3 p.m., Dec. 11
Out there, man
A Scribe Amidst the Lions dropping "by far the strangest album we've ever made"
"This is by far the strangest album we've ever made," says A Scribe Amidst the Lions frontman Kris Towne of their new full-length Last Sting Trilogy Volumes II & III, which drops on Tuesday, December 11, with a release party at the the Casbah. "I mean, it's out there man! In a lot of ways, I feel like this particular record will alienate people as much as it will attract, and I'm actually kind of excited about that. Not giving a shit whether people like it or not is a really nice feeling and something new for me."
The band actually started most of the songs three years ago (Volume 1 was released in 2010), but decided to shelf volumes II and III and put out other albums, based on financial reasons. Says Towne, "The trilogy was intended to be a three part vinyl series, but the realities of pressing and releasing vinyls on our own became very clear after the first one."
"Opening the songs back up after years of sitting idle was definitely a challenge. Like anything, we've become much more proficient in engineering and producing after doing it heavily these last couple years. So when we opened up the files it was like, 'Whoa, what the fuck were we doing back then?' We have a tendency to go overboard in the studio, especially when we first got ProTools. It was like being a kid in a candy shop. More more more!"
"Well, since then I've learned a lot about the idea that less is more, and striving for killer tones for your foundational instruments is a much better approach than covering things up with lots of production and overdubbing. Mixing a song with 75 fucking tracks and poor editing will send you to the looney bin if you're not careful! Seriously this album almost drove me mad."
A couple of the newer songs were either an impromptu live jam with minimal inputs (such as "Kalendronika"), or spliced up mixes taken from different parts of songs on the trilogy. "Vocals from this song, keyboards from another, with lots of added production: backwards vocals, extreme EQing, heavy percussion, digital drums mixed with original drums, etc." The latter sort of piecemeal production is most evident on the cuts "What Happened to the Night" and "Pigeon to Dove."
Guest players on the album include Chris Block (trumpet), Steven Ball (violin, viola), Joey Nelson (Trombone), and Lucina González from Black Hondo supplying guest vocals on "Where is the Wolf."
Check out the free download of the first single "Hairpins," available on SoundCloud with a music video coming soon. http://soundcloud.com/ascribeamidstthelions/hairpins
Available on CD and the usual digital formats, Last Sting Trilogy Volumes II & III will debut on Tuesday, December 11, with a release party at the Casbah. Presented by Another Zeke Productions, the bill also includes Future You, Pal&Drome, and Gary Hankins (Scarlet Symphony, Shapes of Future Frames) in the Atari Lounge.
"Scribe will be performing with a very special guest string player," reveals Towne. "The band has covered the Beastie Boys, the Beatles, and the Bee Gees in the past, but we'll be sticking to all originals on this night."
A Scribe Amidst the Lions used to be called Split Infinity. They changed the name after discovering it had been claimed by several other groups, not to mention a series of novels.
“We’re the original bad luck band,” says singer/guitarist Kristofer Towne. “If there’s a way to step in crap, we usually find it.”
To illustrate this point, guitarist/keyboardist Adam Jacobs describes an incident at a Seattle club called Rendezvous. "As we began loading-in through the back, someone noticed an obstacle to the right of the doorway; a hefty pile of human [feces], steaming away right there next to a nearby dumpster. Several times throughout load-in and load-out, we came close to stepping ankle-deep into the slushy pile. John [Woodard] from Jodi Hates the World came centimeters away from a sandal full of crap. He stopped just short of the pile when he heard a chorus of us yelling ‘Look out for the crap!’ It was still there when we loaded out. Hopefully, it rains enough in Seattle that it eventually washed away.”
Towne, Jabobs, and bassist/singer Bob Garrity moved together from Minnesota to San Diego in 2001, hooking up with local drummer Nate Ball. “Nate was more or less using his drum kit for dirty laundry bins,” says Towne. He says Nate underwent a nearly bloody initiation after their first practice session evolved into a house party where they were rehearsing.
“The old drummer’s intoxicated girlfriend showed up and started causing a scene,” he says. “You know the type: cocaine in the bathroom, flashing people, running around the neighbor’s yards shouting obscenities until the cops come…Upon spotting Nate and hearing what was going on, she started breaking bottles on the kitchen floor, all around his feet.”
“After refusing to leave, she proceeded to lock herself in the hall closet for the next 20 minutes with someone else’s half-finished wine glass. No one remembers what happened to the glass. Some say she left with it still half-full. Some say they heard it break inside the closet, prompting suicide threats. Some say it just disappeared like she should have, and just the other day someone said that it was probably still in that fucking closet because us guys never cleaned anything.”
The band earned a bit of notoriety in December 2008 for their song "Evil Santa: Ballad of the Brothers Claus," offered as a free download on their website. Not everyone was amused by a Killer Claus.
Their 2010 project The Last Sting Trilogy was planned to unfold over three maxi-singles, to be released over a nine month period and available on vinyl and digital formats. Instead, it took nearly three years.
A new 6-track EP was released in July 2011, The Lidless Kind, recorded, produced, and mixed by the band at Controls For The Sun Studios, and mastered by Joe Goodwin at Capricorn Studios. “This one was completely recorded, produced, and mixed by the band at our own Controls for the Sun Studio,” says Towne. “We’ll also do a digital package on flashdrive and DVD, with music videos, high quality audio waves, photos, lyrics, and behind-the-scenes video footage.”
In December 2011, they released a split seven-inch vinyl with Mexican capital natives Split Sour, on La Escalara Records.