Disco Biscuits were toasted to a delicious golden brown in '06.
Ask Marc Brownstein, Disco Biscuits' bassist and band spokesperson, what he considers his band's 2006 highlights, and you may need to give him a minute. He could choose playing to 20,000 people at both Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, MTV Latin America putting the Biscuits' "Caterpillar" into its regular rotation or the Biscuits' work alongside Dave Matthews with HeadCount, the voter registration drive that helped boost young voter turnout to an all-time high in the recent midterm election.
He could mention that the Biscuits collected literally tons of food for Conscious Alliance, and raised money for Rock the Earth and the Fund for Wild Nature, or that they sold out 15 shows to start their first tour in three years, and finished that same tour by selling out seven more.
Now, to close the year, they've sold out shows at the TLA and the Electric Factory, and are inching ever closer to doing the same at the Tweeter Center, where ?uestlove of the Roots will join them for New Year's Eve. And that's just the short list.
Somewhere in the long version he might mention that he and the Biscuits got to work with one of their heroes too--world-renowned trance DJ Simon Posford of Shpongle.
Yeah, 2006 was okay.
Joined by guitarist Jon "the Barber" Gutwillig, keyboardist Aron Magner and new drummer Alan Aucoin (his inclusion being "another one of the year's biggest accomplishments," says Brownstein), Disco Biscuits have made a career of upending expectations. They were among the first to match electronica with jam (check 2001's They Missed the Perfume), and on their last studio album 2002's Se�or Boombox they dumped their trance-flavored improvs into a computer, creating cut-and-splice epics that could've been the background music in Mr. Spock's bachelor pad.
Now, with the November release of Rocket 3, the band has what Brownstein considers its "best representation of the DB's first decade of music."
A live EP recorded at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom on New Year's Eve 2004, Rocket 3 is comprised of tracks that have been heavily bootlegged by fans, but presented here with glistening sonics. The album sets the stage for the DB's next studio album, currently being recorded with hip-hop producers Dirty Harry and Don Chegro, and set for fall 2007 release.
"Every time we go into the studio we try to make it sound different," Brownstein says. "We don't want to write a bunch of new songs that sound like the last batch of new songs. That doesn't do it for us. If you look at the great painters, you can see their styles changing over time. The truly great artists--and I wouldn't include us in that list--have always reinvented themselves."
With plans for their annual Camp Bisco Festival taking shape, and 13 tunes in the can for their as yet untitled 2007 release, the Disco Biscuits quietly go about the business of innovation, one genre at a time.
"We're always searching for something no one has ever done," Brownstein says. "We're about stretching the boundaries and coming up with ideas that are new and fresh. We believe that if we work as hard as we have in the past and put our heart and soul into the music, things will go in the right direction."
Last week, as you may recall, I angered the rabid fans of Disco Biscuits by painting an extremely accurate portrait of them in a cover story I wrote. As someone who’s usually hailed as a genius with very succinct insight, the torrent of angry emails from Biscuit fans has been a bit of an adjustment for me.
PW's Music Issue 2014