by Jeff Milo
Tom's got a pipe dream of doing something Andy Kaufman-esque, here. Where he writes a letter to the editor demanding a retraction of the lies printed in this article suggesting that they are, in fact, asses, and then perhaps building a fake beef, east coast vs west coast and inevitably leading to the faking of the deaths of The Ashleys only to come back in a glorious resurgence for their next show as a hologram.
Tom Bahorski's the singer/guitarist of the Ashleys, sitting to my left. To my right is the drummer of the Ashleys, also known as Tom’s cousin, but named properly: Steve Oshlove. Absent is the band’s new-er member, bassist Keith Bedore. Bedore bears no relation to either of the founding members of the Ashleys.
Steve sighs and looks a little stressed. Tom looks lost in deep thought.
These two 25-something-ish, blonde-ish boys slouch, somehow gentlemanly, in their cut-off shorts and sockless slip-on footwear, upon hard wooden chairs in a café as the summer afternoon evaporates into a humid evening hazed by the smoke of barbecues burning flesh and generators growling power into ice-cold mega vats of specialty microbrews.
Pig & Whiskey Festival, day one. And the Ashleys are here sort-of talking about their two new albums: one a collection of “old” originals and the other is a collaboration providing live rock/funk-ish backing instrumentation to hip-hop duo Passalacqua.
They’re at a loss, though, to properly explain the hold-up over releasing their next recording, The Ashleys’ own works, which would be their 2nd proper full length. It could be that Tom’s watching too much SeaLab 2021 or that Steve’s too entranced by Morgan Freeman’s meditative narrations on Wormholes via the Discovery Channel or it could be that instead of talking about their music, what it sounds like, what they think of it, what they’re trying to do with it, they instead end up listing, aloud, ticking off open-palm digits, their Top 5 Favorite Movies of All Time.
“Nobody gets us
” though, Steve laments. "We're somewhere-in-there, but we don't know where. Somewhere off the map..."
If not for quips about Steve having to be the Han Solo-esque interpreter to Tom’s Wookie-esque-communicative-idiosyncrasies, both musically and sometimes’ socially, they might have a chance, hanging on to a thread, of being identifiable.
"I'm the intermediary," Steve says, "Tom can't see very far out from the stage behind sunglasses, but he can see through me...I'm his interpertter, the world's a foreign language to Tom, I can interpret it for him and speak for Tom."
"Like Sanskrit," says Tom "...or a computer program making up what is The Ashleys."
"And Keith's a little farther down even than Tom," says Steve, "You have me, Tom then Keith I cannot directly converse with Keith...I can't understand it but if i talk through Tom then Tom can talk to Keith..."
And then we drift....into tangents, grasping at metaphors, pondering Luke Skywalker's abilities, pitting Pixar movies against one another and whittling down just which of the Wes Anderson movies IS considerable his most "quintessential..." and which of his musical montages is the most poignant? Yes, we talk about Ghostbusters and abominable snowmen and Bjork.
"I've been trying to make actual songs this time," Steve says, utilizing his iPad for compositions. "Not just a straight up beat the entire time; I'm making the arrangements seem more song-like...three or four different sections. I have apps, now. I do all my stuff on my iPad."
The boys just had a "pretty productive Tuesday..." rehearsing with Mister and Blaksmith, the lyricists of Passalacqua.
"We got that 'Cash for Soul'-song, that 'Nutty Professor' song, and that new one," Tom's listing songs they're preparing for the "quintet"'s forthcoming full length album. (The instrumental trio prepares riff-heavy, groove-minded instrumental jams and send them their way, while the MC's pick and choose their fav's and scribble out raps that fit).
The Ashleys are “sitting-on” about two albums’ worth of their own, non-Passalacqua-material. It’s headier stuff, weirder, spongier, dark-dizzy-jam-out-stuff, psychedelic stuff
but it’s not really “new.” These two have been noodling, recording, writing and yelling inside their basement for more than seven years – so some of these songs date back to the George W administration.
But they’ll be new to YOU
If they ever come out, you'll hear something that sounds like their "White Album...."
In the meantime, even if Tom laments that this band’s not “pop” enough to fit in with the pop crowd but not loud or heavy enough to fit in with the “loud or heavy” crowd, they’re gearing up to attempt fitting-in with the hip-hop group, up on a stage on Troy street.
The one song, potentially a single from the yet-to-be-solidified PashleyRockQua album and potentially titled “Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme,” (unconfirmed), comes off successfully, with Steve kick/chopping an effective hip-hop beat atop his minimalist kit (and auxiliary shakers), Bedore digging into a Jamerson-esque, soul-minded bass groove and Tom orbiting dazedly off on an understatedly sizzling funk-flavored riff.
And Passalacqua did their thing.
Now it’s up to the Ashleys to do more of their own things
If they find the time
between Steve’s new job, Keith’s other band and Tom giving serious consideration to composing his own soundtrack. They just love tangents so much, they can’t help it. Don’t be afraid
yes, they’re going to play very loud. But they’re mostly pretty harmless.
July 15 – “Christmas in July” @P.J.’s Lager House ft. The Ashleys, The Kodaks, The Ivy League Crew, Phantom Cats, Ava Luna, The Boy Wonders, The Restless Days, Michael Mars & the God Particle and The Paper Sound
FREE - 4pm--->midnight-ish
Later on, we can expect to see the Ashleys backing Passalacqua again on a local stage.
"Half you're band is going to start showing up in suits," I joke to them, "seeing as how Passalacqua just got that Kresge Grant..."
"No wonder they told us money wasn't an issue..." Steve says, a nodding huh expression in his eyes. "They've already suited us! They got our measurements."
"We'll be in matching all-black and all-white suits when we perform next time," Tom says.
...till next time.