Big Bus Dream
'A Driving Ambition Revealed'
Mike Shannon stumbled onto the band name 4th Ward during his '98-'99 recording sessions with Eddie Z, held over at the original Playroom Studios…which were located above a fish store in 4th Ward, Charlotte, NC. Mike reflects: "Just for a moment I thought about going with Fish…just to piss off Phish fans. But I figured I end up being sued by Country Joe (of Country Joe and the Fish)."
4th Ward's self-titled 2000 release ranked #20 of the top 200 adds on the National CMJ charts. "The album of the day. Imaginative and well crafted", wrote Dominick Miserandino of Celebrity Cafe. Creative Loafing's Tim Davis referred to the group's tunes as being "original without trying to be trendy."
Chick Tsikouras joined shortly after the initial 2000 release. The group played throughout the region - opening for Hootie and the Blowfish and Angie Aparo. Both Mike & Chick co-wrote the follow up release Wonderland (2002). But the release never fully got out of the gate due to legal, financial & personnel problems. By 2004 4th Ward was heading in a new direction. Chick offers: “Wonderland is a good record of what we were doing back in 2002 & 2003. It’s to bad hardly anyone heard the CD back then…cause now people are checking out the tunes but we no longer sound anything like that disk.”
With 4th Ward now done, Mike & Chick spent 2005 working on new material, a new direction and name, Big Bus Dream. 2005 was also spent in the studio with Jamie Hoover (Spongetones, Smithereens & Hootie and the Blowfish.) The debut, self-titled release has just been released on the new independent label, 4th Ward Records.
Chatting recently with Mike, and noting that it had been stated in their press that they were a "quirky Psych-Folk" band with a "blast of Pop sensibility thrown in," I first asked him to explain more about this "blast" and just exactly which level of Pop artist that it might well have "blasted" in from?! "'The "Blast' is kind of a nod towards the listener. We’re saying we know you're there, enjoy the music…and our influences; these pull from punk to country. We’re a sponge of music so to try and pin point 1 or even 2 sources is be impossible. We have such diverse music backgrounds that when combine…well we hope it’s something new with a nod to our past."
And just where does one discover the ability to combine psych-Folk with Pop anyway?! Late nights… early mornings in the basement perhaps?! "It's in the backseat of the bus. Someone else is driving and we're along for the ride."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying the new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "It's the lonely guy walking off in the distance to say his peace."
Your self-titled debut album is an interesting choice, but is usually born of running out of time, lack of creativity, or that you were just too plain lazy to name the bloody thing! So, which is it?! "We named it over a cocktail and yesterday’s pizza...I think!"
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated BBD at their musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "'Without Me'."
OK, so just where did the bands name originate ... and what else could it so easily have been?! "It came from a lyric. The original lyric came from one of those shorter bus days. Let’s see, what could it have been called…Rosa Parks and Recreation."
If I had a signed copy of 'Wonderland' and put it up for sale on Ebay, would I be able to sell it and make enough to pay my mortgage payment this month, perhaps?! "It should cover your postage!"
If you could cover any '80s (possibly cheesy!) pop song, which one would it be ... and why?! "'Overkill' by Men at Work. I have a couple of Colin Hayes' CDs and they are great. I would like to do that song justice."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "We were never big on church."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Big Bus Dream's new CD, just answer this easy question: Please finish off this title of one of their songs: 'Trickle Down ______'.
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before October 15th with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: BIG BUS DREAM SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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