Itchy-O signs to Alternative Tentacles and prepares debut full-length and coloring book
Itchy-O Marching Band announced its signing to Alternative Tentacles last Thursday, May 8th. It becomes the latest in a roster of creative weirdos on Jello Biafra's long-running imprint. Those not familiar with the band in Denver should make an effort to catch it when you can for the sheer spectacle of thirty-plus costumed figures performing what can only be described as experimental marching band music.
Tom Murphy Itchy-O Marching Band at Botanical Gardens performing after David Byrne and St. Vincent, July 13, 2014
With its full drum section, synths, a guitar, bass and sundry noise-makers with dancers roaming through the crowd, Itchy-O puts on an unforgettable performance. The group's debut full-length is scheduled for a release in the fall. Itchy-O (its members wished to remain unnamed and collective) answered some questions for us recently about its signing to Alternative Tentacles as well as some memorable shows inside and outside of Colorado.
Westword: How did Jello Biafra find out about Itchy-O? What did he tell you about why he's interested in the band?
Itchy-O Marching Band: Jello caught us at a Denver Anarchist Black Cross benefit a couple years ago over at a DIY underground space called Glob, and we were smitten with each other instantly. We have a number of snaky provocateurs in slinky burka-esque [outfits] that had no idea who Jello was, but for whatever reason they were drawn to him like loose mules to a corn patch and he loved it. Not sure words can describe the honor we felt watching him jump around and dance his ass off while being molested by our creepers.
You recorded the forthcoming record with Bob Ferbrache. How did you get connected with him and why did you want to record with him rather than another engineer/producer in the Denver area? What kinds of suggestions did he make to you in the recording process?
Bob Ferbrache and Absinthe Studios have been responsible for a ton of great work including Devochtka, 16 Horse Power, the Czars, Crash Worship, Human Head Transplant, Tarantella...the list goes on. We asked him if he's be interested. He said yes.
In terms of suggestions, Mr. Ferbrache did not make a whole lot of suggestions as much as he just worked his wizardry. Bob has a lot of really nice über-expensive microphones that he knows how to use. He is also an absolute master at making stringed instruments sound mammoth.
In recording the album, what kind of logistical problems did you have to overcome being a thirty-plus member band?
We recorded all twenty-plus drummers at the same time for each song. We nailed every song on the first take. And if you believe that we've got Santa Claus hog-tied in Blue Beard's pirate chest with a hot lil' Easter Bunny we'd like to sell you.
We went back through all of our EP recordings, added the our Taiko drummers to those tracks, re-mastered all of those tracks, and added five new songs. This full-length LP was three years in the making.
On what formats will the album be released in September?
We will be releasing this on vinyl with a download card, but because we know many do not play records and many do not buy CDs any more, we are working on an Itchy-O Coloring Book that will come with a download code. Recently, this science textbook illustrator, Leanne Fenton, just started sending us these little amazing graphics of our players. We asked her if she'd be interested in developing a coloring book for us and it's almost complete.