Dan Cray

Dan Cray

BandAlternativeSinger/Songwriter

Dan Cray and Beyond Id are a bi-coastal phenom. Or maybe just a couple clowns who swap coastal drunks every now and again, driving their bar tabs higher, the noise a little louder, and the chance you'll see Jax's ass as an ever increasing unavoidability.

Biography

From Jim Santo's Demo Universe, circa 2000 or so: (Still holds true although now we're alternating gigs between Boston and LA every few months)

Dan Cray did the band thing for five years in the early '90s, but like so many groups, Beyond Id was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"We kinda shot ourselves in the foot," explains Cray from the safety of his home studio, The Rubber Room. "We were really into the Velvet Underground, no-planning, as-it-happens kinda thing; just making a lot of noise that nobody liked. We played all over Boston, but nobody ever wanted us back."

After the demise of Beyond Id -- a victim of far-flung employment and education opportunities -- Cray committed himself to The Rubber Room (so named for the foam soundproofing that hangs on the walls and keeps his neighbors happy) and the free-wheeling world of 4-track recording.

Cray has produced "a bunch" of tapes over the years, but only one has thus far surfaced in public. And what a tape! Unfurling like a long, sad dream, Foul Berth flows from one beautiful, unsettling melody to the next, sometimes contemplative, at others softly abrasive. American Music Club, Pavement, Miracle Legion and Yo La Tengo come to mind.

Cray, however, cites other influences. "I was always into Archers Of Loaf and Guided by Voices," he says. "Right now I'm really hooked on this Neutral Milk Hotel band. They've got a real heavy Kinks influence. Growing up, I was schooled on Neil Diamond."

Cray's gorgeously corroded cover of Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale" is a pleasant surprise that does not diminish the impact of his original material. "I just always loved that song," he says. "I almost didn't put it on the tape; I'd done all the guitar tracks and vocals and it was like a real pansy version of a great tune. That was when a little bit of weed went into it. I put some crazy guitar on it, like a Bevis Frond kind of thing, and it turned out alright."

Recording in his apartment puts limits on what Cray can do with his music, but also affords the freedom to seek unusual solutions. "My last tape sounded kinda hollow, and I realized what it was missing was percussion," he relates. Real drums wouldn't have made his neighbors happy, so Cray resorted to banging on household objects. A wine rack was used in "Whiter Shade," and Saran-wrapped salad bowls are heard on other tracks. "There's no real drums at all, just a bunch of metal things," he says. "The cymbals were these weird brass trays."

Another key instrument in Cray's toolkit is the television, or rather, televisions, several of which crowd his work space. "It's good for lighting in the room," he reveals. "There's nothing better than fiddling around, watching an old movie; they write their own songs."

A famous flop provided the inspiration for Foul Berth. "On all of the tapes I make, I put these little sound clips and segues," says Cray. "On this one, they were all from 'Ishtar.' It's about two idiot songwriters; they write the worst songs in the world. I kind of let the soundbites blend into the music and determine the sequence of the songs. I let 'Ishtar' tell me what to do."

Eager to put a new band together, but as yet unable to find the right players, Cray makes do with home-taping, infrequent acoustic gigs and an odd job.

"I work in a glue factory," says Cray with some pride. "I cook, basically, mixing different chemicals, but I tell everybody that I hit the horse in the head as it comes down the conveyor belt."

Lyrics

Happy Hour

Written By: Dan Cray

Though I hung my squandered promise
on the bedpost by your head,
Whispered low, "I think I'm dying."
"Does it hurt?" was all you said.
And when I finally felt less damaged,
buying quintessential rounds,
You'd gone fishing for psychosis,
you were nowhere to be found.
You cook it up, and I toss it back,
I start to choke, you start to laugh,
But I don't know,
It doesn't go away.
You'll say I brought it up, but I think you took it wrong,
And it's happy hour all goddamn weekend long.
If I've ever tasted faith, it rang more sour for your kiss.
And though I've never been betrayed,
I'm sure it stings a bit like this.
You were the first lust that I've trusted,
You'll be the last love I endure,
You'll call it space, I call it war.
You said, "There's a time for talk, there's a time for sleep,
and goddamn it,
you look tired."

Dead Letter

Written By: Dan Cray

If I were young,
I'd leave here in the morning.
You'd never know I went.
You'd never know I kept on going.
If I were older,
I guess I wouldn't mind
giving up,
giving in,
getting older.
But lately the calendar seems to be pissed off at me,
It's counting off all of my dreams,
screaming see you later sucker,
I'll write when I feel better.
I'll scribble off another dead letter.
If I were younger,
I never would've stepped into the promises I've kept,
I would've seen them coming.
When I got older,
I'd wrap you in regret
and curse the day I let your perfect smile slide by me.
Twenty-hundred minutes of pre-recorded bitchings,
taped ejaculations,
and drunken confessions...
It's a wash.

Jane

Written By: Dan Cray

We hardly ever fight,
It’s damn near wedded bliss,
Since I learned to take a dive,
Since I finally learned to quit.
The drunkard had to go,
He was talking in his sleep.
So I showed him to the door,
Then I poured myself a drink.
And I understand
Everything changes,
But there’s a part of me
that love’s the man I used to be
So eloquently loaded,
Just fucked enough to know it,
All god-damned,
And devoted to the fall.
A Don Quixote with a plan,
A Cyrano with two left hands,
A drunken Enderby
Who’s never where he says he’ll be.
Jane,
Stop this crazy thing.
It’s changing you,
And you’re changing me.

Discography

Beyond Id - The Stovin Years
Little Help (Summer 2004)
The Suburb E.P. (Summer 2003)
Slider Game (Summer 2001)
Terra Cotta's Just Clay (Summer 2000)
How's My Driving? (Spring 1999)
Foul Berth (Summer 1997)
Wetbrain (Winter 1996)
The Salad Days (Summer 1996)
She's All By Myself (Spring 1996)

Set List

Generally an 8 to 10 song set, but we've got a lot of 3 minute songs. If the crowds happy and the club doesn't mind, we'll go till we're asked to stop.