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Clip: Eleventh Dream Day in Cleveland

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  • Carl Z.
    If my seder doesn t go too long tonight, I ll see em. 80s scruffy
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 13, 2006
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      If my seder doesn't go too long tonight, I'll see 'em.

      <http://www.cleveland.com/search/index.ssf?/base/friday/1144399458186100.xml?ymuse&coll=2>

      '80s scruffy rockers Dream Day make second go at music magic
      Friday, April 07, 2006
      John Petkovic
      Plain Dealer Reporter

      Eleventh Dream Day is enjoying its own '80s revival.

      The scruffy-rock outfit isn't doing it with skinny ties, bouncy
      synth-pop and those cannot-be-explained haircuts.

      That was never the band's style. It still isn't.

      "We were always just out on our own, doing what we wanted, not really
      fitting in anywhere," says singer-guitarist Rick Rizzo. "We loved both
      punk rock and classic rock."

      Eleventh Dream Day's attempt to reconcile what were then-feuding
      musical genres placed them in the middle of the burgeoning 1980s
      underground -- a movement led by scruffy bands such as Husker Du, the
      Replacements and the Dream Syndicate.

      Like those bands, Eleventh Dream Day was born too late to be rock
      gods, too soon to be alternative rockers. But that didn't stop them
      from planting seeds that would sprout later on in Chicago's rock
      scene.

      After releasing a handful of discs and going through a disheartening
      stint on Atlantic Records -- "I was never so broke as when we were on
      a major label," says Rizzo -- the band fractured in different
      directions.

      Bassist Doug McCombs founded the
      rock-meets-electronica-meets-soundtrack-music outfit Tortoise. Drummer
      Janet Bean started a country group, Freakwater. And Rizzo jammed with
      a number of Chicago bands, including Red Red Meat.

      He also got a day job as a middle school social-studies teacher.

      "Teaching kids is a little like playing onstage, you have to keep them
      engaged and watching you," he says. "I really can't be a smart-ass,
      though, unlike onstage."

      The gig -- teaching, that is -- does provide him perspective.

      "We spent so much time for so long on the road, being in a band,
      trying to make a living at it," says Rizzo. "When we got back
      together, there was no pressure to make it.' "

      There is an urge to play, though. Eleventh Dream Day is set to release
      a disc, "Zeroes and Ones," and is touring behind it -- during spring
      break, of course.

      "It's basically another Eleventh Dream Day record," says Rizzo. "The
      difference now for me is that we can be out there on our own and do
      what we want to do -- and actually have fun doing it."

      To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
    • Dave Purcell
      ... Carl, were you there? I didn t realize that you re back in Cleveland. I thought they were fantastic. They opened with several from the new record. The new
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
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        Carl Z wrote:

        > If my seder doesn't go too long tonight, I'll see 'em.

        Carl, were you there? I didn't realize that you're back in Cleveland. I
        thought they were fantastic. They opened with several from the new
        record. The new songs fit in well with their best moments and I think
        will grow on me once I've spent more time with the new record. I
        previewed several songs on the Thrill Jockey site last week and
        remembered most of them when they began playing them, so that's usually
        a good sign. Highlights of the old material were Testify (with McCombs
        playing the main riff and the keyboard player on bass), Baghdad's Last
        Ride, and a couple from Prairie School Freakout (the names of which
        escape me at the moment without the CD in front of me).

        Rick Rizzo is still a maniac on guitar, channeling Neil Young and Tom
        Verlaine in equal parts. He's very much the mild-mannered social studies
        teacher these days, but his intensity bursts out when he starts singing
        and soloing. There are few things that make me happier than when he goes
        into batshit skronk solo mode. Janet is as strong as ever on drums and
        harmonies and McCombs is just a mofo of a bassist. The keyboard player
        is a great addition. His tiny keyboard looks like it's about to fall
        apart at any given moment, but he's usually some sort of simulator to
        get some very cool sounds out of it. He was perfectly supportive and
        never intrusive.

