Waveless | Hexagon Bar | Friday, November 21
It's a Friday night in New Orleans and Waveless are stuck without a show. A friend of a friend has an idea. She tells the slower and dreamier reincarnation of former Minneapolis hardcore band Total Trash to meet her at a French Quarter bar at 1 a.m. It will be there that she'll be joined by an oogle with a bleached mohawk, ripped clothing, head-to-toe tattoos, and numerous visible scars. He has a PA and promises to hook them up.
Their new friend begins rolling a joint in the middle of the bar and invites Waveless singer and guitarist Dustin McChesney to join him outside. The oogle lights the joint, attracting the attention of a homeless man carrying a massive battery. He wants a toke. The oogle refuses. The bum starts swinging at the oogle, who retaliates by dragging him into the street and repeatedly punching him in the face.[jump]
"The oogle guy then rips off his shirt, throws it in the trash, and is huffin' and puffin' around," McChesney says. "He looks at me and says, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'"
The next night, McChesney, bassist/vocalist Hannah Fraser, and drummer Jared Sather meet him at Murderers' Alley, a makeshift outdoor venue near the intersection of the Mississippi and the Delta.
"We set up, even though we don't want to because there's only this scary guy who got in a fight the night before and his even scarier-looking friend playing 'The Guns of Brixton' on their acoustic guitars," McChesney says. "Right after we set up, 30 kids show up out of nowhere and as soon as we finish, a train rolls by."
The Murderers' Alley show is not unlike Waveless gigs in Minneapolis, where twentysomethings swarm previously empty bars as soon as the band takes the stage. But despite their penchant for putting rowdy show-goers into musically induced trances, Waveless are not shoegaze.
"It's funny, because I only have two pedals, so I'm not really looking at my shoes," McChesney says. "In the South, people told us we sound very cold. They said they could tell where we were from."
Total Trash broke up in the spring of 2013. Right after, McChesney, Fraser, and Sather went through periods of depression sparked by breakups and wintertime isolation. Additionally, McChesney had decided to go through all the S-bands in his iPod, including Slint, Slowdive, the Smiths, and Spiritualized, all of which embodied the sound he was striving for.
"I was [also] reading Sartre because I was still on that 'S' kick," McChesney says. "We have a song [called] 'Nausea,' which is a book that he wrote."[page]
A few months after the breakup, the trio reconvened outside of the Hexagon and decided to tinker with the sound that would soon become Waveless. McChesney and Sather are seasoned in starting new bands with the same members. The two met in high school, where McChesney -- who, at the time, had a massive painting of Pete Townshend outside his bedroom -- grabbed Sather's iPod and asked if he had any music by the Who.
"We both had Strat rip-offs and we jammed in his room," Sather says.
As teens, they played together in bands like the Cups and Blood Worm. Meanwhile, in her home state of New Mexico, Fraser played with a band called Yoda's House. Fraser joined Total Trash after McChesney and Sather watched her play with Crimes at a warehouse show.
"Somehow, we got drunk enough to ask Hannah to be in the band," McChesney says.
"I had never seen them before in my life," Fraser adds.
So far, Waveless have released one self-titled EP. In December, they'll record an album at Old Blackberry Way before embarking on a spring tour. Sather and Fraser are now a couple, and the always-antsy McChesney serves as their "smelly younger brother" who writes the majority of the lyrics. Fraser is his editor. Basically, he brings her a paragraph, and she refines it, removing and shifting phrases.
More often than not, the three can be found together, regardless of whether or not they're playing a show. On Halloween, they arrived at the Hexagon Bar dressed as matching skeletons, and never strayed more than 20 feet from each other.
"The bottom line is that we all love each other a lot," Fraser says. "These guys are like my family."
Waveless. With Bill Bondsmen, Brain Tumors, New Wave Hookers. 21+, Free, 7 p.m., Friday, November 21 at Hexagon Bar.
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS