The last time I saw the members of The Spell, they were drinking tequila and bowling on a Thursday night. That was before the party celebrating Spell guitarist Andy Kiddoo's birthday moved to Fern's, the Long Beach dive where Spell singer Josh Brown was nearly escorted out of the bar for harassing the karaoke jock to play a Bob Dylan song for him and Kiddoo to duet on. The KJ swears he called their names, but I was there--and stone sober--and I didn't hear it either. Just sayin'.
So maybe you've never heard of this hard-partying Spell band from Long Beach, the one that combines blues riffs with hip-hop beats and pulsating basslines with ethereal melodies. Or maybe you have and just don't know it as Kiddoo, Brown and bassist/new father Tone Blair played in On Blast, a group I always claimed was the best in town. Something happened with On Blast that forced the name change and new beginning, but what that something is will have to remain a mystery because the members aren't talking. What we do know is the Spell also includes drummer Branden Murray and guitarist Steve M.OC Weekly (Ryan Ritchie): Tell me everyone's full name, where they live and how old they wish they were
Andy Kiddoo: Josh Brown - 19, Signal Hill; Andy Kiddoo - 18, Signal Hill; Tone Blair - 21, Signal Hill; Branden Murray - 34, Long Beach; Steve M. - 20, San Francisco.
Soooooooooo............what happened with On Blast?
Everyone: Nothing happened.
Do you still play On Blast songs?
Josh Brown: Huh?
Tone Blair: We've been working on some new material for the last couple of months. I think we're going to just put it all together, including the three songs on the demo, and call it an album. Some of the new songs have shown up in the past few sets ("Bury Me Alive" and "One in a Million") and I think Friday we're going to play "Gettin's Good." It's pretty much our favorite one right now. Other ones that'll be on the album have been in our live set for a while now: "Miss You Baby," "Use You" and "Fireside." I think there's a "Fireside" video in the works at the moment.
Andy Kiddoo: The album will be released on our own record label, Fair Exchange.
Why does Josh always get compared to Jim Morrison?
Andy Kiddoo: It's weird. I think he kind of looks like him a little bit.
Tone Blair: I think it's because he looks like he's wasted out of his mind.
Who's the best looking member of the band?
Andy Kiddoo: Probably Branden, our drummer. He looks like Guy Pearce and Mark Wahlberg if they were still in high school....fucker.
Tone Blair: My grandma tells me I'm handsome!
Tell me one good story and one bad story about playing SXSW.
Andy Kiddoo: The first night we got there we met up with Mike Jackson, our buddy Rick's brother, who lives like 10 miles from 6th Street with his wife. He let us all stay for free. I think there was like 10 of us. I warned him ahead of time that we might be loud and messy and come in and out at all hours of the night. I even made sure he checked with his wife and his neighbors. He was just so excited that we were coming to hang out and he was certain it was all good.
So the good story happened that night when Mike took us over to his friend Calvin's house. That guy made the fattest southern feast for all of us! We had fried chicken, gumbo, mashed potatoes, colored greens and rice. We couldn't believe it. So nice.
The bad story is that Mike didn't really check with his wife that thoroughly before we came. She was nice the first couple nights, but then she got real vicious. She went crazy on us, and Mike, on the third night at like 3 a.m. Throwing things and yelling...pretty awkward. We left the next day and stayed at a hotel the rest of the time. Mike still partied with us but we could tell he was in the doghouse, mostly because he kept telling us about it. We all felt suuuuuuper bad. His wife ended up sending us a psycho letter in the mail a couple weeks later. It was addressed to "The Smell."
What's the story with your other guitarist from San Francisco? Is he full-time?
Andy Kiddoo: Steve's down. He makes like 90 percent of the shows, driving all the way from Frisco like three, sometimes four times a month. I don't know many guitarists with as much shreddability as him either.
What's this I hear about a Halloween party?
Andy Kiddoo: I remember last year going from house party to house party, where a bunch of people I didn't know stood around with half empty 12 packs in their hands like "don't even think about asking me to share." And the hosts, thinking that cops were coming any second, would shhh us and tell us to not smoke on the front porch. Anyway, we just wanted to throw a party where everyone could all party together and not have to worry about anything except having a good time. In conjunction with Fair Exchange, Box Cutters, The Social Taste, and our friends at EPCM-PSI, this Halloween party will start something bigger, better and new. We'll have a full sound system with a stage for live bands and DJs, a full bar, a costume contest with prizes, a real photo booth, an ice luge for shots, Seabass' home made Corndillos, brains made of pasta and eyeballs that are really olives. It'll be somewhat of a private event but if people are interested, just email us at email@example.com or Facebook us.
Speaking of parties...Andy, do you remember your birthday party?
Andy Kiddoo: Well, I remember bowling for a bit. And then I woke up. I guess I was peeing in the corner inside Fern's at some point.
Tone Blair: Why was I tickling Josh's armpit and he threw beer on me? And why did Andy's girlfriend tackle me and Andy was trying to beat me up for it?
Josh, do you remember Andy's birthday party?
Josh Brown: Huh?
Tone, what's better? Changing diapers or banging your head into a wall?
Tone Blair: There's nothing quite like the sweet aroma of your babies pooh-pooh!
How come I've known you guys for a few years now and even though there are all these girls around, you've never gotten me laid? What kinds of friends are you anyhow?
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Andy Kiddoo: Ryan, most of them are our girlfriends! How many times I gotta tell you!
Tone Blair: We can only bring you to water. You have to take a drink on your own.
When are we collaborating on a hip-hop record?
Andy Kiddoo: As soon as Tone gets out of prison. But for real man, Ryan's got flows!
The Spell performs with Glory for the People, Delmos Wade and Box Cutters at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292 or www.alexsbar.com. 9 p.m. Fri. $5. 21+.