Tuesday, May 13 7:30 PM
After spending his formative years in Stockton, CA, Grant-Lee Phillips headed to Los Angeles to study film. Finding himself beneath the spell cast by local bands like the Rain Parade and the Dream Syndicate, Phillips soon partnered with Stockton acquaintance Jeff Clark to form Shiva Burlesque. The band dissolved after two critically acclaimed records, and Phillips began writing and demoing under the Grant Lee Buffalo alias. Following several solo performances, he invited former bandmates Joey Peters and Paul Kimble to join him, and the trio signed to the Warner Bros subsidiary Slash Records in 1992.
Phillips' golden, honey-soaked voice had largely gone to waste in Shiva Burlesque, but the new band enabled him to step out as a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Grant Lee Buffalo went on to release four very different LPs, although a cult following, several successful tours, and across-the-board critical acclaim (Phillips was voted Rolling Stone's Male Vocalist of the Year following the second LP) didn't translate into strong sales. Frustrated with his label's dead-on-arrival promotion, Phillips asked for his band to be released from their contract, and he was obliged. (It was erroneously reported that GLP had been dropped.) Phillips dissolved his band, anxious to forge a new path.
Howe Gelb has traveled many a long and dusty mile to get to his place of prominence as an elder statesman of freewheeling Americana and "Erosion Rock"; A brand of music changing with the elements on a daily basis as nature intended, like giant sand, believing that continuous evolution should be a palpable element in music, as when when songs were first handed over again and again, before the frozen capture of a recording studio.
Howe Gelb's Giant Sand is the most resilient and consistently inventive American band of the last two decades--part of the well spring of the Tucson musical dynasty. Most artists who have amassed a body of work as enormous and varied as Howe Gelb have made some impression in the collective consciousness, but he continues to reside in a dimly lit corner of the rock circus. Out in the Arizona desert, Gelb painstakingly cuts and pastes home recordings into heart-renderingly intimate solo albums and rushes into spare studios for hurried jam sessions with itinerant musicians of all generations.
Giant Sand is an American rock band, based in Tucson, Arizona. Overseen by singer-songwriter Howe Gelb, its membership has shifted over the years—at times with each album. For a long while Giant Sand's rhythm section consisted of John Convertino and Joey Burns of the band Calexico.
Other members have included keyboardist Chris Cacavas (of Green on Red), bassist Paula Jean Brown (who was briefly a member of The Go-Go's and married to Gelb at the time) and drummer Tom Larkins (afterward a Jonathan Richman sideman).
Guest artists have included Victoria Williams, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Chan Marshall, Juliana Hatfield, PJ Harvey, Vic Chesnutt, Steve Wynn, Vicki Peterson, Rainer Ptacek, nearly all of Poi Dog Pondering and regular cameos from Gelb and Brown's daughter, Indiosa Patsy Jean.