All Understood

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This is a community devoted to the music and talent of the band, Buchanan!

UPDATE: We're on Greatestjournal now too! Username: Buchanan

A little history:
On a good night, Buchanan used to pull off six, maybe seven guerilla-style gigs in their early stomping grounds of Southern California. Strip malls, liquor stores, late-night doughnut shops ... you name it. Unplugging the fifty-cent kiddie rides and vending machines, plugging in their amps, and turning some of Southern California’s finest parking lots into impromptu “spots” (as their early fans used to call them).

In the process, the band made some unlikely converts: security guards, night shift workers, homeless folks, coffee house scenesters, and droves of kids trying to escape their bar closing-time blues. “We used to play until we’d get shooed away by security guards and cops,” recalls lead singer and guitarist Jay Buchanan. “But it was fun to cut our teeth on those early gigs, with everyone asking where ‘the spot’ was that night.”

At first glance, you notice something very different about Buchanan.

Unlike many of the recent onslaught of bands with their self-diluted and perpetual illusory ideas of being rock n’ roll superstars, Buchanan strip themselves of all pretense, and almost seem to feel their music rather than play it.

In 1999, Jay Buchanan scraped together his meager resources to create his self-released solo album, Violence. He was able to persuade two musicians he admired, bassist Todd Sanders (from popular Long Beach-based Ruby Diver) and drummer Chris Powell (who’d performed with Jay in a series of Inland Empire blues bands) to play on his album. After the recording sessions, Todd resumed his duties with his then-current band, and Chris moved to Hollywood, where he continued his work as a session-drummer.

In 2000, Jay came across guitarist Ty Stewart, a skilled player who shared Jay’s thirst for action. Before long, the two were grabbing acoustic guitars and amps and performing their guerilla sets all over Southern California, selling copies of Violence to by-standers between tunes.

Fast-forward a couple years. Jay Buchanan, Chris Powell, Ty Stewart, and Todd Sanders now comprise one of the most talked-about bands in Southern California - having seduced fans parking lot by parking lot. Of course, now most of Buchanan’s gigs take place on the stages of premier venues. And thanks to forward-thinking folks Ultimatum Music, Buchanan scored a unique record deal in which the band is supported by a close-knit and hands-on record company - a rarity in these days of cookie-cutter bands with sound-alike records.

And Buchanan isn’t holding anything back. That’s apparent from the strikingly intense songs and performances of All Understood, the band’s
debut album ... An audacious affair populated by characters who are teetering on the edge of revelation or self-destruction, or both. The album, recorded over the summer of 2002, was actually in progress before Buchanan inked the deal with Ultimatum. “We set out to do our own thing, record our own record,” Jay recalls. “Just letting our maxed-out credit cards pave the way until we got picked up.” Bass player Todd Sanders adds, “We realized that the only thing we can be sure of is ourselves, we’re sure we can make our own recordings, we’re sure we can play as many shows as we can put together, and the only thing we can control is that. We figured we’ll put out our own record, we’ll gain fans on our own.”

Thankfully, getting signed to a record deal happened before Buchanan got around to recording some of their most impactful songs on the album, including “Satan is a Woman,” “Reborn,” “Three Times Colleen,” and “The Sun Burns My Eyes,” which were recorded with respected veteran producer Don Gehmen (John Mellencamp / REM / Tracy Chapman). Gehmen immediately embraced the material. The muscular, but melodic bass lines of Sanders, meshing with Powell’s emphatic drumming, creating the band’s distinctively spring-loaded grooves, amid which Buchanan and Stewart squeeze out sparks on their twin Gibson 335’s. The tonalities hinting at everything from Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” to Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo,” just as Buchanan’s vocal timbre at times recalls Bryan Ferry, David Byrne, Jeff Buckley, and even Tracy Chapman.

The band’s shimmering, crisply patterned arrangements stand in stark contrast to Jay’s dark narratives, with their sharply drawn, frequently disturbing images of people who are losing control, or already out of control, revealing the extent to which driven people will go. He possesses the rare ability to make the characters in each song come alive. In “Satan is a Woman,” he uses a series of spare, but sharply, drawn details to imbue the song’s memorable central figure with a flesh-and-blood immediacy. She’s at the heart of a harrowing tale, full of anxiety and paranoia. “That song is about people gravitating toward things that they know are bad for them,” explains Jay. “And how the stigma that’s attached to what they’re doing feeds their momentum. That’s the whole vibe of ‘Satan is a Woman,’ [the narrator] describes how this woman affects him as soon as he sees her. He knows she’s trouble, but he’s determined to see where it’s going to go.”

The nervy landslide of emotional lyrical content is spread across every Buchanan track. Consider “The Sun Burns My Eyes,” which answers an apathetic plea ... “The creative imagination, is stronger than any engine that our hands have built / There is no fiction for the dreamer, he has written history, because he’s had the will.”

Yet still, it may be the influential differences between band members that melt to propel Buchanan’s vocal stylings and ideas forward. “We’re four musicians with completely different backgrounds and influences ... four musicians that are very passionate about our dreams and the influences that we have,” remarks guitarist Ty Stewart. “The differences are strong at face value, but the individual passion each of us has takes the music to amazing places for the four of us.”

And onstage, those passions collide to deliver … Buchanan’s live show is irresistible. These are not the songs of sleepy coffee houses. This is the potent stuff of back houses, porches and bar room struggles and celebrations. It’s the energy of the band’s live show that drives listeners to a frenzied loyalty. “Your music hauntingly soothes me . . . or does it soothingly haunt me?,” quotes one fan from the band’s online forum.

In the words of infamously picky OCWeekly music editor Rich Kane, “[This band] is becoming like a bad, bad habit - hear them, and you’ll want to feel that good for the rest of your life.” And on the prospect of their first extended promotional tour, drummer Chris Powell comments, “It’s all I want to do. I’m curious to see just how good this band can get.”

For additional information on Buchanan: www.buchananmusic.com / www.ultimatummusic.com

-Information taken from http://www.buchananmusic.com

Community Moderator- Chrysty / downthefoxhole
about this..., all understood, american son, bass, buchanan, california, chris powell, don gehman, drums, guitar, how crazy i am, humility, into the sky, jay buchanan, last thing you need, lyrics, music, orange county, paralyzed, plans, reborn, satan is a woman, steal your kisses, three times colleen, todd sander, ty stewart, ultimatum, violence lp, vocals