Six Finger Satellite founder and frontman Jeremiah "J." Ryan has news for anyone assuming that the upcoming Six Finger Satellite mini-tour is a harbinger for some big 6FS reunion, following the recent release of Half Control on Load Records, originally recorded in 2001 and remixed last year. Isn't this how it usually starts? Dig up some old stuff, spark up some interweb speculation, and strategically map out tour dates. Seems par for the course in 2009; just ask former Sub Pop labelmates Sunny Day Real Estate or 6FS tour buddies the Jesus Lizard.
But there will be no Six Finger Satellite reunion because, according to Ryan, "The band has never gone away. Never will." Ryan and 6FS' current lineup (with Brian Dufresne on drums and co-founder Rick Pelletier switching to guitar, with Dan St. Jacques on bass) are wrapping up an album of new material titled A Good Year for Hardness, to be released on the new Providence-based Anchor Brain imprint (who have also signed the Chinese Stars and the Sensitive Hearts, among others) with "selected dates around the States TBA," according to Ryan. Okay, so technically it's not a "reunion." But, just shy of their 20th anniversary (and more than a decade since hearing any new material), Six Finger Satellite is back on the radar in a big way.
Half Control (at LoadRecords.com and iTunes) harks back to their vicious prime; it's a compact 30-minute bruiser. Opening cuts "Thrown Out" and "Herpe Gimme Strength" are the audio equivalent of snorting Pop Rocks, and "Artificial Light" perfectly encapsulates the 6FS sound: chainsaw riffs, a dead-on rhythm section, and Ryan's throat-shredding cutting through their favored synthesizers. The lengthy closer "Bored Oracle" sounds as if Ryan was channeling Henry Rollins and Jesus Lizard's David Yow. "Come closer," Ryan repeats between echoing, wolfman howls.
Six Finger played their first show in forever at SXSW a few months back, and will surely melt the lacquer off the handsome bar at Everyman next Thursday (the 13th), followed by stops at TT's in Cambridge and Southpaw in Brooklyn. We recently caught up with J. Ryan, who set the record straight on all things 6FS.
HOW WAS SXSW? SXSW was OK. The best part was playing the afternoon show in this guy's backyard next to the dirty old goat shack. It was like playing at Fort Thunder.
I NOTICED THE "@WHOLEFOODS" EMAIL ADDRESS AND READ YOU WERE WORKING IN COLORADO. HAS ANYONE IN THE COMPANY STOPPED AND SAID, "HOLY SHIT — YOU'RE J. FROM SIX FINGER SATELLITE!" Yes, I still work for the largest organic grocer in the free world. A meat cutter in Denver once came up to me in the store and said, "There's trouble in the monkey house." The evil twinkle in his eye indicated he knew my secret.
WITH FILE-SHARING, YOUTUBE, MYSPACE, ETC., KIDS CAN NOW EXPERIENCE BANDS THEY NEVER WOULD'VE HEARD OR DISCOVERED BEFORE — AND OBVIOUSLY THAT'S A GOOD THING — BUT DOES IT ACTUALLY GET PEOPLE OFF THE COUCH AND OUT TO SEE A LIVE SHOW? I'm not sure. I think most people have no idea what good live music is all about and no amount of video peeping is going to change that.