When the word "Quartet" is at the end of a moniker, one would expect the number four to be prevalent; not so much the case for the three veteran musicians who make up The Lickerish Quartet.
This trio, or "Threesome" of Jellyfish alumni calls L.A their base of operations with the exception being bassist Tim Smith who is in Georgia. So, with a long distance band mate and a semi-definitive drummer; how does the band create? Guitarist Eric Dover says that they all are responsible and not one of them has a larger role than the other.
"Tim Smith and Roger Joseph Manning Jr and I are the songwriters; technically because there is only three of us. We were fortunate enough to be friends with Jeremy Stacey for years who is currently one of the drummers in King Crimson. When we were in a band back in the '90's called Jellyfish we had toured with his band The Lemon Trees in the UK and we've remained friends; Tim more than the rest of us; so he was more than happy to come along. So, we consider him to be that other member at least this time."
"We're spread out a little bit, Tim is in Atlanta and Roger and I are here in L.A. This project initially began in 2017 when Roger had called Tim up and said, "Hey; what are you doing? Let's try our hand on writing some music together;" we've all collaborated with each other through the years off and on but they kind of started talking and then they got me involved a little bit later. We were actually able to write the record together in a room properly. So, that basically started in 2017 and we had everything basically recorded before any of the proverbial shite hit the fan."
The "Everything" Dover speaks of having recorded is a series of EPs they plan on releasing over several months and like most else today; plans were altered due to the pandemic.
"It's called "Vol. 2" actually, we're releasing it; we have 12 songs that we've written and recorded so, this the second EP and it's four songs,"he explained."We are just doing them volumes one through three. A lot of this had to do with; we were sort of getting back into it and dipping our toes back into making music together. These songs are not the types of songs that you can just sort of pump out either; they do require a lot of work. We don't have everything quite finished yet as far as being mixed for the last installment. So, rather than wait to release a full length record we decided to start doing them in volumes just to have something for people to hear, to know and to announce that we are here to entertain you (laughs)."
"Threesome, Vol. 1" was released in the first quarter of 2019 and unfortunately for them their timing wasn't the best.
"We released the first one right as the pandemic hit. I mean literally the day that it hit; our luck and timing. That was March, now we've got the second one; we're trying to actually get them completed in a timely manner so that we can continue to have a stream of music to release to people. We all do have other commitments as well; Roger plays with Beck, Tim and I have a myriad of different things going on and we also offer experiences on our website where we write with people or we offer our services doing vocals or recording; that's kept us quite busy."
A truly interactive unit, the band allows its fan base to, as Dover said, "Experience" various things with them; including having dinner.
"Well, it depends on the experience of course," he said with a chuckle," To have dinner we actually did have some people sign up for that but the pandemic stopped everything there. We're working out different arrangements when it comes to meeting with people in person since there are constraints but all of the rest of it is pretty easily done via the internet; whether it's songs or playing on things or having a video conference or interviews and those sort of things."
Shall you be a child of the late 60's and 1970's you undoubtedly recall the TV ads from K-Tel Records or any one of a dozen or more commercials from Ron Popeil's Ronco products; The Lickerish Quartet not only adapted these styles to promote themselves but did so perfectly. So; is this marketing strategy reflective of the band's personality or just a clever ploy?
"We're all the songwriters, this is a collaboration between the three of us on pretty much every level," said Dover as he elaboratedon their total team effort."Not only do we collaborate and bring songs to the table individually but there is no lead singer in this band; we all share lead vocal duties and that's cool. As far as marketing, we try to explore every option we can to get our music out there to people and we do hire PR and people like that on the business side and the promotion end to do that but we also do a lot of hands on work ourselves. We were just trying to provide a little bit of comic relief since everything is so heavy when we started making the videos. I would definitely say that when you listen to the music that it's very serious; as far as the rest of it, our persona or how we perceive ourselves, we do have serious sides about us. There are things that individually or collectively we are passionate about but I think too with our generation that there is a need to keep it light if we can and then move on to the heavy stuff later if we need to."
Surely the name is a bit lighter; or is it?
"Well, it's a little bit of a story but the name itself is actually the name of a movie; an Italian sort of an erotica, surreal type of flick and we thought we would kind of use it in an artistic sense to hopefully describe the music a little bit. "Lickerish" is not a candy by the way; lecherous is a good way to describe the word but it doesn't mean the candy. I'm not really a big licorice fan so, we lucked out."
Will they tour once everything opens up or is this project something different?
"At this stage and really as it started out even when we began the project, we were never looking into this being a touring thing; not that we wanted to be Steely Dan but it's because we all have other commitments. So, touring, while it's possible, was not something that we were going to concentrate on. We're not opposed to playing shows and playing some dates and we'll have to see what the future holds there but that was our reasoning going in. I play live music constantly, it's a big way that I earn my living and get to bond with other musicians and since that's gone and I don't know how much it will ever come back; I hope it does but listening to something versus seeing it live; to me there's no comparison."
To discover more about The Lickerish Quartet, please go to www.thelickerishquartet.com.
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!