About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist w/ over a decade of experience. Lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma. Nerdy, but awesome.
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July 2010 - January 2013
Lily and The Parlour Tricks Will Murder You With Melody
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

When you describe your music as “murder ballads” you probably don’t want life imitating art. That’s nearly what happened to Lily and the Parlour Tricks’ bassist Brian Kelsey at a recent show, however, with the band performing their unique combination of 50s infused rock, and lyrics rife with true crime imagery.

Lead singer Lily Claire remembers the scene, saying, “We were like three songs into our set and I turn around in the middle of a song and Brian has blood streaming down his face, just pouring out of his forehead. We had a sub on guitar for that show because Angelo (Spagnolo) was out of town, and the guitarist and Brian had been dancing together, like head banging, and the neck of the guitar whacked Brian in the face.” That whack badly lacerated Kelsey, to the point where Claire says it looked “like The Walking Dead.” After they finished the song Kelsey’s bass was covered in blood, but according to Claire, he did turn out to have some good fortune. “The woman who had put the party together for her husband was a nurse in training, as were all of her friends, so all of these beautiful female nurses came up on stage to tend to Brian, and one of them had, of course, a first aid kid in her car, and they wrapped him like a mummy and then we played the rest of our set.”

Normally, Lily and the Parlour Tricks, which also includes drummer Terry Moore, and vocalists Darah Golub and Morgan Moulherat, have a much easier time surviving their shows, even with such deadly content as “Murder Song” and “The Poison Song,” which sound like they could be soundtracks to classic noir films.

For Claire, all of this is a far cry from the beginning of her childhood, when her older brother took her to see the Mel Brooks classic Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and it left her terrified. She’d shed that feeling a few years later and start to love ghost stories. At 15 Claire read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and she remembers “something happened. I became really fascinated with reading accounts of crazy people, murderers, getting inside the head of someone who does something so wrong, but feels so OK about it, or justified. I’ve always, since then, thought that was so fascinating, so I started doing research for myself, and I have many books mostly on American crime, and murders, from the 18th century to the present, and that’s where I draw most of the inspiration for my music from.” Claire adds that, “Not all of our material is about weird shit like that. There are the requisite songs about boys, and romance, and this and that, and a couple of relatively tame subjects thrown in.”

During Lily and the Parlour Tricks’ early years in 2008 and 2009, the band was a four person outfit, with Claire, Kelsey, Moore, and Spagnolo. The band’s origins can be traced back to Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, which is where Claire and Kelsey spent the better part of a night trapped with two acquaintances after a reading of the sermon from Moby Dick at the cemetery’s chapel. “It was a beautiful, snowy, night,” Claire remembers, “and we were walking around the cemetery, which is enormous, and I guess hours passed and we wandered back towards the chapel and everyone was gone and the lights were off. The cemetery gates were padlocked. We were stuck.” The foursome attempted to climb the gate, but found it to be an impossible task, so they resorted to banging on the gate and yelling. Eventually a patrol car came and rescued them, and Claire remembers “that’s how Brian and I became friends, and we started the band soon after that.”

As Lily and the Parlour Tricks, and Claire’s writing, progressed, she noticed what they were doing called for three part harmony. In 2010, after an ill fated attempt to have the men sing falsetto, which Claire deemed “a disaster,” she asked Golub and Moulherat to join the group. “That was it,” she says, “it was kismet.”

The band released a self-titled EP in 2011, and are currently working with producer Wilson Brown on a full length album they plan on releasing later this year. When that album hits stores expect any bloodshed to be in the music, and not all over their bassist.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 4:11 PM  
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