The ever-expanding experimental collective Dream Crusher will perform at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival this Sunday. And maybe that's when we'll figure out what they mean when they say "There ain't no party like a Dreamcrusher party 'cause a Dreamcrusher party don't stop!" Gimme Noise found out a lot more during a pretty wild limo ride recently.
Among today's celebratory crew, which perform improv shows with 3 - 15 rotating musicians, is Brian McDonough, Shon Troth (lap-steel), Jared Isabella (drums), new member Casey Call (vocals) and rapper Sean Anonymous. We pick up members every couple blocks. Call regularly interjects interview with computer-generated responses. Drunk-dials are placed to missing members, who are part of Me and My Arrow, Fort Wilson Riot, Night Moves, Sexcat, Enemy Planes, and more, to many to mention.
Gimme Noise: For those who don't know, what is Dream Crusher?
Brian McDonough: This is the best way to describe what we do!
[Casey Call blows party horn. Everyone dons party hats.]
McDonough: Spontaneous, we do whatever we feel like doing. We decided we wanted to do the interview in a limo, so that's what we're doing!
[Shon Troth is mixing "dream crushers" absinthe & Red Bull shots]
McDonough: The first show was me, Shon Troth, Dominic Hanft, Jacob Mullis, and Mo McNichols. We then added Jared and Brock Lammers. Jared Isabella.
Sean Anonymous: I'm going to have Dreamcrusher be my backing band for my CD release party -- two shows at Nomad July 6 and July 7 is when DC plays with me.
Casey, what compelled you to join?
Call: I've been friends with these guys for awhile. McDonough called and asked me. Enemy Planes is my focus now.
[all call "SOCIAL!" I drink my first dream crusher.]
Isabella: I'm with Sexcat, Night Moves, Tentacle Boy Trio, also a little with Fort Wilson Riot.
Shon Troth: I'm with Enemy Planes, and recorded with Moonlight Grammar . . .
Tell me how you coalesce, bring people on.
McDonough: Generally we ask people at our shows, "you should play sometime!" They get about five or six more invites and see us about a dozen times before they start playing with us, so they get a feel for what we do.
Do you write the songs, or do improv?
Isabella: Someone will pick a key, and maybe some changes and the percussion section starts and then we go improv. It's a lot about listening to each other, intuition and dynamics, to look for the greater good of the song.
McDonough: I can tell when Jared or Mo are going to do a break in the drums, and I'll know when to fade the keyboard or do a swell to compliment what they're doing.
How are you able to do extreme events, with so many in so many other bands?
McDonough: The good thing is we have so many members to switch in and out.
Isabella: Once I couldn't make a show downtown and they pulled in Mitch, Me and my Arrow's drummer. He's played with these guys enough, that worked out.
Troth: That's literally my favorite part, show up, you don't know who's playing. Mitch is there, I don't even know Mitch yet. I'm meeting people, on stage while we're playing together. It's so fun!
Isabella: It's a big collective of musical friendship. Get together with friends, drink beers and play some drums.
Troth: One night I see Casey and Joe Call are playing with us, who I'm with in Enemy Planes. I'm like, oh my god! I had no idea.
McDonough: I like to surprise musicians with who shows up.
Ryan Anhorn, guitarist of Sexcat joins us. He plays guitar or bass in Dreamcrusher when Dominic Hanft (Hardcore Crayons, and formerly Chickadee Mountain Martyrs) can't play bass.
How many members have been in Dreamcrusher do you think?
Isabella: I'd say 30.
What's the weirdest, or favorite place you've played?
McDonough: Easily my favorite is First Avenue! There is no cooler thing than getting to make up your shit on a stage that size with that many people on stage.
How many members are in it any given time?
Isabella: Its like now, if these people knew this was happening now, and showed up, these are the ones that would show up on the stage. We've had up to 15.
McDonough: It depends on who is available. Sometimes there are only a few people who can make it. And its like, "oh, you get me! And these two guys." I'm sure there will be some Dream Crusher show and I'll be there alone, playing from my iPhone. I've played three shows through my iPhone.
What do you think about when you play, improv, free-jazz or...
McDonough: A lot of us know music theory, but we just know what key we're playing in, and who the group is tonight, so this is what it's going to sound like tonight.
Anhorn: We each bring something completely different. I always want to play disco.
McDonough: I'm a drone freak.
Isabella: Brian is like stand around, be sweaty, playing a couple of notes.
Troth: I like feeding off of everybody! I'll be like "Anhorn's chilling, I'm going to go all out here!"
Isabella: We all bring a different aspect. Mo is like a Led Zeppelin style drummer and I'm more like a flutter finesse person.
Troth: I'm just the creepy dude in the back...
Making whale and dolphin noises with your lap steel guitar.
Troth: Whales and dolphins fucking is the best compliment I've ever gotten.
Limo pulls over. Two more Dream Crushers join: Michael Warren and Mo McNichols. We are losing count. There's barely any room left in the limo.
Tell me your approach to drumming for Dream Crusher, Mo?
Mo McNichols (an original member): It started as a way for us to keep playing when we didn't have shows, practice, and get free drinks in the process.
McDonough: We didn't want to pay for a practice space. It's like "Where can we practice? Let's do it on stage and get drinks for free while we're doing it. Then it turned out people kept showing up for it.
Troth: When we started playing Cause, Sunday nights were tumbleweeds, literally. There's this guy singing, "Desperado . . . "
Is it surprising what you've seen, the audience loves you!
Isabella: We are a party band, really.
Troth: When you go to a show and every member in the band will buy you a shot? Yeah, I'd go to that show, too!
McNichols: We are all part of different bands, obviously, but we are also part of different bands now than we were in the beginning. Like Jared is now with Night Moves and he wasn't at first. It's like a music production network of people randomly playing together and then forming more serious projects. People will have a blast jamming together and begin to gel. Then they will decide to form a new band together.
Isabella: I met Ryan Anhorn during a Dream Crusher show. And then we started another band. And now he and I are playing Carnage's CD release.
Anonymous: I never played with anyone in this band before First Ave.
Troth: We are creating this, on the spot. I know how to back off. That's why I like playing with everybody in this. We're following each other, feeding each other. Everybody knows when to back off, and when to step in.
Anything you'd like to add?
Anhorn raps: Ain't no party like a Dream Crusher party, cause a Dream Crusher party don't stop!"