Teen beat

Dragline don't need diplomas to avant-rock

Influenced by British bands like Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, and Loop, Graham does most of the composing. He begins writing the music on guitar, then adds the lyrics. He'll then bring an outline to the band members and have each add their own contributions.

"When I write, I lock myself up in complete seclusion for a couple of weeks and eventually I get into the right frame of mind to write these songs," Graham says. "A lot of them are about feelings and situations, but it's up to each person to get their own meaning for themselves." To which Nelson adds:"Our music is like poetry. It is how it strikes you and how you feel toward a song."

The poetry, though, can't necessarily be found within the lyrics--most of which are indecipherable, anyway--but in the atmosphere built within each track. "I Close my Eyes," for instance, starts as a mellow, ethereal piece and then explodes into a hellacious frenzy of distorted guitars; it finally alternates between a certain indefinable elegance and a tangible savageness. Such is the essential element to Dragline's sound--the contradictions in between the notes, the beautiful yin and the grotesque yang.

"Music has this way of grabbing me and twisting me," Nelson says. "I can cry to a song. I hear a love song, and it makes me think of a person I used to love; or, if it's an aggressive song, it makes me wanna go out and beat on my punching bag."

Talking with the members can be a disconcerting, deceptive thing. They continually remind you they're not teen-agers bashing out a punk-rock sound in a garage after class lets out; rather, they approach music as a collective, and they approach their music with a deadpan seriousness and new-age empathy that would incite laughter if it came from musicians twice their age. Instead, one can only listen in jaw-dropping amazement to the words--and sounds--that come from the mouths of babes.

"If you know Chip, Scott, and Jordy, and you hear their music, you know they're playing their personalities," Huey says. "There's an internal being within yourself that is connected to everybody else. People who are not connected to their spiritual self seem lost. It's like an internal circuit that connects us all. This circuit brings out the universal communication. This kind of music helps me get to that dimension.

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