Six days a week, the Denton-based members of Oso Closo pile into a van for a 50-minute commute to Dallas. Since being hired by the Dallas Theater Center to perform in a production of The Who’s Tommy, the band has spent the majority of its nights and days in Dallas. The rock opera opens Tuesday, September 2, and in these, the final days of preparation, rehearsals have stretched from noon to midnight.
“We’ve realized that, because of the drive, it works out to a 14-hour day for the band," says Oso Closo frontman Adrian Hulet. "But, honestly, I don’t think things could be going better. ”
“We’ve never been a theatrical band,” he says of the band’s role in the musical about a deaf, dumb and blind kid who becomes a pinball wizard and cult hero. “So, this is definitely nothing like we’ve done before.”
He mentions a scene in Tommy that requires Oso Closo guitarists Chris McQueen and Lindsey Miller to jump on top of a huge pinball machine and play solos.
“It’s pretty cool, but I don’t think that we would have ever had anything like that in our show…Until now.”
Typically, stage productions of Tommy feature a traditional pit orchestra, but new artistic director Kevin Moriarty wanted DTC’s version to attain a rock sound and aesthetic closer to The Who’s original recording.
And, because Moriarty envisioned the band members on stage acting and interacting with the characters, he couldn’t hire just any ol’ band. He needed the right band with the right personality. Hulet credits Michael League of Snarky Puppy with introducing Moriarty to Oso Closo. Once Moriarty heard the band’s debut album, Rest, familiarized himself with what the Observer already called Oso Closo's “operatic sensibilities,” and caught a few of their live sets, the band got the job.
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Naturally, getting the DTC gig is a major step for the band.
“We have a really fantastic thing going on in Denton,” Hulet says. “And we have a lot of people who come out to see us. But, I’m of the mind that until we can really take over Dallas, and get notoriety there, we aren’t really going to expand….”
“And because we aren’t ever going to do the typical things that bands do to promote themselves, we’ll always be doing weird stuff,” Hulet continues. “Tommy is the first of what we hope to be lots of big--but also unusual--steps, on the way to fame and fortune.”
The band leaves on tour after Tommy closes, so, for now, all the money the band will make from Tommy is being reinvested into the band. And, on Monday, September 22, the DTC will host an album re-release party for Oso Closo’s re-mixed, re-mastered Rest, which will also include a live DVD filmed at Hailey’s. --Daniel Rodrigue