Eyes Adrift

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Eyes Adrift
The name of the band is Eyes Adrift. They are Curt Kirkwood on guitar and vocals, Krist Novoselic on bass and vocals and Bud Gaugh on drums. They play rock’n’roll. That’s really all you need to know. A listen to their self-titled debut album on SpinART Records should illuminate everything else you need to learn about this band.
Yes, as you probably are well aware, Eyes Adrift is not the first band for all three of its members. If you don’t know that, look it up on the Internet or in some book.
Eyes Adrift is a great rock’n’roll band — super even — as well as superb, and also sometimes loud as hell, as a rock’n’roll band should be. Its members came together and remain so because of the music they make. That’s pretty much the story here. Period.
Now that we’ve gotten that chaff out of the way, let’s get to the point of the matter — the album. Listen to it. Hmmm. Notice how it’s neither post anything nor neo something or other? Yes, the music has subtle echoes and whiffs emanating from rock’n’roll’s expansive past, both from the music’s proverbial marquees as well as its odd and delightful corners and outer reaches. Yet it also sounds fresh, distinctive and different — sort of like the future. Like all great rock’n’roll bands, Eyes Adrift boasts a comfortably familiar sound that is nonetheless new. Or in other words, they sound like Eyes Adrift.
“It’s rock,” explains Gaugh succinctly. “If you had to pigeonhole it, where would it go?”
We’ll leave it to you to describe the music on the CD, although we advise just allowing yourself to experience and feel it. Listen to the words. Observe how it deftly sidesteps if not defies any categorization. It’s guitar, bass, drums and singing. There’s also some percussion. Bud played synthesizer on “Pyramids,” and Jimmy Shortell played trumpet on “Sleight Of Hand.” Curt sang, and so did Krist, who also played some guitar and a 12-string on “Pasted,” the 15-minute opus that ends the album.
Savor the music and the lyrics. And then file the CD under “E” or within however you organize the broad but fitting rubric of rock’n’roll under which this album belongs. Make sure it is somewhere that you can put your hands on it quickly. You will probably want to play this one again. And we suspect you’ll want to keep this album around for a while. After all, Eyes Adrift plan on being around for more than a while.
Eyes Adrift was born while Curt Kirkwood, after two decades of playing in a rock’n’roll band, was playing his first ever tour as a solo artist. He was having the time of his life doing so. Just before he hit Seattle for a gig, Krist Novoselic called him. “Krist came to show. He said, why don’t we do some music?” Kirkwood explains.
Krist picks up the story. “I went to go see the gig and really enjoyed it. We were hanging out before and after the show. And the conversation came up, ‘Well, what are you doing?’ ‘I’m not really doing much.’ I was playing in town here with a few colleagues, but just for fun. So it was like, why don’t we get together just for fun too?”
Meanwhile, down in Long Beach, Bud Gaugh was “ready to do something new. And I was looking through the paper and saw that Curt was playing solo. And I was like, hey, I wonder if he’d be interested in jamming. I enjoy his style of guitar playing. Maybe we can get together and jam. Maybe we’ll get together and hate each other,” Gaugh adds with a chuckle. “It just so happened that Krist had approached him a few days before.”
Gaugh tracked down Kirkwood and called him as Curt was driving home to Austin, TX after his gig in Seattle. Soon afterwards, Krist came to Austin to jam with Curt, and it worked. “I called Bud,” says Kirkwood, “and he said yeah.” And a band was born.
“I loaded up the drums in my truck and showed up at Wire Recording in Austin, and that was about it,” Gaugh recalls. It didn’t take long for a genuine union to be forged among the three musicians. “The second day it was just like…” — Bud whistles — “oh, we’ve been doing this for a long time. We just started burning tape, and it was like, yep, this is definitely golden here. And it just kept getting better and better. And by the end when we had ‘Pasted,’ it was like, we could be really dangerous here.”
