Two years after author Marcel Proust died, among his belongings they found a questionnaire titled Marcel Proust Himself, which was later used for interviews by Bernard Pivot and Vanity Fair. We loved it, and are happy to rejuvenate it here at Blown Speakers.
Before coming back to Cleveland on tour in support of his latest Diane Coffee album, Everybody’s A Good Dog, Shaun Fleming took the time to answer it for us, and we happily present it along with the photos by rock photographer Mara Robinson.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
SF: Honestly, THIS is. I have the love of a beautiful woman, I’m playing my music to people who WANT to listen, and I’m able to make a living off that music.
What is your most marked characteristic?
SF: I’d like to think my persistent positivity.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
SF: The release of my first record.
What is your greatest fear?
SF: The deterioration of my mind
Which living person do you most admire?
SF: My little brother Dan.
Who are your heroes in real life?
SF: David Wilcox, John C Reilly, Sam Cooke, Sufjan Stevens, Donovan, Paul McCartney, Steve Martin, Marc Cohn.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
SF: I can get lost in the task at hand… Lose sight of the bigger picture.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
SF: The inability to walk in others shoes.
What is your favorite journey?
SF: I love the trip all the way down the PCH.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
SF: I’d like to think I’m a man of virtue, I think they all have value.
Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
SF: Sick. But more like “siiiiiiiick.”
What is your greatest regret?
At the moment I can’t think of any. I love who I am and where I’m at.
What is your current state of mind?
Calm and ready to shut down for the evening.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
We would all be living closer.
What is your most treasured possession?
Maybe my ring? I never take it off.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
That’s too dark a question for me right now.
Where would you like to live?
Northern California. Maybe somewhere in the redwoods.
What is your favorite occupation?
Other than music? I’ve always loved the idea of cranberry farming.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
What are your favorite names?
Pierce and Ruth.
What is your motto?
Last time Diane Coffee played Cleveland, frontman Shaun Fleming (also the drummer for Foxygen) was sick as a dog. But you’d have been hard-pressed to notice if he hadn’t admitted it. His energy was still high, the vocals were still on point, and except for a few brief winces toward the end due to a sore, dry throat and a lack of water, it was a great show backed by a killer band.
He apologized unnecessarily for his condition and promised to come back on a better night. And that night is rapidly approaching.
He and the band will play the Beachland on April 2, and we’ll be there to cover it.
We hope you’ll join us. It’ll be a good time.
From the moment we entered the nostalgic flyer-covered walls of the Beachland Ballroom, it truly felt like stepping into an underground club from the 80s. The groove of DJ Party Sweat’s pulsating vinyl beats set the soundtrack before the ambient pop-noise stylings of Julian Lynch. His solo performance captured the early audience’s attention, with a whispered voice, multi-color guitar, and two briefcases stacked with effects and processors.
With their fourteenth studio album and a career that spans over thirty years, Wire has earned a no-nonsense reputation, especially when it comes to their stage performance. That level of respect for their craft is equally reflected by the devotion of the fans who filled the ballroom floor.
The front of the stage was a guitar and gear lover’s dream: from the massive Eastwood hollow-bodied twelve-string and streamlined Airline guitars in Colin Newman’s arsenal, to the artful pickguard on Graham Lewis’ souped-up bass, and the sea of unique effects pedals arranged in front of each member’s station. Wire’s embrace of technology has been their hallmark, and their growing cache of technological prowess continues to surprise their audiences.
Wire started their set with a pair of uptempo selections from their new self-titled album, Blogging and Joust and Jostle. Both tunes display the quick beats, angular chords, and short length that has become their signature style. The low-tone hook-laden punk sounds just as fresh as their classic album catalog.
Their set continued with more new material peppered with choice picks from recent albums like Stealth of a Stork and early work like Blessed State. The sonic showcases during Sleep-Walking and their final song Harpooned were fantastic to behold. Guitarist Matthew Simms’ technical musicianship and dexterity was on full display, with incredible feedback, synthesized solos, and brilliant electronic textures on his lefty Fender and lap slide guitars.
After a brief departure, they returned for a final encore kicked off with Adore Your Island from Change Becomes Us and closed out the night with more fan favorites, including a rare song from Pink Flag. Wire is known for not doing fan requests, but hopefully they’ll oblige to their great group of devotees and return to Cleveland on their next tour.
It may have been a good idea to bring a set of earplugs to the Beachland Ballroom Friday night as the aggressive chaos-inducing noise-rock of Lightning Bolt, METZ and Chomp emanated from the stage and penetrated concertgoers’ ears.
Cleveland’s own Chomp kicked off the night with Joe Boyer on vocals, Jeff Latimer on bass and Scott Reid on drums. Boyer’s voice ranged from melodic drifts to gravelly screams. Reid’s drumming reached a vomit-inducing high that did not deter him one bit except for a five second recovery period before delving into one of Chomp’s newest songs, “The Rational Anthem”. You can catch Chomp again at Mahall’s on April 30.
METZ hailing from Toronto took no time to create a sweat-filled haze over the crowd that literally fogged up lead singer Alex Edkin’s glasses. Edkin’s shredding matched bass player’s Chris Sloarch’s wild antics while drummer Hayden Menzies pounded away in a maniacal fashion. Edkin’s interactions was minimal but when prompted, the crowd responded back with mighty whooping before diving back into the mosh pit once a new song started.
Much anticipated headliner Lightning Bolt took to the stage – a rarity as their sets are usually performed on the ground surrounded by the crowd. Bassist Brian Gibson left the talking and crowd interaction up to drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale as he stood off to the side quietly concentrating on his loops and tapping. Chippendale’s furious drumming threw concertgoers into a violent frenzy while he bellowed unintelligible lyrics into his masked microphone. Playing songs off their recently released album Fantasy Empire, it was not long before those in attendance mustered the courage to hop on stage and thrash along in usual Lightning Bolt fashion.