Wednesday, March 29, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 121

Cougar Comics Online
The Wrestling Report

Moores Music Notes


About the Cougar

Ashbury Keys explains its diverse sound

Ashbury Keys

Midwest Records
In stores now


By Christine McCreary
Daily Cougar Staff

Getting away from the noisy atmosphere inside the poshly- decorated Instant Karma for a quick interview, local band Ashbury Keys and I huddled around a picnic table, on the breezy patio of Instant Karma this past Saturday night to discuss the band's self-titled debut CD. Band members include: Alex Tittel (guitar), Bill Walter (bass), Ashbury Keys (vocals) along with special guest Darwin Keys of the band Pushmonkey (drums).

Easily opening up about how the members came together to form the band, which derives its name from the lead singer, Keys said, "I had a lot of material I needed to write, and I wrote it and these guys were all in different bands and I kind of pulled them together to write one CD. To play live I needed a band."

Local band Ashbury Keys names Morrissey, Weezer, bad 70s rock as prime influences.

Max Lacayo/Daily Cougar

As he turned to look at his brother Darwin, Keys continued, "We pretty much gathered these guys from different places. That's how we formed."

"Well, this will be the first time I've actually played with Bill and Alex," Darwin said.

"We've all played together in some form or another," Walter said.

"This is more like a special appearance for Darwin to be playing with us, cause normally he is on the road doing the Pushmonkey stuff," Keys said. "It could be the drummer position is the only rotating place right now."

"This is actually The Dream Team," interjected Walter, whose favorite performance was a few months ago when Ashbury Keys played with Oleander at Instant Karma.

"We started playing less than a year ago!" Keys said.

"Since June," Walter added.

"I did some stints with Space Monkey (a previous local band which included Keys' brothers and Phillip Kidwell who did drums on the album) off and on," Darwin said. "We've know each other a long time. Our guitar player in Pushmonkey actually played with my brother and myself on a couple of shows."

So how does Ashbury Keys describe its sound? "Power pop," Walter said. The band lists Oleander and Splender as musical influences. 

"After listening to the new CD, how would you describe it?" he then asked me.

"I think it sounds a bit like the band Weezer," I blurted out too quickly and then silently begian praying that the band would not be insulted by the comparison.

"That's great! We're big fans," Walter said.

I gave a sigh of relief.

While many of the tracks on this album do resemble the sound of Weezer, there is also an underlying Morrissey or The Smiths-like quality to it, both classic favorites of the Keys brothers.

"I used to make fun of them for liking Morrissey a long time ago but they kind of beat it into my head," Tittel said, chuckling as he added, "I listen to bad 70s rock." 

Soon the band is whisked away by someone from sound check to the inside of the club, where they will later give an awesome performance.

Taking its music to another level Saturday night, Ashbury Keys set a higher standard for other local bands to follow. With its tightly-woven sound, Ashbury Keys performed many of the songs found on its new self-titled debut CD. 

The CD, which is self-titled, is definitely worth checking out, as it features many tracks such as "It's All The Same," and "Far" which are ready for radio play.

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