The Chelsea Curve Interview
The Chelsea Curve's forth pre-album single, "A Better
Way" is a jangly Jam like affair. Like the others it
sounds like maybe it was a hit before and you just can't
Singer Linda Bean Pardee has another stellar vocal performance.
There's a little Chrissie Hynde in it. The way the song
is written allows her to wrap the words around the melody
and give them a twist that your ear just loves. Check the
way she says the phrase "just fine" at both the one and
two minute marks.
Rather than simply end the song they modulate the key and do a bit of Oi shouting, just to give it an extra jolt.
BGN- Your single and video "Girl Cavedog" kicked off a monthly
release schedule culminating in an album on Red on Red later this year. What drove
Linda: We were thinking of doing something different; we
kind of thought it would be good to bombard the public with song after song.
It’s either a really brilliant or a really stupid idea. Not sure, but
so far so good! (Also, not sure Justine at Red on Red Records knew what she
was getting into when she asked us to be on her label!!! She’s working
her butt off for us.)
BGN- When is it scheduled for release?
Linda: We are putting out a full length release at the end
of the year on Red on Red Records!
BGN- What do you and the band see as the pros and cons of working this
Tim: We like the singles thing because it keeps things fresh
and there's some anticipation for the next one. Since there are no live shows,
it's a good way to keep ourselves out there. And we've got enough material to
put out a few months' worth of singles and still have some songs that will be
new on the album. I guess the con is that if you really like us, you've gotta
wait another month for something new! But that'll change when we can start playing
live, and once the full album drops.
BGN- Aside from the obvious history – Whistle Stop, cross-pollination
on a couple of singles – what draws you to the Red on Red world?
Linda: I love the collection of bands Justine at Red on Red
Records has put together. The music is fantastic, as are the people, and there
is tons of support among the bands. I feel like part of a team; if we were putting
these out on our own we wouldn’t have the extra boost of labelmates cheering
us on! I like to be cheered on. Cheers!
BGN- When and where did music first make its first impression on each
Tim: I can't remember a time when music wasn't a big deal.
But when I heard the first Clash album, that was a life-changer.
Linda: As a wee lass, I heard Peter, Paul, and Mary song
“I Dig Rock'n'Roll Music”, and I loved it so much. I learned how
to use the record player so I could play it over and over again. Because - I
dig rock n roll music.
BGN- What was the first album you bought?
Ron: AC/DC - Back in Black
Tim: Probably Kiss or Black Sabbath. Or maybe The Partridge
Linda: When I was about 5 years old, I got to choose a free
45 at Woolworth for some reason, and I chose Leon Haywood’s “Mercy,
Mercy, Mercy” (not that I knew the song). But I loved it, because it was
mine. It’s pretty great. The first album I asked for was HELP
by the Beatles when I was in 2nd grade. My Mum bribed me with it to get me to
wear a dress! I was lucky because my brother Dave had an outstanding record
collection, and I played his Blondie, B52s, Devo, and Cars albums constantly.
When I started to buy my own records I was into The Jam, XTC, Squeeze…
BGN- What’s your preference, Vinyl, CDs or streaming?
Ron: The cool answer is vinyl, but truth be told it’s
a project to listen to music that way. I have over 1000 LPs and they are not
organized well. So Spotify premium works well for me. Their AI has gotten really
good and I discover a lot of new bands based on what I listen to.
Linda: I’m a nerd, and I miss listening to CDs! I love
listening to Pandora these days, and stumbling across music online.
BGN- Guilty musical pleasure?
Ron: Mine is definitely Guns N Roses. Growing up as a punk
rock guy, I wasn’t “supposed” to listen or like them.
Linda: I LOVE listening to Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass
Band. I feel no guilt about this.
BGN- I recall a Jam cover at a gig. We take it The Jam is a huge influence
but what two other bands make your influencer list?
Tim: The Clash, Buzzcocks, and Ramones are my top two.
Linda: Stiff Little Fingers, Blondie, Bad Religion, Hüsker
Dü, Elvis Costello & The Attractions are my top two. HAHrhAHR!
BGN- Do you inhabit characters and tell their story when you write
or do you write from a more first-person perspective and change the names to
protect the guilty?
