Well, the band that made my favorite record of 2009 is splitting up. SubArachnoid Space is ending their 14-year run tonight at Mississippi Studios, and I was fortunate to be able to write a brief oral history of the band for the occasion.
The story focuses on the partnership between drummer Chris Van Huffel and guitarist Melynda Jackson. Melynda and I talked for over an hour on the phone for the interview. I kept thinking we were done and then turning the recorder back on when she said something else quotable. I really sympathized with a lot of her complaints about leading a band and working with musicians. It's so hard to be driven without coming off as bossy, and that's one of the reasons I recently dissolved my band (farewell show pending) as well.
If I weren't laid up after knee surgery right now, I'd go see SubArachnoid's last show. It's sure to be emotional, since their music always is and this show will be a release of all the band has gone through over the years. Don't forget to wear white. At least I got to see (and review!) their second to last show at the Day of Hel fest in July.
In the process of writing the oral history, I reached out to a lot of different bands that had been touched by SAS over the years. Due to my short deadline, I only got one in time, from Mike from YOB. This one came in just a little too late from Philadelphia's Bardo Pond so I figured I'd post it here. I gather SAS had quite a following on the East Coast.
I really can't believe it's farewell. I hope, and knowing those guys, I trust they'll keep making sounds.
We've known Melynda and company for so long, I can't remember exactly when we first met and played together! They always took such good care of Bardo Pond on our trips out west: giving us a place to sleep, loaning us equipment, cooking meals together, and of course, playing killer shows at Bottom of the Hill! And it was always such a treat to meet up with a sister on the road...
I love SubArachnoid Space's combination of their heavy, swirling soundtracks with the visual element - really fantastic films and editing. I've really never seen anybody else do it quite like that, the darkness of the riffs and imagery are so special. We saw those guys in Philly the last time they came through, and they really took it up a notch. The projections were hitting Melynda in her beautiful white gown. A real highlight for me is when she sings through her guitar. Maybe there is more vocalizing in future experiments?
I'm really gonna miss hearing them and feeling them turn on the light in that spongy place in my brain!
Photo: Melynda and Chris. The only known of just the two of them together. By Kawabata Makoto.