        They came back for two encores and seemed surprised by the reaction from
        the small, but very enthusiastic crowd. We got to chat with Rick before
        and after the show, and he seemed genuinely moved that we drove four
        hours to spend our 15th wedding anniversary with them. Super nice guy. I
        was happy to learn that some of their earliest shows were with old pals
        of mine -- guys I didn't know then -- at Newport, KY's legendary Jockey
        Club around 1984.

        They're still easily one of the best rock bands out there, for my money.
        No one is doing what they're doing, at least not as well.

        Oh, and get the new record -- it's really strong. There are only a
        couple songs with vocal hooks equivalent to songs like Testify and
        Makin' Like A Rug, but their trademark sound is in full force and it's
        less moody than some of their recent efforts.

        dp
      • Carl Z.
        Great review, Dave. I was curious to hear how the new lineup sounded and am happy they appear to have jelled. My seder in Oberlin didn t get finished until
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
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          Great review, Dave. I was curious to hear how the new lineup sounded
          and am happy they appear to have jelled. My seder in Oberlin didn't
          get finished until after midnight, so unfortunately I couldn't make it
          to the show.

          Here's hoping they tour again once everyone's on summer vacation...

          Carl Z.

          On 4/16/06, Dave Purcell <dap@...> wrote:
          >
          > Carl Z wrote:
          >
          > > If my seder doesn't go too long tonight, I'll see 'em.
          >
          > Carl, were you there? I didn't realize that you're back in Cleveland. I
          > thought they were fantastic. They opened with several from the new
          > record. The new songs fit in well with their best moments and I think
          > will grow on me once I've spent more time with the new record. I
          > previewed several songs on the Thrill Jockey site last week and
          > remembered most of them when they began playing them, so that's usually
          > a good sign. Highlights of the old material were Testify (with McCombs
          > playing the main riff and the keyboard player on bass), Baghdad's Last
          > Ride, and a couple from Prairie School Freakout (the names of which
          > escape me at the moment without the CD in front of me).
          >
          > Rick Rizzo is still a maniac on guitar, channeling Neil Young and Tom
          > Verlaine in equal parts. He's very much the mild-mannered social studies
          > teacher these days, but his intensity bursts out when he starts singing
          > and soloing. There are few things that make me happier than when he goes
          > into batshit skronk solo mode. Janet is as strong as ever on drums and
          > harmonies and McCombs is just a mofo of a bassist. The keyboard player
          > is a great addition. His tiny keyboard looks like it's about to fall
          > apart at any given moment, but he's usually some sort of simulator to
          > get some very cool sounds out of it. He was perfectly supportive and
          > never intrusive.
          >
          > They came back for two encores and seemed surprised by the reaction from
          > the small, but very enthusiastic crowd. We got to chat with Rick before
          > and after the show, and he seemed genuinely moved that we drove four
          > hours to spend our 15th wedding anniversary with them. Super nice guy. I
          > was happy to learn that some of their earliest shows were with old pals
          > of mine -- guys I didn't know then -- at Newport, KY's legendary Jockey
          > Club around 1984.
          >
          > They're still easily one of the best rock bands out there, for my money.
          > No one is doing what they're doing, at least not as well.
          >
          > Oh, and get the new record -- it's really strong. There are only a
          > couple songs with vocal hooks equivalent to songs like Testify and
          > Makin' Like A Rug, but their trademark sound is in full force and it's
          > less moody than some of their recent efforts.
          >
          > dp
        • Dave Purcell
          ... Not likely, unfortunately. Rick & his wife are expecting twins in June. They got out to do these dates because it is his spring break and he wanted to play
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 16, 2006
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            > Here's hoping they tour again once everyone's on summer vacation...

            Not likely, unfortunately. Rick & his wife are expecting twins in June.
            They got out to do these dates because it is his spring break and he
            wanted to play a bit before the twins arrive. Which reminds me -- Rick &
            Janet had their son along on tour. He seemed like a sweet kid, was very
            quiet and shy.

            dp
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