“It’s a Norman Rockwell world, with jet planes and fiber optics.” – Noam Chomsky

Angela Cesere
Local band the Mac Podz has opened for Smokestack and played Hash Bash – a gig with Sun Ra out in space still TBD. (Photos courtesy of Ross Walker Huff)
Angela Cesere

The Mac Podz are one of the brightest new lights in a thriving local music scene. The Podz have made a name for themselves through electrifying shows at the Blind Pig and various other venues throughout campus. The group, comprised of Brennan Duncan (bass/vox) Jesse Clayton (aka Donny Boogaloo, keys) Griffith Ayres (percussion) Nicholas Ayres (percussion/vox) and Ross Walker Huff (trumpet) plays their own brand of space-funk-disco-be-bop begging to be the soundtrack to your next night of drunken dancing. I sat down with Ross to talk about, among other things, Shamu, Optimus Prime and their music.

Lloyd H. Cargo: What do you guys sound like?

Ross Walker Huff: Disco be-bop, with a strong soul and R&B influence. We’re also definitely influenced by straight-up rock’n’roll bands that put on real rock’n’roll shows . like the J. Geils band.

LC: How are you guys getting your music out there?

RWH: Over the summer we played two or three concerts. They were called Freedom Fests. Basically just putting on shows that are organized for the public for free, just partying, drinking Pabst . They were all afternoon and evening things outdoors. Playing some late night house parties and barbecues help make people aware of what we are or that we’re a band at all.

LC: And how important is it for you to connect with the students at the University?

RWH: I think students are always looking for what we’re packing, which is a great time, great dance music and a party with positive vibes.

LC: How important is MySpace in getting the word out there to those kids?

RWH: It’s hard to tell how important it is. Perhaps it’s priceless. I mean it’s a free service. We don’t have a proper webpage. But I’ve heard from artists that have both a MySpace and a webpage that they’d get five or 10 times as many hits on MySpace than on their URL. That’s kind of a testament to how much of a popularity contest it is – your music has got to hold its own, but it’s like, how many MySpace friends do you have?

LC: What have been some of your most memorable shows to date?

RWH: We did a show on Hash Bash that lasted ’til 6 a.m. That was quite memorable. We also enjoyed our WCBN set last July; that got a really positive response. We’ve had some success at the Blind Pig. We opened for Smokestack at one of their last local shows, maybe in May or June. That show had a really excellent energy.

LC: What sets apart a Mac Podz show from your run-of-the-mill Blind Pig concert?

RWH: We try to do whatever it takes for the listener to get there. Wherever “there” is. I mean it’s a different “there” for me or for the other guys in the band. But we all know when we’re there. And that’s why you go to a show. If you need to stand on your head and breathe nitrous or if you just need to do jumping jacks or yoga or spin in circles . Whatever it takes for you to get to that space where you look around and say “Hey, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” If for a couple moments we can set aside all the other crap and remember that being alive is pretty righteous. We can deal with all that other shit tomorrow morning. But right now I’m gonna get there.

LC: Speaking of, if you had a dream gig, space-time constraints notwithstanding .

RWH: It’d be great to be on a bill with The Arkistra and Sun Ra. Somewhere on one of Saturn’s rings. I heard there’s a couple of cool joints out on the seventh ring. It’d be some Douglas Adams-type shit. Playing a gig at the restaurant at the end of the universe. There’s always the interest in the kind of crazy energetic site on Earth, like when (the Grateful Dead) played at the Pyramids. That would be something. It’s like a three ring circus on Neptune. It’s pretty rowdy, man.

You can check out the Mac Podz at http://www.myspace.com/macpodz as well as live at The Blind Pig on Sept. 29. Ross will also perform in a Lego Spaceship Cabaret Production with Monsieur Galooshes and the Plasticine Bandits featuring members of the Mac Podz, Chris Bathgate and Yosef Dosik at Canterbury House, 713 E. Huron St., tonight at 8 p.m.

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