Does anyone remember the days when rock music used to be interesting? Mother Portland’s own uber-ska folk-punk band the Absent Minds sure as hell do.
Recent Portland State University graduate Joel Hixon and company are way ahead of their game, achieving in less than a year what many groups can only hope to attain: honesty and a passion for playing music that rivals anything the City of Roses has to offer.
Traditional, roots-rock twin guitar attack amalgamates itself effortlessly with the consummate sex appeal of a vicious cello and a more-than-solid rhythm section in the sound of Absent Minds.
This week, singer and guitarist extraordinaire Hixon was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band’s history.
How did the band get started?Absent Minds is a culmination of a lot of ideas and effort that finally manifested itself into what it is today. Joe (the other singer/axe-man) and I met one day in the Food For Thought Cafe, where I was working at the time, and started talking about the music that we liked. This led to the first attempt to play music together in the cold dirty house that I was living in. This led to songwriting sessions and attempts to find other members, with varied success.
How did you incorporate the sound of the cello into the mix, and how did the band evolve from that point on? In early 2007, Isaac Hayden started working at the Food for Thought and played some sessions with my old band. In May of ’07 myself, Joe, Isaac and another PSU student Cory Pullman got together and decided to start a real band. Cory didn’t last long in the group, but he is still a great friend and supporter. We went on to play as an acoustic trio with Joe and I playing guitar, and Isaac on the cello. We played a few shows in this format and got a fairly good response.
So, what happened next? Well, we decided we really wanted to be a rock band more than a folk trio, so the next logical step was to search for a drummer and bassist. Through a stroke of luck and the posting of a Craigslist ad, our current baterista [Editor’s note: we think this means drummer] D.J. found Absent Minds and asked to try out. His drumming complimented the style and took the band in a louder and more complex direction. At about the same time the Vanguard‘s own Shane Danaher joined the band on bass for a brief stint that ended when he went home for Christmas break.
Have you found a permanent bassist yet? Bobby Adams, a childhood friend of mine, really stepped up to bring the thunder on the bass at a crucial moment. This is the current and, hopefully, the final lineup of the band. With the new lineup we’re able to retain qualities of folk, punk, rock, classical, reggae and traditional roots music.
Word. What’s next on the agenda for you guys? We’ve been playing a bunch of house parties and recent shows at Kelly’s Olympian, The Red Room and the Mt. Tabor Legacy Theatre out in Southeast that have been really positive experiences for us. We are playing at the Tonic Lounge on Sandy Boulevard this Wednesday and a big show at the Satyricon on the 26th of February. Then we will be heading into the studio to record our first record. We’re really excited.
Any last words for the good people of Portland? We love what we do and we want to do it more, so come dance and sing and drink with us. I promise it’ll be a good time!
Upcoming Absent Minds showsTonic Lounge Wednesday, Feb. 13 9 p.m.21+$5
w/ The TaxpayersSatyriconTuesday, Feb. 26 7:30 p.m.All-Ages $5