Damn. So close. We've all had those loves gone wrong.
Maybe the fantasy turned real, becoming ridiculously crazy. Stalkerville. Maybe it was merely longing and the reality never happened. Maybe he was scared shitless. She was gay. Somebody cheated. All sex, no friendship. He had meat breath and she liked soy.
Gelling on every level but one. That smoking habit, the grinding of teeth. Something wouldn't go away. A near miss, the shrug, the chuckle. Ah, fuck it, let's screw.
In his latest CD, Hapless, Chris Arduser captures this humorous anti-love madness. A multi-instrumentalist known for drumming, Arduser has played professionally since he was 12 years old.
"When I was 5, I heard The Kinks on the radio," he says, "and I wanted to make that sound."
Arduser quit college in 1985 to hit the road with The Bears, who made MTV videos when MTV actually showed videos. "It was a good insight into the music industry," he recalls.
While the word "Pop" might conjure up images of a disgruntled, bald Britney Spears, Arduser says, "We loved the Beatlesque Pop of our youth, the term for singable melodies and nice harmonies. 'Pop' is not a bad word for people my age. It was always what I'd wanted to do, but by the time I was 20 I became incredibly burned out."
In the early 1990s, after he helped form the Pop/Rock psychodots, Arduser branched out.
"I was really tired of loud Rock and I began writing all these tunes on mandolin," he says.
This led to The Graveblankets, his Folk/Rock band with George Cunningham and Bridgett Otto. The Graveblankets put out five albums, and Arduser has also punched out two solo one-man-band style albums.
But with Hapless, he says, "I wanted it to be a bunch of guest stars." With Otto and Laura Chenault contributing strong female vocals, Arduser adds a slew of star musicians, such as Don Aren, Cunningham and Rob Fetters.
Hapless has a heavily sarcastic edge -- upbeat melodies and dark lyrical humor run through each song's veins. Arduser says that it's "respectfully dedicated to luckless women and unfortunate men."
Hapless brazenly pokes fun at true romance gone bye-bye. Meshing storytelling with layered guitars, Arduser maintains this slick humor.
"Everything" is a catchy, steady tune, but it begins with Chenault's church-like, spooky female vocals. "No Answers" ends it with quiet hand drums and a disgruntled peace. It has the feel of rowdy togetherness, as if a couple has agreed to disagree. On a long distance call.
After experiencing record labels, MTV and the noise, Arduser says, "I've been doing it for 36 years. Just playing is a blast. And when it all works ... it's ridiculously satisfying. I couldn't be happier about being a journeyman musician, and that's really all I ever wanted. Having insane success doesn't cure all your ills."
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