Easy Being Green
GREEN Fuse is one of those rare creatures whose ranks are just beginning to swell: a Harvard rock band that plays original music.
The band, which will perform tonight at a dance at Lowell House, is one of the few campus-based bands that still performs its own songs. Their repertoire consists of about 40 tunes that they have written themselves plus about 10 cover tunes, says bassist Andrew E. Bush '90. Other members of the band include guitarist Daniel A. Brenner '85-86, drummer Richard C. Peaslee '89 and guitarist Michael Ross '86.
Green Fuse's music represents "an incredible diversity of influences from the South African style to reggae, from hardcore to groove rock," Bush says.
The party at Lowell marks a special occasion because the band seldom plays campus gigs. Instead, Green Fuse frequents Boston-area clubs like the Rat and the Channel or New York clubs like the Ridge Street Gallery and CBGB's
Bush, formerly the guitarist for the Harvard cover-band Christian and the Infidels, says that Green Fuse has not played Harvard parties often in the past because students on campus are not always willing to listen to bands that play original music. He hopes that this party signals a change in the musical tastes of students.
"I think it would be great if Harvard people could get out and listen to something new, especially if it's good, and to things other than what a DJ would play or that they would hear on a radio," Bush says.
Peaslee, one of the founding members of Christian and the Infidels, says there is a distinct difference between playing in clubs and playing at Harvard parties. "A club is bigger, but at a party people come with a totally different attitude because they want to dance, and you have to keep up the fun that way," Peaslee says.
He adds, "If we draw 100 people to a club, they are 100 people who know us well. If we do a dance, the people don't know us as well, but that can be fun too."
The group really wants to get their music out to the masses. "We're definitely looking to make a record this year," says Brenner. "Our goal this year is to find the best deal [in terms of a record contract] and to cut an album."
Green Fuse cut two singles, four songs, at the Fort Apache recording studio in Roxbury two weeks ago. These 45s, printed on green wax, should be ready for release by Christmas time, Brenner says. He adds that he hopes that the Lowell House party will help to get some of the soon-to-be-released singles on the air at local radio stations by building up the number of their fans. "That's why we're looking forward to playing at Harvard because we want to build a following," Brenner says.
The four songs are "Dairy Queen," a hard-driving, solid rock tune, "Death Dirge," a haunting song with vocals that resemble the power found in the voice of Jim Morrison, "Sleeping Sara," a multi-paced melody with a 1960s sound, and a well-harmonized cover version of George Gershwin's "Summertime" that also has a 1960s flavor.
Brenner says that a Boston Phoenix reporter who has listened to a demo tape of these songs told him she thought "it was the best tape she'd ever heard." And recently, Warner Brothers Records solicited a tape of the two 45s.
"There are tons of bands who send tapes in, but they [major record labels] won't listen to it unless it's solicited, so this is a very unusual thing," Brenner adds.
GREEN Fuse started two and half years ago when Brenner and Ross met as editors of a Harvard Student Agencies travel guide. Brenner and Ross added bassist Robert Todd, a Tufts graduate, Melissa Dubroff '86 on percussion and back-up vocals and Peaslee to complete their band. They borrowed their name from a Dylan Thomas poem.
Todd and Dubroff left the band a year ago, but Todd returned to play piano on the band's recent recording session at Fort Apache. When Todd left, the group replaced him with Bush.
Green Fuse's decision to play predominantly original music comes at a time when many Harvard bands are only beginning to move away from cover tunes to play their own material. "There's a trend now where people are starting to work on their own tunes, which I think is cool," Bush says.