You + Me Tour Phase 3
May 12, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

As The Polyphonic Spree embarks on Phase 3 of their You + Me tour, a fan made video features backstage and rehearsal footage and in-concert filming along with an interview with group founder Tim Delaughter about the creation of the band.
posted by hippybear (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've reached a stage in my life where I am fine with the music anyone else chooses to listen to. Some of the more mindbogglingly amazing folks I've ever met have absolutely worshiped music that goes against everything that my ears understand to be good and pleasant and interesting. It took me really way too long to learn this, though, and it wasn't an easy lesson for me to digest by any means whatsoever. That said, there's a few anecdotes from before I'd reached this realization that I still find no problems with repeating. This is a really brief version of one of them, and I feel I might have to apologize in advance for what can only be construed as a negative attitude towards the band in question. See, before this incident took place, I really had no feelings one way or another towards the band. I'd seen a few minutes of their sets here and there, as I was a teenager extremely wrapped up in music and bands I liked - usually touring bands - found themselves playing on the same bills as the band in question.

Now that I've built it up to this level, I'm starting to realize that the story itself isn't that interesting or long at all, but it does still have something marginally to do with the text in the post, so I'll go ahead and relate it anyway: In 1994 or so while he was in his former band Tripping Daisy*, Delaughter was meaner to me than he had any right to be. He was a total and complete asshole to someone who was probably 10 tears his junior in front of what it was easy to assume he felt was a sympathetic audience. I hadn't even done anything to deserve he wrath, though - I'd been talking about an auxiliary fellow from my social circle to my group of friends, not Delaughter as Delaughter thought. He challenged me in this weird put-on way, and for a second or two I didn't know how to react. I was a scrappy 17 year-old at the time, though, and not only held my ground but made him look like the dick he was in front of a good-sized crowd in the parking lot of the club Trees in Dallas. I think that was the first time in my life I understood the meaning of "sulked away with his tail between his legs." He was the local rock star and I was nobody, and that moment was a big and memorable event for me. It helped me with confidence issues I'd been having, it impressed a cute girl that I was sure needed impressing, and it gave me pats on the back from friends for nearly a whole week.

The only time I've ever heard the faux-cult Polyphonic Spree was when they opened for Primal Scream while that band was at a pretty low point - the tour with Kevin Shields as a hired guitarist. Oh, and I think I hear them in a car commercial. In any case, I actually learned some important life lessons from that exchange, believe it or not. I probably would've learned them sooner or later anyways, but I'm not often able to look back and remember my coming of age moments and I know for sure that was one of them. So thanks, Tim. While I can't say that I really owe you one, I can say that you played an interesting part in my development.

*Tripping Daisy. His band was called Tripping Daisy. Let that soak in for a minute or two.
posted by item at 7:29 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

In 1994 or so while he was in his former band Tripping Daisy*, Delaughter was meaner to me than he had any right to be.

At the show I attended in Seattle a couple of months ago, someone else waiting in line to get into the show said something about Delaughter (pronounced "Delotter" for those curious) being a bit more of an asshole than he might ought to be. The general consensus in line was, whether he's an asshole or not, what he's seeking to do with this Spree project is plant seeds of love and light into the world. And while on the surface this may seem hypocritical, it may be a form of compensating, and that any good and love and light which might come out of his Spree project is just a bonus in a world which is full of assholes anyway and most of them aren't doing anything at all to counteract the darkness and spite they breed in their existence.

Take that for what you will. I'm sorry you had a negative encounter with the man nearly 20 years ago. Perhaps he's still exactly that same person. Perhaps the death of his bandmate which brought Tripping Daisy to an end started a chain of change within him. Perhaps that change is not yet completely and yet he's still trying to put out into the world what he'd like his own end point to be. As someone (Gandhi) said "be the change you want to see".

But if that one moment in your life 18 years ago has forever soured you on this one man and any current or future project he might be involved in, I really don't know what else to tell you.

I've met him more than a couple of times as a fan, and he's seemed quite alright but a bit highly strung (as would I be if I were fronting a band which ranges from 15-28 members on any given night), and my exchanges with him were entire on the "hey, I'm a fan, you're that guy, thanks so much) kind of level.
posted by hippybear at 7:44 PM on May 12, 2012

I've also had the frontman of another favorite band (Rusted Root) be a complete shit to me during a lobby meet-and-greet after a show. Doesn't mean I stop going to their shows and buying their albums. Does mean I don't bother meeting him in the lobby afterwards, because who needs to deal with someone being a shit to you for no apparent reason?
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on May 12, 2012

OMG thank you so so much for posting this. I had no idea they were on tour, but luckily there might still be time for me to get tickets to the Boston show. so excited. I saw them in Tucson several years back and it was one of the best nights of my life.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:47 PM on May 12, 2012

Eh. I didn't really mean for it to be a statement of where I feel he is as a person today (or really was then, even). It just helped me to realize some things that I hadn't yet realized about popularity and adoration and the such. I have absolutely no beef with him today. I have several friends who've played in PS, and though a couple don't speak highly of him on a personal level, they all seem to admire his business prowess.
posted by item at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2012

...which again might make it seem like I think bad things about him, and I don't. He's a stranger, always has been and likely always will be.

