Daniel L. Mitchell
What can be said about the all-mighty Braid that hasn’t already been said before? They were an incredible band who broke up at their creative peak, like so many legendary bands do. Those people having been fortunate enough to capture Braid live before their 1999 break-up would have witnessed an incredible spectacle. Their shows were energetic, exciting, loud, and completely satisfying to the die-hard fan. Luckily for those newer fans who have discovered Braid since their break up, the band has decided to get back together and tour during the summer of 2004!
Braid made a name for themselves with the classic melodic post-punk classic Frame & Canvas, back in 1998. The album was recorded by J. Robbins of Jawbox/ Burning Airlines fame, and it showcases a group of guys exploding with creativity, emotion, and talent. Angular guitars bounce atop furious, mathematical drumming, as warm vocals croon about an array of subjects. Combining equal parts of Jawbox, Christie Front Drive, and Hoover, Braid was almost the perfect melodic post-punk band; sadly, after the release of a three song 7″, the band called it quits, pieces of them going on to form Hey Mercedes, and Chris Broach going on to form The Firebird Band.
After a long five years, the guys in the band decided to get back together to do a tour, mainly for those fans who didn’t get a chance to see them the first time around. The future of Braid after the tour has yet to be decided, but Chris Broach, who plays guitar and sings in Braid, took time to answer a few questions regarding the upcoming tour.
How do you describe Braid’s music to a novice fan of music?
What do you think? That is a better question, I think.
How big of an influence was Jawbox on Braid’s sound?
I think that we all liked Jawbox a lot, so how big of an influence? Maybe enough to affect our sound.
Briefly describe how the indie / punk music climate has changed since Braid’s last show.
Have you ever heard of MTV and “emo?”
You broke up at the height of your popularity; what was your mindset when choosing to do this?
We were done playing music together. We toured a lot and we did all we could do. What do you expect? The “love” for the “emo” scene came later, so we missed out. Sorry MTV, you non-music playing music video channel!
Since you broke up without releasing another full-length after the highly acclaimed Frame & Canvas, is there something to be said about quitting on an incredibly high note; in other words, you didn’t stick around to stumble, commercially, as did The Get Up Kids (their On a Wire album was not received well, for the most part).
We quit when we were done with each other at that point. So, what do you want to know? If we’re upset that we didn’t go commercial? C’mon, we decided we couldn’t do Braid anymore. So it is our own fault for not going commercial. George Costanza — gotta leave on a high note!
Looking back five years later, how do you feel about Frame & Canvas?
It was a good record.
The songs on your Please Drive Faster 7″ were fantastic; wasn’t it painful to break up knowing that the band was only getting better with time?
They were good songs, and yes we got better with time. I think that breaking up was the best thing to let us explore what we really wanted to do, so we did.
What will your set-list look like this summer?
We’ll play Braid songs.Will you be playing “Hugs From Boys,” or “The Chandelier Swing?” I love those songs.
Are there any songs which are too emotionally draining or carry too many negative connotations to play these days?
Was it difficult to “click” again at practice, or did things just fall into place?
Like riding a bicycle.
How are things between Hey Mercedes and Vagrant?
I have no idea.
Hypothetically speaking: the summer tour goes well, and during the van rides, you guys come up with a bunch of new songs that you’d like to put out as Braid; why not do it? Your interview in Alternative Press seemed to shy away from this idea.
We will do what we want to do and what does it have to do with you or anyone else? Nothing. Except that there are tons of fans of Braid. Great! We love them. And we hope that they will continue to be touched by our music, whether it is new or not.
Out of the hundreds of Braid rip-offs currently polluting the waters of punk rock, do you have any favorites?
Why don’t you tell me who you think is a Braid rip-off, cause I don’t know any, or at least haven’t heard any. I’m sure there are bands that are influenced by Braid. We made a mark, sure.
It hurts when one of your favorite band quits; what bands’ quitting has been the hardest for you to accept (Braid was one of mine, with the unfortunate Ink & Dagger tragedy being number one)?
Jawbreaker. Jawbox. Gauge. The Nation of Ulysses (even though I found them after they broke up).
What is your fondest memory of Braid life, pre break-up?
I think I speak for many fans when I say that I am extremely excited to you guys this summer. I’m going to see my favorite band The Cure this summer, as well, but I’m more excited about seeing you guys; how does that make you feel?
Pretty good. I would rather see The Cure. They are one of my favorite bands, ever.
Good luck this summer, and please stay together after the tour!
Thanks! Please rock on at a show this summer.
Braid Tour 2004: www.braidtour2004.com