That One GuySaturday Oct. 6th & Sunday Oct. 7thB-Complex.@body:Last year, you devout readers may recall, I was giddy as can be. I was only mildly enthused about magic flutes and expensive beer, but what really got my goat was discovering someone who captured that elusive key of “beotch,” and that I finally get to write the word “beotch” (one of my faves) over and over in an article.
The bold explorer who happened upon this beotch is That One Guy.
That One Guy, a one man band accompanied by the pipe, a steel pipe taller than he is that’s outfitted with an array of triggers, strings, delays, percussion, looping gizmos and smoking doo-dads, is no stranger to Portland State.
At his most recent performance, last Friday during the Party in The Park (didn’t you feel like you were at the beach?), his quirky, well-planned and executed songs got the audience briefly chanting his name, howling and buzzing a great deal amongst themselves. People simply don’t see a one-man band with a giant pipe playing songs in the key of beotch very often.
Mr. Guy isn’t just your average musical inventor type who put out his own album Songs In The Key Of Beotch and tours the states playing at all kinds of venues to hip-hoppers, punks, cowboys, rockers and ravers.
He is in fact a classically trained, well-accomplished musician who upon finding the key of beotch has done something many of his peers find shocking: He’s quit a potentially lucrative career as a professional musician in the Bay Area to focus full energies on his solo show.
“All my past experiences have led up to this,” he told me while sipping one of his favorite beverages, coffee. “I incorporate all styles I like, everything.”
I try to figure out which ones have made it into his solo sound. He grew up on rock ‘n’ roll, punk rock and other rebellious teenage tidbits. He chose bass as an instrument, studied jazz, classical and everything in between.
Playing such a plethora of music as employment has left him, as it does all creative individuals, craving an outlet for his own creations. He initially started to do the solo act to “get out all that stuff left over from my other projects.”
After experimenting and conceptualizing with what would become the pipe and the key of beotch for a couple years, he eventually took a month out of his busy schedule, and like Doctor “Pipe”-nstein, created the multifaceted beast as a birthday present to himself.
He then began to take the many ideas in his head, floating around in that most elusive of keys, and figured out how to perform them on the pipe’s two strings, five triggers and their corresponding samples, effects and doo-dads.
Being but one man and a mere mortal, he can only do so much. Writing songs, he said was an “interesting lesson in minimalism.”
He has no set formula for songwriting. An idea comes, musically or lyrically, and he hashes it out. He does a fair amount of improvising during live sets so a lot of ideas come out then. “The process happens very organically,” he said. His lyrics come about similarly, in a stream-of-consciousness process.
Mr. Guy told me that there is no single meaning to his songs; each one has a different feel. He reminded me of how Dylan hated to be asked about his lyrics because people constantly tried to read so deeply into them. When you do that, chances are, you are far from the meaning (if any at all) the songwriter intended.
“The songs mean what you want them to, like a painting.” Guy said, “They’ve got to be open-ended.”
Those readers who haven’t witnessed That One Guy are probably trying to figure out what exactly he sounds like and what section of the record store to find his CDs (they’re not in local stores at the moment).
Classifying him can be a little difficult, as That One Guy is a little eclectic. I hear funky grooves and clever, funny lyrics. My “Weasel Potpie,” is different than yours, and I doubt my take on “It’s Raining Meat” is anything close to any one else’s.
So my advice is to go check him out this Saturday or Sunday at the B-Complex and find out what raining meat in the key of beotch means to you.