Band Booking: Cave Singers

Posted by Tobias Carroll

Since their debut, 2007’s Invitation Songs, Seattle’s Cave Singers have quietly created their own musical space: Pete Quirk’s impossibly world-weary vocals; Derek Fudesco’s precisely played guitar; Marty Lund’s drumming veering somewhere between punk rock and a far-off dancefloor. This year brings their third album, No Witch, a stylistic and textural expansion of their sound: it contains both their loudest work and their most intimate. Via email, Lund and I discussed tour reading materials, Keith Richards, and more.

What have you been reading lately?
I am currently in the middle of Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey, which could not fit the northwest winter any more appropriately. I am also reading the new Keith Richards biography, which is so much more than I could have asked for. Drug stories? For sure, but hearing his thoughts on writing and recording are a music nerd’s dream.

What are some of your favorite books? What has caused them to stay with you over the years?
Some of my favorites include The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy, A Farewell To Arms by Hemingway; I love Raymond Carver, Joan Didion, The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. It’s tough to come up with a short list.

I’m attracted to good writing. To me Hemingway is a pleasure to read, that unmistakable rhythm, I just eat it up. Otherwise, it’s hard to pinpoint what it is exactly that draws me to certain books.

You’ve done a fair amount of touring over the last few years. Do you find that you read different types of books when you’re on tour as opposed to when you’re home? And have any of your tourmates had an influence on the books you’ve read?
I find that touring requires a certain type of book. Something you can jump in and out of if need be, but also engaging enough to hold your attention for hours at a time. Certain books have worked better than others. I think my favorite tour-reading experience was reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. The writing isn’t too dense, it just flows, and the story is one of the most gripping I’ve ever read. I could not put it down.

There is definitely a lot of book swapping going on within the band.  When I finished Brief Wondrous Life… I handed it straight to Derek, who read it in three days, which was really fun for both of us: “What part are you on…Oh my God! Just wait!”

Pete is very knowledgeable about poetry, which is pretty much an unknown world to me.  He’s always recommending poets he thinks I’ll like. Reading James Tate for the first time was like a revelation for me.

No Witch strikes me as the most sonically varied Cave Singers album to date. Do you find that the books that you’re reading have any effect on the music that you make?
I would say yes but in a very subtle way. I feel that creativity draws from everything that’s inside a person at a given moment. A good book is definitely something that stays inside you.

(Photo courtesy Jagjaguwar.)