RECORDING: Father Figures + Helen Gillet live in New Orleans

Give a listen! This was improvised in New Orleans in December when we were joined by the phenomenal cellist Helen Gillet. 

Back from the dead!

Hello hello! This website was inactive for a while, if you scroll down you’ll see reports on our 2010 US tour, however this is now again a living breathing den of sin for your Father Figures needs.

Thanks to EVERYONE who’s been checking us out on NPR’s Tiny Desk series and buying our albums and sending nice messages. It means so much to us, and we’ll try to come to your town as soon as humanly possible. If you didn’t see the NPR performance, here it is, and check out other videos and recordings of ours on this site.

We’re playing Death By Audio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (49 S 2nd st.) on Wednesday May 8th, at 10:30pm. Leverage Models and Cuddle Magic play before us and they’re both amazing.


Albuquerque, How I Miss Thee

Lemme just give a shout out at this point to all the peeps who came out to both Albuquerque shows, to Ana Watson for responsibility for our first gig at Wunderkind, everyone living in Burque should check that out.  It was wonderful, and surprising and nerve-exploding to see basically a whodunnit of my life in NM, from the essential Sandia Prep teacher to the essential Sandia Prep students, and all the friends, uncles, aunts, parents, colleagues, and -strangers: Thanks for coming to the Outpost.  We’ll be back.


Here’s a video! (from Portland, Oregon, at The Woods)

this post courtesy of Adam Schatz

Where to begin. It’s been oodles of time since our last post, mostly because we’ve been having a blast and limited internet access and slightly because we were all waiting for the other person to write a blog post. But here goes.

Rather than be chronological, I’m going to first just address the heart of this entire tour, the ticker that keeps everything and everyone going and going: the people we stay with. The generosity, kindness and humor of everyone we’ve stayed with has colored this month into being so much more than a bounce from motel to venue. We’ve been fed and put to bed and given drinks and refused efforts to clean up, and frankly I’m living and eating better than I did at home. So a MONSTER thanks to everyone who has provided that, especially Mary and Cat in Novato, CA (40 minutes north of Oakland). Their mountain home was amazing, and their hospitality was amazing-er. We didn’t really write about Novato / Oakland, but it was a blast and a half. We’ve got a few photos from the Norcal beaches in the slideshow below

San Diego happened and was awesome, the beaches there were equally supreme and we ate Don Carlos for lunch and breakfast, amazing west coast burritos that you hear snobs talk about and don’t believe until it’s happening in your mouth. We played with Snuffaluffagus, who are great dudes and worth checking out, at the Tin Can Alehouse, a really great space run booked by a great girl named Kelsey. Add her to the list of people we’ll be working with again. Ben Lear made the drive to play as well so it was great to hang out with him and Ian Davis (from the Reallyatives) more in Cali-for-ni-a.

Driving Driving Driving Driving

Phoenix, Arizona is supposed to be dry heat. But it was not. 106 degrees in monsoon season means very bad feelings. It’s about this point that the AC in the minivan has begun to malfunction, or, function less. and less. and less. So we went to Phoenix, and the space was really sweet, the Trunk Space, run by a really awesome dude named JRC, and a really awesome cat, who slept on top of cars. Which was great for Ross, who’s allergic to cats, and continues to be allergic when there is a cat at 90% of the places we stay at and 15% of the places we play. But maybe by the end of the tour he’ll be immune. Back on track, the room didn’t have air conditioning so it was a pretty sticky Arizona experience overall. We hauled ass as soon as our show there was done, because we were on a mission to not drive again in the desert heat. Our destination was Albuquerque, 7 hours away, and we left at midnight. Going on little sleep, a little soda and the power of driving into the sunrise, we broke the 200,000 mile mark on the minivan and make it to Albuquerque in one piece. Ross’ parents were waiting for us at his childhood home, and thus began two days of being very very well fed and very very well rested. A+++ goes to Ross’ mother who took two days off work to cook amazing food and be generally awesome. We also finally watched the Mad Men premiere. SPOILER: they wore suits and drank and talked about advertising. Somehow it is still the best show ever.

Both shows in Albuquerque were awesome, the first was a rock show at a great DIY space in an old church called Wunderkind. We played with our friend Ana and her band Aegis Watson and Brodie Johnson, a cello wizard who sang really beautiful, slow songs.

Night two was at the Outpost, the top spot for new improvised and jazz music in Albuquerque. So many of our mentors and heroes have played there, so it was so great to play on that stage, which was really great sound, in a room that was packed to the walls with people from Ross’ life. At least 100 folks, and they were truly getting down with the music, which was a great feeling. We also sold a bunch of records, and have 10 left to get  through the last 4 shows of the tour. It will feel great to sell out, even if we only brought 80 albums to begin with.

Fastforward to Austin for two more shows. Add Jas’ cousin Kristin, her husband Andrew and their daughter Nella to the list of champions who have taken care of us. Both shows were cool, but neither had spectacular attendance. Night two was at Club 1808 in East Austin, and we played with Jonathan Horne and his band Plutonium Farmers. Austin really doesn’t have much of a scene for the super-weird, but this dude brings it like no other. Hopefully they’ll come to New York and we can play together more, but they made the night count for us.

Now we be in Denton, Texas. It is so very very hot. The bookstore rules though, so I stocked up on graphic novels and some VHS souvenirs and we’re waiting in an air conditioned restaurant before we can mosey over to Andy’s Bar to setup and play for whoever stays in Denton once North Texas gets out for the summer. We’re going a bit crazy in the heat but we’ll make it back in one piece. Our homecoming show is August 8th at Coco 66 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Come reunite!


