Tracking points

Bon Savants aim for a bigger font
By SHARON STEEL  |  February 28, 2009

ALMOST FAMOUS: “Right now we’re at like, 11-point font in any new town we get into.”

During the Bosnian War, Bon Savants frontman Thomas Moran used to divide his time between German punk shows and squadron airlifts. Somehow he still had time to play in his first band. “We’d be at a punk show all night long, get on a plane, strap on a flack vest and helmet, and fly into Sarajevo with people shooting on the way. Then we’d fly back out into Croatia and back into Sarajevo a couple times and then fly home just in time to change and go see Helmet playing in Frankfurt. The band was the easiest part.”

Moran doesn’t seem like the type of guy who’d wait around for a delayed train or linger over a test paper when he knows all the answers are correct. No, he and the rest of Bon Savants have been at it long enough to realize that if they want to get their shit done, they’d better take on the full burden. When they decided they were ready to put out a full-length, messing around with half-produced demos was never an option. They recorded Post Rock Defends the Nation themselves in a friend’s converted barn studio in Western Mass. Once it needed mixing, rather than put the disc on hold or scramble for connections, they simply called up Bill Racine, whose work they had admired on Rogue Wave’s Descended like Vultures, and asked him to do it. He agreed. Next they secured both national and UK distribution. Oh and the requisite self-booked tour? That kicked off November 1 with two CMJ gigs. They’ll be back in Boston for shows at Great Scott on December 1 and 2.

Bon Savants pegged their route on a key show at the Troubadour in LA on November 10, where they’ll open for the Wrens. They also have a whole album’s worth of new songs ready to go — not to mention plans for a possible follow-up EP to Post Rock. So right now, they’re too busy to worry about “looking-at-label stuff,” as Moran puts it.

“You’re in a band to create art, and the commerce comes afterwards,” drummer Andy Dole says. “I was like, ‘Why not make an album?’ ”

“It would be one thing if we thought that we couldn’t have done it,” Moran adds. “But we did feel like we could, and we did it. We’re not chasing anything down right now.”

At Herrell’s Café in Allston, the Monday after two shows at Great Scott and a Boston University gig, four out of five Savants are sucking down coffee and eating ice cream. They laugh when I ask what they do outside the band. No one has a full-time job. Bassist Dave Wessel is a super in his building, guitarist Craig Hendrix just returned from a trip to Spain and is on unemployment, Dole, a Berklee grad, gives drum lessons, and Moran works part-time as a systems engineer on rocket projects at MIT. They’re biding their time.

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