“As with a lot of great bands, when you really listen to Big Quiet, you understand the depth of its attendant members’ music fanship. These three know their source material, whether it’s Athens, GA, in 1982, Scotland in 1988, or New York right now. The Brooklyn trio’s knowledge of indie rock and post-punk history is real, and they’ll talk your ear off about it if you ever ask. But what Big Quiet plays isn’t just some kind of stoic record-collector rock. In a live setting, you’re struck by their sheer viscerality and volume. Marisa Cerio’s Rickenbacker can scorch faces, dousing her rapid-fire strumming in treble and reverb. She belts out a song so emphatically, you’d think she’s trying to sing to the next room over. Chris Matheson’s steady, propulsive bass erupts in a gnarl at just the right moments. Stephen Perry’s drum beats are all manic bounce. You don’t take bathroom breaks during Big Quiet’s set. They’ll be onto the next song and the next idea before you get back.”
Big Quiet is a classic jangle-pop band out of Brooklyn, NY. Self described as early R.E.M. meets Slant 6, the band recently released their amazing Mitch Easter produced self-titled debut which you can even purchase on a limited edition cassette. You can also pre-order their ‘Maura & Dana’ 7″ on vinyl. I want to thank Marisa Cerio (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.
The first album you ever bought?
I think I bought R.E.M.’s “Out of Time” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind” the same day, in 1991. In fact, I think I also bought “Ramones Mania” that day as well. That was a pretty important day at the mall!
Your last album bought?
“Forever Breathes the Lonely Word” by Felt on vinyl-total eBay score! I’m always on the lookout for Felt records on the internet or at record stores/fairs. I worked at a record store in the late 90s/early aughts, and those records were floating around the whole time. I am TOTALLY kicking myself for not picking them up at the time, because they’re either super expensive now, or just not around.
Favorite album of all time?
Hmmmm this is really tough. I think it would be impossible to list just one, but in an attempt to only list *a few*-R.E.M.’s “Reckoning”, The Smiths “Meat is Murder”, The Fall “Hex Enduction Hour”, Pylon “Gyrate”, Close Lobsters “Foxheads Stalk This Land”, Miracle Legion “Surprise Surprise Surprise”.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
“Monster” by R.E.M. It’s not like I think it’s the worst album in the world; I actually like some songs on it. But the shock of hearing them emulating the sound of the time, instead of rebelling against, or shaping it was a huge disappointment. There were some songs after that period that were definitely good, but that’s sort of the line of demarcation for me-the band I loved/the band that I used to love.
First concert attended?
R.E.M. (BIG SHOCK EH?!) I’m sure I saw other local shows and things before this, but that was the first like big concert I had ever been to. I remember those tickets sold out immediately, and I was so upset that my mom & dad tracked down tickets for some ungodly amount from some scalper so I could go. They hadn’t toured since “Green”, so there was a huge amount of pent up energy tied to that show. I made it though!
Dead Moon! That was a seriously awesome show. J. Mascis opened up with a solo set of amazing, endless shredding (which I’d normally hate, but when it’s J. Mascis, it’s a different story). Dead Moon were really great. Toody Cole has this incredible voice that just feels absolutely natural-zero affectation. She is just the most badass person ever. If i am even a tenth as cool as she is when I’m nearing 70, I will be set.
Favorite concert ever?
Hmmm, this is also gonna be a tough one. I recently saw Primal Scream, and that was amazing-mostly because of my very close proximity to Bobby Gillespie the entire time. My first R.E.M. concert was obviously special (even though my dream concert of theirs would have been at The Pier in NC, 1982… but I was only two years old). I saw Cat Power years ago in a tiny basement venue with only a few people there, and she played piano and guitar intermittently to score a silent film about Joan of Arc. That was really beautiful. I also saw Robyn Hitchcock at one point when Peter Buck was playing guitar for him. Like a total freak, I got there early and staked out a spot right in front of where he would be standing, and spent the duration of the show starring up at him like some kind of scary maniac. I did get to meet him that night though (even if it did mean practically shoving Robyn Hitchcock out of my way to get to him).
Least favorite concert?
I recently saw Suicide. I knew that it was probably going to be a dicey show, but said screw it, I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have to see them again, so let’s DO this! It was fun to watch Martin Rev bash his hands against a synth every once in a while, but overall, it was mostly just depressing to see Alan Vega sitting in a chair, barely squeaking out a few words here and there. I knew it wasn’t going to be the type of show where everyone is singing along to some perfectly performed rendition of an old classic, but I could have done with some reference to… something?
Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Well, I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, but I have a few friends from there. I can tell from all of their collective awesomeness that it seems like a real, true rock city-and maybe one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I might just be saying that based solely on the awe-inspiring goofiness of The Gotobeds though. Hopefully I’ll get to play there sometime soon so that I can confirm that suspicion for myself!
Thanks, Marisa. I totally feel your love for all things early R.E.M. I first saw them on their ‘Pageantry Tour’ in ’86 and have been obsessed ever since!