November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Colorado Sounds

Model citizens by day, ideal citizens by night:

Colorado City’s ‘Ideal Citizens’

 

 By Jonathan Evans

 

The ‘Ideal Citizens’, Colorado City’s premier (and only) punk rock band is one of the area’s best-kept secrets.  As there are few opportunities to play music in this locality, the band plays mainly in Pueblo where they say, they have played every venue, every bar and every dive at least ten times and still keep being asked back.  They’ve played parties, weddings and bar mitzvahs but at this point, say that they are ready to expand their assault on the Colorado youth front and want to work further afield.  The College circuit up north is one obvious place for them to go, as options down south are very limited.

I caught up with them in a large garage next to Dean Agee’s house in the west of Colorado City where they were rehearsing one night.  Outside there was a blizzard as the third storm in two weeks struck hard; inside, a blizzard of sound assaulted me as I ducked inside to escape the heavy snow.

 The band, a foursome consisting of Dean on drums, Louis Wirth on guitar, Jimmy Macdonald on bass guitar and Jeremiah Perez on main vocals, was set up by a warm wood stove in front of a mud-splattered Jeep.  They were running through their set list, grouped together on their makeshift stage, Dean smashing fast rhythms on his drum kit, Louis bashing out chords, Jimmy pinning it all together with throbbing runs up and down the neck of his bass and Jeremiah facing in towards the musicians, his voice rising and falling above the music.  They varied the tempo of their songs, alternating between fast boogies, hardcore punk rocker shout-outs and softer numbers.  They write all their own material and song writing duties are shared equally.  Not all their songs are fast punk rockers although the band is adamant that they are a punk band.  ‘Hallways’, written by Louis, is an outstandingly melodic number with a rich chord sequence and intriguing words.  The ‘Ideal Citizens’ have an engaging way of taking a relatively conventional pop song like this and smearing it with feedback, rhythm and attitude so that the basic structure of the song is almost unrecognisable. The band is capable of playing a sugar-sweet melody but merging it with filthy distortion and head- shattering rhythm.   They produce music which is often poignant and always danceable and this is a rare quality in a genre which, to an oldie like me, is often repetitive and monotonous. All the members of the band sing so that even the hardest numbers have harmony. They have the ability to tether meaty classic rock hooks with a sludgy, rumbling bass and martial drumming;  combining this heavy sound with sharp melodic vocals results in an often attractive hard rock sound which can transcend the implied violence of their punk attitude.  I came away from the rehearsal session feeling that the ‘Ideal Citizens’ might rough you up a bit but would then want to kiss and make up!  It’s an appealing combination and really, I thought, these are sweet young guys.  Above all, the music is rhythmic and is driven along by Dean Agee’s polyrhythmic drum energy; there is no doubt that he is a strong asset to the band.

However, most interesting to me is that all the group members are normal guys in real life.  Away from the rock n’ roll stage, they say, they all dress properly, have occupations, homes and families.  They feel keenly that they come from this community and are part of this community; they pay their taxes, although the accident-prone, bass-player Jimmy says that he mostly pays hospital bills.  He is currently recuperating from a serious knee injury although I couldn’t see that it was cramping his style too much.

Louis, a fourth year Psychology major at university in Pueblo, is as near to being the leader as the democracy of the band allows. It is he who keeps the equipment together, conducts the band’s business and is perhaps most ambitious for the band.  He feels keenly that it’s vital for the band to get a CD of their music out and to expand the area of their gigging.

 The music industry is in the midst of a technological revolution in its distribution right now; CDs don’t sell much anymore as music is circulated and acquired through downloading and all bands are facing changing times and this same problem.  How a band is to make money and earn a living through music is currently a debatable issue; like most bands, the ‘Ideal Citizens’ have to rely on live performances in an area where venues are scarce and getting scarcer and where pay is generally poor.

But money is the least of the issues the band faces.   They say

“Our goal is not to get rich but to achieve true originality; in general we lose money by plowing all we make straight back into the band anyway.”

And says Louis,  “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!”

When they play, their transformation from regular guys to party animals is striking; these guys are committed to their music and have never missed a gig.  They would like to thank E Man for his constant support of the band and his invaluable help in recording their music. To all their loyal fans too, they would like to say a big Thank You!  Ten of their songs may be heard on the Net at Myspace.com/IdealCitizens and their itinerary can be found by emailing the band at theidealcitizens@yahoo.com.  They are looking for a manager who will show them the way to the next step in the rock n’ roll ladder; anyone who thinks he can help should get in touch with the group. 

For these four young men, success is being able to pay the bills and to move onto the next gig; after more than two years on the road, the ‘Ideal Citizens’ are in for the long haul.  It takes all kinds to make up our community and, in my book, the ‘Ideal Citizens’ live up to their name.

 

Ed note: With this issue, ragazine.cc begins a search for what’s happening in the far reaches of America, and the globe. We’d like to know more about theater, art events, musicians, etc. We’re looking for quality writing/reporting from the heartland and the hinterlands to share with a growing global audience. If you write about music, theater or art, take photographs, record poetry and song, or have an idea for an article that highlights something special in your world, from the arts to politics to economics, keep us in mind. We need all the help we can get!