By Alex Claxton
Clint Williamson ’13, Vadim Fainberg ’13 and Concerts Chair Pooj Padmaraj ’13 got together to form Gluestick in the beginning of their first year on campus. Looking back on it, the three emphasized how natural the process felt and how quickly it happened.
“Clint and I lived on the same floor our first year, so the first day … I knew he played guitar and he knew I played the drums. Vadim started hanging out with us pretty soon and he was like, ‘I play guitar too!’ So we just started playing,” Padmaraj said.
The bandmates were in such a rush to start making music that the first time they played, they realized they had forgotten drumsticks.
“We went outside and got huge sticks off of a tree branch,” Williamson said. These days, they play under the name Paducah and their music has become more sophisticated, especially with the addition of bassist Garin Kessler ’14.
When asked to describe the type of music they play, Fainberg qualified his answer by noting how much the band’s sound has changed since their first year: “We started off playing … really drawn out psychedelic rock, to punk where our longest song was a minute and forty five seconds long.”
Today, the band describes their sound as “pretty driving, heavy stuff: really, really noisy.” This new post-punk/hardcore identity fits well with the shows that Paducah is playing this semester. The band will open for Iceage/Wet Hair on April 6 and METZ on May 9. Both shows will be at Gardner. In addition to performing in Grinnell, the band hopes to play a few house shows in Iowa City and once again be a part of the Mission Creek Festival, also in Iowa City.
Paducah is perhaps most widely known around campus for their raucous, absurd video for the song Kidnappings. Filmed in the basement of the off-campus house known last year as The Zoo, the video features several people in the nude, except for animal masks, taking sledgehammers to various pieces of electronic equipment.
When prompted to speak about the video, Williamson, Padmaraj and Fainberg burst into laughter and exchanged knowing looks.
“It was fun. It fits Gluestick. I’m not sure if we’d do that again,” Fainberg said. “I think we destroyed a microwave, a chair, and an amp.” Despite the ridiculous nature of the video, the members seemed to agree that it fit their aesthetic at the time.
On the subject of Grinnell’s music scene, none of the members were particularly positive about its current state. Williamson said, “Since we were first years here, there’s been a pretty steady decline in the music scene. It seems like fewer people are willing to take chances.” He blames the lack of community in the music scene and deterioration of a do-it-yourself mindset. Padmaraj added that there used to be “a lot more experimental stuff happening.”
To tackle this perceived decline, Williamson suggested that people “form more bands … and not be afraid to experiment and not be afraid if people don’t show up to your shows the first few times.” They stressed the importance of showing up to other people’s shows even if you don’t know them in order to promote a positive community built around making music.
Paducah released a 7” record entitled The Shakes in 2011 and the full length A Dollar Makes Me Say Yeah in 2012. If students are at all interested in energetic punk music made by people who respect their music and the creative process but don’t take themselves too seriously, or simply want to support local music, check Paducah out.