Long Live the Wicked Farleys (1994-2000)
Cinderella might have said it best. In the words of their classic cut from
the 'Long Cold Winter' LP: "(You) Don't know what you got 'till its gone".
Ok, Cheap laughs aside, I'm still super bummed. Two weeks ago, the Wicked
Farleys gave their last public performance. They've decided to hang up their
"Trying Shoes" and put an end to a career which began six years ago at
Fitchburg High School. After two amazing albums, a splendid EP, two 7"'s, as
well as a few national tours, the Farleys shall rock no more.
The Wicked Farleys were a very important band to me. Not only was I in love
with their music, I was also insanely jealous of their unending ability.
They succeeded on so many levels where my own music groups had failed. They
were THE best band in Boston. I caught them live more than any other band up
here. Noone else could touch them. Their demise creates a huge void that is
impossible to fill.
I moved up here in September of 1998. Before I left, a good friend mentioned
that he had seen this amazing Boston band in New York and that I should keep
my eyes open for them. It wasn't hard. The very first record store I went
to had TWO seperate magazines with feature stories on them. It was enough to
spur me into picking up their CD, Sentinal and Enterprise. I was struck
immediately (that piercing whirr, that mess of chords). My Office with its
opening bass hook was my first favorite track. It took me a while to work
through the rest of the CD but seeing them live provided more understanding.
Eventually I got to know the entire record and its unquestionable greatness.
I have a few fond live memories of the Farleys, starting with the first time:
An absolutely KILLER bill at TT the Bear's with Vic Firecracker, the
Dismemberment Plan and Burning Airlines! What more can be said? Another
great gig was what I called 'the Ultimate Math-Rock' night at the Middle
East; WF's headlining over Jetpack and Lynx (two other missed groups). My
jaw was slack the entire night but after all that time-signature travelling
in one setting, I went home and listened to nothing but The Stooges and
Clutch for several weeks afterward. The first time I saw them with Vanessa
was last summer at the Milky Way. They did Love Squats and I just bit my lip
and shook my head; it was EXACTLY what they had been missing: another
voice. I knew that all the ingrediants were in place to take them to another
level. A month for so later, my friend and I witnessed this higher level
downstairs at the Middle East. That night, the Wicked Farleys ripped shit up
SO well, that we didn't even bother sticking around to see the headlining
Blonde Redhead. We walked out, opting to quit while we were ahead. We knew
anything afterward would just be a letdown.
A great thing about the Farleys was that you never knew what their set would
comprise. Love Squats and Dig the Ring were the only real givens. Anything
else was up for grabs. I remember finally seeing them do You, Avatar (my
favorite song with its descending 7ths and extended feedback fraught finale),
Floor By Floor (with its impossible opening), Autonomish (with its multiple
feels) and Oppurtune (with its longing vocals and aching harmony) at various
times. I even once saw them do How's My Driving, from the lesser known split
7" with Vehicle Birth. It was a song I didn't much care for on record but
completely rocked live.
Each time these Farleys ventured out on a tour, I always urged my Garden
State cronies to catch them But various circumstances prevented that from
happening. After awhile, I even started missing shows here and there,
figuring the new record would lead to a big tour, maybe Southern or DeSoto
and a long career beyond. They're still young, I thought to myself, they'll
be around for years...
I guess my central message in this whole thing is not JUST to tell those of
you out there who never got the chance to see them what you may have missed.
What I'd really like to say is that there is a band like this EVERYWHERE in
this country. They may even be right in your town. The Wicked Farleys met
like any other band meets; in high school, at some party in a basement, where
two kids who play guitar get to talking... Their music is wonderful stuff but
it was not produced by eccentric geniuses. It was composed by people like
you and I; suburban kids, super into music, bored by the popular trends,
ignoring the rules and doing what sounds cool and feels right. There are
other bands out there like this, probably around the corner from you. Bands
that can inspire and awe you with their creativity. Seek them out. Support
them. You don't know how long you have before they're gone...
if you can't find such a scene or such a group as this, BE THAT GROUP!
Seriously, you've gone to enough shows, read enough books and listened to
enough records. Make It IT, as the Farleys said. Don't wait for cool shit
to happen. Do It Yourself!
Written By: Sir Brian C.