Nevilton (Brazil)

The Bixby Knolls

"The hardest working bands are the ones who write songs with meaning and play those tunes by kicking people's faces in," Joe Cardamone remarked to Sammy Fayed as they sat down to embark on a long flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok. This was the doctrine lived and breathed by singer/songwriter and LA native Curt Barlage who met Sammy a year before when he responded to a local 'drummer wanted' ad for Curt's new project "The Bixby Knolls." "There was an interesting energy in the bar before I even met Sam," Curt recalls, "…it felt like we knew what each other were about before we even started speaking to one another." There was a strong sense of understanding in the air between the singer and the drummer. Perhaps it was the frustration with the existing musical climate in LA or perhaps it was which records either of them were playing back in their minds that evening. They both felt that either one 'got it' and none of them had to do the routine and awkward 10-question inquisition game to check one another for being a 'faker'. The forming of a band, the musician's philosophy, the struggle against the 9 to 5 work schedule, creative pursuit, songwriting, great records, good watering holes with proper tunes, women, relationships, touring, the economy, and the dislike of the fleeting flash in the pan shit that perpetuated the streets of their local East LA circuit all ensued as topics of conversation over the wall of Silverlake noise groups on the bill that evening. In the span of a 5-minute chat the two had formed a unique bond over these shared ideals and 'The Bixby Knolls" were born.

After some odd months and changing faces in the line up, Curt and long time friend (8 years to be exact) Cesar Saez De Nanclares of Mexico City, found themselves in a late night tequila and cerveza sinking session discussing their frustrations with the music business. Having shared the stage with early incarnations of the bixby knolls in his own outfit (the wallburds), Cesar decided to take his chances on a musical voyage while sitting in a Mexican holding cell at the border (for reasons not stated). Cesar made a phone call in the morning to Curt ready to join the brethren of The Bixby Knolls. Shortly thereafter Curt found himself on the prowl for a final member at a premier venue in Silverlake, fascinated by the energetic and floor stomping live performance of 20 year old Christian Morales on bass. The two chatted over some pints and immediately established a brotherhood. After 6 months of unsuccessful musical prospects, in the midst of turmoil, pressures with school, and frequent battles with heartbreak, Christian declared his engagement to the knolls. Hence, the final perfected line up was born.

A few weeks later Sammy found himself on a 13-hour commercial flight to Bangkok where he sat next to Joe Cardamone, the self established madman and leader behind the punk outfit 'The Icarus Line'. Cardamone and Sammy chatted about the lack of energy in the music scene in LA and over what seemed like 8 courses of food and no sleep. As the flight began it's descent the two agreed to 'be in touch' while sharing some humorous remarks questioning how each of them had ended up en route to a third world country on the brink of civil war.

Packets of cigarettes later and having survived a stint in the baking hot jungles of Thailand Cardamone and Fayed returned to LA with an agreement to work on a record together. Joe had recently formed a small label with local muse Annie Hardy from Giant Drag and had begun his new venture of producing bands he liked locally. In late 2010 The Knolls found themselves recording their first album at the Sound Factory in Hollywood with Producer Joe Cardamone, head Engineer Greg Gordon (who has worked with the likes of Oasis, Supergrass, The Dandy Warhols, Jet and many more), and Mark Chaleki as mastering engineer.

The Bixby Knolls' sound shows each of the members' deep influence of classic records. In sharp contrast to the plaid and American-Apparel wearing sea of 'brohemia,' the Bixby Knolls share a vision and identity comparable to a band of musical brothers. Roxy Music, 'baggy' Kasabian, The Libertines, the Stone Roses, The Mondays, Arthur Lee and Love, Primal Scream, The Clash, The Modern Lovers, The Cramps, The Stones, Joy Division and Supergrass are heard throughout their record's sonic landscape while Barlage's voice emotes the affected themes of heartbreak and struggle heard in classic R&B and soul from the sixties such as The Zombies, Four Tops, and Nolan Porter. "Our record reminds us of Bobby Gillespie and Joe Strummer in a fist fight," Barlage puts bluntly when asked directly.

Frustrated and sick of their jobs, school, heartache, and the pains of modern society, the beating heart of the knolls is a deafening thump ready to bleed through the veins of the masses with the same anxieties, fears, and frustrations that come to all modern humans near and undear.



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