May 052010
 
Authors: Johnny Hart

Midway through practice last Thursday night, Dave Maddocks halted his band Paean’s progress to go check on a chicken in the oven at his parents’ house.

The guitarist and vocalist’s jaunt, a few dozen yards, took just a few minutes from the band’s studio to Maddocks’ residence and back. The time out, which turned into a smoking break, left just enough time to break into an a capella rendition of “Lump” by the Presidents of the United States of America.

The Maddocks family barn sits just east of Interstate 25 off of Vine Street and just south of the home where Dave and his siblings and bandmates, Anna and Tim, live.

“We’ve all been talking about the other three members (of Paean) moving into the Maddocks’ house, because they all live together still with their mom and dad,” said Jonathan Alonzo, guitarist and vocalist, of the Maddocks trio.

But the barn acts as a second home for the band. It’s where the band hones their musical skills. It’s where they record under the record label name of Act So Big Forest. And it’s where they hang out and spend time together as a closely-knit group of friends, who also happen to play in a band.

“Yeah, we hang out a lot,” Alonzo said. “(We) play a lot of darts. There’s a lake by the house with some boats; we dance on the boats.”

They shoot action figurines with pellet guns, and they play ultimate Frisbee. They have potlucks, and they don’t do heroin –– the groups inside joke poking fun at a review.

But one thing they certainly are doing is making waves in the Fort Collins music scene, touring and putting out music and gaining notoriety.

The hardest working band in Fort Collins

At the 3rd annual Fort Collins Musicians Association Peer Awards April 25, Paean walked away named the “Hardest Working Band (Tour Dates)” as voted by its peers. The award itself now rests on the wall of the group’s practice room.

In the last six months, Paean has finished writing and recording their latest album, “Songs for us to Sing,” started writing their next album and toured the midwest, “in the middle of winter,” said Anna Maddocks, starting in December.

“It was very cold the entire time. We kind of chose a weird time to go,” Alonzo said. “But it was worth it. In retrospect it was awesome.”

And through that time, the band managed not to turn on themselves, like what Alonzo said most other bands do.

“We had been playing at that point for almost two and a half years,” Alonzo said. “… But I thought that was like breaking points for bands. Like when you go on tour and someone drives a car off the road to solve a problem.”

“I was so happy with how cool we were on tour. I don’t remember any fighting,” said guitarist and drummer Marty Albertz.

“That’s when I realized that we were really good friends,” Anna Maddocks added.

Though touring didn’t divide the band, there certainly was a share of interesting run-ins. And smells.

Alonzo said in a previous interview with the Collegian, “Showers: they happen. But on tour, there’s really no point.” And Alonzo had his share of problems with the cleansing act.

On the band’s stop in Cincinnati, its sixth day on tour, Alonzo went to wash his hair and put on some deodorant when he was met with a surprise.

“They allowed us to use one towel, and it was covered in cat piss,” Dave Maddocks said.

“I washed my hair and put on (deodorant), but it was like whew,” Alonzo said.

Also while in Indianapolis, the band had a run-in with a fellow musician who attempted, and failed, to play tambourine on stage during their set.

“He marched up to my side of the stage and started rocking the tambourine,” Alonzo said. “… Having someone jump up on stage and play with you …”

“ … and f*** it up … ,” Tim Maddocks interjected.

“… it was quite a sight.”

But after the tour, the band had to wrap up their latest album, “Songs for us to Sing,” by March 26 –– a project that was 100 percent do it yourself, according to a press release from Tim Maddocks.

Songs for Paean to sing

Paean started recording their latest album, “Songs for us to Sing,” in December. And though some of the songs on the album, like “Cut Open,” were written last winter, Dave Maddocks wrote many of the songs in 2007 before Paean’s inception.

“Some people have called the songs on the album a little non-cohesive, and it’s true and it’s logical because,” Alonzo said. “… Some of them are older than the band, and some of them were our newest song.”

The albums’ songs were written over a 2-year span, Alonzo said.

“It’s almost like our debut album is a greatest hits album,” he said to heckles from his bandmates.

But over those two years the band’s sounds went from a more folk sound to what Alonzo called “loud” rock. And the line up also condensed down.

“When we started we had accordion, banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar, violin, honkey-tonk piano, stuff like that,” Alonzo said. “We really stripped down (since then).”

The six-piece band, which also includes bassist Aaron Landgraf, produced the entire album in house. According to Tim Maddocks’ press release, “Songs for us to Sing” was “recorded, mixed, mastered, packaging and art done by members of Paean. It’s a work of passion.”

Anna Maddocks, also a CSU art student, created the artwork for the band’s 20-page booklet and the band hand rolled and hand printed each album cover.

“Basically we put in a lot of time together to write it, record it, print it and sell it,” Alonzo said.

Now, the band has played several CD release shows, including one on March 26 for the release of “Songs for us to Sing” in Fort Collins and last Friday’s show at the Hi-Dive in Denver.

Also, the band has started writing their next album, half of which is done, a project with more input from all pieces of Paean.

“So (in the past) we just learned Dave’s songs, and now we don’t do that anymore. We make our own,” Alertz said.

To listen to and get more information about Paean, visit their website http://www.myspace.com/paeanco.

Entertainment Editor Johnny Hart can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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