To call something "B and Not B" is a logical contradiction. Aristotle said so. Derrida had a blast contradicting him, finding in any idea the seed of its opposite.
This San Francisco supergroup is definitely nerdy, but they know how to perpetrate the rock as well. They play shows that sound like great mix tapes, each new tune evoking another classic pop band. David and Dusty sing adventurous melodies and interesting harmonies, with lyrics about bad luck, writer's block, virtual worlds, dreams deferred, fruit preferences, arm-biting, and the planet Venus. The band's trad rock instrumentation is sweetly augmented by trumpet and melodica, locating them just outside the neighborhood of their heroes.
Songwriter David Ricardo started releasing his unfiltered five-songs-in-a-day demos at bandnotb.com a couple of years ago. When bassist and videographer Brad Robertson (Young Moderns, The Smart Set) urged David to get a band together for a one-time performance, there were dozens of good songs to choose from. Dan Caporale took a break from making electronic beats to rock some analog drums. Jamie Osborne, the central force behind the experimental SF band Whitey On The Moon, shook things up with his sometimes wild keyboard parts. David's trumpet work added another extra something to keep things fresh. That first show in late August 2008 was so fun that they decided to keep the band going.
With the addition of solo artist Dusty DiMercurio on backing vocals, guitar, and studio production, B and Not B is better than ever. Their energetic and fun live performances get people's attention, and the songs leave a lasting impression on unsuspecting listeners. The band just recently returned from its first tour of the Pacific Northwest, and will head south for another trip in the next few months. At home, B and Not B has played with top-notch groups such as My First Earthquake, Mist and Mast, and Blue Rabbit, and has sold out shows at places like SF's classic Cafe du Nord. They have done in-studio performances and interviews on 87.9FM in San Francisco and KLC Radio in Portland, OR.
B and Not B's debut album will be out soon!
David Ricardo: songs, voice, right-handed guitar, trumpet, tequila
Dusty DiMercurio: left-handed guitar, voice, studio production, tight jeans
Brad Robertson: bass guitar, video production, wisecracks
Dan Caporale: drums, scooters
Jamie Osborne: keys, delays, doing the needful
Eponymous LP to be released soon.
Local Frequency: Q&A w/ B and Not B
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Bay Area natives B and Not B have been playing together for a little over a year, pairing witty lyri...Bay Area natives B and Not B have been playing together for a little over a year, pairing witty lyrics with 60's-inspired pop hooks to keep your head bopping from beginning to end. Wrapping up a five city tour of the Northwest, the band recently recorded a full-length, self-titled LP slated for a January release. Songs from the upcoming record can be previewed on the band's website.
B and Not B is made up of David Ricardo (songs, voice, right-handed guitar, trumpet, tequila), Dusty DiMercurio (left-handed guitar, voice, studio production, tight jeans), Brad Robertson (bass guitar, video production, wisecracks--also of Upstairs Downstairs), Dan Caporale (drums, scooters), and Jamie Osborne (keys, delays, doing the needful). These serious musicians make sure not to take the art of performing too seriously--check out their recent video of entertaining unsuspecting San Franciscans with a Zeppelin cover played live from their van. Local Frequency sat down with B and Not B (well, most of the group; Caporale couldn't make the interview) at The Uptown to chat about Michael Jackson, pirates, and Disneyland. (The band plays the Make-Out Room tonight).
If you could describe your sound as a San Francisco neighborhood, which one would it be?
Dusty DiMercurio: I think we'd be the Tendernob. We have all kinds of class, but we don't have all kinds of cash.
Brad Robertson: So you're saying we're cheap?
You guys just came off of a short tour of the Northwest, how was that?
David Ricardo: All of the tour stops had their charms, but my favorite stop was in Burlington, Wa. because it was my first all-ages show. I loved the enthusiasm of the young people, who weren't afraid to get right up in my face and dance! It rarely happens.
DD: It always happens at the Make-Out Room. Usually around 11'o clock, after the bands are done. The kids start rolling in, and lose their shit over '80s music. My mom is a school teacher and I played for her class one time, and the kids loved it. They haven't learned how uncool is it to lose yourself over something you're into.
