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Rocking the half-pipe

Speaking with Cass McCombs is more akin to talking to a Zen philosopher than a 30-something rocker.
Speaking with Cass McCombs is more akin to talking to a Zen philosopher than a 30-something rocker.

Cass McCombs is a road dog. On tour, he has witnessed a mix of cultures across the U.S. and often travels solely for the sake of learning about a new regional music scene. Though he has seen plenty, only one city reigns musically supreme in his heart.

“The greatest musical city in human history is New Orleans. That’s a fact,” McCombs explains to the Reader via phone. “There’s no other city in all time that has placed such a sacred emphasis on music as that town has and still does. It radiates in the lower spine of our country, and the outlying areas are also incredible. Zydeco, Cajun music, punk music, blues...and the varying forms of all of those, not as crystallized genres, but as experimental realms of the heart. They’re alive. It’s a real thing. It’s not just some arcane art form.”

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Speaking with McCombs is more akin to consulting a Zen philosopher than a mid-30s rocker. He talks about music in the most spiritual sense, and the mystical element almost always finds its way into his songs. The video for “Morning Star,” off his new record, Big Wheel and Others, is a hypnotic blend of McCombs’s religion and that of many Californians — skateboarding. The video features clips from skate pros such as Tony Hawk and Matt Hensley.

“The ‘Morning Star’ video was edited by my friend Patrick O’Dell. We wanted to do an evolution of skateboarding. Not a history lesson. Just to try to explain through an arbitrary order of skaters coming out of surfing where we are at today,” McCombs explains.

McCombs became interested in skateboarding when he was a kid growing up in Northern California. When music became his passion, he began touring down the coast. Several years ago, McCombs befriended a collection of San Diego musicians that would eventually become the Donkeys.

“We did some tours together well before I ever put out a record,” McCombs says. “Just go up the West Coast for fun and get into trouble and stuff. It was the ’90s, I guess. We’ve collaborated many times. I’ve come down to play with them and they came up to the Bay Area a few times to play with me in their previous incarnations. They’re the best guys.”

Past Event

Cass McCombs and Meat Puppets

  • Saturday, November 29, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+

McCombs also speaks highly of the Meat Puppets, the band he will be co-headlining with at Casbah on Saturday night, November 29.

“I’ve been listening to [the Meat Puppets] for decades. Everything they’ve done is brilliant to me. One of those artists for me where I really follow everything that they’ve done. For this tour each band gets to play about an hour and a half. And we flip-flop who gets to play first and last. We each get to play a healthy set. It can be exhausting for an audience member. So they should come prepared...bring whatever they need to bring to keep them awake.”

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Speaking with Cass McCombs is more akin to talking to a Zen philosopher than a 30-something rocker.
Speaking with Cass McCombs is more akin to talking to a Zen philosopher than a 30-something rocker.

Cass McCombs is a road dog. On tour, he has witnessed a mix of cultures across the U.S. and often travels solely for the sake of learning about a new regional music scene. Though he has seen plenty, only one city reigns musically supreme in his heart.

“The greatest musical city in human history is New Orleans. That’s a fact,” McCombs explains to the Reader via phone. “There’s no other city in all time that has placed such a sacred emphasis on music as that town has and still does. It radiates in the lower spine of our country, and the outlying areas are also incredible. Zydeco, Cajun music, punk music, blues...and the varying forms of all of those, not as crystallized genres, but as experimental realms of the heart. They’re alive. It’s a real thing. It’s not just some arcane art form.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Speaking with McCombs is more akin to consulting a Zen philosopher than a mid-30s rocker. He talks about music in the most spiritual sense, and the mystical element almost always finds its way into his songs. The video for “Morning Star,” off his new record, Big Wheel and Others, is a hypnotic blend of McCombs’s religion and that of many Californians — skateboarding. The video features clips from skate pros such as Tony Hawk and Matt Hensley.

“The ‘Morning Star’ video was edited by my friend Patrick O’Dell. We wanted to do an evolution of skateboarding. Not a history lesson. Just to try to explain through an arbitrary order of skaters coming out of surfing where we are at today,” McCombs explains.

McCombs became interested in skateboarding when he was a kid growing up in Northern California. When music became his passion, he began touring down the coast. Several years ago, McCombs befriended a collection of San Diego musicians that would eventually become the Donkeys.

“We did some tours together well before I ever put out a record,” McCombs says. “Just go up the West Coast for fun and get into trouble and stuff. It was the ’90s, I guess. We’ve collaborated many times. I’ve come down to play with them and they came up to the Bay Area a few times to play with me in their previous incarnations. They’re the best guys.”

Past Event

Cass McCombs and Meat Puppets

  • Saturday, November 29, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+

McCombs also speaks highly of the Meat Puppets, the band he will be co-headlining with at Casbah on Saturday night, November 29.

“I’ve been listening to [the Meat Puppets] for decades. Everything they’ve done is brilliant to me. One of those artists for me where I really follow everything that they’ve done. For this tour each band gets to play about an hour and a half. And we flip-flop who gets to play first and last. We each get to play a healthy set. It can be exhausting for an audience member. So they should come prepared...bring whatever they need to bring to keep them awake.”

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