By Jim Schutze
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By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
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A Bedwetter grows up
Among the local bands invited to play South by Southwest, the annual music-biz confab that takes place March 17-21, is one that has yet to release even a cassette or play a single live gig. In fact, the tape that got the band into the conference contained only three unmixed songs and came bearing a handwritten note: "No information can be given, listen to the music." And just like that, The Deathray Davies will be among the hopefuls descending upon Austin like locusts in the springtime--even though at the time the tape was made, the band wasn't even a band. Rather, it was just one guy: Bedwetter guitarist John Dufilho, who shuttled between San Antonio and Dallas to record what will become The Deathray Davies' debut CD Drink With the Grown-Ups & Listen to the Jazz.
The album, which should be available within a month, sounds much like Bedwetter--if that band recorded in a garage in 1968 with, like, one guy playing all the instruments. It's the catchiest piece of lo-fidelity rock this side of the new Sebadoh record, a pop-pop gem brimming with fuzzed-out guitars pogoing with tambourines and organ; like Dufilho sings, "I wouldn't change a thing." Drink With the Grown-Ups is the result of songs the guitarist had left over from the recording of a yet-to-be-released second Bedwetter album, which was finished last summer. A friendship with Centro-matic's Will Johnson--himself the master of the bedroom one-take--spurred Dufilho to make use of the songs, even if it meant playing every single instrument on the record. So he spent the last few months driving to San Antonio, Bedwetter's old home, to record; he then finished the album at Big Time Audio here.
"I've kinda been in bands for a while, and when I moved up here, I guess one of the inspiring forces was that I became friends with Will," Dufilho says. "And when I heard what he did, a light bulb went off: 'Hey, I could do that." He laughs. "It kinda happened that way."
But now that The Deathray Davies has been accepted to play SXSW, and since Dufilho needed some extra musicians to play some gigs once the album was released, he has had to put together a band--which was easy enough, since he was already playing in Legendary Crystal Chandelier, better known as Peter Schmidt's band. Dufilho recruited Schmidt to play guitar, Bedwetter's Jason Garner on bass, Transona Five's Rachel Smith on keyboards (including Farfisa organ), and Chomsky's Matt Kellum on drums, though The Commercials' Rob Avsharian has also been behind the kit as of late. "Within the next month, it'll kinda solidify," Dufilho says. That lineup, more or less, is the one he's taking with him to SXSW, where Bedwetter also has its own showcase.
"When John asked me to join and played me the songs, I liked them a bunch," says Schmidt. "It's a really good '60s-influenced garage-pop album. The songs are fun, and it's good for me to play the songs and not have to worry about anything. I did it because I was his friend, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't like the songs."
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