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Bad, Bad Birds

Check out Spencer’s new electric, this vid is from Oakland!

Walking in LA

Day two of LA, and today I went out walking on Venice beach all by my lonesome, and without even paying attention I saw some really strange stuff that I’d love to talk about.  I didn’t have a camera so you’ll have to use your imagination.  And for those of you from LA this will probably sound totally normal, as normal as seaside freak shows, drunk rollerbladers playing electric guitars, and potleaf lea-wearing hippies offering two for one deals on medical marijuana cards can possibly sound.  The crowd was large, strolling and roving on feet and bikes, aimless except for the belligerent CD pushers, volleyball games, kids on scooters, and a tattooed horde that (like the volleyballers) bounced up and down to a surprisingly heavy metal band on the beach.  There was a limo driver in a creaseless suit leaning against a building texting, surrounded by a scantily clad girl talking to one of the picketers for “Jews For Jesus.”  And one block down there was a man in a tree outfit on stilts, also leaning against the building like a moss-covered branch that occasional waved to pretty girls. There was a table of shirtless overweight men selling two-dollar jewelry in an “Everything must go!” sale, right next to an anti-circumcision booth fronted by a large picture of a baby flipping the bird above the caption, “Circumcise This.”  Two kids ran by holding funnel cakes, shouting to their parents that the aforementioned freakshow allowed in kids under the age of 7 for free on Sundays, and there was an awkwardly unenthused man dancing outside a clothing store to get customers, although I think the Hustler shirts saying “Grind Now, F*** Later” probably did the trick.  This is a weird place.  On the way home, right after hearing an elderly female rollerblader spit curses at a family whose dog she nearly ran over, some nice car pulled up and a guy leaned out, lowered his sunglasses and said in a Spanish accent, “Did you see them?”  I was startled, took off my headphones (I was the only guy wearing headphones, anyway, not like NY), and said “… Who?”  “All the beautiful woooomeeen,” he said, gesturing behind us. Hunter S. Thompson said “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro,” and LA is clearly a city of professionals.

Special thanks to Carolyn Berry for providing the backdrop in which our LA experience has its meaning.  And for the food and great company.


Portland, An Ironic Mix of Great Food and ex-Funeral Parlors

The jury is still out on what the best part of Portland, Oregon was for Father Figures – Doughnuts from “Voodoo”? Tacos at “Porque No?” Playing two really well attended, well received shows alongside really cool bands? Homemade avocado-and-sweet-corn salsa?

We’d like to say it was the salsa, but it’s really too close to call. We arrived in Portland monday night, and spent all of tuesday morning at True Brew, a great Portland cafe that also happens to employ our good friend and hostess for our Portland stay, Erin. Not only was she a gracious and generous host, but she picked up Bananagrams like Mozart picked up counterpoint at age 10. When Ross, Ian and I learned from Adam at the beginning of the tour, it took us a good few games before we could even begin to compete, but Erin was a quick study and was giving us a run for our money, or a run for our bananas, right off the bat.

The first night we played at The Woods, which is a very cool venue that also happens  to be an ex-Funeral Parlor. Perfect for zombie jazz! We played with two other bands, one from good ol’ Brooklyn called “The Secret History”, and a local Portland band, “The Soft Tags”. Coming off our successful run in Seattle, our first show in Portland was an undeniable success. Adrenaline from our show, among other things, drove us to seek out the legendary Voodoo doughnut shop, open late, on our drive back to Erin’s. It’s nice to know that you can get a huge pink box, full of doughnuts, for ten dollars flat at two in the morning.

A few hours and semi-digested doughnuts later, we awoke to a beautiful day in Portland, and went to a great taqueria called “Porque No?” just down the street from Erin’s apartment. It was one of the best, cheapest lunches we could have asked for, and looked great too:

Not to be outdone, Erin’s sister’s boyfriend, Greg, whipped up some serious salsa that afternoon. Avocado and corn, can’t beat it. This bowl started out full:

The show that night was at another, yes, another, ex-funeral parlor, this one called the Ella Street Social Club. We thought we were playing first out of three bands, but quickly learned that the lead singer for the second band was eight months pregnant! It goes without saying that all of Father Figures are outstanding gentlemen of the classiest order, so of course we switched spots with them. They were called “Part-time Pony”, and were native to Portland. Great band. It was also their last show in a while, since the lead singer was a soon-to-be mommy, so they brought tons of people to the show,  a lot of whom stuck around to check us out, which was very cool.

The band after us, “Why I Must Be Careful”, blew my mind. (Their Myspace is here) They had played with us a year ago, at Death By Audio in Brooklyn, but I was unable to stick around for long to check them out. Drums and rhodes duo, winding in and out of tight composed sections, meters flying everywhere, they built grooves up hard and tore them down harder. What a seriously kick-ass band. And the nicest dudes you’ll ever meet, to boot! Check them out.

The entire time we were in Portland, Ian couldn’t stop talking about a special doughnut he had heard about from Voodoo, the coveted Bacon-Maplesugar doughnut, but when we went there on tuesday night they didn’t have any. Broken hearted, he quietly accepted that maybe he’d never get to try it. But in a last final gesture of pure kindness, we discovered a big pink box when we got to Erin’s apartment the night before we left. Inside were three delicious, sinful doughnuts slathered in maple sugar and topped with two strips of bacon. These doughnuts do in fact have bacon on them, and it’s the best thing you’ve ever regretted eating.

Portland was good to us. Special thanks to Erin, Sarah, Cody, and Greg, for being awesome people. You guys rock.