Linda: Up until recently it had been more of a story thing
mostly; the latest batch of songs we’re working on are more from my point
of view. To be honest with you, I start with a melody, and like to build the
words into the melody, almost percussively. I love making the vocals have not
only a melody, but also a good rhythm, like another percussion instrument almost.
BGN- Linda’s Garagecast was a big hit, how did that come about?
How did you work it?
Linda: At the beginning of Covid I was missing playing music,
going to see a show, hanging with my friends. For a Whistlestop video show,
Tim and I played “Accident Waiting to Happen” by Billy Bragg in
my garage, with the doors open. That was a blast and I wanted to do more of
that! I thought I could ask a friend or 2 to come by the garage and safely play
a song with me, and we could record it for fun. So we did! It just snowballed
and we knocked out 15 episodes before winter arrived. Everybody was into it!
Once I knew the guest(s), we’d pick a cover and record it the next week.
We aimed for fun over perfection. The only rule I had was no shorts allowed.
Pants, slacks, trousers, gauchos, kilts, dresses, jodhpurs, skirts, capris,
dungarees, all ok!
BGN- Excellent rule!! Do you think you’ll keep it up?
Linda: I plan to reopen the garage soon! Stay tuned!
BGN- Who would you really like to collaborate with?
Linda: I would love to get Pauline Black (The Selecter),
Hugo Burnham (Gang of Four) and Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) together in
my garage to crank out some tunes. Can you make that happen for me?
BGN- Are you optimistic or pessimistic and what do you predict for the
post covid local rock scene over the next year?
Ron: A mixed bag. For live shows, we’re definitely
going to have less choices than ever. We’ve sort of trained people to
consume music at home via livestreams, spotify and videos. And of course, many
clubs didn’t make it. For recorded stuff, I think a lot of musicians and
bands have gotten pretty good at making decent sounding records at home, which
will continue. So records will keep coming out.
Tim: Optimistic! The whole local scene shifted gears and
made virtual shows and video events that worked really well during covid. Lots
of us took advantage of the time to go into the studio and to come up with new
material. The musicians and bands and creativity never went away. I think there's
big pent-up demand for live shows and we're getting close to the point where
they can happen safely. It's been pretty rough on the clubs but a lot have survived
and I think they'll bounce back OK; maybe some new ones will come out of this
Linda: I think things will be bouncing back bigtime later
in the year.
BGN- Now The Chelsea Curve, what a name! Miss Lyn always thought it
must be a reference to British music, when John thinks of Chelsea Curves he
sees himself coming off the Tobin Bridge going north and hitting the brakes
into that big ass bend in the road! How did whatever it connotes for you give
you the name of the band?
Linda: Listening to the WBZ traffic report, I kept hearing
The Chelsea Curve(s) mentioned and I just thought it sounded cool – it
had a British ring to it. I liked it! With our British/Mod influences, the name
just worked for us. I wanted something that sounded cool both for the locals
and the kid in the UK who never took the Tobin. Plus, free advertising on WBZ
BGN- I truly regret having missed your earlier band Frigate. I ojnly
saw a reunion gig. How long was that band together? Why did you break up? How
is Chelsea Curve different from Frigate?
Tim: Frigate was the Best Boston Punk Band That No One Remembers.
We were around for parts of 6 or 7 years. We put out one album, and had enough
songs for a second one, but never got that together, and the band just sort
of faded. Frigate was more of a full-on punk rock onslaught. Very much Bad Religion
influenced, but we always managed to get some Buzzcocks/Clash in too. We got
a lot of comparisons to X, or the Rezillos, or Ramones-meet-Blondie cuz of the
guy/girl vocals. You would have liked us! The Chelsea Curve leans a little more
to the pop side, but only a little. And we dress fancier.
Linda: I love Frigate! It was just time to do something a
BGN- Linda, You've been in a few bands and on the scene for a while.
How is the scene now different from when you started?
Linda: When I started out, it seemed like there were tons
of great shows happening all the time, and people would go out and see bands
more. There was less of an online world for bands, so you had to find out firsthand
for yourself. Nowadays, I can discover new music while in my pajamas, but I
can’t wait to get back out there. The collective scene that came about
through Whistlestop, and continues to grow through Red on Red Records, keeps
me excited about new music and new bands. I can’t wait to get out there
and play with them all!
