Geoff Geis

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Say Hello to Soft Sailors

I am delighted to announce that I have a new band, Soft Sailors! Our music is this post, but you have to scroll down to hear it!

We're performing at Pehrspace on Friday, May 30.

We’re performing at Pehrspace on Friday, May 30.

We’ve got our first shows coming up. The very first one, at LA’s esteemed Pehrspace, is this Friday, May 30. It’s being presented by Mountair and will feature Galaxy Kat, Untoward Children, and Flight Crew as well as us. Why don’t you RSVP on Facebook while you wait eagerly for it to start?

So who are these Soft Sailors? What is our story, and how is it that we sound?

Perhaps you remember the band Pizza!, of which I was a member for several years. We were five best friends and the band was a truly collaborative experience — we were all in our mid-twenties, in that fun space between college and real life, and we lived together and were constantly being creative together. At the same time, I was in a band called Big Whup with a similar background and process and a similar personal bond — we even got matching tattoos!

But you know how it goes, don’t you? Time, proximity, and the trials and tribulations of growing up cause people to move apart. Eventually the halcyon days gave way to interpersonal drama, and eventually we stopped being able to operate the way we used to.

Pizza! was a sick band, and by the way no one ever booed us offstage during our entire run -- fuck you, Culkin! [photo by Jed Johnson]

Pizza! was a sick band, and by the way no one ever booed us offstage during our entire run — fuck you, MacCaulay Culkin! [photo by Jed Johnson]

With Pizza!, we stopped living together and creating became a chore. We held on, in name only, for a while, before officially calling it quits in 2011 with an album (We Come from the Swamp, available here on Spotify) yet to be released. With Big Whup, the other singer decided that she wanted to focus on other things but didn’t bother to say anything  — I read about her decision secondhand in LA Record.

The whole thing was depressing.

Both bands had something pretty special, and we even had a little bit of momentum. Each group went out with a fizzle, rather than a bang.

Here's what I looked like when I was with So Many Wizards. In this photo, I'm Frank Maston. [David Uzzardi]

Here’s what I looked like when I was with So Many Wizards. In this photo, I’m Frank Maston. [Photo by David Uzzardi]

Anyway, in the ensuing years I kept doing music. I made a solo album, Princess, by finishing up some scraps of songs that I’d written for Pizza! and Big Whup but that never got produced due to our calcifying process. I played bass in my friends’ band, So Many Wizards, for about a year — we toured England and made a pretty cool record, Warm Nothing. I also started spending a lot of time creating covers and instrumentals to upload to my SoundCloud account, which started to build a bit of a following and helped me connect with musicians around the world.

All of those experiences were really fun and educational, but I must admit that none of them gave me the same thrill that I got from collaborating so hard with my best friends in Pizza! and Big Whup. As the time passed, I started to wonder if I even should continue making music at all. When I left So Many Wizards, I was intending to bow out and do something else – maybe even leave Los Angeles. I was working with Pizza!’s drummer Tyler on an album of solo songs that I thought would be my farewell to music as an attempted career.

Tyler doesn't look anything like this now, but he did once.

Tyler doesn’t look anything like this now, but he did once.

One song for that album, “Shake it Up,” was an early Pizza! jam we’d never recorded. Most songs fall away after a while, but this one always kept coming back to me. It’s a song about turning away from dependence on a wrecked relationship, no matter how comforting you may be deluding yourself into thinking it is. Perhaps it keeps coming back to me because the premise keeps repeating itself in my life.

We decided to record it with Pizza!’s bassist, Alex. He did such a good job that we asked him to play bass on the rest of the record.

Duncan, at practice.

Duncan, at practice.

And then the Smell, which is the lynchpin of the entire Los Angeles DIY scene and one of our band’s chief inspirations and motivators, wanted us to reunite for their 16th birthday this January. We accepted the offer, and it felt so good to play again! As we prepared for the show, we all realized that we’d been missing each other’s energy. Duncan, who’d spent the ensuing years getting a Master’s Degree, started talking about writing together again.

Jenna, on bass.

Jenna, on bass.

This was around the same time that I started hanging out again with Jenna, the bassist of Big Whup, who had spent the years since that band’s demise getting a law degree and playing in a great new band called Sweet Bump It. She was really enthusiastic about the new songs we’d been working on and offered to help — which was perfect, because a couple of brutal world tours with Liars and Fol Chen had burned Alex out on the idea of doing anything other than recording.

So Jenna agreed to take the bass, not only solidifying rhythm section but infusing the whole project with both energy and professionalism. And that completed the lineup — Rand, who was in both Pizza! and Big Whup, is too busy being a robot genius at Jet Propulsion Laboratories to be too involved this time around; but fortunately he’s agreed to do engineering stuff for us. His first task is installing an electric pickup onto an acoustic banjo.

And now, we’ve got a handful of shows and a couple of songs.

Here’s the second song we released, called “Work Doesn’t Pay.” I wrote this one during that time I was telling you about earlier, when I was thinking about quitting music and ditching Los Angeles.

Lyrically, it’s a pretty heavy number and reflects some pretty heavy thoughts. I’m proud of it because it’s more direct and honest that I usually am, and clearer. The story’s there: I was demoralized. I’d come to this city because I thought I could accomplish things here, and I’d started to accomplish them but now they were crumbled and all I had left was this go-nowhere day job that I’d gotten in order to sustain myself as I tried to accomplish what I was no longer trying to accomplish.

Soft Sailors photo by Dalton Blanco.

