Pub League, Fairbanks, AK.
by Isaac Paris
What is Pub League? 20 musicians are put into five groups of four, and expected to come up with a 20 minute set of material in a single afternoon at our local establishment Ivory Jacks. The goal is to forge new relationships and expand musical talents through exposure to new styles. Creativity, co-operation, leadership skills and time management are of course put to the limit. It’s just like being in a real band on fast forward; as there’s no time to practice but there’s a decent draw with 20 musicians and their friends packing the place. There is a competition, with awards going to best band, best vocalist and best instrumentalist, but tongues are firmly in cheeks and fun is more important than winning.
Pub League encourages you to dig long abandoned styles and influences out of the closet and enjoy a fresh perspective with new faces,” Craig Brookes of Paper Scissors.
I myself am a veteran of Pub League, with three previous adventures under my belt, this time I found myself paired with three people I had never played with before, and we got a late start. The fast paced nature and a desire to please an audience with something familiar leads to playing covers. A previous winner played an epic mashup of Van Halen’s “Jump” and Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight.” I may have forgot to mention this was sung as a duet into a vocoder. This was Manboylovecrush69athotmaildotcom featuring Caleb Kuntz of Work, Ephy Wheeler of Feeding Frenzy, Ben Adamson of The Brine, Casey Smith of Thought Trade, Andrew Paris of Night of the Iguana and Chris Meurlott of The Scurvies.
With that success in mind I suggested to our band that we play some old songs, I imagined a mash up of “Them There Eyes” performed by Billie Holliday and Louis Prima, among many others, and “Digital Love” by Daft Punk. What we ended up doing was playing the old song as an electro jam- and the 90’s hit as an “old timey number” with ukulele and an affected “Loius Armstrong” intonation, of course, both “covers” were radical departures from the original’s melody and timing.
A comment about not being able to find a song on the internet due to a confusion on whether it was Lil Wayne featuring someone or someone featuring Lil Wayne gave us out band name: Lil Wayne (feat. Lil Wayne) which tickled us pink.
At a previous pub league my band Cock Sauce had success with a hip hop song via a writing exercise where 4 or more lyricists write whatever they feel like on a piece of paper and pass it around in a circle. This results in a disjointed “exquisite corpse” style rap, which can be awkward or hilarious, but is perfect for the fast pace and low expectations of Pub League. So, within an hour we had some ridiculous raps about Buddhists, janitors, contortionists, sexual innuendo and plenty of in-jokes about our friends in other bands.
Hannah Corral of the Ba’cuntry Bruthers encountered a slight disaster at her band’s rehearsal: there was no microphone, no drum set and only a single guitar among four members and so they agreed to be a 8th grade lunch room cover band, Brutal Hate covering hits that were popular when they were 11 and emphasizing their characters in an improvised skit to hide their lack of rehearsal on their instruments.
“I had a blast, its always fun meeting new people and combining different tastes in music, that is what helps you grow as an artist,” said Dan Vogel of the “real band” Paragraphs. Pub League really wouldn’t exist without the efforts of Connor Rainy, who organizes and makes the phone calls. Are there other pub leagues out there in other towns under a different names? Write me and tell me about them at email@example.com
And here are links to the band’s webpages that I mentioned:
Look up Work at myspace.com/thesedoors
I play as Isaac and the Awkward Situations, At myspace.com/strangecharm.
To see local mash-up band Turducken play a Modest Mouse song, head to fbxshows.com, and click on videos.