Friday, January 22, 2016

Deerhoof's Hidden Math Rock Pedigree

I've personally always found it interesting that the members of Deerhoof have such a rich history of playing with groups that have aired on the side of prog and math. 
That is something given their current position in music may not be evident to a lot of people. 

Having seen them live and following them for years its impossible to view them without the lens of avant-math popsters instead of the dred "indie rock" tag they often garner. As far as popular groups in these circles they still remain some of the most consistently fun yet challenging bands we have around today. Often at odds but never obtuse, with as much interest in zeppelin style riffs as jazz structures. Deerhoof remain champions in their own crafted domain. Certainly they would be a very different group without the assisted influence of math rock in its formative years. 

Now this may sound like an odd title ...I know ...
but bare with me because this has some interesting angles at work.

Lets start with the easiest and possibly the most surprising.

Greg Saunier is the only member of Deerhoof that has been present since the beginning. One would think with his extremely technical and jazzy play style he would be the obvious choice for having some far flung connections to math rock...well not so much BUT with a notable exception. Zach Hill (HELLA) and Greg took part in a one off album in 2003 of experimental percussive jams with some shifty time signatures under the name Nervous Cop. Oddly enough Joanna Newsom makes an appearance to harp it up a bit. Now I'm not going to say this is any sort of wonderful album because frankly it has only a few small bright spots but it is pretty interesting for what it is.

John Dieterich (Guitarist of Deerhoof) was part of the mid 90's math rock group Collosamite well before he slung ax for the Hoofsters.  Those guys mixed a lot of punk and hardcore sensibilities with the clean tones of jazz and dissonant chordal approach of noise music while very much being a math rock group. In my opinion pretty darn influential to a lot of what we have today. Contemporaries of the time such as US Maple and Dazzling Killmen helped pave the way for groups we may view as  pretty singular like Yowie, U SCO ect. John also was in the similarly inhinged Natural Dreamers with Chris Cohen (former guitarist of Deerhoof). Jay Pellicci rounded out the third in this group of Dilute and 31 Knots fame....maybe you've heard of them? :)

Ed Rodriguez who has been a little bit of everywhere in regards to his association with math rock before Deerhoof.
He was also a member of Collosamite and Gorge Trio with John Dietrich. Gorge Trio/ Collasomite drummer Chad Popple would also join Ed in the highly under-rated mid 90's experimental/math/jazzcore group Iceburn (or Iceburn Collective) Oddly enough not a lot of fuss is draped over this rotating group especially as a fairly unique musical voice even by todays standards. Long form compositions that share equal parts classical music as jazz, rock and improv group. After this Ed and Chad wold also spend time in the legendary rotating  Weasel Walter "brutal-prog" group The Flying Luttenbachers . Ed hung around from 2003-2006 officially.

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