“’Love Me Do’ drunk on rocket fuel.”
The Picnic Tool story is one of that revolves around bedrooms, juiced on a little bit of rocket fuel. It starts with Bodie Plecas, the sole permanent member of the band. Living in Chicago, Louisiana, and Northeastern Pennsylvania, before moving to California, allowed for a lot of exposure to great music. A stint as a music critic, and a music features writer for several Baton Rouge and New Orleans papers, only broadened that exposure.
For Einstein, the band also includes Bodie’s friend, and former bandmate, Goffrey Moore, who has played guitar with Jonatha Brooke and Brian Blade, among others, and also produced the recently released neo-soul single from Johnnie P. Drummer Larry Aberman has played on records by diverse artists including the Vaughan Brothers, Ric Ocasek, Joe Sample, Wynton Marsalis, and Ben Harper. Groovemaster Joe Moore has become a much sought after drummer in Denmark.
Unlike Goff and Larry, Bodie’s only band in Baton Rouge, the Spurts, had one choice opening spot, for Tav Falco and the Panther Burns, which at that time included musical hero Alex Chilton. “Alex complimented my moonpie dodging skills. He said they were crucial.” And he'll happily tell you about the four songs he played one drunken night at a Chicago club with another one of his heroes, Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory.
Once in Los Angeles, he teamed with his friends, brothers Goffrey and Joe Moore, to form the Red Vines. The three jammed in the brothers’ small spare bedroom in West Hollywood, developing each other’s songs, as well as a building a musical symbiosis based on shared influences: the Beatles, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, Velvet Underground, all of which can be heard on Einstein.
The next bedroom was another spare, this one in Bodie’s apartment, where he spent hours, armed with a Tascam 4-track tape machine and several guitars, learning the craft of songwriting. I had one rule - only two chords. Then I screwed up and learned a bunch of new chords in a Beatles songbook." The four songs on Einstein are among the first completed songs to come out of that bedroom, and they feature extra chords. “They're like 'Love Me Do' drunk on rocket fuel.”
With Goff playing bass, and producing, the pair went into a dingy rehearsal space in LA’s San Fernando Valley to record Larry and Joe on drums for what would become the Einstein EP. Then it was back to the bedroom – this time the one Goff shared with his wife, Martha, in their Beachwood Canyon apartment in Hollywood – to record the rest of the instruments and vocals. To maintain spontaneity and adrenaline, everything was recorded in no more then two takes.
The sound of the finished EP ranges from the flat out neo-punk of “Einstein”, and the glistening guitar melodicism of “Chinese Heart”, to the Beatlesque “I Love the Truth” and 'punkified Beach Boys' of“ … About Gurls”.
Picnic Tool, in still another incarnation, returns to the studio in the summer of 2017 to record a full-length record. Once again Goffrey is producing, this time in Nashville. And Bodie has a much broader palette to work from. No more “Love Me Dos” in the mix. “I have a lot of songs to choose from, and a lot of rocket fuel to burn before re-entry.”
©Picnic Tool 2017