90 Day Men Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago

by Dan Haugen

Returning home from a weeklong West Coast tour, Chicago’s 90 Day Men make a pit stop in the Twin Cities this weekend. Their debut full-length, (It (Is) It) Critical Band (Southern Records), was named alongside Radiohead’s Kid A on Spin magazine’s Top 20 of 2000 list. This band boasts all the avant-garde appeal of Kid A, at half the pretension.

Speaking on a cell phone somewhere between L.A. and Berkeley, 90 Day Men drummer Cayce Key took some time last week for a little Q&A with The Lens.

The Lens: Last year’s record earned you guys a good deal of critical acclaim. How did that make things easier or tougher for you as a band?

Cayce Key: In all actuality, other than getting a little more recognition for what we did because of that [Spin Top 20 of 2000] write-up, it didn’t, profoundly, have too much effect on us at all. When we went back to New York after that happened, there were certainly some people that came out to see us that we wouldn’t normally see at our shows. I think we got to broaden the audience a little out of it. But all in all, it didn’t affect our jobs.

The Lens: I was reading an interview with you guys in Coed Naked Sex, in which you guys talked about being a hair band.

Key: Let’s clear that up real quick. [The interviewer] referred to us as a hair band. We would never in a million years refer to ourselves as a hair band.

The Lens: Well, tell us about the hair.

Key: Honestly, we just kind of wake up and it is the way it is. We don’t put too much time into the hair at all. Ninety-nine percent is just from waking up in a van and that’s just how the hair looks.

The Lens: A few years back, you guys relocated from St. Louis to Chicago. How has that affected the band?

Key: Really, really positively, I’d say. When we were in St. Louis, we were a little bit limited in how much of an audience we could reach that would like what we were doing. When we moved to Chicago, especially in the early years of playing in the band, a lot of the music around the local Chicago scene affected us a great deal. Everything was really new to us. We hadn’t been able to go and see bands pretty much every night that we actually would enjoy. We came from a town where we’d see a band maybe once or twice a month that we liked. So we kind of got saturated with music when we got there.

The Lens: Tell us about this tour you’re on right now.

Key: We’re working out the bugs and kinks in all the new songs for the forthcoming record we’ve got on Southern. It’ll come out in February. We’re going to record it in September. We just got finished writing the record maybe about three weeks ago. And so we’re out just touring a lot of those songs so we can get really comfortable with them and basically have final drafts before we record in September.

90 Day Men play the 7th St. Entry (701 First Ave. N., Mpls.) on Sat., Aug. 18th. Song of Zarathustra, Sea Whores and The Vets open. 8 p.m. $7. 21+. Download 90 Day Men mp3’s at www.southern.com