Limbeck Longing For The Good Ol' Days

"Now you can send an email or a MySpace message to your favorite band saying, 'Hey assholes, why don't you come to Ottawa? Quit skipping our city.' So then the band gets bummed," says Limbeck's Patrick Carrie, who adds he's met fans who have openly admitted to him that they've illegally downloading the band's album – while purchasing t-shirts from him at a show. "That hurts our feelings," says Robb MacLean.

- Dara Hakimzadeh
Photos by Sheila Busteed

posted September 4, 2007

Limbeck Longing For The Good Ol\' Days

     Having experienced music as fans in the early ’90s, members of the Orange County, California-based country/rock band Limbeck are feeling a bit retrospective these days.

     “This month, we’ve really started to appreciate our punk roots,” says guitarist Patrick Carrie, an avid fan of early Superdrag, Propagandhi, Jimmy Eat World and Green Day. Carrie says Limbeck will be recording a pop-punk record in September under the band name The Cubs.

     “Right now, that nostalgia is worth so much – gas is expensive, food is expensive, people are picky, shows are good and bad, digital music is taking over, and record stores are falling apart,” he says. “It’s great to just sit and think back.”

     After the band’s first album, This Chapter is Called Titles, which was released in 2000 and was labelled as emo by the critics, lead vocalist and guitarist Robb MacLean lost his CD collection and started replenishing his music by buying cheap vinyl at dollar stores.

     Within his collection, artists such as Buffalo Springfield, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty started to have a stronger presence and also began to have a greater influence on the group’s music for the albums Hi, Everything's Great and Let Me Come Home. In 2006, Limbeck paid tribute to The Byrds by including a cover of “Mr. Spaceman” on a tour EP. Melodies in this year’s self-titled record have been compared by music writers to the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas.

     “They’re writing about small towns in America. Big cities are interesting, but when you’re going through a small town it’s really interesting to get into that town’s head and think about their lives,” says Carrie of classic songwriters. Today, he says Wilco and Ryan Adams are continuing the tradition.

     In high school, Carrie would order music from the LookOut! Records mail order catalog. “You’d read about bands, you’d read interviews in ‘zines and they’d talk about other bands and that’s how you learned about stuff,” he says. “You didn’t have websites, so you’d have to do so much more work on your own, which I think made it so much more of a payoff when you came into a band you loved.”

     Today, technology has put all the power in the hands of the fans, enabling them to download just hit songs and neglect entire albums. But it has also created an opportunity for fans to have an open dialogue with the artist – something that Carrie says wasn’t as common for him growing up.

     “It was so hard to get in touch with your favorite band, like The Mr. T Experience. You’d have to go to the show and have the guts to go up to him and say, ‘Hey man, I really dig your stuff,” says Carrie.

     “And Dr. Frank would be really drunk and wouldn’t know what they hell you’re talking about,” laughs MacLean.

     “Now you can send an email or a MySpace message to your favorite band saying, ‘Hey assholes, why don’t you come to Ottawa? Quit skipping our city.’ So then the band gets bummed,” says Carrie, who adds he’s met fans who have openly admitted to him that they’ve illegally downloading the band’s album – while purchasing t-shirts from him at a show.

     “That hurts our feelings,” says MacLean.

     “All you can really say is, ‘I’m glad you like it,’ I guess,’ says Carrie. “That’s rough. People just want [music] instantly.”

     To combat the need for instant music, Carrie says the band is considering releasing their next record digitally before physical copies enter stores and then on cassette, vinyl and CD.

     “We’re all big vinyl collectors,” says Carrie.

     “Vinyl seems to be getting more and more popular now,” adds MacLean.

     “With vinyl and cassette tapes, people pay more attention to sequencing,” says Carrie. “It’s virtually out of the window now because you download your favorite tracks from a CD and that’s all you listen to. It’s a total bummer that cassettes are going out,” says Carrie.

     “Mixed CDs have no heart. They take no time to make,” responds MacLean.

     “It had to be so carefully planned,” says Carrie about the mixed-tape. “You couldn’t sift through it on your desktop. You had to know how a song goes into the next song, into the next song,” explains MacLean. “It’s just flip, flip, flip, burn, done.”

     Carrie says that the Internet has, in a way, cheapened the fan experience so that they can know everything about the bands playing a show before even attending – and fans can even watch performances on YouTube before attending a show.

     “We’re totally grumpy about being in this era for so many reasons,” he says. “We just missed it – wasn’t that in Almost Famous? When Lester Bangs says, ‘Rock is dead! Rock is over, you missed it.’”

     “I’m sure 10 years from now, some band that is younger than us is going to be saying the same thing about today,” jokes MacLean. “Remember when the Internet was Internet 1.0 and now it’s Internet 2.0? Remember when people didn’t have to teleport to shows? And people were really artistic.”