band pared down to a two-piece in Philadelphia. The result, the
exact opposite of Austin, was stripped down harmonically with plenty
of room for long distorted drones. They bought a couple of minidisk
players to make it more interesting with a few sound effects and
beats. 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.”
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 scholastic book warehouse. As their savings dissipated, Michael
found work at Whole Foods – where he got a number of compliments
from customers who mistakenly believed his long beard indicated
a commitment to eastern spirituality.
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 Foss.
So blown away by the performance that he immediately asked if he
could join their band, he was delegated to play drums. Michael II,
as he will be referred to, immediately accepted despite a minor
complication - he had 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 with them. They also gave him a tambourine
to augment the tom. This Mo Tuckeresque setup, in conjunction with
their distorted two-chord pop songs, is what earned them the obsolete
Jesus and Mary Chain comparisons.
New York Night Train , 2006