Evan Stone and the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band Perfect the Poetry of Futuristic Funk

Categories: Spare Notes

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Ernestine Lona
How about an Evanescent BLT?
The Orange County-based music performance ensemble of Evan Stone and the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band is a kaleidoscope of creativity. About the only art form not incorporated into its broad experiment is painting though its surreal sounds bring the famed Salvador Dali's "I don't do drugs, I am drugs," quote to mind. Dancers, magicians, jugglers and other purveyors of entertainment get in on the act during live shows. But when the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band decided to assemble its debut album Music From the Future, those elements couldn't be captured on record. That doesn't mean the resulting effort is any less captivating or innovative.

Organized into Side 1 and Side 2, Music From the Future has 10 identifiable tracks--or perhaps the whole undertaking is one long form song? Audio collages serve as transitions as the Translucent Ham Sandwich crew serves up that nasty jam band funk with biting bass lines even cholos can dip to. There's no simple verse-chorus lyrics here, only poetic pontifications about politics and deliveries of the slam variety. Prog rock and the improvisational spirit of jazz is imbued throughout proving that the translucent ones are also transcendent.

The Weekly hammed it up about Music From the Future with drummer Evan Stone.

On if the band is really facing a legal threat over their name as the album intro suggests:

The phone call on the intro to the album is actually a prank phone call that I suspected was a prank (although seemed reasonable and quite real at the time I received it) and went unclaimed for months until my friend, Gannin Arnold (Guitarist/Producer) called me to tell me it was him! Gannin plays guitar with Joe Walsh (of The Eagles) and he has his voice down pat. I looked up this guy R.C. Collins (which is what I named this track) and found some guy that had been on the Phil Hendrie show, so I couldn't quite figure out what the hell was going on. I kept the message because I knew I was going to use it in some way on the album. It seemed like the perfect way to start the album off and was in fact the catalyst for creating the environments in the segue pieces.

The name Translucent Ham Sandwich came from an episode of the Ken Burns 'Baseball' documentaries.There was a part that talked about the introduction of concession food for the first time ever at Yankee Stadium when it was first built. Before that, people brought their own lunches to the day games. There was a writer for the New York Daily News (NY Post?) that wrote about it and how great it was to finally have the convenience of food to purchase at the games. The only downside was that they were selling translucent ham sandwiches. That caught my ear and sounded funny to me. So, I thought it would make a good band name as long as nobody had it first.

On the best experimental idea in the studio that worked:

The album was recorded in sections. THSB is an improvisational band at its essence. So what you are hearing is mostly improvised with pre-meditated lyrics sung on top of it. The rhythm section was brought in to record first. We jammed (improvised) all day long and got 6 hours of recorded grooves. I took that back to my studio here in Fullerton and then chopped 6 hours of music down to 45 minutes. Then I brought in the horn players and asked them to improvise on top of what I had edited.They jammed to it a few times and then I cut it up and used the best stuff they played. Then I brought in Marcus Omari to do some poetry on top of that music and he came in and did his thing over the tracks several times and I did the same with his material. I edited it and arranged it to fit with what was going on musically. Finally, I added my lyrics that I wrote of the last few years and performed at live shows on top of what we had in the recording.

I didn't know if any of the lyrical ideas or melodies would fit over what we had and I was happily surprised that some of the lyrics and melodies fit really well with the music, sometimes in a freakishly magical way that I couldn't plan on creating even if I tried. Some things just laid out as if they were planned and rehearsed. I tried to keep this album as organic and true to the nature of this band and what we are about. Some things I couldn't help but to arrange in such a way that would make it more palatable for the listener. The album is sort of a 'Best Of' compilation of what you might get at any given live show. There are typically moments in every show that stand out as being extra special given the fact that the band never rehearses and we just jump on stage and make shit up for an hour-and-a-half.

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