story by Krystal Sidzyik | photos by Ben Semisch
Patrick McGuire sings, "Let it burn, let it burn," but this is after the hours of snow shoveling it took to get his band and the Love Drunk crew up a mountain. For Denver's Flashbulb Fires, flames would have been a brief respite from the cold of February, so maybe singing about them did help.
Now that it’s been more than two years since the band has been in Omaha, they'll be meeting up with fellow Love Drunkers Arrah and the Ferns for a Hear Nebraska Presents show on Saturday night at the Barley Street Tavern.
They'll bring with them copies of GASCONADER, due out on a larger scale on May 15. HN talked with the band's electric guitar-, glockenspiel-, trash can lids-playing Michael James about their album, this Saturday's concert and their Love Drunk video that premiered this week. Also catch the band this Sunday at Duffy's in Lincoln for a Love Drunk tour fundraiser.
Hear Nebraska: Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with Love Drunk and where the idea came from?
Michael James: I have a good friend who has a cabin outside of Boulder. You don’t really drive up to it, it’s not really a paved road and it’s very treacherous. We decided to try and shoot at his cabin.
So in February, Colorado was pounded with a bunch of snow, so when we got there, there was no way to drive up to the cabin, and we needed to load in all this gear, not only our band gear but all the video gear, too. So we basically had to manually plow this road with two shovels.
It’s like a quarter mile; it’s not a little driveway. It took us probably four hours just to be able to get up to the cabin with a single car. It was pretty ridiculous, but it was so much fun once we got up there, and it was really cool. It was quite an adventure, getting a rock band up the side of a mountain is what it really amounts to.
HN: How did you get started and how did you decide on the band name?
MJ: We started playing together about five years ago, but this band has been together since 2009. We met each other basically from the Internet. We weren’t childhood friends or high school friends or anything like that. We don’t have a history prior to us being in this band.
The band name itself was something we chose because we liked the visual images that it brought about and the way it spoke to some of the lyrical content.
HN: For people who have never heard of Flashbulb Fires, how would you describe your sound and style?
MJ: We like to call it kaleidoscopic pop. There are a lot of textures to it. I know it’s music, but there’s a lot of color in it.
HN: Tell me about GASCONADER and its themes.
MJ: There’s a central character on the albums that’s very boisterous. He thinks that he has the answers to everything, and he thinks that his way is the right way. It’s not really a concept album, but the same character keeps coming up.
HN: Who writes the lyrics?
MJ: Patrick, our singer. We have a little bit of input here and there, but as far as lyrics go, Patrick is pretty much the one that writes the lyrics. We’re all very collaborative as far as the music goes. It’s definitely not just a one-man show.
Patrick does do the writing but the band has had a set direction for awhile. It’s not like he’s writing, "going to the club, picking up hoes" (laughs). It’s not that he does whatever and it’s fine. We have a direction that we’re going in.
HN: Tell me about what Flashbulb Fires hope to accomplish with this tour.
MJ: We are obviously promoting the new album. The album isn’t even released yet, and we’re going to be selling and promoting it on this tour, so it’s sort a pre-release tour.
But really it’s just getting the word out about our music and our band. We’re doing everything we can to do that. We’ve been touring now several years pretty heavily. This is just one in a line of many that we’ve done and many more that we will do.
HN: What are you most looking forward to at the HN presents show?
MJ: We haven’t been to Omaha in awhile, since the beginning of 2010. We’re just excited to get back; we’ve always had a good response in Omaha. We’ve met some really cool people out there, so we’re just excited to get back and show everyone what we’ve been up to and share new music with everyone.
Krystal Sidzyik is an intern at Hear Nebraska. One of her favorite places to visit is Colorado. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.