Chagall Guevara: Nashville Crunch

Musician Magazine
July 1991, Issue 153
© 1991 Musician
Page 14

Think of Nashville and you come up with images of Roy Acuff convenience stores and Tammy Wynette beauty parlors... not a rock `n' roll band. But when Los Angeles/New Jersey natives Chagall Guevara drove south, they found themselves right at home. "I'd read a collection of Southern Gothic writers, Flannery O'Connor and the like," says guitarist Dave Perkins. "I thought, 'Geez, this is basically a literary version of what we do.' I don't know if we were influenced by the style or were following that bent anyway, but our life can be a vomit bag. It's that sick."

Chagall's wrenching pop hints at an attic's worth of influences: the Clash, '60s cerebral rockers Spirit, gospel music and even Glenn Miller ("He plays trombone, just like me," says vocalist Steve Taylor).

Recorded in a colonial mansion with producer Mike Wallace (Faith No More, the Replacements), Chagall Guevara avoids the sampled sameness prevalent in current pop. "We wanted to make a record that was wonderfully peculiar," says Perkins. "We passed on gear that has become the mainstay of engineering and mixing. Our music sounds real because it is real: It's us playing in a big old house."

And the name? Sorry, the members are cryptic here. "We're definitely not trying to honor those guys," says Lynn Nichols of artist Marc Chagall and Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. "If they heard our record, I'm sure they'd agree."

Ken Micallef