Members: Molly, Greg, and Kenny
Molly McGuire has assembled quite an impressive rock n roll resume. Shes recorded with Frank Black, Queens of the Stone Age and Peaches. Shes toured with Mondo Generator. Shes built her chops on bass with bands like earthlings? and Rhudabaga. But with the official debut of her latest endeavor, a trio which she fronts known as The Spores, McGuire (alongside co-conspirators guitarist Greg Stunbunny Biribauer and drummer Kenny Pierce) is finally starting to make things happen completely on her own terms.
Well, almost on her own terms, because The Spores are more than just the three musicians behind their instruments. In fact, theres a set of alter-egos, portrayed by puppets, of which McGuire has conceived and integrated in the bands stage show.
But the story of The Spores starts with the living, breathing musicians. The Los Angeles-based act came to life in 2004 when Biribauer, McGuires roommate and fellow Toronto native, approached her with the idea of tracking a few songs. With a recording setup in the house and Biribauers extensive experience as a sound engineer, McGuire seized of the opportunity and the pair began constructing material that was unlike anything of their previous projects or anything on the airwaves. I had a bunch of weird pop songs, says McGuire, whose original infectious rock/dance tunes have been quite the change from her heavier rock norm of the past. It was kind of like a trash disposal for any odd songs and we were just making them because we could, because it could happen so quickly.
The metaphorical trash disposal immediately turned into a treasure of accessible, yet widely diverse compositions. But McGuire couldnt foresee the songs being performed live in a full band setting. Enter the puppets. I started making up these puppet characters for all the musicians, she says, kind of like Gorillaz, but with puppets.
Yet, after connecting with Pierce, the faux band of marionettes in McGuires mind instantly mutated into the real deal. McGuire temporarily shelved the puppets, as the threesome began playing around town, fine tuning its set and gaining a following with its quirky, catchy pop thats been compared to artists like Bjrk, Goldfrapp and Morphine. I wanted to use the puppets, but when we started becoming a real band, it was like the most important thing is that it sounds good, says McGuire. Puppets would slowly get integrated into it as the band develops.
But the stage wasnt the only place The Spores were suddenly heard, as Los Angeles radio station Indie 103.1 caught wind of The Spores demo and started spinning one of its tracks, Dont Kill Yourself, on a specialty show. Interest in The Spores on radio heightened with additional specialty show spins of multiple tracks via commercial rock station KROQ. Its quite an impressive feat, considering these songs were largely tracked in a bedroom with no real recording or promotional budget.
The memorable, dynamic pop-based single, McGuire says, is about fame, people that have everything going for them. Its meant to be an anti-suicide song. It makes people feel like an idiot for even thinking about it.
With Dont Kill Yourself on the waves and crowds building at the shows, The Spores made the decision to reinstate the puppetry as part of its live act, adding a wholly unique angle to its already electric, captivating set. People are really excited by it, says McGuire. As soon as they realize theyre going to see something different, they show up and end up really liking the band. Its something beyond anything theyve ever seen before. It adds a little fresh twist to what were doing live. Our whole thing is about entertaining the audience. We just want to put on a great show that anybody can enjoy.
McGuire, who also works with paper mache, fabric, painting and carpentry, created a half-dozen puppets, which include Indyan Summer, a shrunken head puppet that represents herself and Stunbunny, posing as Biribauer. With both pop and puppetry in place, The Spores are poised to officially release its debut full-length with SideCho, titled Imagine The Future. A collection of select tracks the band has recorded over the past couple years, the self-produced disc captures the essence of the trios artistic pursuits and makes for a fantastic introduction to those unfamiliar with McGuires latest endeavor, which has been dubbed a bands band for the acclaim the act has received from many of its Los Angeles-based peers. We seem to draw a lot of musicians from other bands, says McGuire of her crowds demographic. The rest of the audience is music lovers in general and a few crossovers from Mondo Generator.
With over a hundred ideas set aside for future compositions, The Spores prolific, groundbreaking output will only find the act garnering greater attention as it hits the road for various stints across the nation. Yet at this point, the trio is moving steadily with its do-it-yourself drive and continual creativity. And as more resources become available, expect members of The Spores to utilize whatever they can get their hands on to further their genre-crossing sound.
Were still on a very low budget, traveling in a van across the country and whatever fits in the van is whatever we use live, says McGuire. Eventually well get more of a production going on, but right now, its got a performance art feel to it.