by Jeff Milo
Do we have a Math Channel, I ask him - and Tom, the singer/guitarist of the Ashleys, suggests that the mere activity of channel-changing creates a math-channel onto itself. This brought us into whether we had an English Channel, or a Science Channel, and whether PBS was making a play to become the Science Channel, what with the NOVA programs and what have you - and quickly, Tom's onto suggesting that they could one day be the Planet of the Apes Channel.
This inspires a rant on the 70's flicks, Underneath the Planet of the Apes and the hilarious/tragic whirlwind of Escape from Planet of the Apes. And then Ricardo Montalban makes his way into the conversation and Star Trek references topple in - we follow this to our inevitable conclusion of Star Trek IV The Voyage Home - and Chekov blathering about Nuclear Wessles...1986...Cold War...Communism...
And we're back to Lenin's mummy.
This is all inside 4 minutes. I don't know how or why Tom Bahorski and I achieve such accelerated loops of philosophic/facetious conversational circuits - but I'm starting to wonder if it might have something to do with his musical make-up...
What that is, exactly, is about as hard to pin down as whatever the hell our conversation is actually about--if any one thing at all, or more just orbiting through a series of just-barely-logical-conversational segues of loosely connected subjects (somehow we got from Radiohead, to digital downloads, to constant-information-consumption-to-the-inanity and exasperation of 24-hour-news-cycle pundits) --all of it ripe for rumination and/or satire.
Tom showed up on Detroit's music scene 2-ish years ago, with his guitar, three amps, a pedal for splitting signals and his agile avalanche of a drummer (and his cousin), Steve Olshove. In May last year, they properly released their debut, Can't Take It, (recorded with Jim Diamond).
Since then, Tom's joined post-punk dynamos Pink Lightning on lead guitar, dabbled in a side project of his own more lo-fi neo-psychedelic folk songs, -then dabbled in another side-project of a full five piece band covering seminal late 50's R&B pop-rock ballads, and then went and started riffing out live instrumentals to supplement hip-hop tunes for a project with Passalacqua.
Last week, he was in bicycle shorts on stage, shredding out prog-wrung noise-rock -part of a cover set for Detroit-X-Detroit.
And the conversation swirls... Somehow Avatar leads to twitter which leads to me extolling the values of quality time, social interaction, being here, in person, together, gathering at a show. And then it zips back to Radiohead putting out King of Limbs online last year...and Tom begins extolling the physical product! Music - out, on an album, even if just on CD.
Pink Lightning is releasing their first full length, Happy To Be Here, on April 28th at the Old Miami - but the CD's won't make it through the mail in time, so local listeners can only hear their jams online...in InternetWorld. No jewel case to hold, nothing to put in your car yet.
Frustrating...Tom says. What do you do at a party for a CD you don't have?
Why is it such a stigma?
The physicality of the music means it's done, Tom says. There's nothing left to do then, that's it, it's pressed. The digital thing, you can always go back and change it. When it's pressed and you have the physical thing, -it's done. Move on.
Indeed. Almost one year after their last release, The Ashleys' can't take it...- so, Tom put up a new recording, featuring the bass grooves of their still-new-ish member, Keith Bedore (of Sound and Fury).
Just have it up there, Tom says, to just show people we(the Ashleys) are still doing something.
There's always that conflict...I always want to make really good fast rock records and then really weird other slower records separately...but then combining them can be cool too...
An all-over-the-map-ness... This guy can even play pedal-steel in a gothic-folk trip, if he wanted...
I wanna go for more of that, Tom says, about said-all-over-the-map-ness. That's what I think we...Ashleys...are going for ...'cuz how many times can you play the same bluesy-song over and over again? Turns out a lot of times...you can make a career out of it if you want... The next one's gonna sound different, -if even just cuz I'm gonna do all the recording for it.
We're trying to figure out where we're going...and there was that problem of always wanting to add -this or -that to it, too. I've always been into that but it's hard to keep it then, for the live song.
Tom's leaning towards even more experimentation - to not worry about whether a song can go live on a stage - just aim for really intriguing and intricate recording. "Two-Tone Mambo," however, sounds like a jam you'll likely hear from the Ashleys trio very soon.
I don't know where we were really going with this... ...but, what happened at the end was that Tmo decided he would post a new song Ashleys song...
And so he did.