Opening for: The Cranes
Playing at: Liberty Lunch, 405 W. Second St.
Date: 9 p.m. Friday
Daily Texan Staff
Idaho, or if you’re Dan Quayle, Idahoe. I got a call from. Idaho the other day. Big deal? Well, consider the fact that Idaho was cruising down 1-10 through Louisiana at the time.
Idaho is a band, and a band with a cellular phone no less. The band isn’t from Idaho, but California. That isn’t too odd, when you consider there is a band from Scotland called Texas.
Singer, songwriter and general utility man Jeff Martin and John Berry were the core of Idaho, but prior to the making of This Way Out, Idaho’s new Caroline Records release, they split because of. Berry’s drug problem. “Berry just got worse, and it messed up our working relationship,” Mar-tin says.
Reading the liner notes for This Way Out, it looks as though Jeff Martin became Idaho in much the same way that J. Mascis was Dinosaur Jr. for a while.
Martin had to bring in a host of drummers just to complete the album. But the parting is history and Martin has got a band, a tour and they are all on a mission from God. Okay, not really. But for the tour, Idaho is a full-fledged band with Dan Seta (guitar), Jim Brown (bass), and Mark Lewis (drums) accompanying Jeff.
Idaho has been opening up for the Cranes, which may seem like an odd paring.
Martin, though, doesn’t seem to mind. “It is a pretty good match,” he says. “It works out well, because their fans are a little more patient with us and I don’t feel like I have to be rocking put all of the time. The audience is at least interested in our existence.”
The sound of This Way Out is a little less cacophonous musically and depressing lyrically than their first effort. Year After Year, a record that was at times a feedback-a-thon.
“Yeah, this time I actually wrote some guitar parts,” Martin-says. He says the first sessions were almost like running the- tape and then just seeing what noises they got down. What they got is a good soundtrack for ennui and boredom.
“It was a little darker: now it sounds more American I guess”, Martin says, because Idaho has a hard sound to describe. Perhaps it stems from the band’s use of unusual guitars. Martin has forsaken the plain ol’ six-string for four-stringers with tunings that sound like they’re from Mars.
The four-strings “happened- by accident,” he says. “I was with this girl who is now in a band called Ugly Beautiful, and she had this old guitar, lying around her place and two of the strings were missing. I picked it up and just tuned it to what sounded good to me, I didn’t know how to tune a guitar or anything. And I instantly wrote a song, I had never been able to do that before. It became a way to write my own rules. I didn’t have to rely on anyone else.”
Pretty cool story, huh? Martin also has a college dropout tale worthy of some sort of prize. “I went to USC for about 3 months,” he says. “I went in to take a music theory test. I was feeling miserable arid I started to sneeze blood on the test paper. I got up, left the test on the desk with the blood and- snot all over it and just walked out. “ Maybe for extra cash he could do a ‘stay in school’ commercial with David Robinson.
It wouldn’t be the first time Martin has been involved with a famous athlete. He has perhaps the most unusual tak on the O.J. Simpson situation. The recording sessions for This Way Out happened at the same time the Simpson story started developing, and the media helicopters circling above Brentwood were interfering with Idaho’s nearby recording.
“You can hear the noise in the background of some of the album’s really quiet parts,” Martin says. “It’s O.J.’s fault my that my signal to noise ratio is less than perfect”.