Modern Fix

VENA CAVA – interview by mike bushman


So very true to the scene discussed in this interview, I was first turned on Vena Cava by my old bassplayer. One of his 17 bands he’s currently in had played a few shows with them. When their CD was sent into Modern Fix, I stuck it in immediately. My reward was a sweetly rocking (on the indie tip in both ethics and execution) 3 piece with boy vocals being slapped against a crooning yell of the main female singer. Hooks, but dirty enough to avoid pop. Snippets of ideas captured into song. And it was recorded and mixed at Gar Woods. Another fine stamp of credibility if there ever was one.

Many emails soon followed from drummer Patrick Murray inquiring if I heard it, what I thought, could I put them on the cover and finally, an invite to some bar in North Park (San Diego) called Buster Daly’s. I ventured into the pseudo-ghetto section of San Diego by myself and found Buster Daly’s easy enough. Located on University Avenue, just a few blocks West of the 805, the bar is really that, a bar. Well, a length of bar, a divider with generous sized openings, and another long thin room about the same size as the bar sitting adjacent that holds two pool tables and some darts. The bands shove one of the tables over, and set up in here. Most of the bar sits at the stools in the other room and views the band by looking through the bartender and openings between the rooms. Different, but cool. There is some room in the area the bands are playing, so those there to see their friends bands can get right up in that. And there is no charge to get into the bar. It’s free to check out the music. So make note.

I watched a couple songs by a band called Destroy Miranda. Word has it they are Arizona implants recently arrived. After hearing their music, they are welcome here. They should send us music. And cookies. And narcotics. But at least some music.

Vena Cava then played. Seems they were the draw (well, responsible for the people that filled about half of the small bar). I recognized many songs from their self-titled CD. Little gems of indie rock. Vena Cava play not as a band trying to hit you in the head with their music, or shoving some kind of mantra down your throat. Rather, they play as if this is what they do. As if, what ELSE could they possible do on a Thursday night.

After their set (and impromptu photo session) I was lead to a small back patio behind Buster Daly’s for some verbal exchange.

So how is the world of Vena Cava? (I pronounce Vena Cave-a)
Corey Froschheuser: Doing pretty good
Patrick Murray: Vena Cava is doing pretty good. (Pronouncing it Kah-va)
Corey: ha-whaoooooo
Patrick: It doesn’t matter…

I guess I’m struggling with name….
Corey: Vena ‘Cave-a’ is the proper pronunciation. It’s like a medical term, but we changed it…

Oh, so you bastardized it just to throw everybody off so then you can act all snotty and correct people when they get it wrong? Right, right?
Patrick: We’ve seen a lot of versions, at least a dozen different spellings… Vena Caza… Vinni…
Corey: What was that one from Redding….

You guys played in Redding?
Corey: About a week ago.

How the hell was that?
Corey: Terrific.
April: The band we played with played here about three months ago.
Corey: They are really good. They are from Redding though.
Patrick: The Kansas City Stars.
Corey: Kinda like old Replacements. They are really cool.

Explain the name. So we can prevent further mispronunciations and incorrect assumptions.
Corey: It’s the main artery of the heart. The largest vein in the heart. One goes straight to your head, and one goes straight down.

So why do you pronounce it different?
Corey: Cause I like that better.
Patrick: Cause its lazier to say maybe…
Corey: yeah, I was all… Vena Cave-a sounds a little too pretentious, I didn’t think nobody knew what it was, but every know and then, we run across somebody that does, and they are all like, ‘Vena Cava…?’ (raises an eyebrow)
April: You know all those doctor majors that come to our concerts.

A large percentage of your fan base?
April: They are the ones with the horned hands going during our concert.

Aesthetics: April: You are rocking the leopard print guitar strap.
April: It was given to me by somebody in Denver that works at a guitar shop that put the pickups in my bass. He put that strap on.

You thought it was rockin’ so you kept it?
April: I dunno.
Corey: It was a strap for free.

I no, I wasn’t baggin’ on it. I think it’s rockin’. Just wondering the origin. And Corey, you got the Boyscout thing happening on your strap.
Corey: Those are Girlscout badges.

I gotta ask… where did you get a bunch of Girlscout badges.
Corey: Eyeahhh. You don’t wanna know.
April: Tell him about the coffee badge.
Corey: There’s a merit badge with a little cup of coffee on it. Swear to god, it’s a merit badge for drinking coffee.