The best word for what happened is serendipity. “I’m just stunned,” reports Kirkwood. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. This has the same reek of anything that I’ve ever been involved in.”
Eyes Adrift became a band in the way a band should — naturally, for the music and the mutuality. The way Novoselic sees it is simple. “We got together. And I had some songs and Curt had some songs and we made up some songs, and we just started playing like maniacs and just hit it off really good. We’re all really good musicians, I think, and it just came together the way it’s supposed to.
“There was no ‘idea’ behind the band, like we’re all gonna wear these fedoras and gray satin shirts with vests or whatever. And then we’re gonna sound like The Velvet Underground meets whoever. It was not like that at all. It was very pure. We just got together and started playing.”
Adds Gaugh, “It was a real authentic experience. It was brand new and real right out of the gate. It felt really really comfortable.”
They soon got together again at Krist’s home in Washington State and rehearsed. Then Eyes Adrift toured. “It was great,” Kirkwood revels. “People had no idea what to expect. And they were getting it by the second or third song, and they hadn’t even heard any of it before.”
“People were really receptive, just knocked off their feet,” says Gaugh. “You’d see these guys wearing their Nirvana, Meat Puppets and Sublime t-shirts, coming there expecting one thing, maybe…. And they were sitting there and they wanted to groove but they were so blown away and at the same time they were like they were caught in limbo.”
The crowd response convinced Eyes Adrift that the feeling that they had something special brewing here was on the mark. “People came up and told us they’d never seen anything like it.” Kirkwood recalls. “When you’ve been in bands that were as good as the three of us were in, our standards for reactions and stuff were fairly insane. So I don’t think we could put up with vanity reactions.
“Some reviewer said, ‘Let’s see if they can bottle lightning again.’ I was like, hey, we did it. Let’s see if you can put together a trio more compelling. You just can’t do it. I’m really, really respectful of the situation we have here.”
And now there’s the album, more tours, and more albums to come. Because Eyes Adrift is a keeper, explains Kirkwood. “There’s so many criteria that would have to be filled for us to want to continue this beyond the bitchin’ concept that came up. It was about as manifest as something can get once we realized, we can do this.”
“This one is definitely feeling like something brand new,” adds Gaugh.
For Novoselic, Eyes Adrift is a way of “getting back out into the world and playing for people. I haven’t done that in a long time, just for the fun of it. That’s what I do, so I’m just going to do it.”
And as for what the music is, well, it’s a sound that ultimately is Eyes Adrift. “After we played live for a while we realized that we kind of remind ourselves of our favorite groups,” Kirkwood notes. “We just let it develop. It’s a natural extension of all of our things. We’ve all been in the game since we were teenagers. You don’t want to rest on your laurels or be held up by any of that stuff or hemmed into a corner.”
“You can hear where we’ve all come from,” observes Novoselic. “But when it’s this convergence of three musicians, everybody brings their own thing to the table and it just comes out.”
Even though Eyes Adrift reminds its members of the feeling you get with your first real band, where they’ve come from also gives them a few legs up in the music business. “We have the advantage of actually having run with the wolves and the sharks,” says Kirkwood. “You’ve got to survive and learn how to lay the eggs and have them be filled with gunpowder.”
And the gunpowder here is the music. “I’m of the opinion that nothing really matters except the music anymore,” asserts Kirkwood. “I’ve gone through the whole thing. That’s great. There’s a haircut out there that somebody’s going to like or whatever. But I’m just too old or whatever to think about it.”
For what can these three guys do except for play in a rock’n’roll band? As Kirkwood notes, “We all like to play music. You can’t not do it. That’s the thing that people don’t understand. It’s the same thing as when we are teenagers. What to do? You don’t know what to do so you have to play.”
And play is what Eyes Adrift will do for some time to come. “I feel a lot of longevity with this one,” Gaugh concludes. “It’s a timeless sound, and something that will span bridges between the different ages. Kid tested, mother approved.”

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