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Thursday, March 12, 2009


If you were one of the early birds to last week's Rumble: LA, then you caught a set by high schoolers from Long Beach that have the interest of a couple of the most well-respected indie labels out there - AVI BUFFALO. The band has the May residency at The Echo, so you'll hear plenty about them in the coming months. Most bands at this age are still cutting teeth, not playing guitar solos the way Avi does.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the make up of your band? Describe the players and what they contribute.

Avi: Sheridan Riley is our drummer, and the two of us have played together for a number of years. Back in middle school, I was in 7th and she was in 6th, we were jammin' hard in the jazz band. When we met up again in high school her freshman year, we started playing again (in the jazz band and outside of school). She has a wonderful sensitivity for color, and she really helps
with making songs come together. The key word is "vibe". Nobody plays like Sheridan.

Arin Fazio was in a band called THE BIG SKY, and we'd played with them a number of times. I knew he was a huge Wilco fan, which I am, and our bassist Andrew Celik had to quit the band to start working on becoming an electrician. I called up Arin, he came over, we played, it sounded good! He's a dear friend of mine, and a solid player.

Rebecca Coleman was the girl I started the band for. She sort of broke my heart the summer after 9th grade, and I began writing/recording songs about it my sophomore year. These were the first songs of Avi Buffalo. The next tune I recorded I had a female vocal part in mind, so I asked my friend Adrianna Whalen. As I remember I flaked out and rescheduled, and Adrianna couldn't make it...then I ended up asking Rebecca, who came over and did such a beautiful
job that I was like "Oh my god! Great job!" When I got asked to play our first show, I asked her to come along, and she did. Ever since, she's been in the band. She's a very gifted musician, and a great person. After the full-electric band got rolling, we ended up together, which was a big deal because I'd liked her for a long time, and because I'd stolen her from her previous boyfriend, Kendall. After that all Long Beach teens hated my guts, but it didn't matter because LA Underground had done a write-up on us and we'd started playing in Los Angeles more. It also gave us more time to focus on music since we didn't have to worry about having friends.

Q: How do you juggle High School and playing in an active band?

Avi: I just barely scrape along. I almost never do my homework. We come home late a lot from gigs, which is rough because Jazz Band is a 0 Period class at 6:30 in the morning. Sheridan and I tend to walk in late and half-asleep. The weekend means a lot to me. My grades are pretty bad right now.

Q: The band is based in Long Beach, CA, what's going on in terms of a "scene" in the LBC? Where do you go to see music?

Avi: Long Beach is weird, but there's more happening now than there was. My goodfriend Maria Garcia just started an all ages venue on 10th and Daisy called "The Bookstore". It's an actual bookstore. It was called "The Bookstore" before it was a venue. There's a radical house show spot
called The Hickey Underworld, on Anaheim and Magnolia. A lot of great bands come through that place.

Q: Avi, you can play the guitar like very few people out there, let alone anyone your age, who were your guitar heroes?

Avi: In middle school I was a huge Hendrix head, and I loved Jimmy Page a bunch too. When I got into Wilco, Jeff Tweedy's guitar playing on 'A Ghost is Born' really got me crazy, and then I discovered Nels Cline, who is one of my hugest influences ever. I got into Jim O'Rourke my sophomore year, and he really blows my mind too. Kevin Litrow and Derek Thomas from 60 Watt Kid have made a mark on my brain with their major-pentatonic spiral riffs. I could go on
for a very long time about guitar heroes, because I'm pretty into guitar.

Q: Future Sounds is all about blowing up bands and artists on their way up, the up-and-comers, who do you admire and think no one knows about that people should know about?

Avi: Elijah Forrest is a wonderful guitar player who lives in Long Beach. His project is called TERRORS, and his songs are really moving. I'd highly recommend checking out some of the tapes he's put out.

Q: This is for each band member: PIck one of your favorite albums of all time, and pick one that is a current favorite.

Avi: All Time: Wilco - A Ghost is Born
Current: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Scared Famous

Sheridan: All Time: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Current: Chicago Underground Trio - Slon, Deerhoof - The Runners Four

Rebecca: All time: Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Current: Wavvez - Wavvez

Arin: All time: The Band - Music from Big Pink
Current: Grizzly Bear - Veckatemist

Q: What's going on with the band in terms of recordings? What's the next thing we can look for from Avi Buffalo?

Avi: We're almost finished with our first record. It's called "Settled Tigertail" and we recorded it with our dear friend Aaron Embry at his own Hunter's Hollow Recording Studio. Not sure when it's going to be out....but we might throw a little something together to give out before then. We're doing a residency at The Echo in May. It'll be every Tuesday, and they'll be plenty of amazing bands supporting us as well. Everyone should get ready for Long Beach's best, because many of them will be playing with us.

Thanks again to Avi and the band for playing The Rumble: Los Angeles, as Avi showed up under the weather and still threw down.

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