For a while, fires kept chasing Bradley Tindall, lead singer and guitarist of the Rising Hedons. Just after he left London, Ontario, a major fire destroyed his apartment building. Then in Taiwan, a bar he frequented in Hualien, the All-Star Pub, caught on fire the day after his last visit.
It was a sign for the 25-year-old singer-songwriter: “If you’re standing around, you’ll get caught in the fire … if you keep on moving, you’ll be all right.”
So he kept going and hasn’t stopped. Tindall moved to Taichung, served a stint as Boogie Chillin’s lead singer and guitarist, then wrote and recorded the Rising Hedons’ debut album Head Full of Rain, which was released earlier this month. Instead of narrowly escaping fires, Tindall and his new band intend to start one tomorrow evening with a show at Bliss, in Taipei City, one of the stops on their promotional tour.
“I’m running on fumes, but as soon as we get to the show, I get inspired,” he says.
The Hedons are a blues-rock band with some unusual instrumentation. They avoid the standard drum kit for “alternative percussion” — tablas and djembe. The idea is to “play blues, but expand it with different players,” Tindall says. For many of the band’s songs he plays a 12-string acoustic guitar, often with a bottleneck slide.
Acoustic instruments drive the Hedons’ sound, but Tindall and bandmate Pete Coulam add electric guitar to half of their songs. “People assume we’re a coffeehouse thing, but we still crank it,” Tindall says. “We like being loud, but not slamming loud.”
Some of Tindall’s musical influences: delta blues legend Son House, for his “total commitment” to his art; the Doors’ Jim Morrison; and the eccentric American folk-singer Devendra Banhart, “for his songwriting.”
What: The Rising Hedons with special guests Militant Hippi
Where: Bliss, 148, Xinyi Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市信義路四段148號). Call (02) 2702-1855 or log on at www.bliss-taipei.com for more information about the venue. Go to www.myspace.com/blisslivehouse to learn about upcoming shows at Bliss
When: Tomorrow at 9pm
Tickets: NT$200 admission
On the Net: www.therisinghedons.com
Tindall describes the band’s album as having a “laid-back” groove: “The rhythms are on the edge of the beat instead in front, as in rock.” As for the stories on Head Full of Rain, Tindall imagines what Taiwan was like in “the days of excess” and “the heyday of Spring Scream” in the track 1973, which has a mid-tempo, but driving blues rhythm. His close calls with fires are depicted in On the Gas Line. Kenting Sunset is a jam-laden ode to Taiwan’s coastal paradise.
Like many independent musicians, Tindall embraces the do-it-yourself ethic. He recorded the entire album on his own, carrying his laptop and a cart full of microphones and instruments to various recording sites: four apartments and an abandoned warehouse in Taichung. The only thing he didn’t do was the mixing and mastering, which he farmed out to recording engineer Bruce Miller, whose resume includes Miles Davis, Dave Matthews and the White Stripes.
With the album completed, Tindall now lives the rock and roll lifestyle — but mostly as manager. When’s he not teaching in the classroom or on stage, he’s on the computer, maintaining the Hedons’ Web site and handling all the bookings.
But the long hours are worth it for Tindall, who credits his bandmates and the close-knit community of musicians in Taichung for their help: “Those guys … they keep my spirits up.”
The Rising Hedons’ tour wraps up in mid-June with a show at Peacefest, but Tindall is already of thinking of what he’ll do after a short break in Canada: “Write new songs and come back and do it all again.”