The one-year anniversary show for Hodi’s Half Note was a ripe environment for The Black Apples.
Performing last February before a sold-out show, the environment felt suited to the group’s self-described brand of “pseudo-psychedelic dance rock” — an energized crowd filling a glowering hall of mist and light effects.
The crowd swayed along with the music; some danced while others stick to the bobbing head routine. As pretty as it all was, it was anything but a pleasure land for Cambell “Cam” Scarborough, the guy behind the keyboard, drums and microphone.
“It’s fun,” Cam says of the band’s live performances. “Then I hit that 45 minutes to an hour point where it’s just hell: I’m tired, and I’m sweaty, and doing all this stuff, and there’s always a 101 things to think about.”
Bring the noise
Certainly, life isn’t as intense off the stage for Cam and the band, but it’s been something of a rocket ride since the group first took to the Fort Collins scene a little less than a year ago. Tonight, the trio will be playing 10 p.m. at Surfside 7.
The Black Apples might not have taken root in Fort Collins if the original bass player had stuck around during an early tour.
Drew Scarborough, lead guitarist for the group and brother to Cam, recalls the phone call he made to his old high school friend, Bob Shipton, seeking out someone to fill the newly formed hole while he and his brother toured cities around the east.
“I had to call Bob and was like, ‘Hey man, can you come out and finish the tour with us, we’re out in Arkansas,'” Drew said. Shipton, however, was stuck in Fort Collins, attending CSU and working. It wasn’t until Cam and Drew hit Denver for a couple of shows that Shipton was able to fill the gap.
“I remember me and Drew being so cautious about Bob,” Cam said. “We were just like ‘Let’s just take it as a jamming thing, let’s just play with him at this gig,’ just because our last guy had literally just left us. But as soon as we turned on the amps, we were like ‘Ok, he’s in the band.'”
Soon after, in May 2007, Cam and Drew were living with Shipton in his apartment. In the following months, the three would begin writing music, a process they describe as a responsibility that rests on everyone’s shoulders.
It’s Drew, however, who the other two credit as the brains behind the chords and riffs. Drew, a former music major at the University of Northern Colorado, said he strives for originality, and that requires some scrambling with the technicalities.
“So many kids play guitar in America today, so I try to think around the obvious when I come up with chord progressions,” Drew said, with his Fender Stratocaster slung around his shoulder. “Like, Bob’s chord progression is B minor, and I never play B minor in this new song. I’m playing an F sharp set minor, really weird stuff, and it just makes it sound funky, sound cool, just really around something obvious.”
Moving on up
The Black Apples EP, released in December 2007, has helped the trio stake a hefty claim in the local Fort Collins scene. The group has taken to scheduling a routine slew of shows every month at a variety of venues, from the Alleyhouse to Aggie’s, where they’ll be performing in late March.
The group hopes to score more Denver gigs as the year goes on, and possibly produce a full-length album, for which they’ve already written a few tracks.
The three say they’ll eventually leave Fort Collins, but credit the city as the band’s hometown.
“As a musician, the idea is to have more people hear you, so yeah, of course we want to branch out,” Shipton said. “Staying in Fort Collins for the rest of our lives would be a lot of fun, but we got to grow up.
“Even if we reached all-time fame though,” he adds. “I’d still want to do shows at the Aggie.”
Black Apples band member Bob Shipton is a former Collegian reporter.
News Editor Erik Myers can be reached at email@example.com.