BGN- You have a distinctive bass tone. Where does that come from? Who
are some of your favorite bass players?
Linda: I really like my sound to cut through, so I like to
crank up the treble as well as the bass tone. I use a pick to help brighten
things up even more. Some of my faves are Bruce Foxton (The Jam), Graham Maby
(Joe Jackson), Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello & The Attractions)!
BGN- I love when you and JoEllen bring your shimmy shimmy alter egos
out to party with Smitty and the Feztones. What appeals to you about that gig?
Linda: I LOVE singing and dancing and JoEllen and the whole
gang! EVERYTHING about it appeals to me! We have the most fun! Plus, wigs.
BGN- I can tell from stalking you online that you live a busy personal
life. How do you manage the demands on your time?
BGN- I can also tell you refer to your kid as a Letter and Number? It
sounds pretty cool, why do you do that?
Linda: C6! He’s the 6th Calvin in a row going back
6 generations starting in 1841 with the first Calvin.
BGN- Ron Belanger, tell us about how your other band The Winter Project
Ron: It started in the winter of 2015/2016. It was a return
to music for a few of us that had put our musical aspirations on the shelf in
order to raise families. It was a part of our lives that we were really missing.
Seems there is even more to write about at this stage of life so the songwriting
came pretty easily, and still does.
BGN- Your new live stream show “Band's Beer and Banter”
seems like an obvious thing…except no one did it before you. How did you
come to do that?
Ron: We started it because The Winter Project had just released
the video for "Georgia Tech" and we were complaining about how few
outlets there were to show it. There used to be some local cable access show
in Worcester called WooTube a few years back that used to show our videos. So
our original idea was to put it on our local cable carriers. But in the first
episode we were drinking, of course, which they didn’t like. And they
really didn’t like Linnea’s Garden “Like the Patriarchy”
video at all! In order for us to air it, we would have had to edit and bleep
the hell out of the first episode. We said screw it, let’s skip cable
altogether and go right to YouTube. Cable tv’s time has come and gone
and we’re going to keep it online for now.
BGN- Are you getting a lot of responses from bands? Are getting a lot
of video submissions?
Ron: We are starting to get more submissions in each month.
We don’t always air the ones that are sent in, however, because we really
want the show to be more of a cheerleading squad than a review show. We’re
not doing this to criticize or put anyone down who is making local rock. We
simply want the bands to get more exposure. So if we get a really terrible video/song
that we just couldn’t talk up for 3 or 4 minutes we’ll skip it,
and I’ll go hunting on the interwebs for something else. So bands, rest
assured if you’re on Bands, Beer and Banter, we’ll be rooting for
BGN- How did you get to play both bass and drums?
Ron: I started playing drums by accident. In high school,
the two punk rock kids in town wanted to start a band and they had already claimed
bass and guitar. They basically told me I was going to be the drummer. I told
them I didn’t know how to play and they were like ‘its ok, man,
it’s punk. You don’t have to know how to play”. So that’s
how my drumming began.
At one point I just got sick of all the drumming gear. I distinctly remember
one night loading out of TT the Bears in January on a really cold night. All
my bandmates made their one trip to the car and were back at the bar having
a last pint I was doing trip after trip. No gloves, no hat. Freezing to death.
I then decided I was going to become a bassist so I’d have less shit to
move to gigs. Basically, pure laziness prompted my move to bass. But you can
never escape being a drummer as people always need one. That’s how Linda
hunted me down for The Chelsea Curve!
BGN- Hey other guy Tim, we saw you at The Midway in The Steamies, with
Stop Calling Me Frank and State of the Union. We lovved The Steamies!!
Tim: I started off way back in The Steamies, we were garage-punk.
We actually had a reunion thing going, that's when you saw us. We played a few
shows last January and February before everything shut down.
A while after The Steamies were orignally playing Linda and I started Frigate
and that lasted several years. Then after I spent some time in musical purgatory,
a.k.a. cover bands, we decided to start writing together again, and that became
The Chelsea Curve. The rest is history.
BGN- What's your elevator speech teaser for your fourth Single Scene
release on Red on Red?
Linda: Our fourth single, “A Better Way” is a
raucous singalong about taking the higher road while resisting the urge to settle
the score. The single was released this Tuesday, June 29th, so get it while