Gang Starr Museum with Feel Spectres and Skating Polly
9 p.m. Saturday
113 N. Crawford, Norman
$7, $9 under 21
Mickey Reece is a kidder “¦ maybe.
The solitary force behind defunct one-man Oklahoma City rock band El Paso Hot Button possesses a seeming impetuousness that colored his former alter ego: concept albums recorded in only a few days, drastic ” and permanent ” changes in sound over mere months, and an announcement prior to the release of last year’s “Keep Your Eyes Quiet” that the album would be the outfit’s last, in order to provide Reece with time to work on his equally ambitious filmmaking. Keeping his word, Reece put EPHB to rest with a final show only a few months later, in January of this year.
From a distance, these decisions seem brash ” accidental promises followed through with the swagger of an artist with impossible confidence. A closer look into Reece’s personality, however, reveals the immense control behind the sharp turns, except in the case of his newest musical endeavor with longtime friend and Student Film drummer Eric Nauni. The formation of Gang Starr Museum, which played its first show three months after the demise of EPHB, was markedly less calculated.
“I’d been bugging Mickey about playing drums with him for a really long time. I wanted to play drums with him as El Paso Hot Button or on one of his records. I always thought it would sound cool having a real drummer rather than just his pedals, but he was never down for it,” Nauni said. “He always said, ‘Let’s just start a new band,’ and it never happened. Then, we were talking about it one night, and he told me he’d already chosen a band name.”
Later, when a act called Nobunny, which Reece desperately wanted to perform with, came through the metro, Nauni got the call.
“I booked the show and said to Eric, ‘We’ve got to start a band now, because I booked a show with Nobunny,'” Reece said. “He came over and we started playing songs together. There wasn’t any advance writing involved.”
Reece and Nauni have varying opinions about why flying by the seat of Gang Starr Museum’s pants appears to be working well thus far.
“I’ve always known that’s how Mickey works,” Nauni said. “If I’m not able to keep up with him or not be cool with the way he works, then this band is not going to work. I’m able to just flow with it, I guess. I see where he’s going. I think we work really well together because we can both move really fast. That’s why he hasn’t kicked me out of the band yet: I can keep up with him.”
“Eric’s always been my go-to guy when I’ve needed a good drummer,” Reece said. “Who else is there? I like Eric. He’s cool; he’s my friend. When it came time to start a band, it just made sense.”
The duo’s nonchalance, coupled with both members’ outlooks on their purpose and future, makes some sense, actually. True, what started as a hastily assembled solution to a booking problem has become something bigger, but there aren’t any expectations in place.
“Time will tell, I guess. If nothing happens, it’s fine; it’s still a whole lot of fun,” Nauni said. “I don’t think it’ll ever be No. 1 on either of our lists.”
Reece, characteristically frank, agrees: “It’s not a real band. We’re not going to be touring and stuff. Our schedule’s never going to be as busy as El Paso Hot Button’s was. It’ll always be, ‘Hey, you want to practice?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘Hey you want to play a show?’ ‘Why not?’ There’s not much commitment involved.”
Lack of long-term goals aside, Gang Starr Museum does plan to put out an album, eventually. Of course, the timeline is up in the air, although it probably won’t be long before the band has a catalog large enough to record a disc ” or two or three.
“Why put all your time into making one song really good when you can make one song OK and then write another song?” Reece said. “Some bands spend a lot of time on one song, but we spend a lot of time on five songs. If you write 10 songs, one of them is going to be good. If you record one song and spend a lot of time trying to make it really, really good, eventually, it just becomes overproduced.”
“Mickey has a trillion ideas and works so fast that we can go through 10 different parts and figure out what works well ” what we like and don’t like and what part will fit with another part,” Nauni said. “It feels like a jam, and it might be a jam for 30 seconds, but if we hit something we both like, we just keep that in memory. We practice to write songs, and it really just comes together.”
When the pair does record an album, Reece said it will likely be a one-day commitment. And while El Paso Hot Button and its albums were a concept long before he ever entered the studio, he said the latest project is completely different.
“I assume we’ll go in and record together live, then maybe mix some guitars and say, ‘OK … here’s our album,'” Reece said.
For now, Gang Starr Museum is keeping occupied with a barrage of local shows, including one on Saturday at Norman’s Opolis with local supergroup Feel Spectres, which will debut a new album that night, along with local experimental child pop-rock band Skating Polly. See Gang Starr Museum’s brand of surf- and punk-inspired rock, but try not to get too attached, lest you fall prey to Reece’s creative whims.
“I don’t like to spend too much time on stuff,” he said. “I’m just really impatient.” “Becky Carman