For the better part of the last 10 years, Athens' silver-tongued devils The Possibilities have been cranking out some of the purest, most infectious rock and roll that any raggedy sweater-wearing, Converse All Stars-coveting twentysomething could hope to stumble upon. The current lineup - Kevin Lane (vocals, guitar), Bob Spires (vocals, bass), Chris Grehan (vocals, guitar), Jason Gonzales (keys, vocals) and Matt Lane (drums, vocals) - continues to bang it out for the love of the game and bless em all for it.
Known for its impeccable pop songs and instantly identifiable vocal twang, the band gained even more attention with the release of a self-titled debut album on Backburner Records a year ago and enjoyed a spot on the AthFest 2000 compilation.
One of its recent tunes, "You Don't Mean It," gets a new coat of paint from the Minus 5, featuring Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, R.E.M.), Peter Buck and Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) among others. You can hear it on the new split CD with Seattle's ornery Young Fresh Fellows, Let the War Against Music Begin/Because We Hate You. Recently, founding member Bob Spires sat down to play catch-up and get a couple of nagging albatrosses off his shoulders.
Flagpole: How did the connection with Scott McCaughey and the Minus 5 come about?
Bob Spires: Well, prior to Jason and Chris joining the band, we were a three piece and played around with a bunch of bands here and about: Jack Logan, the Dashboard Saviors and others who aren't around anymore. We'd play with people that knew Scott and eventually we ended up meeting him and keeping in touch. He would send us tapes of stuff he was working on at the time and we'd send him stuff back. One of our tapes had a version of that song ["You Don't Mean It"] on it and I got a call from Scott one day and he was playing, like, the No Depression Birthday Party or something like that out in Seattle and he wanted to do our song acoustically. I said "Shit, do whatever the hell you wanna." Later on when Scott rolled into town with R.E.M., he did two shows with us at the High Hat. We did a bunch of Neil Young songs and all kinds of stuff like that. It's a big compliment for them to record that song. It's just funny because every version we've done of it is all rough and ragged on the 4-track and everything, then they record it and there's all these rock stars on there harmonizing. It's really nice, though. FP: I think some unspoken law requires me to call you guys a "power-pop" or "poppy" or "post-pop" band. Here's the quickest and most painless way. Replacements, Cheap Trick or Big Star?
BS: Hmmm. Big Star, I guess. I don't know why we always get the "Replacements" tag, especially around Athens. A long time ago we might have sounded more like them. The only thing we really have in common with The Replacements is that we're kinda sloppy and so were they. Really, since we added the keyboards and everybody sings, we don't sound too much like any of those bands. This'll probably get me in trouble, but I think if you had to say we sounded like anybody else at this point, it'd be a cross between Big Star and The Band. FP: Speaking of Big Star, word around the corral is that you had a standoff with that bad hombre Alex Chilton last time he played the old 40 Watt Saloon.
BS: Well, Alex Chilton we didn't have a problem with. Everybody was like "Oooh, you better watch out for Alex Chilton. He's gonna be a real asshole!" He was just fine. But his band, those guys were just ridiculous. The bass player's this 50 year-old Dad-type guy, the one that got out there and did the Moonwalk. Their music was just bland. On top of that, they were obnoxious and just a joke. It's different if you go see somebody that's got a real distinctive style and sound and they completely rock, then later you find out they're a bunch of assholes. At least you've got a good story to tell. "Man, those guys were fuckin' great and boy were they a bunch of assholes!" When it's somebody that's just not that great in the first place though... that's the worst. FP: So, who made off with their backstage beer? BS:
Just say we all did and leave it at that.
Michael Clay Andrews
|a review of the backburner album