Interview : Meet The Band
1.) What does Roem Baur (and his band) have lined up for this fall?
We are writing and orchestrating and getting ready to make a record in the beginning of 2013. This new sound and band started as an arrangement project for the songs of mine that were bursting at the seams of what I could create as a solo act. We were simply dictating the sounds in my head. But a funny thing happened... these guys are having such a great time playing together, they started to create. Arrangement became writing. And sometimes the best thing you can do as the leader, is get the hell out of the way of a good thing.
2.) Tell us a little bit about the 9/22 Cafe Du Nord show.
We are stoked. It's an honor to be asked to play any show, but to play with such a badass group of talent, AND for a CD release party... well, that's having your cake and eating it too. Not to mention the fact that our fans love Cafe Du Nord. It's going to be a Saturday night that won't soon be forgotten!
3.) How long have you all been playing together?
That's a long story. But in short, we've been playing together for a month and a half, or so.
The long story is this, as short as I can make it, Michael (keys) and I have known each other the longest, he played on my first band record in a little garage in Manteca, CA on a reel to reel, about 15 years ago. We used to drive around in my red 65' VW Beetle in college, getting high and listening to a cassette tapes of jazz and "James Brown, Live at The Olympia, 1971." Actually, it was that tape and hearing Stan Kenton's use of tuba in Fuego Cubano that inspired my use of bass horns. As the years went by, Michael and I lost touch, then through a mutual friend, reunited in SF. And like a good lover, I got him back in my bed as soon as possible. That's a metaphor, of course.
David (drums) is also a good friend who've I've known for a long time. He's always someone that I gravitated to during parties because of his wit and great taste in music, and plays the drums like I hear them in my head. He's a little Ringo and a little Bonham. Needless to say, I've been hoping to play with this guy for a while, it just happens to be the right time.
Christian (Trombone) and Kevin (Tuba) came as a set, in a way. I was looking for a tuba player, to use as a bass instrument, and ended up winning the lottery. When I met Christian first, he sold me on Bass Trombone, and I immediately got this idea of a bass horn "section" incorporating Bass Trombone AND Tuba (which I'm sure would fail, but I had to try it). So actually, the horns were the first pieces, and we immediately started writing arrangements to all of my music, not really knowing how it would all work out. Both the guys are characters and there's never a shortage of laughs. The entire band is made up of incredible minds and talent. Every time we get into our rehearsal space, I feel fortunate and inspired.
4.) What is your favorite thing about playing music in the Bay Area?
There is so much diversity and quality in the bay area. And the fans are INFORMED. They know my tuning and guitar make and model. They know time signatures and influences. It never fails to amaze me what people will ask and say when I step off the stage. It's baffling. You'd think they write for Rolling Stone. They really know music.
Here in SF, we might not be considered a to be a music town any more by outsiders, but nobody's told the musicians or true music fans here. My musician friends in Austin and New York have confessed that the rest of the music world always expects the next new thing to come from the west coast. The talent and passion for innovation here is second to none.
5.) What do you like least about playing music in the Bay Area?
There's not enough live music in the Bay Area. And it pains me to see places that have live music, close their doors. The real estate and costs involved are steep for venues which is why I go out and spend my hard earned money on live shows, just like you do. We need to understand as music fans that festivals are not the only places to see live music, and at the very least, your dollar goes much farther at the local club/cafe/theatre. And it's an investment into your local scene.
6.) What advice do you have for local musicians trying to get started in the Bay Area?
Check out open mics to hone your craft and build connections. I started one in an old church, called "Sunday Night Mic", and since installed a pro sound system (the same array as in The Shoreline Amphitheater) just to give musicians and singers a chance to hear their music in an incredible space. It's been a lot of fun working "off stage" to make everyone sound great. I'm always trying to create opportunities for rising talent. It's a way to give back and help build up the scene.
And, I say build to people getting started, because it takes time to make a good name for yourself. People in the music business need to know that you're a hard worker first, THEN a great musician. That said, I'm still building, myself.
7.) What was the last song you were listening to today and why?
I'm listening to that old tape we wore out in my 65' Beetle so many years ago! This interview has made me nostalgic! It's so good and on Spotify here: http://spoti.fi/OgwKCI
Interview by Jay Trainer
All photos by CM Howard