There’s No Place Like Home
10 Foot Pole has been a mainstay of the Lexington music scene since the late 1980’s, cranking out its brand of funky raw energy. The band has experience, and a confidence that shows. At a recent practice session, singer/guitarist Billy Quinn (after reminding me that we were once neighbors) handed me a packet of press clippings saying something about not knowing what my thoughts on plagiarism are, but…Well, there goes the stereotype of the disorganized,unreliable musician.
10 Foot Pole’s got its act together, musically and otherwise. These four guys have created a reputation built on fun-the reckless abandon kind.
There’s a wildness to 10 Foot Pole shows. But you know that going in; you’re just not quite sure what to expect. All you know is that the band is gonna cut loose. “We’re a very live band,” Quinn says.
It’s this live energy that 10 Foot Pole has tried to capture in the studio, with little success. “The one problem with all our recordings,” said basist Brian Arnett, “is that they don’t sound like we sound live.” The band has found a solution to this problem though, with its new live CD, Quite Like Home.
Making use of recording equipment set up above the Wrocklage, four performances were taped between January and April 1994. The album was then pieced together to resemble a typical night out, rough edges and all. The songs weren’t cleaned up in the studio; you won’t find any overdubs here. Guitarist Quinn remarked, “everything that happened went down on the tape, including all the distortion and all the hiss. But all the energy went down on tape, too.”
Releasing this honest CD is a bold, self-assured move by a band that’s comfortable with its sound and its live performance. The album includes some long versions of material from its first two studio recordings that give these boys a chance to shine. “Lurk,” for instance, featured some interesting drumming from Dave Farris and percussionist Tripp Bratton (who regularly sits in with the band). These jams also show how powerful and tight 10 Foot Pole really is. Some of them, though-while they’re great when you’re among a couple hundred sweaty dancers in a smoky bar-don’t really translate that well to your living room, unless, of course, your living room is like a smoky bar with a couple hundred sweaty dancers in it. (No aspersions intended). “Library Beach”-at 11 and a half minutes long-comes to mind, but still the song captures the feel and especially the spontaneity of a live show.
When you close your eyes and listen to the album, you can see Billy Quinn’s distorted face as he flails out a wild lead. Brian Arnett’s unrelenting bass thunders in your chest. Dave Farris pounds out a fierce beat. J.T. (John Turner) punctures the air with blasts from his trumpet. You can see it all; it’s a true recording with great versions of favorites like “Fuel 2 Keep Us Cool,” “Never Die,” and “Killing Me Dude.”
The release of Quite Like Home was celebrated with great style back in May, 1995 at the Wrocklage. It’s an honest, lively album, which as J.T. said, “sounds like an average night.”
That and a cold beer, who could ever ask for anything more?