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Cause for Applause
by Grant Moser

The Cause for Applause EP, released in April 2003, is less than twelve minutes long, but has nonetheless created a stir. This Brooklyn band seems to be influenced by post-punk sound of The Fall and Richard Hell, but their music contains sporadic bursts of energy and expression that really don’t fit into any category. The songs can be frenetic, but this isn’t the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, nor even The Hives or The Vines. They are their own breed. I decided to go straight to the source to find out more about this unique band. As their lead singer David Lloyd told me, categorizing music is basically just a way to sell it. I talked to Lloyd on the phone in May of 2003. It was Lloyd's first official interview for the band. We may have gotten to him first, but more will follow. In case you recognize the name or the face, he used to play with The Boggs.

****

Grant: You're in Georgia, right?

David: Yeah, I’m in southern Georgia right now.

Grant: How’s that going?

David: It’s going really well. It’s beautiful here. Absolutely nothing like New York City.

Grant: Are you from Georgia?

David: No, I’m from Texas.

Grant: I was wondering about the accent. Anyway, I got your CD in the mail on Monday and gave it a listen, and it was really good.

David: Glad you liked it.

Grant: This is your first release?

David: Yeah.

Grant: All right. Let’s start off with some basic interview questions to get us rolling. How do you define your band?

David: Hmmm. Let’s see. I suppose: a celebration of the now.

Grant: Does that include the revival music movement?

David: Is that just happening now? I thought it always happened.

Grant: Well, it’s always happening, but there’s been a lot of press in the last year or so.

David: I suppose I write the songs I write, and my band mates do what they will with them.

Grant: How is the collaboration with the band members?

David: Pretty fast. More so than anything else. If I know exactly what I’m doing, we can have a song finished in one rehearsal. They’re probably the best musicians I’ve ever played with as far as comprehension goes.

Grant: So they also contribute to the songs?

David: Definitely. They advance them far more than the simple little silly things I initially give to them.

Grant: Listening to the music, I hear a variety of influences. Most notably a punk sort-of ‘70s feel, but I also hear a southern kind-of something in there, not exactly honky-tonk, but a twang in it? Maybe it could be your vocals, but the music sometimes has a little extra down-south beat. Do you know what I mean?

David: I suppose. For the EP that’s out now, I did almost all of the writing for it, and there was no specific intent. And I believe you’re the second or third person to mention something sort of honky-tonkish about the music.

Grant: It wasn’t the overlying influence, but every now and then I’d catch a riff or harmony that was a nice addition in to the punk.

David: Well, I appreciate it. I guess I can see it on the latter three songs [Forager, L.O.H.O., Ode to Danzig] more than the first two [The Wire, Latest].

Grant: Yeah, the first two were much faster paced. Are those the songs you are looking to write more right now?

David: Well, most of the songs – lyrically – have something to do with some sort of heartache, so it’s nice to diffuse that with something more exciting.

Grant: These are shorter songs, two to three minutes, tops. Do you find that you cover what you want to cover in that amount of time?

David: Well, it’s funny because I believe the shortest song on the CD has the most words to it [Latest]. I don’t often repeat myself in a song and I think I say a whole, whole lot by the time I’m done actually saying what I’m saying. It might be only two minutes, but it might be 200 words or so.

Grant: Let’s talk about your live shows. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to catch you before I write this because you’re in Georgia. But what are your live shows like and how often have you played?

David: Since September we’ve played every month one or two times, but in April we played five times. I was a little worried about that, but it seemed to go really well, and not affect attendance. There’s three of us [David, Jack Martin, and John Anderson] and I try to be as active as possible, that’s my compulsion. I’m glued to the microphone a lot of the time and we’ve even thought about adding a bass player to free us up some. But people seem to like the live show quite a bit. I don’t especially trust people though for some reason. Maybe I’m more of a critic than they are.

Grant: Well, New York audiences are fickle.

David: I suppose. We’ve played at Sin-e, Mercury Lounge, BQE, Bowery Ballroom, and Galapagos, which is something I’ll never do again.

Grant: You didn’t like Galapagos?

David: They put us in the back room. It was poorly organized. It’s kind of small; VFW hall like. I think that works well in the Midwest, but I don’t think that’s what draws people these days.

Grant: What bands in the New York scene interest you?

David: I’m really happy the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Liars are doing really well. At first I thought Fever to Tell was a bit uni-dimesional but now after a few listens, I think it’s really, really beautiful, especially towards the end. I think it’s really cohesive as an album, which is something you don’t see much of these days.

Grant: Any bands you’d like to play with?

David: Definitely. We’re getting better acquainted with other bands that started around the same time as we have. There’s a band called The Double, and Ghost Exits. Calla are friends of ours.

Grant: I just saw Calla at Mercury Lounge with on!air!library!

David: Yeah, Alley from on!air!library! sings backup on the first two songs of our CD.

Grant: What did you grow up listening to that influenced you the most? I heard a lot of early punk, but also some 80’s as well. Maybe Dead Kennedys?

David: I started off with all the basics. I went straight from Metallica and Guns n’ Roses to The Meatmen and Corrosion of Conformity and Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains. Then I got into The Minutemen and the Circle Jerks and what not. All the big guns of early punk rock were my favorites. I think at the very least that music is revisitable. And there’s people a few years younger that me that haven’t been exposed to that and I feel very badly for them.

Grant: Do you think there’s a place for this back-to-the-roots move in today’s world?

David: I suppose. I wouldn’t say anything against it. But more so than that, drawing from anything and not being exclusive about what inspires you is the most successful thing one can do.

Grant: What are your plans for the future?

David: Well, I’m here writing what will be our next album. Georgia eliminates a lot of the distractions, but New York is way more inspirational. There’s a lot of people with really good ideas and it make you really feel in context.

Grant: So, can we expect the same music on your next outing?

David: Somewhat. There’ll definitely be comparable elements. Again, I’m not trying to be exclusive. Anything that comes to mind I’ll write.

Grant: What other bands have you all been involved with?

David: An instrumental band called Joel Pandles was the most recent for me. Before that, there were a couple of hard core bands, pretty appropriate for the ‘90s I guess. But John, our drummer, his claim to fame is he drummed for Boy’s Life for a while. Jack, our guitarist, is infamous around the city for being an “ace guitarist.” Most recently, he was part of The Bright and Desperate Sparks.

Grant: I loved those guys.

David: Yeah, he was the songwriter for them and the primary guitarist for The Knoxville Girls.

Grant: You going to start touring again?

David: Yeah, when I get back we should play the 18th of June at Mercury Lounge with some Australian band, whose name I forget right now. And perhaps on the 24th at Northsix with Glass Candy.

For information about Cause for Applause, visit: http://www.sayheyrecords.com or http://www.bighassle.com/a_cause_for_applause.html.





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