Overheard Backstage at Intonation 2006

Intonation 2006Intonation Fest was a mind-blowing array of sounds and musical perspectives. I had the sweet luck of being on stage to move 80 lb. Fender Twins, Marshall Stacks, and big hunking Ampeg rigs for a couple of days. I also got to hear some pretty cool things:

“I tried to get Rhymefest to join me during my set, but his throat was hurting. That would have been the weirdest supergroup ever: Glenn Kotche on drums, Benmont Tench on keys, Rhymefest and me.”

—Jon Brion after his mostly one-man musical juggling act. He WAS joined by Glenn Kotche and Benmont Tench – a power trio.


“Aww man, I liked that piano”

—Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench, after Jon Brion reverse mule-kicked a miniature tack piano, causing it to collapse backwards taking two microphones and a synthesizer with it.


“It’s a fucking Squire!!!”

—Crowd member after he caught the guitar of Jimmy Hollywood of Chicago’s favorite punk trainwrecks, the Tyrades. The guitar had already received an incredibly painful-looking bare-knuckle beating by its master before being jettisoned 30 feet above the crowd’s heads. After making a miraculous catch the fan immediately turned, walked ten paces and tossed the bloodied guitar into a garbage barrel. Postscript: he went back and retrieved it.


“Not bad, only a few bad notes.”

—Bill Dolan, chicago post-rock guitar wiz.


“There’s Jon Brion. I want to go tell him that I think his version of Fiona Apple’s record is way better. Do you think that would be cool, or maybe it’s a sensitive subject?”

—The Swords bass player Bryan Richie shortly before letting loose an eardrum blistering set of medieval metal.


“Why did Courtney Love feed Alpo to her baby…? Because it’s what comes out of her breasts.”

—Neil Hamburger.


And finally, an embarrassing little exchange I had with Argentinean-Swede songwriter José González just before he began an amazing set of blissful finger-picked guitar and haunting melody:

José: “Hi, what’s your name?”

Me: “My name’s Matt. What’s your name?”

José: “José.” —what I heard: “wudj’you say?”

Me: “Sorry, I said, what’s your name?”

José: “José.” —But, again, what I heard: “wudj’you say?”

Me: (very deliberately, thinking this guy must not know English so good…) “WHAT. IS. YOUR. NAME?”

José: “My name is HOE ZAY.”

Me: “…Oh…umm…yeah. José González, right? You’re gonna be playing next, huh?”

José: “Yeah”

Me: “Cool.”

When he’s not being a volunteer roadie, Matt Schwarz writes songs and scores soundtracks and records them in his bungalow basement studio with his band Quasar Wut-Wut, who released their psychedelic masterpiece, Taro Sound, on Glorious Noise Records in 2004 and are currently recording their follow-up.

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