26 Mar The Band, Chives, that Grows in California Suburbia
Hey Everyone – I have a really exciting announcement to make: I have just become a member of the PeaceArt team, here in Los Angeles, which is a group of artists who showcases the works of other artists in Los Angeles County. PeaceArt has its hands in many areas, from podcasting to selling merchandise, to broadcasting on Instagram Live every week, to hosting live concerts and the list goes on. I have been, so gratefully, asked to join the team, after meeting the head honcho Tony, as the content writer and photographer, which, honestly, has my chest sticking out to Timbuktu. I cannot wait to show you the adventures that this new venture will take me on, so stay tuned and thanks so much for your support and encouragement up to this point, because that has everything to do with my getting to this point. Thank you! So, to kickoff, I want to share with you my first story with PeaceArt, about the band, Chives. Here goes.
Imagine just the instrumental of Soulful Strut playing real low in the background, the sun is high in the sky, it’s a lazy Saturday of sorts and folks are cruising their cars, going wherever they’re going – because, really, where is everyone going? You turn off the main drag onto a quaint suburban neighborhood street, lined with bushy trees and ruffling leaves and a gang of neighborhood kids – most likely the best of friends after that blood pact they made last summer – come from a driveway up the street, in their shirts stained with yesterday’s orange cream popsicles too many and mysteries.
In perfect V-formation, the kids zip around your car on the mere edges of their worn down tires, with smiles busting from ear to ear, and you watch them, tranced, from your now parked position. You notice how the rotation of their tire spokes blur into a gray metallic smear as they gain speed and slow down, but your focus comes back eventually and you can see in the foreground, a perpetuating sparkle. It’s a sparkle made of the glares of Toyota Prius clear coats that sit in every other driveway, the back of some bald dad’s head, who is mowing the lawn and this faint shower of water spouting from an old aluminum sprinkler as it sits on a beautifully manicured lawn.
It’s all very ordinary, really; just like any other day in suburban America on a Saturday in spring, but your ear catches something; something that doesn’t belong here, but yet it does, and, quite frankly, you find it extraordinary.
It’s coming from the ground opening of an aluminum midcentury modern garage door – you know, one of those that are made to look like “unique art” made of solid wood, but are really indistinguishable from one to the next. But, the garage door really isn’t of interest to you, rather, it’s these sounds that are coming from within that garage that are luring you in a way you love.
These candied tones of rhythmic undulations gain speed toward you, swooping over the clear coat roofs of those sparkling Priuses and it smacks into you; into the strings of your heart and you’re soaked with nostalgia and optimism like a sponge.
For a moment you remember with such clarity, the days when life’s worries were still years away from you; when the only real worry was finishing Ms. McNamara’s English syntax homework by third period, but you’d find a way to copy from someone else as you always did – connect gangs.
It’s then when you understand what it is – this feeling, this vibe, these memories; it’s straight jam and it’s contaminated you all over again, with the one thing society has worked so hard to cleanse from you – it’s happiness and joy.
The band, Chives, is their name and they’re a Santa Ana four-person group, known for their tones that inspire and remind you of the old days; the better days, when “worry” simply wasn’t in your vocabulary.
They started from friendship, as the good bands always do, anyway, looping together amp cords with duct tape and that signature used pillow, yellowed with spit and age, lying limp at the bottom of the bass drum to control the resonance.
The guys – Nicholas Gomez, Mike Geyer, Joey Jimenez and Paul Soultanakis – gather here every week, amidst the typical clutter of a suburban family garage, to run through the songs of their latest extended play Monotonous that released on Bandcamp October 20, 2017.
And, they’re just so ridiculously underrated that it hurts; with just 1,000 Bandcamp listeners and 109 Instagram followers. But, you like to think of these figures as simple testament of their present journey to a bigger, much bigger, discovery.
“We’re in the infancy stages of the band,” said Nicholas Gomez who plays guitar, vocals, keyboard and banjo. He also writes the band’s songs with a lyrical formula that means nothing but avocation for life.
Their song “Take Me Back”, for example, was inspired by the time Nicholas watched old VHS videos of his girlfriend as a small child in Mexico and became nostalgic and wishful of having known her when she was young and innocent then.
“Fell & Franklin” was written about Nicholas’ past life in San Fran, the big city, when and where he worked for an old beatnik venue called Rickshaw Stop.
“I’m really trying to set the scene of being young – no real stress, no “real job”, no money and in a big city,” said Nicholas.
“Someday”, on the other hand, was written with and through multiple meanings of life’s tribulations, but all juxtaposed into one central theme: leaving the nest for the first time and forever.
“I wrote part of the song in 2013, when I was leaving my childhood home for the first time. I wrote the other half in 2016, when I left San Fransisco. In both instances, the feeling of leaving my home was evident. The first of which is my physical home, a place at which I grew up. The second was “home” as in a person; leaving this person behind, but knowing it was only temporary and that someday we’d get back to the life we always knew,” said Nicholas.
In a way, the band, Chives, plays music of memories. Like memory, it plays such a role in our life and allows us to remember skills that we’ve learned, old faces we love or once loved and retrieve information that is stored in the depths of our complicated human minds.
You exit your car now, and walk toward that happenin’ garage and a sensory phenomenon takes over your mind, spirit and soul. You’ve lost control at this point, because you’re drawn to it. Yeah, you weren’t invited to the party per se, not in the traditional way of being “invited” anyhow, but you knew about this meeting taking place, because you’re on the same neurologic wavelength in order to interpret the signs. It’s called Chives-in’, -er… jiving, and it’s never felt so damn good. The music taps into your deep memories and brings you back to life, an old life, that enables you to feel like yourself again, to converse, socialize and stay present.
It’s nothing short of miraculous; it’s the band, Chives – homegrown with sunshine and lazy Saturdays in some ordinary garage in some ordinary SoCal suburban neighborhood.
If you dig, you can buy the band, Chives’, extended play on Bandcamp for $3 here. Enjoy.