Good times roll for Blue Tuesday
It’s Senior Project Day at Nevada Union High School, and with summer just around the corner, the campus is abuzz with excited teachers and anxious seniors hurrying to and from their presentations while carefree underclassmen hang out curbside, waiting for rides home.
All the commotion doesn’t go unnoticed by members of the rock band Blue Tuesday, sitting with me outside the school’s cafeteria. Over frozen malts and Airheads, we’re discussing the group’s impending summer plans, which include dodging angry neighbors for rehearsal time, releasing their second album, and playing at more local shows.
“I’m going to Australia for three weeks this summer to visit family. It’s kind of a bummer. I mean, I want to go, but I also want to stay and play music with the guys,” says a visibly torn Jeff Baldock, one of the guitarists of the group.
Guitarist and pianist Phil DiLeo assures his bandmate that they’ll still have five weeks when he returns to practice, and keyboardist Eli Kirshbaum adds that they’ll keep writing while Jeff’s away.
Along with bassist Chris Griggs and drummer Dawson Timpany, the five freshmen have been friends since grade school and individually have been playing music for most of their lives. The group formed two years ago and just three weeks later had their first gig. Since then, they have played NU Unplugged, youth- orientated events and festivals, and in front of their peers during lunchtime concerts.
Influenced by their older sisters’ CD collections that included The Shins, Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie and their parents’ Neil Young and Bob Dylan records, each member contributes to the writing process and brings a unique approach to songwriting.
“Phil writes these really catchy love songs, Dawson is definitely the poet in the group, Jeff’s songs are more narrative driven, I write mostly political charged songs,” explains Kirshbaum. “And Chris, he’s just getting started, but I heard one of his songs, and it’s really good.”
Blue Tuesday’s songs are indeed good. Sonically they are incredibly mature, with lyrics that are insightful and provocative and delivered with pure enthusiasm and excitement.
In addition to writing their own songs, group members share front man and singing duties, which, prior to the interview, Timpany explained is because “We’re all eager musicians, and any time we can add another instrument, in this case voice, we usually do. It adds a lot more depth, and when the listener can feel something different every time, then we’ve done our job.”
DiLeo, who composes most of the band’s music, has been playing piano for seven years and messing around in his dad’s studio for as long as he can remember. The group recorded their eight-song, self-titled debut there and are currently finishing up their second record, in another studio, that will be out this summer.
When I ask the guys what’s the best thing about being such a young band, they reply with a unanimous “time!”
Some of the guys are also involved in sports, but most of their time is devoted to school and music. And for DiLeo, it’s all he’s really got. “I don’t really do anything besides make music,” he explains. “We don’t have jobs yet or anything else going on, so we have a lot of time to focus on writing and playing music together. We’re definitely going to make the most of where we’re at right now and have fun with it.”
Blue Tuesday will be performing the all ages School’s Out for Summer show, June 7, with Golden Shoulders and the Morning Benders at The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St, Grass Valley, at 7 p.m. Tickets at the door are $10.
Freelance music writer Jesse Locks has worked for such esteemed and well-loved publications as Arthur Magazine, Thrasher Magazine, Venus Zine and the Seattle Weekly. She is also a recent graduate of the UCCE master gardener program.
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