It is sweet, sweet irony that while the name of my latest assignment may be Accidental Tribe; I’m not sure I’ve written about another band with more purpose than this fearsome foursome from New York. And while theirs is a story steeped in decades past, time has changed the hedonistic man-boys of the CBGB’s golden years and has made way for four men with that very same aforementioned purpose.
“We were basically just teenagers running around, drinking beer, having fun and playing music because that’s what we loved to do,” said front man, Beat ‘A. Tribe’ Arevalo. “Those years [were] a blur, young and dumb and full of excess. We slowly began to unravel.” However, those formative years brought together the four founding members and saw the release of their first 7” vinyl and a three EP compilation album. But in ‘95 the band played their final show at CBGB’s and the four disbanded the tribe. “Slowly but surely, we moved on to other projects (drummer Dino Sex left to play with the notorious GG Allin & The Murder Junkies) and Accidental Tribe got put on hold,” Arevalo said. “We just didn’t think it would be put on hold for so long.”
Arevalo left his friendly confines of New York and traveled extensively, always seeking out musicians and music scenes wherever he went, but something kept him looking back home to New York City. “I was moving, looking, searching, but everywhere I went… there I was.” Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Portland, Miami… other bands, different scenes but I never got much of anything done,” he said. “After a week, a month, a year, I always wound up back in NYC.” It was during one of those return trips home that he reconnected with bassist Moe Cash and the two began collaborating and eventually released the four-track EP Draggin’ Flu.
“Draggin’ Flu was unfinished material that sat around for much too long,” said Cash. “Even though we were apart for many years… it was always our intention to release these songs… we just never thought it would take so long. In early ’08 when we started jamming again, releasing Draggin’ Flu was the first thing on our agenda.”
In another fortuitous twist, a chance practice would find the four founding members back together sharing the same studio space and again, conjuring their old musical magic. “We were practicing at a rehearsal studio and ran into [guitarist] Pete Mac and Dino, who were jamming together at the same rehearsal studio,” said Cash. “So we invited Pete to a jam session. They were working out great with Pete and after just a few sessions, Pete Mac was officially back in the band. And since he had always continued to jam with Dino, when we found ourselves without a drummer again, Pete invited him to jam out with us. It only took one session with Dino to invite him back in the band.”
With all the pieces in place, the foursome got to work turning existing ideas into actual songs, with each man lending certain aspects to the songwriting process. The result would render Resolution, their first LP in almost 17 years. “Most of these songs were ideas I was messing with when we started back up again. Moe had songs like “Looking in From The Outside” and “Supremist” that kick your ass and rattle your teeth. Pete Mac returned to us halfway during the recording and his solos added a whole other dimension to things,” Arevalo said. “To me these are songs about searching in yourself, in somebody else, in something else… I feel it’s probably our greatest collaboration. That’s what we are evolving into, not particularly that type of sound, but the way we are working. Where our ideas mesh and build something new; where it’s not a song from one of us but from all of us. I believe that after all these years, we’re actually getting there.”
Now armed with his original lineup and an album in pocket, Accidental Tribe is riding their resurgent wave of purpose from “accident” to “providence.” “Like any band, we want to record our songs and play live shows. We are currently working on our next CD that we hope to release later this year,” Arevalo said in closing. “But one thing I’ve learned on this long and winding road is that you got to take care of yourself and your family and do what you love. Nothing else is going to make you happy. And to hell with anyone who says you can’t do it.”
Sure sounds like “purpose” to me.
By: Chris West – firstname.lastname@example.org