Adam and Dave’s Bloodline
Conversation/transcription by Andy Pareti
Photos provided by Julie Terrell
Who they are: Adam Garbinski and Dave Petersen, dynamic duo behind the Philly band that opened recently for the Meat Puppets and Jay Reatard and are readying their new album, Boycott Classics, for a May release. The band’s sound is as sporadic as their music tastes, which vary from Guided By Voices to worldbeat to the Grateful Dead. Other members include Brian Newell (drums), Kirk Henderson (bass, keyboard and vocals) and Lois Keenan (vocals and percussion).
The interview: Having been mercilessly denied with locked doors from their ritualistic, Sunday afternoon Bloody Mary at a local bar, we trek a couple blocks to the Silk City Diner, one of the only places available that serves alcohol on a Sunday. Garbinski is dressed in tight black jeans and a derelict of a wicker hat I think my mom used to own, while Petersen sports a hoodie and a thick, Samuel Beam-style beard. The diner is pretty crowded, and we struggle at times to outduel the audile tumble of orders being placed and Elton John pouring out the speakers above. Garbinski (left, first photo) is dressed in tight black jeans and a derelict of a wicker hat I think my mom used to own, while Petersen (right, first photo) sports a hoodie and a thick, Samuel Beam-style beard.
The band’s name: drawing from the “Bloodline”:
Dave: It’s a song I wrote called “Bloodline” a long time ago, and Adam was very fond of it. When we decided to have a band, we were knocking around titles; I think we had a big, long list on our laptop, and it totally turned from like real band names into funny band names into…
Adam: Dirty band names…
Dave: Into like, fake, dirty movie names, but we settled on this one.
Adam: Yea, “Bloodline” was a song that we liked, and I think we always liked names of bands like Sam and Dave, Jan and Dean, and things like that. And we were like ‘okay…Adam and Dave something.’ On our demo collection we’re called Adam and Dave’s Substitute for True Love. I think the original idea was to call every release something different.
Soundcheck: I can imagine the record label would probably have issues with that idea.
Adam: I know, yea.
Dave: Right away, as soon as it became a real band and we put out a real record and started touring it was like, everyone just calls us “The Bloodline”.
On Bill Moriarty and the EP, New Age Boredom:
Adam: The EP was self-produced and recorded but we had it mixed by Bill [Moriarty], who has done a lot of cool Philly bands like Tough Shits, Man Man, Dr. Dog, and he really kind of mixed it live, there’s a little extra grit on it, so that was pretty cool.
Dave: He’s very interesting…it kind of sounds how, if you see him do it, he’s kind of like a smaller guy – he’s real enthusiastic, and he’s kind of very right-brained. Not in a condescending way, like nerdy – like in the way you want someone to be nerdy. He kind of gets up on the control board, not in like a weird, flashy, ‘I’m crazy’ way, but just listening, and he’s reaching for knobs, and I realized at one point, I looked up and he’s crawling on the console, and he’s changing things around. It was just real interesting to see his approach and see the way he makes things sound the way they do. He was very cool and we’re very happy with it.
Soundcheck: Are we gonna see any of those songs on Boycott Classics?
Dave: Not on the record.
Adam: Those four songs, it’s gonna be a thing where when you buy the record, you get those four songs as free downloads.
Soundcheck: So are there any classics you guys are boycotting?
Adam: Actually, the reason I like the title so much is, there’s a song on the record called “Boycott Classics”, but it’s not really what it sounds like, which is why I like it. It’s kind of, when you hear it, you’re like, boycott classics? Fuck this! But the song is saying the opposite.
Anatomy of a song: “Hard to Know”MP3: "Hard To Know" by Adam and Dave's Bloodline
Adam: That was just a song I had for a really long time, and I never knew what would happen with it. And then eventually we were like, okay, let’s do it. Let’s try and stab at it. It’s about a guy who’s in a band in Phoenix who killed himself, so it’s kind of a sad story in a way. Musically, I kind of just recorded it quick on an acoustic guitar and sang it like an acoustic song…
Dave: The second try, because the first try was a misfire, I just remembered that!
Adam: So it was sort of just an acoustic guitar and singing thing, and then Dave put like a really, kind of rolling down the road, driving drum [part], and Kirk [Henderson] put a weird, outer space bass line on it like totally after the fact.
Dave: The bass is really kind of, extraordinarily weird on the song – it’s cool, but it’s really weird. We turned the drums back off and said, ‘don’t play with the drums, just listen to the acoustic and singing and play, but don’t ever repeat yourself.’ The idea was, this probably won’t work, but be very untasteful and just play lots of notes.
Adam: That song is something that really happened totally in the studio. The song itself was always there, but we’re glad it kind of accidently sprang to life, because otherwise we probably would have stopped there.
On the local Philly scene:
Soundcheck: Okay, what’s your favorite bar to get wasted at and your favorite bar to play a show at?
Dave: My favorite bar to get wasted at is when [Adam] is working at his bar, ‘cause I can get wasted for free! [Laughs] That’s why I love the South Philly Tap Room. I’ll have to think of one that doesn’t have to do with Adam working and giving me free booze.
Adam: I would say that my favorite bar to drink at, besides the South Philly Tap Room, is the Lost Bar. That’s an experience. We go there a lot, and we do a DJ night there once a month, which is pretty fun.
Dave: It’s a great, great bar, specifically to go to get wasted.
Adam: It’s like a midweek hideaway, destroy-your-life kind of place.
Dave: All the right ways that you want to destroy your life.
Adam: Favorite bar to play, I’d probably say Johnny Brenda’s.
Dave: That’s another great bar too, to get wasted at. It used to be a little bit more of a dive – not in like a purposeful way – just a little quieter and a little more raunchy, and now it’s very popular and it’s nice. Since they opened up the upstairs with the venue, they really put every other venue of that size [to shame].
Soundcheck: Best Philly cheesesteak?
Adam: Steve’s Prince of Steaks.
Dave: You won’t hear that from a lot of people, but it’s not Pat’s, it’s not Gino’s, it’s not Jim’s – though Jim’s is the best, I think, of those few.
Adam: Best record store – Positively Records. Or AKA Records.
Dave: Within the city, AKA is probably the best.
As the food arrives, Dave proceeds to get his slider caught in his beard as the two reflect on the fine dining of Austin, Texas.
Adam: Airport Road – the taco place there is my favorite place in the world. It actually is my favorite place!
Dave: What’s it called? I forget the name.
Adam: It’s a taco place on 53rd and Airport Road in Austin, it’s like the greatest thing in the world.
Dave: From early morning till like one in the afternoon –
Adam: We’ve stopped there even when we weren’t going to Austin, just driving through.
Dave: We’ve driven all night, parked the van on a side street at like 4AM and slept for a couple hours waiting for them to open.
Adam: Any other Philly questions? Where’s the best place to get a pimp suit? Suit Corner!
Soundcheck: If you know some questions about Philly that I’m not asking, go ahead!
Dave: He can offer up quite a few pieces of Philly trivia.
Adam: Yea, I can go for a while.
[Note: After some investigating, it was discovered that the mysterious taco place in Austin is the Tamale House on Airport Boulevard and 51st Street.]