Baltimore based six pieceThe Bridge just released their fifth studio album National Bohemian on February 1, 2011 through Woodberry Records/Thirty Tigers. For this latest effort, the band enlisted Grammy Award-winning producer and Los Lobos multi-instrumentalist Steve Berlin to join the band behind the boards. Ranging from the sonically dense, voodoo-tinged rock of "Sanctuary" to the modern day murder ballad "Moonlight Mission," the 11-track collection is shaped by the dynamics that distinguish the band’s two principle songwriters Cris Jacobs and Kenny Liner.
The Bridge recently wrapped up a string of dates across the east coast with Tea Leaf Green and in the midst or hitting the midwest in support of Galactic. The March leg includes the band’s first headline show at Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver, CO. Glide recently caught up with bassist Dave Markowitz.
I love the story on your website about how you had to use the studios’ front lounge and the bathroom in the recording process of your latest album National Bohemian. Can you tell us how that affected your album?
Steve (Berlin) is a creative genius, he was able to help us capture all sort of different sounds and vibes through many ideas. Some of which were using the physical space around us. The studio isn’t big, but had all the typical rooms for live and dead sounds. But the bathroom, hallways, lobby, and even the front street outside had their own sounds and vibes that we tried to capture in different tunes. Sometimes this was out of lack of recording space, because we had many things being recorded at once that needed isolation. Other times, it was for creative experimentation. One time, Steve asked Cris to literally lie down outside by the curb and whisper a vocal track into a mic, capturing the sounds of cars and street noise in the background.
What is your favorite Bridge song to play?
This changes night to night, and room to room. When the vibe is right, an acoustic song like "Long Way to Climb" can fill the room with warmth, not a dry eye in the house. But a late night party crowd, whether that be at a festival or a crowded bar or theater, sometimes the highlights are foot stompers like "Rosie" or "Dirtball Blues." A good jam like "Sanctuary" also can bring down the house and leave us and the audience gasping for air.
I noticed you guys like your beer, even naming your new album after one of your favorites. What is one of the best breweries you have been to?
We enjoy a libation or two, however the album title actually, albeit a reference to the great Baltimore beer, is more of a nod to the meaning of those two words. National Bohemian, out of the context of a beer title we feel helps describe our traveling artistic lifestyle. I am not a huge beer guy, (sorry), but we always have fun at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA.
When you played the all request show, what were some of the most obscure request you were asked to play?
People asked for old obscure songs that we haven’t played in years, and some people would ask for contemporary covers that I’m sure they would like to hear, but it just aint happening…everything from Elvis Presley to Lady Gaga.
What is a music business risk you took and are so glad you did?
I am glad that I decided to join this band. It is not a huge risk, I was a huge fan before i was a member. However my previous band was my childhood band that i had formed with my best friends, and although it was kind of an easy decision, it was incredibly difficult to leave your boys like that.
What are some preparations you make at home before hitting the road for tour?
I like to spend quality time with my friends and family most importantly. Maybe a nice dinner with my beautiful wife. And then I stock up on tour essentials: new music, movies, books, toiletries, clean laundry, and nudie mags.
What is your favorite "made for movie’ song of all time?
Thats a hard one. I would have to say its a tie between "Under the Sea", from The Little Mermaid, and "The Spanish Inquisition", from Mel Brook’s History of the World Part I.
Who are some of the bass players that influenced you the most? –
I spent a lot of time listening to, and trying to emulate many players, some of whom are Phil Lesh, George Porter Jr., Jaco Pastorius, and Vic Wooten to name a brief few.
What is one thing you want us to know about The Bridge?
We are all amateur tightrope dancers.