BR: We've all played in bands forever, and have gone to shows forever, and we lose that urge to just go crazy, really enjoy what you're doing. I think people are having more fun than they actually let on. David is like one of those people who doesn't care, just will dance.
DR: We did an impromptu show at a Chevron-Sunoco in Redding which was a lot of fun.
BR: We got a really late start...but we still had a lot of energy and we were kind of bouncing off the walls when we went into the gas station. When I went to pay the kid behind the counter asked if we were actors. We were kinda close to Ashland, Ore. so I guess he's used to getting some manic types rolling through town. I told him that we were a band on tour. When he asked us what kind of music we played, instead of trying to describe our music, I decided to grab my camera and round up the guys and guitars and show him.
Where is everyone going for the holidays?
BR: I'm staying here. My girlfriend's family is coming from New York for a week.
DR: I'm staying here also.
Jamie Osborne: I'm going to Detroit, and to the Motown Museum--it's like an annual pilgrimage. I go to the studio and touch the piano. It's really out of tune. It's cool, they've got all the Motown records on the wall, and Michael Jackson's glove.
BR: That's why Michael Jackson only has one glove!
JO: You think they buried him with one glove?
BR: He doesn't need another glove, he's legendary.
DR: I don't think they buried him, he's probably cryogenically frozen.
DD: They're going to figure out how to bring him back.
What are you reading now?
DR: I've been downloading books from Project Gutenberg and reading them on my phone. I just started Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, who's one of the founders of Boing Boing. It's about post-death--people who don't want to live now and say "deadhead me" and choose to go in suspended animation and come back when it's cooler.
DD: In Disneyland?
DR: Yes, so maybe with Michael Jackson, maybe it's all a deliberate plot. Maybe he planned his death and he's coming back when things are better.
BR: The whole Disneyland angle is freaking me out. It reminds me of the last time I went to Disneyland as an adult, years ago, and took acid. I don't want Disneyland to be any part of my afterlife.
DR: It's an already creepy place. I've never been to any Disney-related place.
DD: I did a pot brownie last year and went down there. I ate one thinking, "Eh, it will be OK." I didn't realize how strong they were, I nearly had a fucking panic attack walking around.
BR: I just read part of the Master and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian. It's 22 books. They're great. You have to re-wire your brain. It has long, fake, Old English text, and it takes a while to get into it. After a while, I couldn't talk, I couldn't text anymore. I was like, "Arrgh."
DR: Did you guys know if you go to the bottom of your Facebook page, you can choose to change it to pirate talk? I was like, "Woooo!" Then I was like, "I don't know understand anything anymore. I should probably turn this off cause nothing makes sense."
BR: Do you think a lot of the pirate battles happened because they couldn't understand each other?
DR: I don't want to attack you, I just wanted to borrow an orange. I have scurvy!
JO: I'm reading Beneath The Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus. I've been totally obsessed with Charles Mingus recently. [The book] is about his life in Los Angeles and his career. He was a crazy, classic tortured genius.
DD: Right now I'm reading The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. He was a young writer from Sweden, who wrote three books and turned the manuscript in and suddenly died. There's some controversy around his death, because during his life he helped uncover Nazi members in Sweden. It's fiction, but there are a lot of parallels between the book and his life. I'm losing sleep over it.
Brad, you filmed the video for your cover of "Immigrant Song." How did that come about?
BR: When I first moved to San Francisco in the early '90s, there were a lot of great art rock bands that would perform in public around the Mission. Perhaps my favorite was a group called Guerilla Rock who used to dress like Evel Kenevil and play funk out of a VW van.
DR: The band just started playing ["Immigrant Song]" in practice one day, I had to learn how to play it on trumpet, because there's no way I could sing Robert Plant wailing.
BR: We went around to about six places: Alemany flea market, 24th and Mission, Dolores Park, etc.
DD: People loved it. They rocked out hard with us and thanked us for playing. We realized afterward that it would have probably been a good idea to bring flyers or our EP or something to help market ourselves. Afterwards we thought, "Man, we suck at marketing."
