And then there was Bend. The first and last band that could effortlessly and assuredly change the face of music in the new decade. Dreamweavers of electronic and live rock, Bend fits in the local scene about as well as a size 14 combat boot would fit a three year old child. They’ve opened for bands like Ministry, Powerman 5000, Drain STH, Econoline Crush, and Vast. Seems I’m not the only one who smells the raging storm that’s on its way. Seeing them live, they’re a holocaust. They play with a remarkable and discriminating amount of ease, winding and wrapping dark twisted rhythms that ignite the senses and scorch your mind. Coupled with a backdrop of eerie smoke and a state of the art light show, it makes for the best eye candy you ever craved. Scott Dodds’ vocals are as superhuman as they come, seductive and hungry with a wicked appeal that grabs you by the throat till you taste the sweat, smell the sex, and feel the rock bliss which is Bend. They know their shit, as I found when I spoke with lead vocalist Scott Dodds and guitarist Jason Grover.
I’ve heard the first EP, amazing but not enough of it. What can we expect from the second one you’ve been working on?
Scott: This CD is going to be a lot heavier. With the first one, it was a lot of experimentation. We didn’t feel like we had everything we wanted. We were testing out a lot of boundaries. A lot of the first EP was written in the studio, and then we put it to the test playing it live after the fact. So for obvious reasons, the sound has changed a bit.
Jason: We’re all pretty fucking floored about the progress we’re making.
Speaking of production, I noticed the name Mike Patterson keeps popping up in Bend bios and press releases. From what I understand, he has produced artists like Moby, Beck, and Tricky. How did you guys hook up?
Scott: We’ve known Mike for years, and when we talked about putting Bend together, it only made sense to involve a producer that knew better than most how to handle the sound that we’re trying to achieve. He’s our sixth sense. I couldn’t imagine undertaking this project without him on board. He’s been an amazing source of input and direction within the band.
Studio stuff aside, what’s your favorite part about doing shows?
Scott: I like getting up on stage and enjoy performing. It’s therapeutic in a way. It’s a way to release energy. If it stayed penned up I might go out and shoot somebody, but I have a way to get it out.
Not shooting someone is probably a good idea.
Jason: Getting on stage is an explosion of the fullest energy you can imagine. There’s nothing else like it. The adrenaline starts pumping and it takes you somewhere you just can’t realize or experience in reality.
You guys have opened for a lot of people, what gig was the best?
Scott: That’s a tough call. Opening for Ministry was fucking incredible. But Powerman 5000 was really great, too. We met those guys a few years back in Chicago, and actually getting to play with them as big as they are now was amazing. We walked away from that experience knowing that it was one we definitely wanted to repeat. We got a chance to hang out with them after the show, and they’re still really down to earth. Seeing the success they’re experiencing now is great, they’re one of the few bands whose success is warranted.
Jason: Hard question, but I’d have to go with Music Midtown. I think it was all the more exciting because it was the first outdoor show we’d played. If you can get a good response from a crowd that’s been baking in the heat all day, you know you’re doing something right. They really seemed to dig what we were doing. They gave us back as much as we were trying to put out. It was a completely different vibe than playing in a club. Really loved it.
And the worst gig?
Jason: By far it was…
Scott: By far it was no comment.
Don’t want to kick the rungs out from under you on the way up?
Scott: Uh, well…
I’ll let you off the hook with that one.
Scott: Thank you.
Better question – what bands do you dig?
Scott: Easy one. Filter, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Tool. To be quite honest, the faces of music change so often now that you have to find the bands that are consistently good. The worst thing in the world is loving a song, buying a CD, and it’s the only thing worth shit on the whole record. You have to go with the artists that you know can keep up their momentum and are dedicated to the art of real songwriting. Bands today seem way too concerned with the money instead of the quality they’re putting out. That’s always been a very big issue with us. We want to build something that’s going to have staying power. We’d rather never have a hit than end up on a one hit wonder list somewhere. It’s not worth it in the long run.
I’ve seen your show, don’t think you run that risk. Your songs are unbelievably good. What’s the most gratifying part about the song writing for you?
Scott: The whole creative process of writing songs is as exhilarating as it is exhausting. But then when you get the final result, which is a song you didn’t even know you had in you, it’s an incredible thing to be able to just sit back and listen.
Who was the last band that blew you away?
Jason: No contest, Nine Inch Nails. Trent has figured out a way to put on a perfect show. The lights, the sound, the whole experience is blinding. I couldn’t imagine what he could possibly do to make it any more amazing than what it is now. When you’re watching the show, you know you’re seeing something that’s so uncommon and so extraordinary. There’s really no comparison to anything or anyone else I can think of that I’ve seen in the last several years.
Scott: I’d have to agree with Jason on that one. You could see the time, expertise, and work that went into something of that magnitude. It was a flawless production. Without a doubt, Trent Reznor has mastered his craft.
Given time, I’m sure the same will be said about these guys. Right back at you, Bend.