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Scissors For Lefty [rank: 283]

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Scissors for Lefty

"Listing influences is patently absurd. Either a group cribs so blatantly from their heroes that they sound like a tribute band; or, like Scissors for Lefty, they swim upstream to the point where picking influences from the current is practically arbitrary. On Underhanded Romance, the attentive listener can hear snatches of everything from the Beach Boys to Brian Eno, from the Feelies to Modern English, from samba to the Seven Dwarfs, whistling while they work. The album has layers to it: on one level it's finely polished, but underneath, everything is in a state of flux. From background screams to handclaps, there are no rote rules as to what can turn up in a Scissors song.

The band, like its songs, is made up of disparate elements that somehow fit. The Krimmel brothers, Peter and James, learned to sight read while taking lessons as children on a beat-up baby grand that belonged to their great grandmother, an opera singer. But music didn't really come alive for them until their teens, when James taped the entire 'Beatles A to Z' weekend on Southland station KLSX, and he and Peter taught themselves guitar by playing along. 'To this day I know the Beatles more alphabetically than by chronology,' James says. Their mother is a pop singer from the Malaysian half of Borneo, whose songs, in her native language of Bidayu, are still played on the radio in her homeland; while their father is a Christian missionary from Wisconsin, fluent in five languages, who met their mother while in the Peace Corps. On trips to Borneo to visit their twenty-some-odd first cousins, the brothers remember playing acoustic guitar accompaniment during huge village sing-alongs to peckerwood country legend Jim Reeves, who, for whatever reason, is hugely popular there.

Scissors for Lefty have moved tight knit, somewhat highbrow art and music collective of San Luis Obispo to the no less discerning, but more fashion-forward and ass-shaking scene in San Francisco. Since then they've shared the stage with the Arctic Monkeys, Paul Weller, Dirty Pretty Things, Grandaddy, Metric, The Fratellis, Panic! at the Disco, The Fiery Furnaces, Black Heart Procession, I am Spoonbender, Erase Eratta, Pedro the Lion, Dengue Fever..."

[reproduced or excerpted from band website linked above]


Bandega Interview with Bryan Garza of Scissors For Lefty (December 2007)

Bryan Garza of Scissors For Lefty proves that backyard shows are perfect for sowing.

Q: How have your shows changed over the years? Has your perspective on performing live changed?
A: Hmm, good question. I'm going to answer these questions with "In Rainbows" playing through my headphones. It's a little noisy here in the van at the moment, and I've been wanting to give it a listen. Anyhoo, in the early days, our shows were spaced apart by seasons. Autumn leaves to April showers. From one show to the next, there might be significant haircuts, and somebody would have a new toy to experiment with on stage. Didn't you have a red guitar last year? You'd think that this would make bigger and badder shows, but really, these shows would have too much riding on them. Somebody might have butchered their solo, or perhaps the monitors weren't on, and so we'd want to "Kill it this time!" The problem with that rationale lies in the environment of baby band shows. Set times get cut, stage mixes are different from place to place, and connecting with an audience isn't something you can plan. These days, our shows are spaced apart by days, if not hours. We just rely on our impulsive nature to mix 'em up. We're much better off that way, for we work better under pressure. I imagine tradeoffs exist between shows of the past and those of late, but to be honest, we're just flattered that people are up for having us out.

Q: Describe the most memorable live show you've played.
A: You're asking a Libra to pick a favorite. Can't be done. Tell you what, I'll list 3 that blew our minds:

1) Battle of the Bands in Windsor Heights, Iowa. We were getting an oil change for the van, and heard some competition of teenage bands out in the distance. So, we crashed it, and asked if we could sneak in a song. Well, we ended up playing right before the judges gave away the awards, and most of the town was right there. This little idea was sooo last minute, and the town gobbled it up and then asked for seconds. Whether it be work, exercise, love, or your hobby, I can't express how much better it is to play things by ear. We had such an authentic/fun time there.

2) Columbia Hall in Germany, with The Arctic Monkeys. It seemed as if all of Germany was there. An endless sea of curious souls. Never before had we played with people so close to us. Their arms were literally draped over the stage, their fingertips were upon our pedals. We came on green as can be, never playing in front of an audience that big before. All I can say is, they were so good to us, plus we loved watching The Arctic Monkeys to boot.

3) Saleema's backyard birthday party in The Haight. Tell you what, it's one thing to play a stage with lighting, great sound, etc. It's another to play a party, with all items related to the show's luster being in your hands alone. Anyhoo, we had to bust our ass to make this show happen, not to mention, the party was already in action. Well, the best part about this show was the backyard environment. Not only were we playing a backyard, we were playing a backyard that could be seen from every balcony 'round the neighborhood. For a baby band, this was our first glimpse at playing for a shit load of enthusiastic peeps. This show really welcomed us into San Francisco. Not to mention, some beautiful soul kidnapped me, and fucked my brains out. I was really looking to sow my oats back then, and that really helped me out on my quest.

Q: What venue do you consider to be your "home", where you feel most comfortable, with the crowd and the place itself?
A: Bottom of the Hill has a special place in our hearts.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: Rocking out to Dirty Pretty Things in New York. Awww, what a good night. I guess it's been a year or so now since that show, but we were lucky ducks to open for them 2 nights in a row at The Bowery Ballroom. Don't get me wrong, there have been many a great live show experiences. That one just happens to be the most Rock 'n Roll.

Q: 20 years from now, a woman's telling her kids a story about the Scissors For Lefty New Year's Eve show at Bottom of the Hill in Aught 7. Tell that story.
A: Well son, now that you're twenty years old...

Show Reviews for Scissors For Lefty

Date & Venue Reviewed by
Aug 30, 2008 - Rickshaw Stop popup anna2913
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