The Moon Seven Times

Trying to describe The Moon Seven Times' new Roadrunner Records album Sunburnt is like taking witness statements at a crime scene. No two versions come out the same. It's a tapestry of oceanic guitar musings interwoven with sublimely complex poetry. No, no it's airy pop-rock arrangements with a driving rhythm section. Or maybe it's simply excellent musicianship combined with solid storytelling. Blah, blah, blah... Who cares what you call it--the music's just cool.

Maybe that's why they had me write the bio. I may be the only one close enough to the band to know the whole story but objective enough not to screw it up. By the way, I'm Chuck. My given name is Charles Baudelaire, but don't dare call me that. Lynn Canfield, M7X's singer, is my human and she gave me that dead poet's name. I think she's figured out by now that I'm not the brooding poet type of cat, but it's too late to change my name. Besides, I've got better things to worry about. Like trying to explain how four grossly incompatible musicians came to make an album as seamless as Sunburnt. Here's the quick and dirty:

Lynn, drummer Brendan Gamble and guitarist Henry Frayne had worked together for years on many different projects in the Champaign, Illinois area before forming M7X with friend and bassist Don Gerard. Their first album was completed in 1990 for London-based Third Mind Records but the label ran into financial difficulties before the album could be released. When Roadrunner Records picked up Third Mind in '93 the band had so much material backed up that they had their second album done almost as soon as the first hit stores.

The self-titled debut had everyone from Entertainment Weekly to Guitar Player calling M7X "dreamy," "poetic" and "embraceable." The album was pretty smokin' and 1994's 7=49 was even better. Now I'm a cat who's pretty hip to the studio--been there for most of the sessions on this new album--but to truly understand the dynamic of this band you have to see them live.

Lynn's my favorite (the fact that she feeds me has absolutely no influence here) because she's a stunning vocalist and she really connects with the crowd. There's this soaring sensuality about her that makes me think if she were an animal she'd be a bird of some sort. She's always tossing glitter and plastic bugs or rubber fingers into the crowd--you know, the kind of stuff that's fun to bat around on the kitchen floor.

The long-haired guy jumping around all over the place, that'd be Don. He's like some slightly psychotic auto mechanic firing a bass guitar from the hip. Sometimes Don seems really cool but other times he scares me so I'm not sure if I should let him pet me or run from him in terror. If he were an animal he'd definitely be a dog--golden retriever most likely. He's smart and loyal, but also a bit over the top. And on the other extreme...

Sitting on a stool, hunched over his old guitar there's Henry. Less of a spotlight hog, he concentrates on extracting sounds rarely heard from a six string. People may think he's aloof or withdrawn, but there's more to Henry and less to him than meets the eye. Funnier than he's given credit for, Henry can be surprisingly gregarious. He'd be one of those shy monkey-like lemurs or maybe a giraffe.

Brendan Gamble is the musician's musician. Totally intense on the drums, he also plays guitar and writes music for M7X on both instruments. The guy won't leave my house--maybe he thinks he's married to Lynn or something. Right. Still, there's this weird competitive thing between us and I think if he were an animal he'd be an owl or parrot. Mocking me, no doubt.

Two others thrown into the mix are Todd Fletcher and Trina Shoemaker. Todd joins M7X live and is an amazingly talented guitarist. Trina, whose recent work includes engineering Sheryl Crow and Throwing Muses, produced Sunburnt and acted simultaneously as babysitter and babysit-tee. Her boundless energy was surpassed only by her knowledge of recording techniques and she was often doing mind-numbing stuff like putting on a tape of some new artist right after a ten hour recording session. Given to studying vintage albums for pictures that might reveal a unique microphone placement or baffling technique, she opened up the band's sound. Trina also gave them a much-needed reason to defer to an outsider's opinion rather than hassling it out between them.

So there you have it. I'm pretty cynical for a feline, but I think this will all make sense when you hear the album. The music really works, but The Moon Seven Times sure are an odd bunch--a bird, a lemur, an owl and a retriever.

Needless to say, I'm the king of the jungle.

Lynn Brendan Henry Don
Books I like... Quantum Physics, Gardening, Children's Books Studio Manuals, Statistics Travel, Music Biography Hard-boiled Detective Novels
Goal for M7x To continue to survive each other. To be able to perform and record without losing money. To be able to work as much as we want. To have Bono light my cigar.
If I could be on a game show... Debt Let's Make A Deal (Costume: Indian) To Tell The Truth Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune
Defining childhood memory Grandmother's house burning (Inspired "Some of Them Burn") Hearing my mother play classical piano Seeing the sun rise from the cockpit of a jet to Europe Hearing the Beatles sing "girl with colitis goes by"
Favorite cartoon character Spiderman Stimpy Tintin (Belgian) Spiderman
Best thing about M7x We know each other pretty well. The music. Those moments of musical synergy. The musicianship.
Worst thing about M7x We know each other pretty well. Interpersonal relationships as they relate to the music. The struggle. Being the only person in the band who drinks.
If I could have one magical power... The ability to accept things the way they are. Telekinesis Invisibility Mind reading
Quote It's gone beyond friendship, but it's not quite as bad as a family. I can walk through a room fifty times, but the fifty-first time that cat looks at me like I'm this scary alien guy and just bolts. Later he'll walk up to me like, 'Pretty cool, huh?' We had a recording contract but no name. We were up late going through every book on hand. Lynn's roommate's copy of The Golden Bough just plopped open to this page and it said 'Tip your turban to the moon seven times.' The recording process [for Sunburnt] was like pulling someone's teeth while falling down an elevator shaft only the person with the directions fell a few seconds after you so you're constantly yelling back to them.

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