I've had what can only be said are tumultuous professional and personal relationships with both obscure and fairly well-known musicians in the nearly 20 years since I was a teen in that parking lot. I am 100% certain that the same musicians would say the same things if not worse about me. My interaction with TL was just a stepping stone for me, and I could have just as well have left his name out of it but, then, where's the fun in that?
posted by item at 7:57 PM on May 12, 2012

I find this band to be creepy. I've never felt that way about a band, not even those (or especially not those) bands that are trying to creep me out. It's almost an uncanny valley-like feeling.
posted by basicchannel at 7:57 PM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

Made of Star Stuff: this tour is pretty great. It's largely smaller venues, with various bits and pieces of the entire band present during any given phase or even show of the tour, and the energy of the band and crowd is really great. I hope you can get tickets for their show in your area. I almost didn't go to the Seattle show (it's a 4 hour drive to get there from here), but came home more fired up for what they are and what they are doing than I had been before when I'd seen them 3 times previously.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on May 12, 2012

hippybear: I got 'em. It's done. It's happening. I just watched this video and got all kinds of tingly happy feelings up my arms thinking about how wonderful it's going to be to have all that sound and goodness coming straight at me.

basicchannel: So, yeah, they can have a little bit of a weird Stepford-wife feel to them for some people. I've found that some folks just love 'em and really, really get into it, and some folks are really put off. What, don't you like to be happy?
╮ (. ❛ ᴗ ❛.) ╭

This is music that is made for drawing you out of despair. Some of what people find creepy or off-putting about them is the stuff that I identify with "faking it until you make it." There's a strong sense of making a conscious, deliberate attempt to be happy and enjoy life for what it is. A recognition of how hard life is on some people, coupled with an almost desperate hope that things will get better. Of course that can feel creepy. But it's also been where I've lived sometimes, so I find it extraordinarily uplifting and soothing.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 8:12 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Made of Star Stuff: show up plenty early, meet the band before the show near the bus, meet other hardcore fans, get a spot right next to the stage, see Sweet Lee Morrow work his magic with great lyrics and a powder blue guitar, see The New Fumes do befuddling and entrancing noise music, then see the Spree. It's a fantastic evening, lots of variety in the music, and if you're anything like me, you'll walk away with a new appreciation of several Spree tracks you've heard a zillion times before.
posted by hippybear at 8:17 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

All the weird stories I've heard about Tim DeLaughter at this point make it hard not to think of him as like, an indie rock Carlos Mencia or something...just lacking in some basic quality of decency or self-awareness, and with an attitude out of all proportion to his talent.
posted by anazgnos at 9:52 PM on May 12, 2012

I saw them supporting The Divine Comedy at the Royal Festival Hall in 2002 - the side door to the auditorium opened and all these people walked in, one after another after another. The walking in, in itself, was impressive. During the show, the PA failed, but they carried on playing - or at least the acoustic instruments did - without amplification. In the Royal Festival Hall. That was quite astounding, and solidified my at-that-time-burgeoning theory that amplification separates the performers from the audience rather than bringing them together.

The PA kicked in at just the right moment. I don't think it was arranged, but if it was it was hugely brave, and they pulled it off wonderfully.

I liked the tunes hugely, too (they did a hastily-organised free show in the Ballroom at the RFH the following Saturday that I went to that was a lot more like a rock show and a lot more informal), but what struck me primarily were the thing about amplification and the extraordinary dramatic power of a large group of people walking in together in co-ordinated clothing.
posted by Grangousier at 1:54 AM on May 13, 2012

Thanks much, I'm always delighted by the Spree. The first time I saw them is still one of my favorite Bonnaroo memories -- turning some corner in the afternoon unsuspectingly and coming face to face with the Polyphoninc Spree going at it full blast. Apart from the visual surprise, there's just something about the music -- like the finishing cord from a big Broadway musical, is what I remember thinking at the time, extended for an entire concert. I've seen them a bunch of times since and always enjoyed the hell out of it.

Another favorite Spree memory: walking through Central Park during the Gates installation, something happy on the iPod, somewhere up in the 80s or 90s on the West Side, a weekday morning with not many people around, and whoa, what is this -- the Polyphonic Spree in full regalia, having their band photo taken with the Gates! They were lined up along the path, and I had to dodge through the entire band to pass them. Great fun.
posted by muckster at 2:33 AM on May 13, 2012

Huh. Yeasayer has also reached "Phase 3." [FB link]
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:21 AM on May 13, 2012

I don't get "happy" from this band at all. I get the fakest of saccharine, marketing-ish, pretending to be happy while secretly dying on the inside, from this band.

You know that phrase from the Most Annoying Song In The World, "do all your shopping at Wal-Mart?" That's what Polyphonic Spree sounds like to me.
posted by Foosnark at 6:26 AM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't say the Spree does much for me either, but I'm always amused when the superficially bland music that supermarkets and big box stores select has some subversive or at least subcultural content or association that was almost certainly not intended. My favorite example being Steely Dan's Hey Nineteen.....
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:47 AM on May 13, 2012

...and I've lost the link I used to have to in-store music use infoz... :(

I'd bet Spree really does get played in stores though....

posted by snuffleupagus at 6:50 AM on May 13, 2012

They're a more complicated band than simply being "happy". They have tracks full of melancholy like We Crawl, and they also have sprawling prog-rock epics like When The Fool Becomes A King. They also do a pretty great cover of Nirvana's Lithium. They have plenty of songs about happy and joy, but that's not all they do. Not by a long shot.
posted by hippybear at 6:50 AM on May 13, 2012

Wow, the sound in that Fool/King link is terrible. This one seems to be a lot better: When The Fool Becomes A King.
posted by hippybear at 6:52 AM on May 13, 2012

I've always thought of them as if The Flaming Lips and Godspeed You Black Emperor had a love child that was on an MDMA drip.
posted by empath at 10:11 AM on May 13, 2012

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