First/Last-The Black Swans

August 27, 2012

“The Black Swans’ Occasion for Song, their 5th full-length, is a messy long-haul of emotions dealing with the death of founding member and violinist Noel Sayre, and the aftermath of memory, shock, and loss it created. It recalls lessons learned in 9th grade Health class — DABDA (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance). Without a textbook, however, The Black Swans are not so orderly. The guitars and banjo and vocals and drums and bass sound out dark thoughts, sad thoughts, silly thoughts, angry thoughts, and buckets of depression almost all at once. This is an album about loss, death, and trying to get to the acceptance at the end of grief.”

The band hits Pittsburgh tonight at the T’Bird coming off a positive review from Pitchfork last week of their latest release, “Occasion for a Song” from Misra Records. My thanks to the band’s songwriter Jerry DeCicca for taking a few minutes to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • Duran Duran, “7 and the Ragged Tiger”.
  • Your last album bought?
  • Lots of used vinyl, but the last new album was probably Willis Alan Ramsey, “Grifter’s Hymnal”.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • David Blue, “Stories”.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • Disappointing… well, I’ve gotten bummed out every time I’ve bought and listened to a new Springsteen record from the last 10 years.
  • First concert attended?
  • Weird “Al” Yankovic, ‘Dare to Be Stupid’ tour.
  • Last concert?
  • Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson together at the Ohio State Fair.
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • All my favorite shows were ones I went to as a teenager. We’ll call it the ‘Teenage Tie’ so no perfect memory is left out: James Brown, Springsteen, Robert Palmer, Robert Plant, The Grateful Dead, Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Luther Allison, Peter Himmelman, Chris Whitley, John Wesley Harding, Albert King, Dan Baird, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dion.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • Least is too easy, but most troubling gig is Townes Van Zandt in Columbus, Ohio in 1995, though I’m glad I was there.
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • I’ve seen some great shows there: Bert Jansch, Bob Dylan, Cee-Lo Green, Joe Grushecky (with Springsteen playing guitar) at Nick’s Fat City. I was a big fan of Terry Bradshaw’s late night show, ‘Home Team’, especially the episode with Loverboy.

Thanks, Jerry. I’m with you on Springsteen albums of late. It seems that the people who love them are just plain lying or something?