On the way to the top, it is still all about the music
Smoke wafts through the dark club in the dim red light. On stage, a single guitarist paces from mic to mic. A bassist, drummer and another guitarist jump on stage the group and together floor the room with blast of rock and roll. The empty room echoes all the sound back to them.
“A sound check is us standing on stage playing one song or two songs we’re going to play in the show to nobody and trying to look really cool,” said Michael Gossard, the lead singer of the alternative rock band ACIDIC.
On Nov. 21, the band visited Lewiston on their last tour of the year. Gossard said the band was participating in this brief, three-show tour because it was for charity. The “Show Us Your Cans” went through Spokane, Lewiston and Great Falls, Montana. Tickets were $5 plus a can of food. All of the food and money goes to charity so people had food to eat on Thanksgiving, Gossard said.
“We decided, yeah, of course we have to do this,” he said. “It’s around the holidays and everyone likes eating food on Thanksgiving, so why don’t we help give the best of both worlds.”
Charity is something all four members of ACIDIC have been interested in for a long time. They have done multiple shows for the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society because their drummer, Matt Whitaker, is a cancer survivor. Unfortunately, this year the band couldn’t do as many charity shows because they were focused on building the ACIDIC store and recording their fifth album.
Los Angeles based band began playing together in 2007 and started touring three years later. They have put out four albums and are currently working on their fifth. Touring with larger bands was a great experience, Gossard said.
“At first we were intimidated because these were bands we really liked,” he said. “But after a while, we started to see, they put their pants on the same way everybody else does.”
ACIDIC participated in this past Vans Warped Tour — something Gossard did not expect. The Vans Warped tour draws thousands of people to every show and increases exposure to all outlets, Gossard said.
“I remember getting a phone call from our producer saying ‘You guys are going to be on Warp Tour this year’ and it was insane,” Gossard said. “Literally, I hung up the phone and was like ‘wait, what? Really?’ But a lot more people know about us now than they did, so that’s pretty wonderful.”
Gossard said the band is currently working on its fifth album. He said this album is his favorite because a lot of the recording and editing work is taking place in his own studio. He has been engineering his own vocals, which means he goes into the studio to set up microphones and amps, and sets all of the sound levels.
“It’s a process,” he said. “And a lot of letting go in that.”
Gossard has to send his vocals to someone else to be edited. He said he has no problems doing anyone else’s vocals, but his he just can’t hear right.
“It’s perfectionism,” Gossard said. “If I did it, I would be in the studio forever saying ‘I’m gonna work on this until it’s perfect, and I’m not leaving. Get me my fifth cup of coffee please.”
Gossard began writing and playing music at a young age, as the other members of the band did as well, and has been interested in music his entire life.
“Well, not my entire life,” he said. “I didn’t come out of the womb holding a guitar and singing.”
Gossard earned experience playing at several shows and figured that music was something he thought he could do. He said music is a kind of gift that sometimes feels like it just comes with the times, while some certain experiences will change thought processes. Music is just a reflection of what a band is thinking, Gossard said.
“I can’t really tell you where it comes from,” he said. “I just know that there will be times where I go through something important for some reason, good or bad, and I’ll sit down on the guitar or in the studio and all of a sudden there’s this riff. It’s like it was just meant to be there. I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing.”
Claire Whitley can be reached at email@example.com