Thursday, October 8, 2009

So So Glos find their star burning bright

By David Chiu

For a band that is still somewhat new, Brooklyn’s indie punk band the So So Glos already had several interesting memorable moments happen to them in their young career.

Some of those moments included going to Europe by plane for their first tour and meeting late ‘70s New Wave singer Pearl E. Gates in Los Angeles. And as guitarist Matt Elkin says, there was also the time when the band was on the road playing two extremely different gigs.

“We played one night a dingy living room in Greenville, North Carolina,” he says, “and the next day we were playing [to] 6,000 people in D.C. opening for Santigold. What a strange sequence that was. Pigging out on hot wings and sleeping on mattresses, and then getting the royal treatment in the green room at the Convention Center. That was pretty amazing.”

The So So Glos — whose members in addition too Elkin include guitarist Ryan Levine, bassist/singer Alex Levine, and drummer Zach Staggers — have played here in the U.S. (they have recently been on tour with Titus Andronicus) and in Europe. And along the way they co-founded Bushwick’s Market Hotel, which has since become the latest local space for live music.

Last year the So So Glos released their second album, “Tourism/Terrorism,” whose sound is energetic punk, though it also embraces some melodic pop. “There’s definitely a consciousness to it,” says Alex. “We were trying to put reality in check and looking at everything through a lens.”

The origins of the So So Glos began in Bay Ridge, where the Levine brothers and their half-brother Zach are from.

The band members were raised on an eclectic music diet that included Nirvana and the Kinks.

“We used to dress up in leather jackets when we were little kids,” says Alex, “and put on our parents records and mimicked what we heard. Eventually bought our instruments. We were writing songs when we were very young.”

With Matt later joining them, the So So Glos went on tour in 2007. When they returned to New York they had no place to live after moving out of their apartment. In their search throughout Brooklyn, they checked out a 4,000 square-foot place in Bushwick that used to be a Dominican nightclub. They liked it but needed an extra $1,000 to offset the rent. That’s when promoter Todd P stepped in, which led to the founding of the Market Hotel.

“[Todd P] loved it,” says Ryan, “and said, ‘I’ll pay $1,000 worth of rent if I can throw shows here.’ We weren’t trying to run a venue. We were trying to live in cheap in New York and go on tour.”

Since then the Market Hotel has been the place for musical performances by acts such as Dan Deacon. Although the members of the So So Glos don’t live at the Hotel anymore, Ryan says: “When I get back to New York [and] I’m homeless, I’ll probably be sleeping there. It’s kind of like we can go there forever.”

Once the So So Glos finish their upcoming tour of Europe, they will begin work on their next album. “We really want to take our time with it,” says Alex, “whereas the first two albums we rushed and recorded everything we had and frantically put it out. I think we really want to craft something that’s our statement to the world.”

The So So Glos will be playing on Oct. 15 at the Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, 347-529-6696, 8 p.m., $12.


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