Band has 'wise folk' leader

By Noah Lopez

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tucson's Andy Gardner is quickly becoming one of this town's most prolific songwriters, spreading his wealth of talent between three different bands. His most prominent band, Wise Folk Malcontent, has just released their first CD and is playing the Cellar tonight in a special concert with Maryland Fugazi-sound-alikes One Spot Fringehead, D.C. scenesters Trusty, and Tucson's own Weird Lovemakers. In addition to these bands, Gardner is involved in Lorentz Contraction with Dave's Big Deluxe guitarist Doug Benjamin a band Gardner describes as a cross between Monster Magnet and My Bloody Valentine and the indie rock band Sissy, with Shannon Hill and Treble Jar's Shayne Christie. Gardner stopped by the Wildcat newsplex last week for a quick chat.

Wildcat: I know you listen to a lot of different kinds of music ... where does your pop sound come from?

Andy Gardner: I don't think Wise Folk Malcontent is a straight pop band. I mean we're definitely a pop band, but seeing bands like the Wedding Present, and the way they mix that dominant guitar with pop that's an influence. I'm listening to a lot of droning stuff right now that doesn't necessarily come out in the band's sound, but it's starting to.

WC: Droning, like who?

AG: Bands like Codeine, Idaho, the Red House Painters ...

WC: Have you heard their new album?

AG: Yeah ... It's good. I just wish he'd stop writing songs about his girl troubles.

WC: Well, where do your songs come from? I mean, you have some pretty strong songwriting for someone who's only, what?

AG: 20. It comes from life experiences. Every song has truth to it, whether I want to admit it or not. I've had some miserable things happen. I have to write about it I feel a lot better when something happens and I put it in my songs. Sometimes I exaggerate stuff, sometimes I don't.

WC: Is it fair to say that Wise Folk Malcontent is your band?

AG: (laughs) Generally the idea is to center on my songwriting and have other people help arrange the songs. Eventually, I want to have something similar to what Mark Eitzel has with American Music Club in that respect.

WC: How did you get started playing?

AG: I started writing songs when I was 15. I would always try to get people to play with me, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that I actually started the band. Our first show was in August '93. We opened for Tsunami. That was a really bad show. I think we peaked when we played with Bailter Space. That was just a great show. Then Ron (Pifer, drums) left the band, and left me with nothing. We had a CD out that we couldn't promote. Things are coming back together now though.

WC: Where do you fit into the local scene?

AG: I don't know. We're just a pop band. I'd like to be supported by the indie rock thing, but I don't think that's going to happen. I just want to have fun and break even.

Wise Folk Malcontent plays the Student Union Cellar tonight with Trusty, One Spot Fringehead and the Weird Lovemakers. Admission is $3, and the show starts at 7.

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