Drinking or Making?
Corey: I think drinking…
Patrick: I think its like for making it…
Corey: If you are like an eleven-year-old girl, and you’ve had a pot of coffee… it’s a part of coming of age. Then you bake 5000 cookies.

So Corey and April are from Colorado, and Patrick is from the Bay area, what brought you all here?
Corey: I heard they had really nice weather. And thought they had a good music scene.
Patrick: The music scene really wasn’t what we thought it was.
Corey: But you know, it was in a slump, but it’s coming up now.

What bands do you guys look into to support and that support you.
Corey: Tiltwheel. There’s not lot of new, old school… well, we’re not that old school, but we grew up in that era, and there’s not many of them around that I’ve seen.
April: We tend to do the whole Do It Yourself scene. We book shows for other bands, even if we don’t play. We like to help out bands that nobody has heard of or that we like or are into it.

So that would explain why we are talking in the back of Buster Daly’s?
Corey: Right.

Patrick: This is an example. Actually, Corey asked the other band to make flyers (I was going to be out of town). And when I got back to town, I noticed our name was on the flyer.

So how did you hook up with Destroy Miranda (who just moved here from Arizona) and the other band from Chicago (Jinxpack) that you brought here tonight.
Corey: We just bump into people. You develop a network when you are on the road. We have some friends in Chicago. But I’m thinking a friend of a friend told us. Whenever we tour, we have a lot of friends who say ‘try out this bar and that bar’ and we talk to people when we get there. And they go, ‘oh yeah I know this guy and that guy, so when you get to that town, call this guy’.
Patrick: That’s how we booked out first tour.

When you tour, where do you find you are best received?
Corey: Denver or…
April: It’s hard to say because we’ve only gone to certain places once maybe.

Where do you look forward to going back to play?
Corey: Mazula Montana. You laugh, but places like Redding or Aberdeen, South Dakota. These smaller town are a blast. They respect a band for coming to town. They are excited. You go there and have a good time. Way more than southern California.

Do you think Southern California jaded?
Corey: Oh yeah. There are all kinds of different generations, but I think we are on the forefront of a new kind of scene in San Diego.

I’m seeing more band support for other bands.
Corey: This bar here never had shows a year ago. Scolaris Office for sure didn’t. And they are going crazy now. Chasers is having shows now. And the Livewire.

What is with this new North Park indie rock scene?
Corey: Because there were these crappy little dive bars. They would pay like a hundred or two hundred dollars to bring a cover band in. And they would bring nobody y’know. I think kinda started with Scolarie’s. Some guys lived upstairs and played in a band and they started like playing there. The bartender noticed he was getting more than he ever was from the cover bands. So they started doing it every Saturday. Then Saturday and Friday. Then 3 or 4 nights a week.
Patrick: I remember once hanging out after the bar was closed, and Freddy, told me, ‘Patrick, in the 9 years that I’ve worked here, this is the highest bank I ever had. (And that was our very first show ever). You guys are welcome back here anytime.’ And we were like, ‘Good, something’s gonna happen’. And it has. And things are happening more and more and more all around town.
Corey: My favorite part about now, is a lot of people before tend to have skipped over San Diego and just went to LA and kept going, because we ‘don’t have a strong scene here’ or whatever and its been like that for awhile, but we are starting to bring them down to play. Like, nobody knows about a place like this, like ‘Buster Daily’s’. And when a band comes here, they are blown away. They get free beer, they get paid (more than a lot of bigger clubs would a small band). And there’s no charge to get in. Some people will be there for sure.

Any impressions you’d like to leave the people of Vena Cava?
Corey: Heh-hey….
(Commenting on my correct pronunciation)
Patrick: Support local music.
Corey: Yeah, come to North Park. It’s Free.

Yeah, come to Live Wire, Scolari’s, Buster Daly’s and Chasers. Any other places so nobody gets left out?
Corey: TubaMans (no more).
Patrick: What a mess.
April: That was a cool deal. We got paid off to NOT play.
Patrick: The new owner bought the bar like three days before we had a show there. We had some friends from Tucson there. We show up, and we didn’t know about the new owner. So we started setting up our shit and the guy was like, “No no. No bands play here.”
Corey: He paid us to leave.
Patrick: He paid us $40 bucks per band to not play. So we came over here (Buster Daly’s). So the other band got to play.
Corey: If you come to these places in North Park, if other things sprout up, you’ll here about them when you are here.