First Gig: Walking Bicycles

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First Gig: Walking Bicycles

First Gig is our series at Stereo Subversion that asks various musicians to look back at their first-ever live show. Our latest entry comes from Jocelyn Summers, the lead singer of Walking Bicycles, who found out at their first gig that rural weirdos are the oddest of all. And the most fun. Make sure to check out the band’s new album, To Him That Wills The Way, which you can preorder here. Also you can catch the video for their single “Eyesore” below.

We’d been a band for close to six months, practicing probably four or five days a week. For a long while we would practice with just me and Jules [guitarist], then us and the drummer, and then me and Jules and our bass player. At that point Jules was the sonic leader of the band, letting us know how the parts would fit once we were all together, where to accent, drop out etc.

Finally we got the whole band in one room and played. We had written enough to play a live set and when we heard it for the first time played together we really wanted to share it with whoever would listen. So, one night we set up our gear at our bass players’ apartment. It was really close to the town center of this small college town out west. We opened the doors and windows and played our set a bunch of times until people started wandering in. A guy who owned an underground club in the warehouse district of that town was one of the people who found their way in by following the music and offered us our first paid show that night.

Our first paid show was in August 2004. We opened for the Waxwings, featuring Brendan Benson. I think there’s an old video of some of it on Youtube, which is pretty grainy. Anyway, our drummer at the time, Red, puked right before we went on. Our bass player was high on acid. Jules and I were stoned. We were ready.

The good thing about rural shows is that rural weirdos are the weirdest of the weirdos. So people dance, they do mad drugs, and they go extra crazy when they like your music. There was a lot of that at that show. We were loud and fast and played with the honest sincerity of all new bands who are just thrilled to play in front of anyone.

We try to this day to never come off jaded. I still get this burning sensation in my stomach whenever we play, this sense of pure adrenaline that I love. I felt it that night for the first time. We played for a half hour or so and that hasn’t changed even after four releases and ten years of playing together. We’re still firm believers that you should leave them wanting more.


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