i don’t remember the first time i saw mother whale. i remember missing them at one of paul macleod’s sonic lullaby festivals, and being pissed about it. i’m pretty sure i’d missed them a couple more times before finally catching them at what i believe was the first curare. i remember little about that night, but after seeing the best noise band in the state i was hard pressed to forget it. noise bands are fickle things, but function the same as any other artist: some are walking egos demanding attention (aware of it or not), some are following formulas too much, while others are too scattered or intimidated to be cohesive. mother whale was none of these things. mother whale were two perfectly complimentary personalities feeding off each other, and putting every ounce of themselves into it.
on stage is a table, with quite the array of pedals, mixers, wires, and a laptop. on one side: adam pierce, with slight muscular build, usually wearing jeans and a t shirt, who is friendly and outgoing, but carries a healthy dose of cynicism with him. the other: jesse hoffman, skinny and sharply dressed, quiet and shy, serious and sweet. on stage they would alternate between moments of contemplation, turning a knob or re-looping a sample, and then ferocious attack, like the time when adam pushed the headstock of his guitar into the floor, bending the neck, and let go, sending it flying into his amp. or when jesse was on his knees, his guitar bared before him, teeth clenched around a talk box and writhing furiously. watching them sucked you into the place their music created, be it densely layered, reserved, shrill, strange, pretty, or provocative, these were the sounds of worlds being born and worlds being razed, conjured before you by two alchemists of aural realms.
after playing in al scheurman’s short lived backing band, jesse and adam hooked up with richie wohlfeil, who provided the drums for said outfit, and began working with more traditional song structures. they stripped down their equipment, with adam on guitar and jesse playing his moog synthesizer; odd as it may seem on paper, it sounded stunning. it was like a giant pulsating, amorphous caterpillar had metamorphosized into a huge psychedelic winged butterfly, equally terrifying and gorgeous. unfortunately, at this grand turning point in their career, jesse had to step away from performing due to some personal health issues (he is doing ok, i assure you all!). for now, their future is uncertain, although adam and richie have begun playing as a two piece known as the meadowlarks, and adam still has his solo project ‘black seal.’ jesse is steadily playing his acoustic and banjo, refining his solo material, under the moniker ‘food for owls’. one can only hope they will have the opportunity to deliver on the promise and potential they were only beginning to reach, especially after having traversed so far.
so, not all of these bands are quite finished, but this chapter of their lives are, just as mine was when red china took a hiatus back in may. time is short, and flies fast; these things and people and what they do are all temporary. there will be a time i and you and everyone else who has ever been or will be will be gone, but the fact they existed means they will never cease to be, even if it was all part of a process of self-destruction in order for something to come next. these are three examples of what life can be for anyone, good bad and otherwise. maybe it’s a little greener on the other side of the grass, but anybody looking in on me could say the same thing. we’re just here to challenge, entertain, and inspire each other, and i hope everyone who got this far will take it all with a grain of salt and keep challenging themselves to be themselves, and never stop moving. you will never be disappointed in where you end up.
thanks for reading this far extended writing, and thanks to the far far far too many people i could list that deserve just as much credit as anybody i’ve mentioned already. you’re all an inspiration & i’m glad to have you as part of my perceived world.