Ex–San Diegans Writer return for a one-off this Saturday at Soda Bar.
Writer is coming back to San Diego for one quick show at Soda Bar July 21. Wait a minute — they’re coming back? When did they leave? “When we moved, I’d say we were driving away in the smoke of last New Year’s Eve fireworks.” Andy Ralph is on the phone from a place near San Bernardino called Oak Glen. “My brother and I live in Brooklyn now. It’s crazy. It’s not like San Diego at all. Especially when you’re walking down the street and the fire hydrant is open and people are dancing in it and you’re just trying not to get wet.” He says summer has come on hot and heavy in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where they live. “Everybody there gets the wild eye.”
Writer is a rock band of two. Andy Ralph plays guitar, keyboards, and sings, and his brother James handles drums and additional keys.
I ask Ralph to help me put a genre label on his spacey garage rock. “It’s good for us to be able to explain it,” he says, “but it’s hard to do and I try not to do it, ever.” Hence the question: “Basically, it’s a two-piece that plays loud thrash music and sings about our lives and introduces a little fiction here and there. We try to tell stories. We fill up a room with sound.”
The duo began playing in 2008. Later, they brought in additional members before paring the act back down again to two. “It helps you be a better player. If you screw up just one little note,” Ralph says, “everybody hears it.” So far, Writer has released a full-length and an EP. “Then we kicked everybody out and started over as a duo with a pair of seven-inchers and a three-song digital download EP. The plan is a November release for a new full-length tracked in San Diego before we moved.”
Andy Ralph says he and his brother lived in San Diego for ten years. Why the move to New York? “We felt we needed a different place to live and to play in different clubs and have a new home base. It wasn’t a romantic thing, like, we gotta be in New York. We just needed a change of scenery.” What does he miss most? “Those big-ass burritos.” He laughs. “You cannot get a decent burrito in New York, and that’s ridiculous.”