Together again for the very first time
It was a Valentine’s Day show, “Songs for Lovers on Ice,” another one of Fisher Meehan’s theme events that brings together Asheville’s best downtown musicians.
But not much was getting past my dull-gray armor of mid-winter, lovelorn depression.
Nothing, that is, until a band I’d never heard of took the stage. That night they billed themselves as Laser Floyd, but to many in the audience, they were known by a name they’d taken years ago, in the late 1990s, when Asheville was getting its first taste of a rock scene.
Their first two songs were ones they’d been playing, on and off, for years — poppy tunes, four-chord numbers featuring heavy percussion and a garage-rock mentality. But their third offering, a cover song, cut right through my whole previous year of breakup angst, slicing open my ribcage and tearing my heart to ribbons. From the looks on the faces of the other lonely souls on the Vincent’s Ear balcony, I wasn’t alone in the experience.
“I don’t mind you coming here,” sang Chris Behrens, his guitar pumping out a melody first laid down 25 years ago by Ric Ocasek, “and wasting all my time … ” And then drums, snapping and pounding, as Richard Page laid sticks to skins. And then bass, backing and filling, as Jason Bugg tied the trio together.
“I guess you’re just what I needed,” sang Behrens and Bugg, with Page kicking down the beat to revive that anthem to imperfect love The Cars once gave to the world.
By the time they got to the place where the keyboard solo would be — Bugg simply hummed it — they had the crowd by their wounded, blood-pumping organs.
Here’s the irony: This same trio, formerly Glaze, was once one of the most despised bands on the downtown scene — a group that had almost made a gimmick of breaking up and getting back together, a trait they’d later turn into their current name — Reunion Tour.
“We always broke up and got back together. We didn’t want to call ourselves Glaze again, because there was a lot of baggage with that. A lot of bands hated us, because the music we played wasn’t that good,” Bugg readily admits.
In fact, the one-time college-rock wannabes were once so loathed they had active anti-fans who wore their feelings on T-shirts proclaiming: “Glaze is for donuts.”
But since their Valentine’s Day show, they’ve suddenly found themselves considered a legitimate local act.
“We [eventually] called it Reunion Tour,” explains Bugg, “because it was kind of a joke on everything.”
I’ve seen Reunion Tour only once since that fateful show four months ago. It was a fun performance; the band didn’t seem to be taking things all that seriously. They laughed, poked fun at each other, and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves. Which begs a question: After playing together on and off for the past eight years, how is this trio still together?
“It’s either that we’re just f••king doorknobs for staying around for so long,” says Bugg, “or that we’re too stupid to do anything different. That’s good, though, because these two guys are the only two guys I know how to play with.
“This time, I think it’s going to be better,” he says. “We’re all older, and we’ve kind of mellowed in our old age.” He follows that with a laugh. Jason Bugg is 25.
Catch Reunion Tour with Nice Guys Help Club at Vincent’s Ear on July 4; 259-9119 for info.