“You can look at that band and wonder where/all that sound was coming from with just four people there.” —Jonathan Richman, “Velvet Underground”
When I listen to most music, I can usually divide up the sound in my head and identify the instrumentation. I don’t know whether that speaks positively of the band; it’s just a fact. But there’s definitely something to be said about taking a four-man band and their respective instruments and creating a sound that is somehow more than the sum of its four parts.
In Draft Riots’s case, the studio band and the live band are slightly different animals. The record features Danny Slayton singing and playing guitar, Mike Campbell on keyboards, and Mat Heron on drums, with the bass responsibilities divided among the band. As this sort of arrangement is impossible in a live setting, for recent performances, the band has been borrowing Ben Felker from The Fervor, another band that also utilizes Heron’s talents on the drums.
MascuLeninism, Draft Riots’s debut record, begins with the eerie opening strains of “Pity Gun” and ends with the haunting simplicity of “Bookburner.” In between, the music moves with a fluidity that can’t help but pull the listener along.
Considering the album title, it’s no surprise that much of the record is politically charged. The album features songs with names like “Cheney Pie,” and “Telechurch.” What do you expect from a band called Draft Riots (on a label called La Revolution)? With that many political references, it would be possible to get heavy-handed, but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Slayton’s surreal lyrics and unique vocal delivery imbed any messages in the band’s combined sound, which makes the message all the more ominous. It’s only appropriate that the record is to be released on a Friday the 13th in October, the month of haunted houses. Although their tactics are different, haunted houses and Draft Riots have one thing in common: They may scare you a bit, but you’ll enjoy the process.
LEO: If you were Mayor, what would you do to help promote people like you in this city?
Danny Slaton: I would build light-rail, but I have to be realistic. So, I would build Encouragement Booths in high traffic urban areas to make people feel better.
LEO: Which Louisville musician needs to get more attention?
LEO: If music were food, what kind would yours be?
DS: Pentecostal Parfait with a dollop of Canonized Cream.
LEO: Tell me about one of you favorite works of art aside from your medium.
DS: “War with the Newts,” by Karel Apek. It’s an especially poignant story considering our current struggle with Cobra …I mean al Qaeda.
LEO: What do you want to say that you know you shouldn’t?
DS: I don’t think the Holy Grail was a bloodline or a really nice cup. It was probably a code word between ancient rednecks for special lady parts.