UNITY IN DARKNESS
AN INTERVIEW WITH “K” GRACE OF SPIRITCHASER
Some may ask why a tribute band would choose such an obscure band like “Dead Can Dance” to pay tribute to? Why not be another Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, AC/DC, Beatles or Doors tribute band? We’d have to go to Phoenix AZ for those answers from the worlds only current Dead Can Dance tribute band, “Spiritchaser,” though Spiritchaser can’t be categorized as your typical tribute band.
Within a Spiritchaser performance, they engage in a “Variety Revue” which can include music from any of the greats and obscures of our time; from Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, all done on a blend of ethnic and modern instruments combined. You’ll also hear Spiritchaser’s own unique blend of original music that can easily be described as moving; both emotionally and physically moving. Some have described a Spiritchaser show as intense, some others beautiful. However you view it, one thing is for sure, this is NOT your normal tribute band!
Inside a modest home in suburbia Phoenix is where we find the Spiritchaser rehearsals. The living room transformed into what looks like a musical instrument museum. Also inside, the three members of Spiritchaser, “K” Grace, Andy Bedrosian and Shawna Mcquire, starting the evening with the usual discussion of current world atrocities, ice tea, the finest herbal pleasures, and finally a group hug in preparation to the 4-5 hour rehearsal ahead .
Back to the original question of why pick such an obscure band to be a tribute band of, we ask “K” Grace. The Spiritchaser member that has taken the task of deciphering the language of Lisa Gerrard and reproducing it live.
Well, it was a choice between being a Frank Zappa tribute, Nofx, or DCD. Finding the number of talented musicians to pull off a Zappa tribute would be a problem and Nofx are still a band (and have no female vocals), so that left DCD. It’s actually something Andy and myself had discussed on several occasions while trying to start a local project here in Phoenix, which is what finally brought us to doing this. We got completely frustrated with the whole process; just unable to find anyone to really gel with, that had the same type of idea’s and direction we wanted to move in.
So that of course left us with the biggest problem of all...how to reproduce this wonderful music with just the two of us.
Well, Andy and Shawna had played together in some local world music bands together and were very familiar with each others skills and abilities. Andy called her for the next 3-4 months expressing how much we really wanted her to be a part of this project, knowing she was really the one person we needed to complete Spiritchaser
I guess we could have chosen a more popular band to pay tribute to, but we sincerely felt no band was more worthy of the homage then DCD.
Considering the music of DCD is of the darker nature and many times based on death, what affect does playing DCD music have on you?
The first time I heard Dead Can Dance I was nothing short of moved.... and it really reached me in so many ways. There is something balancing to the dark undertones of the music. I mean, you have to have a balance between the positive and the negative things in this world. Of course, some might see an undertone of death as a negative, though I would say it can actually be seen as a new beginning, which is naturally a positive.
Now, playing the music at times can really be an amazing challenge, being just the three of us. And yet I would have to say it is really also an amazing reward when all of the hard work translating Lisa’s idioglossia, creating patches to match their sounds, and I will say hours (for sure!) of listening and practice turn into a oneness with the music. That in turn helps us then covey it outward to a performance so that others can also once again enjoy this truly amazing music in a live setting.
Then on top of the interpersonal relationship we have all gained with the music, Spiritchaser has definitely brought all of us together in life, which is something I am personally quite grateful for. There’s a connection between us, a chemistry, that is like family in so many ways and we can share some of the deepest and most intimate details of our lives in confidence, and there is just an amazing ‘brotherhood’ I guess you could say between us that very few could even join and have the energy still feel ‘right,’ if you know what I mean.
A lot of what makes this energy so special is also really what helps us write our own original music, and you definitely need to have kindred spirits for the best songwriting, or at least songwriting with the least difficulty. I mean, some of the ideas just flow, and all of us can seem to work with each other’s ideas and help bring it to life and add whatever touches it might need. We are really just simply, a good team. I have such great love for my bandmates and I really cherish every moment we are spending for what I feel is an amazingly worthy cause.
Shoot, all that being said, did that answer your question?
(K laughs again....)
Staying for the full Spiritchaser rehearsal and watching these three go from one instrument to another was in fact as described by others, “intense” and “beautiful”!
The blend of DCD with their own unique compositions made for an evening that left me wanting more after 3 hours. Being the music lovers they are, Spiritchaser was happy to entertain me for another 2 two hours, playing songs from NOFX, and Iron maiden, to Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix. Great fun! Great talent! YOUR SPIRIT NEEDS THIS!
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY
“K” GRACE AND SHAWNA MCGUIRE OF SPIRITCHASER
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