Michael found work at Whole Foods – where he reveived a number of comments from customers who mistook his long beard as an indication of a commitment to eastern spirituality.

Though they weren’t active in Philadelphia, Vietnam was regularly gigging in New York throughout 2002 and developing a small dedicated following. When The Fiery Furnaces invited them on a bill at Northsix, they wound up reacquainted with old Austin friend Michael Patrick - who blown away by their performance that he immediately asked if he could join their ranks. They said they would let him in their fold if he could play drums. Michael II, as he will be referred to, immediately accepted despite a minor complication - he'd never held a pair of drumsticks in his life. This didn’t bother Vietnam much because they didn’t want a drummerly drummer anyway. They found a floor tom in the trash near their house and Michael II began driving down from New York regularly to practice in the textbook warehouse. They also gave him a tambourine to keep the lonely tom company. This Mo Tuckeresque setup, in conjunction with their distorted two-chord pop songs, is what earned them the obsolete Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons.


go back to p. 3, austin boogie | go forward to p. 5, music concrete




© New York Night Train , 2006