Soft Sailors, from left to right: Tyler Sabbag, Jenna Eyrich, Geoff Geis, Duncan Thum. [Photo by Dalton Blanco]

That’s not where I am now — and I sure am glad. For one thing, the job’s better. But mostly, it’s really great to be playing with these guys again. And I’m really excited about the material.

What started as a farewell now seems like a new beginning. And thank goodness for that; as much as I wanted to try and do something else, I sure as hell couldn’t figure out what. Music just keeps calling!

So please come see us, and don’t put it off! We”ve got three shows coming up in rapid succession, and then we’re taking off for a couple of months while we complete more recordings, tend to our personal needs (Jenna’s even taking the bar exam), and find a publicist.

Here’s the schedule:

May 30: Soft Sailors at Pehrspace. With GalaxyKat, Untoward Children, Flight Crew. Presented by Mountair.

June 6: Soft Sailors on KXLU’s Demolisten. Streaming online from kxlu.com and on the air in LA at 88.9 FM between 6-8 pm PST.

June 13: Soft Sailors at the Smell. With Post Life and more. Presented by KXLU 88.9 FM.

Like Soft Sailors on Facebook for music, images, events, and nautically-themed jokes.

 

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“Bulletproof” (La Roux cover)

Congratulations to La Roux for winning the “Best Dance Album” Grammy last night! I haven’t actually heard any of the other albums against which the duo was competing, but I’m confident that the Academy made a good choice. I’ve listened to La Roux so much over the last year.

A couple of weeks ago, I teamed up with Jenna Eyrich and Dalton Blanco to record a cover of the song “Bulletproof.” I decided that today was a good day to put our cover on the Internet.

Download Fridate: “Bulletproof” (La Roux Cover)

Filed under: Human Interest, mp3, , , , , , , , ,

“So Gone, Like You” by Nima and Geoff

Nima and Geoff, in the studio

On Monday, I recorded a song with my friend Nima. Nima’s a creative guy, and he’s in a band called So Many Wizards. Anyway, we made this jam pretty quickly based on an idea that Nima had. He sings and plays guitar, and I provide all of the “backing band” elements:

Download Nima and Geoff: “So Gone, Like You”

Filed under: Human Interest, mp3, , , , , ,

Toe Jam

I’m in a new band called Toe Jam. We had our first practice last night, and it was pretty killer. Check it out:

Saturday, October 2
Sean Carnage and Kyle Mabson present:

High Castle
Zulus
NASA Space Universe
Toe Jam

Starts 9:30pm / $5 / all-ages

Pehrspace—325 Glendale Blvd., in Historic Filipinotown

Toe Jam, the world’s first Free Grunge band, features members of Pizza!, XBXRX, Big Whup, Violence and Negativity, Foot Village, Cockwind and Essay.

Filed under: Events, , , , , , , , , ,

in LA Record: Review of “Love Songs for When You Leave Me” by So Many Wizards

I recently wrote a review for LA Record of So Many Wizards’ excellent new EP Love Songs for When You Leave MeIt can be read here.

So Many Wizards will be joining my bands Big Whup and Pizza! at Big Whup’s 7″ Release Extravaganza Party at the Smell on Saturday. Please don’t miss this one, for your own sake.

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Flyer Collection

I have collected the flyers that I’ve made over the years for Pizza!, Big Whup, and my own solo shows. I put them onto Flickr. You can check out the set here. This is one of my favorite flyers from the collection. It’s from last year, not this year! This year basically the same lineup is playing on May 1 at the Smell, except with 60 Watt Kid and So Many Wizards instead of My Pet Saddle and the Studiofix:

You can click on it to go to the Flickr set.

Filed under: Art, Esoteria, , , , ,

Let the good times roll?

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Haiti Benefit @ the Echoplex on Friday

Pizza! just added a very special show to our schedule for this Friday. Presented by Manimal Records, it is a fundraiser to provide relief to victims of the Haitian earthquake. It takes place at the Echoplex, and it features a very impressive lineup of musicians including Nico Vega, Adanowsky, Jenny O., Soko, Corridor, and the LA Ladies’ Choir. Pizza!’s performance will also feature guest appearances by Uli and Morgan Gee of Big Whup . Cost of admission is $10.

We are scheduled to appear at 7:15. Doors at 7:00.

Help us spread the word – RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends.

We’re still playing the Smell on Sunday, and it’s still going to be awesome!

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Upcoming shows: Pizza! and Big Whup

Today I will play my first show of the new year, a solo joint at Tribal Cafe in Echo Park. It’s free, so long as you buy something from the cafe. Here is the flier:

This show marks the beginning of a new string of shows, one that will probably be pretty consistent until Christmas. That’s how I like it (I suppose). Here are the upcoming shows for Pizza! and Big Whup. There will certainly be more shows added to these lists (there are a couple of pending dates for Big Whup already):

Pizza!

Big Whup:

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Download the LA Record Holiday Mixtape!

Both Pizza! and Lil’ Whup (Lil’ Whup is a smaller version of Big Whup) are featured on LA Record’s new holiday mixtape. Check out the whole thing on LARecord.com to get our tracks as well as tracks by Drew Denny (of Big Whup), Moses Campbell, the Pity Party, Amanda Jo Williams, and others! Thanks to LA Record for including us on this awesome compilation!

Since the mixtape is in podcast form, I made the individual songs available for download here. Click on the files to hear them and then save them to your computer.

Pizza! – Krystmas is 120 BPM Jamaica (All Around Us)

Lil’ Whup featuring Voice on Tape – Christ is Born!

Enjoy! Happy Christmas.

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Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:

Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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