What song has been stuck in your head lately?
JO: Anything by Girltalk.
DD: It's Raining Today--Scott Walker. Can't get enough of his fantastic crooning.
BR: I've been listening to the Staple Singers all week. Maybe I can talk David into covering "I'll Take You There," that way I'll have an excuse for having this song in my head all the time.
DR: Maybe next time Brad. I've got a couple: "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave" by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, "Horseriding" by Euros Childs. "Daemon Lover" by Shocking Blue .
Where can we see you next?
Tonight--Dec. 2nd, at the Make-Out Room for Penny Arcade. This is the last show were playing for 2009.
Afternoon Palate Cleanser: Band in the Back of a U-Haul Van
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The band in question is called B & Not B, a self-described "nerdy supergroup" from SF with a name in...The band in question is called B & Not B, a self-described "nerdy supergroup" from SF with a name inspired by Derrida, or something. Watch as they show up at various Mission locales and entertain the natives. They'll be performing a show at the Makeout Room on December 2nd.
Video: B and Not B’s Guerilla Rock and Roll
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This past Sunday, I sat in a booth at St. Francis Fountain and ate delicious brunch. Too bad I didn’...This past Sunday, I sat in a booth at St. Francis Fountain and ate delicious brunch. Too bad I didn’t do this on the same day that B and Not B hit up several Mission hotspots to play Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” from the back of a rented U-Haul van.
Scenes from St. Francis Fountain, Bi-Rite Creamery, and Dolores Park run through this unique video as the San Francisco indie pop band take it to the streets.
Preview the band’s forthcoming new album and download “The Notes Within” by visiting the B and Not B website, and check them out at the Make-Out Room on December 2nd.
The Kids Are Alright
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First up were B and Not B. They have a very dynamic front man with interesting songs. Hard to descri...First up were B and Not B. They have a very dynamic front man with interesting songs. Hard to describe…some of the melodies were adventurous (not too unlike something Scott Miller could conceive), along with interesting arrangements. At least one song reminded me of Sparks. Extra points for the drummer using the traditional drumstick grip.
I gotta mention that there were 2 common attributes that all 3 bands displayed that I love to see and hear. First, they all looked good. I used to not care about what a band looks or dresses like, but now that I’m not up on the stage, I really appreciate when a band dresses up.... The other thing that impressed me with all 3 bands were the vocal harmonies. All of these guys could sing and most importantly, sing well together. I don’t think there’s any other thing a band can do that will get my attention more than good vocals. It sounds good, and not an easy thing to do.
B and Not B break the law in a rented U-Haul van
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San Francisco's B and Not B hauled themselves all over the Mission playing Led Zeppelin's Immigrant ...San Francisco's B and Not B hauled themselves all over the Mission playing Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song out of a rented van. They documented it and have managed to generate a pretty decent amount of buzz.
B and Not B's record is due out soon but in the meantime, check out their site, sign up for their mailing list and get a sneek peek with a free Mp3.
Also, on a similar note, they've also helped me deal with the PTSD that came after seeing this same song used in the trailer for the 3rd Shrek movie. Thanks guys!
B and Not B rock out of a U-Haul
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SF’s B and Not B, well, I’ll let them tell it: "It was a warm, sunny autumn day in San Francisco, a...SF’s B and Not B, well, I’ll let them tell it:
"It was a warm, sunny autumn day in San Francisco, and we decided to spend it driving around town in the back of a van full of hot amps. The things we do for rock!"
B and Not B – “Breaking the Law (Immigrant Song)"
Will this start a van performance movement throughout the City? One can only hope. You can catch B and Not B at the Make-Out Room on December 2nd. They’ve got an album coming out soon and you can hear some tracks at their web site.
Our sets are packed with hooks, embedded in three-minute pop nuggets. We usually play about ten original songs, with an occasional cover thrown in. Here are some song titles:
The Benefits of Friendship
Traffic Jam of Stars
Eyes Need To Lie
The Notes Within
Laughing Out Loud
Snakes Don't Dream
There are no upcoming dates at this time.