members of Beachwood Sparks, Rain Parade, BJM & more form FIR (listen to debut single)
California’s FIR are just now releasing their first single, but their lineage is long. The group features Brent Rademaker (Beachwood Sparks/The Tyde/further) and Matt Piucci from Rain Parade, plus Rob Campanella (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Nelson Bragg from the Brian Wilson Band. FIR’s debut single, “Summer Wasn’t There / Winter Doesn’t Care,” also features harmonies by the Allah-Las. If you think you’ve got this group’s sound pegged, well, maybe not. “Winter Doesn’t Care” rolls like a gorgeous deep sea wave. The song premieres in this post, have a listen:
“Summer Wasn’t There / Winter Doesn’t Care” via Bad Paintings. You can listen to the more Byrdsy a-side, and read more on how FIR came to be, below.
As a life-long lover of the Rain Parade I was so excited when Matt Piucci showed up backstage at a Beachwood Sparks concert in Portland Oregon. Turns out the feeling was mutual as he was a lover of the Beachwoods…the name of the venue was The Doug FIR.
I told Matt that night that I had made a pilgrimage to NYC in 1985 to see the Rain Parade play live and that “You are my Friend” was in my top ten of all-time favourite songs.
Matt and I started talking about possibly writing some songs together over the next few months, sending iPhone voice memo demos back and forth.
Simultaneously, Nelson Bragg offered to record me after seeing my solo bass and voice/stand-up comedy routine in Hollywood. I thought the time would be better spent if we invited Matt and our old buddy Rob Campanella to join us in Rob’s Vision Quest studios. I had made several records with Rob but we still hadn’t played music together. Nelson and Rob and I shared many stages over the years with the Quarter After and Beachwood Sparks.
All we needed was some songs…Matt sent me an incredibly haunting song called “Winter Doesn’t Care” and it inspired me to finish a song I had been working on called “Summer Wasn’t There” and we took up roots in Rob’s studio with Rain Parade producer James Hill at the controls. The newly crowned FIR set up live and helped ourselves to Campy’s myriad of vintage Vox guitars and laid the songs down live. On a beverage break at an Irish pub in Toluca Lake we noticed the Gaelic word for the gentlemen’s room on the door read FIR…magic!
With Nelson Bragg on the drum kit you’re not really at a shortage of harmony (Nelson sings with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys) but as it turns out Matt had struck up a friendship with my buds the Allah-Las at Psyche-fest in Austin Texas the previous year. We invited them down to the studio to vibe out on Matt’s northern smoke. Add a dash of Campy’s accomplished moody mellotron and organ from swimming in the melodic soup of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Allah-Las hopped in front of the microphone and laid down some boyish harmonies. James Hill mixed it at his old town Pasadena mansion and…
The rest is kinda history on wax the way it’s always been done. It’s a musical trip through the seasons from the white sandy Gulf coast of Florida from Interstate 10 to Pacific Coast Highway and US101 through the redwood forest and right into the record and book filled cozy attic room at Matt’s Bay area Mid Century home…
That’s the story of FIR as I see it…so far