Beulah: Feature

<div>Beulah: The Final Show</div><br /><div><div>The story goes like this:  In 1994, Miles Kurosky meets fellow mailroom worker Bill Swann in a downtown San Francisco securities firm.  They initially harbor...
Beulah: The Final Show

The story goes like this:  In 1994, Miles Kurosky meets fellow mailroom worker Bill Swann in a downtown San Francisco securities firm.  They initially harbor intense dislike for each other, but the need to leave the world of nine-to-five drudgery and create a body of work that is larger than themselves motivates them to put aside their differences.  Hence, Beulah is born.

The story goes like this:  In 1994, Miles Kurosky meets fellow mailroom worker Bill Swann in a downtown San Francisco securities firm.  They initially harbor intense dislike for each other, but the need to leave the world of nine-to-five drudgery and create a body of work that is larger than themselves motivates them to put aside their differences.  Hence, Beulah is born.

It is now August 2004 and four critically symphonic pop masterpieces later, frontman Kurosky and drummer Danny Sullivan are in a trailer in Battery Park City, waiting for their cue to go on stage.  It is to be their last concert, a free farewell to their fans and according to Miles, a sigh of relief over the end of long tours as contractual obligations to promote their records.  Their last record is something of an anomaly in the musical world; released on Velocette Records and provocatively titled Yoko (an earlier working title was The Beatles Are Dying, But Please Don't Blame Yoko), it is a parallel of the melancholy felt during their final days as a band.  Although unlike most last records, Yoko was written with the band members fully knowing that this one was to be their final release.

Miles and Danny chat with QRO about touring, the upcoming release of the documentary of their last tour, and how there’s no such thing as too much trumpet.
 
By Marsha Ignatyeva
marsha@qromag.com

QRO: So you guys are from San Francisco.  Why did you decide to have your final show in New York City?  Audience size?

Miles Kurosky:  I have no idea.  It was just booked. We booked it a ways ago and [a free show in New York] just seemed like a good enough place to end it.  Plus, they were paying us a fuck-load of money.  You can’t turn that down. People in San Francisco give us grief, like we should’ve played our last one back home but we [were] psyched just to take a nice little trip.  We love this city. 

QRO:  You’ve gone through a lot of record labels.  What made you switch around so much?

Miles: Each time we signed with a label, we signed for only one record for two reasons.  We wanted to reserve the right to work [with that record label] again depending on whether we thought they were good.  If we thought they were shit, we wanted to get the fuck out, to dodge.  That was the first reason – if they were a label we didn’t know.  The second reason was that if did have the freedom and sold a certain amount of records, we’d [tell them] “you did a good job.”  But we wanted to test the waters.  We liked the whole idea of free agency.  [Other record labels] would offer us a whole bunch of money and say “We’re gonna do the exact same thing that that [last] label did.”   And we’d say “we’re not sure about you either but that’s a lot of money and you seem like good people and we’ll try it.”

QRO: Did your record sales have anything to do with the breaking up w/ the band? 

Miles:  I don’t need the money.  I haven’t had a job in seven years.  I’ll be fine.  [Money] had nothing to do with that.  It had a lot to do with reaching one’s peak and not withering and growing old in the public.  I use the analogy of an aging sports star.  They get ugly when they get old.  You just want to go out when you’re on top and be remembered in your prime, rather than hanging on too long. I would never want people to talk about our band and wonder “Are they still together?” 

QRO: What about the album as your final statement.  Are you satisfied with that?

Miles: Oh yeah.  It’s one of those records that’s different and people have a lot of different reactions to it.  I like it, I think it’s a great record.  I like all of our records for different reasons.  It’s like looking back at four years of high school.  [Each record] is like a year of my life.  [Besides], we could’ve made a much shittier record. 

QRO:  Is there such a thing as too much trumpet?

Miles:  I don’t know.  Not really.  If you think about it, it’s weird how people will sometimes focus on that.  No one ever says that there’s too much guitar.  There’s too much guitar on every goddamn band record. Who goes to Weezer and says “You guys use the same guitar sound-cleaned and distorted for every song.  We have trumpets-we have different kinds of trumpets, we have staccato, then we add the saxophones, we add everything.  We add any ridiculous sort of instrument we can get our hands on.  Do you ask Miles Davis if there’s too much fucking trumpet?  Or Coltrane if there’s too much fuckin’ sax?

QRO:  Yr documentary is coming in the fall.  What should we expect, besides concert footage and how did it feel to be followed around with a camera crew?

Miles:  The documentary is about our last tour so we were followed everywhere, by a guy with a camera.  He just became a part of the band.  We didn’t even know he was there all the time.  We would be sitting in a van like this and he’d film us when we were talking, just like this.  After a while, you forget he’s even there.  Otherwise, I would’ve watched all of my embarrassing behavior.  Live performances aren’t the focus of the DVD. 

Danny:  It’s an honest portrayal of what it’s like to be on the road.  This is for fans who know us.  Seeing live bands of movies is generally boring as hell.  We’re not one of those bands that can afford six to eight cameras following them.

Miles:  It’s more about the little things we do, whether it’s fight or joke.  It’s for anyone who’s ever wondered what we’re like.  

QRO:  Are you guys going to watch it together?

Miles: We did sit together and watch it.  I don’t like watching it with the other guys.  I watched it by myself [before] so I could prepare myself for what it was and then I was okay with it.  And then when they all watched it, I showed up late. 

QRO:  What can you tell us about band members’ future solo work? 

Miles:  I have some songs for a record.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I’m going to approach it from a different perspective-one of enjoyment and fun and not pressure that is Beulah.  I’m probably not going to put together a band that will tour because touring is something we had to do.  We were obligated to our label.  If people will like my new record, they’ll like it.  It’s more of a hobby.

A Good Band Is Easy To Kill, the documentary of Beulah’s Fall 2003 tour is out on Further Down Films.

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