You would not believe how many bands have named themselves A Murder of Crows. But only one lived in my Walkman throughout early high school until the tape, thin and weary from overplaying, snapped apart one time too many. No amount of scotch tape could aid its redemption. Little did I know this was an early Albuquerque band, around in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Caleb Miles was lead guitarist for that Murder of Crows, the one that built the unintentional soundtrack to my youth. Googling his old band out of boredom one day, Miles came upon Captain America's local music zine, Wig Wam Bam, and they got to talking. Miles is coming to Albuquerque from his home in Nova Scotia for the wedding of Marisa Martinez, who played fiddle for another one of my favorite bands, Liar. The good captain talked Miles into playing a show while he's here.
The Launchpad's site lists the show as “Caleb Miles and Friends.” Expect those friends (both on stage and in the audience) to be members of great old Albuquerque bands. (Rumor has it, says Miles, that Junius Kerr, singer for A Murder of Crows, might even stop in.) Though Miles is coming out here with his roots rock material, I got to talk to him about what he calls his "depraved experimental pieces."
How long have you been doing music?
I've always been into music. I've heard my mom tell stories that if they had a record playing, and it got to the end of the side and nobody turned it over, I'd be upset and go over to the turntable and point at it, like "somebody has to make the sound go." It's just my own personal affliction.
Tell me about your experiments.
I got done recording Brickyard Road, which is original songs, and that took about a year, off and on. I find that when you're recording songs, they sort of dictate what they want. They demand that the bass goes like this, the drums go like this, this has to be here, this has to go there. Once you start recording an actual tune, there's creativity involved, but a lot of it is sort of determined by the song itself.
Were you trying to get away from that predictability?
After doing the CD, I wanted to record but I didn't want to have any structure. I just started grabbing things out of my mother's record collection, which is bizarre to say the least, and started sampling stuff; but then running it backward, slowing it down and all kinds of strange stuff like that and adding other instruments to it. It was basically free-form spontaneous recording without any real arrangements or ideas about what it was or where it was going to go. It ended up being what it was. It's weird and sometimes extremely difficult to listen to.
You're going to release them?
No. I can't because there's things on there I actually don't have permission to use. I did it for myself and a few friends. I made seven copies, and that's all there's going to be. It's sound experiments and collages. If I wanted to put it out, I couldn't. It wouldn't be legal. But I just started working on another CD of songs, so hopefully by the end of the year, I'll be done with that.
What keeps you motivated to do music?
Um ... I don't know how to do anything else?
See Caleb Miles and Friends this Wednesday, March 28, at the Launchpad. $5, 21+.