I first met Jeff in 2003 maybe, when he did a write up about my band Death to Tyrants for Performer Magazine. It was definitely the first time anyone ever wrote anything about us and we were super grateful to be seen by someone outside of our normal, and small, circle. We talked throughout the next 17 years here and there; he was very generous with his time and advice. I always felt like he could see the work that folks were putting into their music, and he always used his platform to elevate bands, and helped to create a community by doing so. The last time I saw him, we recorded a live session at the station and had a blast. We talked just recently as he was putting together a compilation of recent quarantine recordings. He will certainly be missed.
Breeze liner notes (from Bandcamp): Going to one venue exclusively to see most of the concerts in your life has a knack for really limiting the parameters of what you consider a scene. While there are certainly people you could find spending five nights at week at the Middle East or O’Briens, it doesn’t do much to reveal the real musical bounty of the region. After schooling in Missouri where any show we traveled for was two hours away, I never had a problem driving to Portland or Providence or Northampton. However some of my favorite rooms to see shows were often more out of the way, so when I heard that there was a spot in Fitchburg where things were happening, I quickly ventured to Freespace Gallery to check things out. I wound up seeing a lot of shows there and amongst those was Death to Tyrants.
While that spot was short-lived, people I met there have continually been making some great music, among them Eric Gagne who was in DTT and now fronts Footings. Heck, this session was even recorded by one of his old DTT bandmates. Eric has been an amazing custodian of the music scene in Southwest New Hampshire, bringing all sorts of art the region, most notably under the banner of The Thing In Spring, which he unfortunately always schedules for the same weekend that I go to New York for the Belmont Stakes.
For this session Eric is going solo, without the band he’s been touring with and notably minus the strings of his most regular collaborator Elisabeth Fuschia. Instead he sat down by the stream that rolls through his backyard and cranked out a set of tunes for radio. We debated which Pavement song to do after the first one had a Malkmus lyrical play that didn’t age well in the post-#metoo era, and instead opted for a song that always seems timely.