Monday, September 26, 2011

Day 81: Irish Car Bombs

This blog title has a double meaning. First, it's a reference to the drink which, while I've never had it because of my alcohol allergy I understand tastes like Disneyland. Second it's a super secret reference to one of my favorite punk bands, Authority Zero. Shaun and I just saw them here in Austin and I had almost forgot how fun their shows are. After the show we hung out for a bit and had a drink with Jason and Jeremy, the singer and bass player respectively. The guys are really nice and seemed pretty excited to see some old fans in attendance. I don't really have a cohesive post about them, but I do have a few minor stories related to the band that I can share.

Authority Zero hails from the Phoenix area. I first remember hearing of them when Shaun and I went to the Phunk Junkeez tenth anniversary shows on one of my Christmas vacation trips back to AZ in December of 2001. I had never heard of Authority Zero at the time, but they're the only band that I can remember seeing during those shows, so I guess that says something. I specifically remember being struck by the song "Sky's the Limit."

A few years later when I was a little better acquainted with their music I received a bass from my parents for Christmas. I never took any lessons, I was just motivated to teach myself. At that time in high school I was listening to a lot of punk and ska music. The bass lines I loved to learn more than anything were written by Royce Nunley of The Suicide Machines and Jeremy Wood of Authority Zero. In my senior year we were required to do a research paper that had to include an interview related to your subject. I decided to do my paper on the roll of bass in music, specifically bass guitar in rock music. For my interview I contacted Jeremy and he was nice enough to answer my questions via e-mail. During the speech part of my senior research paper I brought my own bass in and played along with about a minute of an Authority Zero song called "Over Seasons." It was partly to kill some time during my speech, but it was also a great example of how important a good bass line is.

In, I believe, 2002 or 2003 Authority Zero supported Sum 41 on tour and I got to meet Jeremy face to face. He was super nice and took me to their bus to play some bass. It was a very cool experience and I actually did learn a lot about playing his style in that short amount of time.

Once, while I was living in Phoenix but visiting Austin with my wife Authority Zero happened to be playing a show here. We went to the venue and I talked to Jeremy a little before the show. He asked me if I wanted to play a song with them. I told him I knew "Sky's the Limit" the best, but he said that was kind of a special one for them to play so I told him that was alright, I didn't need to play a song. During the show right before they started "Sky's the Limit" he called me up on stage to play it anyway. It was a little tricky, especially because Jeremy is quite a bit taller than me and he has his bass set at a lower level than I do. I felt like it was hanging past my knees, but I did alright to keep up with the rest of the band.

Some time later, back in AZ, we went to see them play a "secret show." They used to play under fake names in Phoenix a lot just for fun. People always knew who they were and the shows were always packed. That particular night they were playing under one of their favorite fake names, The Irish Car Bombs (see, I told you it was a reference to the band). I talked to Jeremy before the show and he told me to come to the side of the stage during a certain song so I could jump up and play "Sky's the Limit" again. This was a much different experience than playing in a tiny bar in Austin in front of about 70 people. I had a great time and I actually got recognized a few days later at work by someone who was at the show. It was a little weird actually.

That's probably enough Authority Zero related stories for one post. I'll just leave you with some music. Enjoy.

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