Thursday, August 13, 2015
Chicago band Fischer's Flicker takes listeners on a musical adventure with new album
By ERIC SCHELKOPF
With the release of its latest album, "Fornever and Never," Chicago band Fischer's Flicker shows why it is one of the most adventurous bands on the local music scene.
Fischer's Flicker will celebrate the release of "Fornever and Never" with a show Aug. 15 at The Abbey, 3420 W. Grace St., Chicago. Baby Money and The Reverent Few also are on the bill.
The music starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $7, available by going to www.ticketweb.com.
I had the chance to talk to frontman Scott Fischer about the new album.
Q - Great talking to you. Of course, you have a new album, "Fornever And Never." Do you see the album as a continuation of what you tried to create on your last album?
Q - Not really. I experienced some serious changes in my life and this album (along with our next one that is quickly coming around the corner), is mostly a result of those blows. Songwriting has always been a great way for me to come to terms with events in my life.
There have even been plenty of instances where the songs didn't really mean something to me while they were being written but, in a prophetic sort of way, had a stark truth to them once the metaphoric dam had burst.
Q - The album's name seems to be a play on the phrase "forever and ever." Is there a meaning behind the album's name?
Yes, I've always been a sucker for wordplay and have used them for album titles throughout the years ("Katmandon't," "Famous Last Worlds," "Carpe P.M.: Honor Comes Only After Humility"), so this title certainly follows with that progression.
This one, however, digs a little deeper in that it's a bit of a promise I made to myself. It stems from the title track "Fornever" and the mantra line is: "Fornever repeat this again."
I was tired of making cyclical patterns in my life, so it was a message to myself more than anything.
Q - Are there any songs on the new album that you are really looking forward to playing live? What would you like people to take away from the album?
Yes, although we've played "Fornever" (the title track) live before, it was never actually completely written until it was fully actualized in the studio so I really look forward to playing the new, complete version that we've been rehearsing. It's definitely a "showcase" piece that moves around in to many different musical parts and the band has been very enthusiastic about it lately.
I feel that I've made some some strides in writing in very different styles. While it can be confusing to some, I feel that there's something for everyone on this album.
However, even though this isn't a concept album, it definitely has a "journeyman's" feel to it throughout - like a long trek down the rabbit hole!
Q - It seems as though the late Frank Zappa has had a big influence on your music. When did you get introduced to his music and how do you think he has impacted your music?
You know, I absolutely love Frank Zappa, but I don't really hear him in my own music. Unfortunately, I didn't get into Frank until I saw his obituary on the front cover of "Rolling Stone."
I thought, "Who is this weird guy?" and rented a copy of "Baby Snakes" at Blockbuster on VHS (remember those days?) I kept going back to the record store and picking up a couple of his albums every week until I had the whole collection.
I never experienced (and still haven't), someone who had such a grasp on mastering so many different styles of music. I feel like he's the Vincent van Gogh of music - not fully appreciated during his time and I'm hopeful that someday the rest of the world will "get it."
Q - How do you think your music has evolved over the years? How do you think your current band stacks up to your previous bands?
I feel, personally, that my songwriting was more derivative in nature in my younger days. Over the years, I believe that I've done a better job of finding my own style and, even more recently, found a way to write in a way that others can relate to.
I still certainly have very personal songs that don't take that approach, but I've found a better way of tackling lyrics in a way that others can find their own meaning to as well. Peter Gabriel would be a great example of an artist that had a similar, transitional maturity in his writing as well.
This is actually the "full circle" band: nearly all of the members of this lineup have played in the band over the years and "found" their way back! Someone made a comment to me after our last show that they were really blown away how "in-tune" we were with one another on stage.
They were impressed with how well we were able to communicate with each other musically without having to say anything. I feel that that's a direct reward for having played with each other in different outfits together over the years.
I also love how the guys in this lineup are constantly trying to better themselves as musicians. I take pride in seeing them become proud of what we've accomplished in a song rather than frustrated or "put out" that they had to pull together the 10-minute opus.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think you fit into it?
While the band names are constantly changing, it's smaller than you think. I have plenty of local musician friends that are always playing out, so it's nice to see these little pockets of activity continuing.
How do we fit in it? That part is a little more difficult, I suppose.
I'd say we're a bit "weirder" to associate with more of the mainstream bands and we're a bit too "hooky" to be associated with the eclectic acts. But overall, it's great to share the stage with a lot of friends over the years and not fear the fact that their band is "too heavy" to share a bill with us or that another is "too folky," etc.
Q - What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Hmmm.... short-term is to put on a helluva CD release show this weekend and then go right back into the studio to cut the final tracks for the next album. We're looking to release the next album (currently entitled "Mother of a Ship") within the next 12 months, so there's a lot of work ahead in that regard!
We also have an ambitious video being planned for the song "Emoticons" from this album that will require lots of planning and dedication. Long-term? Ha - I have so much resting on my "short-term" plate right now that it's difficult for me to see the meals that lie further down the pasture.
Good thing I've got a voracious appetite!