Magic Bullet Theory
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Magic Bullet Theory


Band Alternative Rock


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The best kept secret in music


"Magic Bullet Theory"

By Rod Harmon

Some of the best rock songs are those that realize the value of understatement. Think Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," or Nirvana's "Something in the Way."
Magic Bullet Theory realizes it. The band¹s best work utilizes soft harmonies and swirling keyboards, creating a dreamlike aura that harkens back to late-60s Pink Floyd or mid-80s U2. Then they catch you off-guard with a full frontal assault of screeching guitars and popping bass riffs.
"As much as I love rock and roll and the power of sexuality and all that, I really love dealing with understatement more," says lead vocalist, guitarist and principal lyricist Dustin Buchheister. "I like vintage sounds. I like a guitar and an amp that gives me natural feedback, that gives me a beautiful tone. That does a lot more for me than a power-house rock band does."
The foundation of what would become Magic Bullet Theory began to form in Columbia, Mo., where Buchheister, drummer Mike Eng and keyboardist/ saxophonist Trae Meyr were playing in an alternative pop band called Future Less Vivid. Featuring a female lead vocalist, the sound was more like Lisa Loeb than Radiohead.
That began to change when Meyr relocated to Florida to attend law school at Stetson University in Gulfport and brought Buchheister and Eng with him. Meyr eventually decided his studies needed more attention, so he quit the band.
The remaining duo spent the next year auditioning people to get just the right mix of musicianship and attitude. They finally solidified the lineup last February when Darren Doughty of Hartford, Conn., on lead and rhythm guitar; Billy Tinley of Atlanta on keyboards and acoustic guitar; and Raoul Marchand of France on bass.
The audition process was long and grueling.
"It was way easier to come to the United States than to come into this band," deadpans Marchand.
Probably the best thing about Magic Bullet Theory is that everyone comes from a different school of musical thought. That allows the band to delve into James Brown style funk one moment, Neil Young harmonies the next, and Pearl Jam guitar solos the next.
"We all have our little parts," Buchheister says. "Raoul has an appreciation for classical, funk and jazz. I¹m just in love with rock and roll. Darren is like a catalogue of modern music, a rock encyclopedia. Billy gets a nice approach on piano that sometimes rivals Bruce Hornsby, and Mike is also into the funk and alternative rock vibe. So, we really get a neat blend."

This story was originally published in the Jan. 18 edition of The Bradenton Herald, Bradenton, FL. Copyright 2002 by The Bradenton Herald. Used with permission.
- The Bradenton Herald


Droves of sexually promiscuous, fist-pumping, MTV-scarred twenty-somethings, awash in red and brown, and reminiscent of some hardcore, jacked-off, modern-day “Wall” flick storm the cover of Magic Bullet Theory’s first contribution to the oft reviled and joyously pirated recording industry. Titled “Post Depressionism,” one need not be brainwashed by the cover’s humongous cancer-spewing radio tower to appreciate the subtle intricacies, collective musicianship, and delicious lyrics crafted by five gentlemen operating just inside Tampa Bay’s respected trailer park belt.

Dustin Buchheister, newly adorned in dread locks, the second coming of a “Crazy”-era white Seal, wails effortlessly through eleven standout tracks, letting his voice prowl slickly through lovelorn mornings, summer lust, and prostrate yearning, searching for contact and occasionally bubbling with soft aggression. Through white lies and desperate pangs at the truth, Buchheister’s book of verse springs alive awash in color, a poet’s firefly tongue set eyes-open to the wonders of deep starry nights, and trapped headlong in an emotional circus. All the while, he invites the listener to peer inside his complex world, if only for a while, if only for 50 minutes while he purges the lyrical nectar of his soul, backed by four talented twenty-something musicians who offer structure to his quiet introspection and self-indulgent musings.

Literate fans should bother themselves to read the enclosed lyrics. They’re absolutely brilliant, full of unclichéd openness, and at times reminiscent of old Tom Waits, back when he was a whiskey slugging, piano bar hopping, genius piece of trash. In the same vein, one may detect reflections of Greg Dulli, poison pen frontman of the now defunct, but always amazing Afghan Whigs, forever distracted by his libido, and taunted by insistent demons and a deep, inaccessible need for unadulterated affection, or at least to be noticed for a while. Yet unlike Waits and Dulli, there exists a recurrent hopefulness within Buchheister’s mood swings; a pensive, unafraid inclination to belt out watery paeans to love, and a willingness to expose, or overexpose, the longing, desperate, self-loathing realistic liar within.

Although inspired by the beautifully grating melody and flanged guitar of Smashing Pumpkins, and the feel good fuck-your-friend’s-sister pop-punk of Blink 182 to name a few, Radiohead is the one invariable influence throughout the album. Buchheister is Thom Yorke after eating an extra bowl of Wheaties and banging down a gallon of Creotine. The hand wrenching nasal lament matches Yorke’s to a tee, yet the music shies smartly away from cacophonous ambient experimentation in favor of guitar drenched, accessible alternative rock, all underscored by the ebbing current of Billy Tinley’s discriminating keyboards, adding subtle expression without sounding like a pompous, overblown 1980’s Human League train wreck. The emotional outpourings and unabashed intimacy shine brightest on tracks like “Sweet Irene” and “Worry About Me,” while “Halfway To L.A.” is a full throttle assault and consummate insight into the capabilities of this band. There is no masking this rough talent through the blurriness of “repeated listening.” On the contrary, MBT manage to draw the listener into their aural soundscape with an almost immediate accuracy, the aptly tagged magic bullet, excusing the pun.

Ex-hairbander and egotistical maniac Darren Doughty, though displaced in an alternative outfit, manages to profit nicely off his extensive macho posturing and axe-man background. He’d grow a mullet and don his high school pair of Ray Ban Aviators if it were the slightest bit acceptable, yet seems content to wear a proper set of royal family mutton chops while splitting guitar duties with band frontman Buchheister. Likewise, Tom Lessieur’s pulsating bass is a funked-up, reliable tool which breathes a throbbing, almost sexual, undercurrent to the tracks. Lessieur compliments without ever outstripping his fellow band mates, and at very least could afford a woman multiple orgasms should she have the propensity to straddle her floor speaker.

I can only hope MBT rise to the challenge of show shopping instrument destruction during their encores (now that Pete Townshend is busy with child porn research), ripping into the soft flesh of their unfettered adolescent fan base. But should the band get jacked for their sophomore release, chests oiled and donning matching leather eight-ball jackets like an American Idol confederation of bleached-teeth smirking jackasses, I’ll cash in my chips and move on. If not, I’m sold, hoping to see these gentlemen bound for the discomfiting world of oppressive record contracts, sleepless touring schedules, and cocaine-ugly truck stop groupies; lock, stock, and fucking barreling down that road.

Michael DiMarco
New York City
Jan 2004
- NYC/Eye


Post-Depressionism (Independent Records, 2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Since its birth in 2001, Tampa-based Magic Bullet Theory has grown to become one of Florida's top regional bands. Having shared the stage with national acts such as Better Than Ezra, Audiovent, South FM and Spin Doctors, the band is poised to broaden its sphere of influence in the coming years.

For its debut album, Magic Bullet Theory offers a recorded document of more than two years of songwriting and live performances. Engineered and mixed at the band's own Western Ear Studios, "Post-Depressionism" has garnered comparisons to bands such as Radiohead, Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins.

Drawing from alternative rock of the early 1990s coupled with another decade of music innovation, "Post-Depressionism" represents the band members' wide influences and diverse tastes, swirling them into a driving, timeless rock album.