Slambovian Circus of Dreams opens Underground Sound Series at Vilar Center
If you go …
What: Slambovian Circus of Dreams, part of the Underground Sound Series.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek
Cost: $24, or purchase an Underground Sound Pass, with entry to all seven shows and seven drinks, for $100.
More information: Tickets are available at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or at www.vilarpac.org.
Underground Sound Series single tickets on sale
The Vilar Performing Arts Center recently announced that all single show tickets have been released for sale for the Underground Sound series. Ticket prices vary by show and range from $20 to $30, with series passes (seven shows, seven drinks and a Dusty Boot five-beer punch card) set at $100. Both the pass and single tickets are currently on sale at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or at www.vilarpac.org.
• Sunday, Oct. 4 — Crystal Bowersox, $24.
• Monday, Oct. 12 — Todo Mundo, $20.
• Tuesday, Oct. 20 — Mnozil Brass, $30.
• Sunday Oct. 25 — Nagata Shachu, $24.
• Monday, Nov. 2 — Penny and Sparrow, $20.
• Sunday, Nov. 8 — Face Vocal Band, $24.
There’s a pause as Joziah Longo emerges from the depths of his underground lair, where he’s been furiously scribbling lyrics, digging into the primal Neverland from whence the magical beast that is the Slambovian Circus of Dreams emanates. His wife, Tink Lloyd, warns of his current state of creative delirium.
“I’ll let you talk to the mad man,” she says, by way of an introduction, and then Longo is on the phone, explaining himself at a frenetic pace, the words chasing one another out of his mouth.
“I write so much music, it’s insane, and I shift into that mode every once in a while,” he says. “I get so far into the right hemisphere that I’m pretty dysfunctional in every way, that I’m writing five or six songs simultaneously, so when I’m in that state, she’s a little afraid to be around me.
“I’m writing some really good stuff right now down in the basement,” he says before wandering off on the first of many tangents.
The Slambovian Circus of Dreams officially came together in the late ’90s, a curious amalgam of musicians and instruments that espoused the sovereign tenets Longo developed in his previous years roaming the planet.
“Every major label wanted to work with this band,” Longo said. “They approached us all the time, but we wouldn’t work with anything like that because we didn’t want to be chained to a label and what they do and how they’re able to control things.”
Instead, the Circus began to hone its craft independently in certain-sized venues, not big but not tiny, either, trying to grow its influence organically. The band became a vehicle for finding what was true and real in the world and distilling that for a musical audience, without the shackles of record deals and big-name producers.
Lloyd said the band anticipated the deconstruction of the music industry when they walked out of New York City, but striking out on your own back then was perceived as complete insanity. The Slambovian Circus of Dreams was ahead of the curve in that respect.
“You’re smart enough to know you’re a little too fragile to get caught up in the industry,” Longo said. “We’re evolving as a human race, connected to these little things that allow us to communicate on a massive level. And the old existing industries don’t even know what to do with it. Their ability to control is vanishing.”
Corporations are eventually going to disintegrate and it will come down to individual expression, Longo said, but for now, it’s an exciting time to work within the existing infrastructure. Part of that is dredging up mediums that, for a while, were displaced.
“We wanted to do video, but there was nowhere to put it,” Lloyd said. “MTV died, but with the advent of the Internet really being able to have much more capacity, now it’s time to do videos again. There’s somewhere to put them, where you’re free to put them and there are no gatekeepers.”
“What do you do with video? How do you turn your writing, your blog into something that people who have a correlative base with you can interact to make your lives enriched?” Longo said. “You stick it up for your 8,000 real fans. You stick it up and you do that, and you become a broadcasting station.”
Since the Slambovian Circus of Dreams last visited the valley in 2009, its music has evolved, distilled down to a more simplistic form from its original primordial cacophony.
“We were biting off a big thing. We were trying to be a very nonlinear band,” Longo said. “We were pretty hard for people to categorize back then. People wanted to work with us but didn’t know what box to put us in back then.”
“Things have turned inside out in a really healthy way,” Lloyd said. “The caterpillar went into the cocoon, and now we’re like a butterfly coming out of the cocoon — especially with our next album, which we’re really excited about.”
The album, titled “A Very Unusual Head,” hearkens back to the band’s romantic, early influences, albums like The Rolling Stones’ “Aftermath” that incorporated an eclectic symphony of instruments with raw, simple production.
“That’s the stuff we love, that took no time — let’s make sure we didn’t take too much time — how to get back to that raw, immediate, get-it-done-quick stuff. We’re in that space,” Longo said. “The ‘A Very Unusual Head’ album is let Joziah be this Syd Barrett, this fragile, insane freak.”
When he’s on stage, Longo retreats to that “unusual head,” a right-brain bunker where pragmatic thinking is necessarily discarded in favor of becoming a sort of wild thing, teetering between yin and yang. It’s an empathetic, slightly irreverent and ethereal place from which he connects with the audience.
“Everyone can walk out with a higher understanding from gathering in that place,” he said. “How you can deal with the upcoming week by what you’ve unraveled and understood in concert. I think we’re all looking for that entertaining, physical factor, as well as the spiritual, inspirational factor, that can happen in music and art.
“We’re trying to achieve something in a room, trying to give as much as you can to people, to this medium, this concert that we all like.”
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