Thursday, May 3, 2012

Suzanne Baker bids farewell to Street Violence

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Street Violence is playing its last show ever tonight at 529. Well ... Maybe it's not forever, but it's the last show for a good long while. Front lady Suzanne Baker sat down to talk about why she's leaving the band, and what she has in store for the future.

You're playing the final Street Violence show tonight?

Yes, it's the last show for a very long time.

Does that mean that the group will play again?

Maybe, but not definitely. We might revisit it someday. Who knows?

Why bring it to an end now?

Well, there are a couple of reasons: Cole Grant, our bass player, does his river-rafting thing every summer - he's a river guide on the French Broad, and I'm going back to school in the fall and working full-time. I'm also in a few other bands that I'd like to focus on a little more, so all of these things combined ... Last summer when Cole was gone we had some people stand in for him, but it was always hard to teach them the new songs.

Rafting was why Cole stopped playing with A Grimes, too, right?

Yeah, but he loves it and I think that's what he wants to do with his life, so it's cool that he's taking steps in that direction.

Really, I wasn't feeling the Street Violence thing anymore, especially for how time consuming it was. When I started doing Faun I kind of fell in love with it. It's what I want to do musically, and it's where I want to go now. Street Violence is super fun and a big party all the time but I kind of feel like I've reached my peak with it. I love those guys and Street Violence shows are the funnest shows that I've ever played. They get wild: I broke somebody's nose at a show once, and I got blackout drunk and head butted someone at another show. They were fun, and the music was cool, but it's not what I want to do anymore. I definitely don't want those guys to feel like I didn't value it, though.

Is there a possibility of them carrying on with a different singer?

We talked about it, and I'm totally cool with it, if they want to do that. I kind of think that they should, but they aren't really interested in it for now. I hope they do. Trevor (Vick), Will (Raines), and Shawn (Dillard), and even Cole have played music together for a long time, and they really do have good chemistry.

What other bands are you a part of these days?

I do some solo stuff occasionally, going by the name Rattler Snake. I might start singing with Babar ... Perhaps. I only went to one practice with Babar, so it's a big maybe. It was really intense and I didn't know what to do. ... I don't know, it was like retarded rock music! It's silly and has a lot of super weird time signatures.

Right, well I always thought of Street Violence as having a loose, pop music/surf music kind of sensibility - nothing too technical. Faun And A Pan Flute is kind of loose too, but it can be kind of complex. I feel like the style of music that group plays can change from show-to-show, too. I'm still trying to make sense out of it all.

We took a really long hiatus from playing shows because we were changing so much. We got a marimba player, and two other percussionists have joined the band. One of them is going to be playing some sax, and two other people might play clarinet. It just keeps growing and getting crazy - it's like an 11-piece band right now.

You were in the Back Pockets too, which is another big band like that. Is it a pain in the ass to keep a handle on a group that size?

Yeah, we're lucky if we get one practice every three weeks when everyone is there. We mostly just practice in small groups when we can.

Do you feel like Street Violence is going out on a high note?

Kind of. We've been talking about it for four months. We all got together and talked about where things were going and what we wanted to do before things ended. It's ending on an amicable note. I didn't know any of them before we started playing together and now we're all friends. We got to do some touring together and we finished an album that we're releasing at the show.

What's the name of the album?

Oh gosh ... I don't think it has a name? I don't know! I never thought about that. It's all new. Some of the songs we've only played live a couple of times.

The last few times I've seen you play the shows have been pretty rowdy.

Yes, it is hard to leave because I think we are just now getting to that point where we're having good turn outs at our shows, and occasionally people have heard of us. We have friends in Athens who've said we get played on the radio up there. We were having our own little following build up. But it's always been about having fun and getting wasted and dancing around and pushing each other. I think it's something that we could do more shows with in the future and it would be just as much fun.

How long have you been singing with this group?

I started singing with them in December of 2010. There was one singer before me. They played for 6-8 months as an instrumental band, and then they had the other singer, but I don't think she liked doing it all that much. The rest of the band has been together for a solid two-and-a-half years.

White Light Forest Choir was my first band, and I was terrified to sing - I think I sucked at singing back then. I'm still not that good, but I was awful back then. I've grown a lot with Street Violence: Learning to sing loudly.

So what's your next move?

Faun And A Pan Flute has an album that we've been recording. We put out the "Sunset Dolphin Boat Ride '98" single recently, and those are the two songs that we've finished and feel pretty happy about. Some of the other stuff that we've recorded have already changed. I don't know if we're in a real rush to put it out, I think we just want to let it develop and see what happens. We have some shows coming up and we'll go on tour - we have a Frito Lay truck that we can take on tour, but getting 11 people to get out of work for the same days is crazy.

A Frito Lay truck sounds awesome. Did you pimp out at all? Fung Shui it?

Well, the last time we took it to Athens we just put a bunch of blankets down and had a big cuddle puddle. That was nice, and we've talked about doing some roller skating in it while it's moving, like on "Jackass."

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