“We should be free to write a jazz song...whatever we like, without expectations.”
  • “We should be free to write a jazz song...whatever we like, without expectations.”
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Singer/guitarist Kris Towne describes the music of A Scribe Amidst the Lions as “an adventure. You never know where we’re going to go next. Oftentimes we don’t even know. Think Fugazi and Pink Floyd writing scary circus music in the dark.”

Adam Jacobs, who moved from Minnesota to San Diego with Towne in 2001, goes a more genre-specific route: “I say our music is expansive, progressive, dramatic rock. However, when you categorize, you limit yourself. We should be free to write a jazz song, a punk song, a stoner song, or whatever we like, without expectations from the listeners or ourselves.”

Bobby Roquero, a professional chef, likens their sound to food. “It’s a musical doughnut, fried with a fusion of rock and psychedelic, with a melodic glaze and filled with raspberry jelly.”

Having just returned from playing SXSW, the band is now a foursome, including Michael Hams. “We had to let go of Nate [Ball], our original drummer,” says Towne of the roster shakeup. “The sound is already so much better, cleaner. More space for vocals, melody, ambience, and samples.”

The remaining quartet has been covering multiple instrumental bases. “We’ve adopted the motto that ‘everybody sings, everybody plays everything.’”

The band’s newest full-length, Fever Rose, was released earlier this year.

WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?

Kris Towne:

1) John Vanderslice, Emerald City. “From start to finish, a phenomenal record. His arrangements and production never cease to amaze me, and this is one of his most solid records to date.”

2) Radiohead, In Rainbows, B-Sides. “Radiohead is one of those bands that have so many great songs that you’ll often hear a B-side and wonder why they didn’t put it on the album.”

3) Fugazi, The Argument. “This band’s final album finds them pushing the musical limits of rock and punk, and people are still catching up to it today. Along with the Clash, they’re one of the only true punk rock bands ever.”

Michael Hams:

1) John Prine, Common Sense. “An amazing record produced by Steve Cropper, of Stax Records fame.”

2) Harry Nilsson, Nilsson sings Newman. “Two of my favorite songwriters on one record, Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson.”

3) Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. “Mingus released some great stuff on the Impulse label, but the chemistry on this album is undeniable.”

4) Tom Waits, Blue Valentine. “I’m a fan of his entire catalog, but this is the album I sing to myself as I walk to work.”

5) King Crimson, Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. “Truly the finest work that the ever-evolving Crimson ever released. Jamie Muir is an absolute inspiration, delving into the outer realms of percussion.”

Adam Jacobs:

1) Jeremy Enigk, Return of the Frog Queen. “I wanted to reacquaint myself.”

2) Ours, Distorted Lullabies. “I’ve never heard an album so packed full of emotion.”

GUILTY MUSICAL PLEASURE?

Hams: “Somehow I wound up with a Tom Jones LP in my collection.”

Jacobs: “The Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, but that’s not really all that embarrassing. It’s fucking awesome.”

THINGS YOU NEVER RUN OUT OF?

Towne: “American Spirits and Netflix.”

MOST UNLIKELY CYBER FRIEND?

Jacobs: “I follow Zooey Deschanel on Twitter.”

WHAT REMAINS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Roquero: “I want to go spear-fishing off the coast of New Zealand, hunt and kill some delicious fish, bring them aboard my private yacht, and then turn them into sushi.”

EVER COOK FOR A CELEB?

Roquero: “I recently had the chance to make sushi for Norm MacDonald. He likes salmon and tuna.”

SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Towne: “I speak pretty good German.”

Hams: “I traveled to Brazil in 2004 to study percussion and ended up almost getting mugged by a bunch of fourth graders.” ■

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Jay Allen Sanford April 18, 2012 @ 11:54 a.m.

Outtakes: WHAT SCARES YOU? Jacobs: “Bee stings. I’ve never been stung, and I’ve never been tested to see if I’m allergic, so the possibility that it would be fatal is both thrilling and terrifying.”

WHO DO PEOPLE SAY YOU LOOK LIKE? Hams: “Before I broke my glasses, I got the singer from Weezer, but I’m at least a foot taller than that guy.” Jacobs: “If I grow out my beard and wear a sports coat, the singer from the National. If I shave down to a stubble, and I’m wearing a beanie and a zip-up sweater – which I do! -- then Chris Martin of Coldplay.”

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THE YOUNGER YOU? Roquero: “I would tell myself to keep looking to the future for all of the answers.”

YOUR MOST-PLAYED DVD? Towne: “Enter the Dragon. This movie set the stage for a thousand wanna-be Bruce Lees, including me when I was twelve.” Jacobs: “The Incredibles. I like superheroes.”

WORST INJURY? Hams: “Once, when I was about four or five, I slipped off the bathroom counter and cracked my chin open. I still have the scar.”

SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE? Roquero: “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked, by Cage the Elephant. The lyrics go ‘Oh, there ain’t no rest for the wicked, money don’t grow on trees, I got bills to pay a mouths to feed, there ain’t nothing in this world for free.’” Hams: “My story was actually made into an off-Broadway musical called No Mayo. It did terribly.”

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