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The best kept secret in music


"OFM does not equal Old Fart Music"

If you were at the 12th & Porter show last Friday night, you would know that OFM does not equal, nor is it equidistant from or related to, old fart music. Though the boys refuse to say exactly what the acronym means ("We prefer to leave that up to the people, children, and robots that comprise our listening audience"), a more appropriate guess might be Of Five Members. Gavin Elder fronts the band with a smile that concomitantly mocks itself and misleadingly assures you that everything will be just fine. K. Adventure Boggs is surely the human pinball instructor, bounding and swerving around the stage, sometimes injuring the other members with his headstock. Dr. Uncle has the best dance moves of the group, all the while striking, strumming, and straddling his guitar to obtain, dare I say, Hendrix-eqsue tones. Hidden behind a stack of keyboards is Mark Ultra, a man not to be underestimated in his distain of all things comprised of black and white keys. Lastly and beastly, Eddie Manoeuvre growls, slinks, and bashes his left-handed drum kit until you can see the skins cry submission and smell the brutal aftermath of the battle between wood and cymbal.

I overheard a young hipster couple discussing the possible compartmentalization of the songs wrested forth from the minds and bodies of these five miscreants as "Zappa meets Devo", and I felt that that was as good a description as any. From the speechless opening of 'Hum' and its vampiric imagery, to the paranoid hooks of 'Another Body' to the final apocadelic cacophony of 'Grean Devil', the boys treated their audience to three-part harmonies, swirling keyboards, roaring cyclical math-like guitar structures, and insistant rhythms for 40 minutes. And I think it only ended because the frog-visaged shaker that Elder abused during the final number shattered into bits at the climax, sending nuggets of stone and clay spraying through the air. No, OFM must not mean "Our Frothy Mamas", but perhaps "One Fucked-up Maraca." - All The Rage

"OFM 9 inch?!?"

Another Body b/w If Only You Weren't Human

I don't know the men behind the foolish pen names in OFM, nor do I know why they chose to do a limited run of 18 copies of their new single, but I can tell you that I am addicted to the two teaser songs included in this odd release. The single, release on the band's own DUIY Records, is an unorthodox size, measuring 9 inches, and the two songs appear on the first side only. The second side is blank, with the encouragement on the b-side label for the listener to "Cut your own favorite music here!" Adorned with a six-legged winged unicorn, the double a-side (so to speak) has more hooks that a tackle box, more dueling guitars than I'm comfortable with, and more rock than hudson. Check eBay for a copy of this soon-to-be-priceless release. - Pitchfork

"Rock and/or Roll"

This tour de force CD by local music innovator Gavin Elder is a gem of the most brilliant hue. Gavin is a living breathing performance artist and his clarity and genius shine in this eclectic collection of tunes. Influences range from the Beatles to Elvis Costello to Frank Zappa to old fashioned ragtime. Did ya get all that? Can ya cram all that into your little brain?? Well, sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride...

It is said that most people never have a peak experience in their lives because they are too busy living in the past of waiting for a future event. Remember what John Lennon said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making plans"? Gavin Elder knows peak experiences. He is consistently present and this CD reflects a clear and present artistic vision of the here and now.

This lovely nine tune montage was recorded in Music City in the fall of 2004. Gavin took up his backpack and headed off to record his nine little offspring with producer Ken Coomer and engineer Charlie Brocco. (You may be aware that Ken worked with Wilco, Uncle Tupelo.) While the CD was recorded in only 11 days, the three artists had enormous fun and frolic playing with guitars and keyboards. Gavin took charge of all instrumentation excepting for drums by Ken, and horns and clarinet by Sonic Fedora and Jime Hoke respectively.

As I mentioned, this CD incorporates an incredible number of musical genres as well as infusing each with a fresh modern approach. One of my personal favorites is "Holes", an Elvis Costello-ish piece with a syncopated rhythm and a smooth feel. The real treat of this tune is the intelligent and provocative lyrics with a nice little pun/twist on the hole/whole. The lyrics "...these are parts of a whole / these are windows captured on rolls / of celluloid / it's not so easy, boy / to be full of holes..." create a haunting surrealistic landscapea Dali painting come to life. Just as quickly, the audio landscape slips and strips away...easily just a fading memory.

Several tunes later, it is the Roaring 20's, flappers are dancing in a sleazy sexual frenzy to "The War of Alice Ann." The beat of this little ragtime ditty, complete with clarinet and swing beat, belies the gritty and dark lyrics: "...it's the story of Alice Ann / and how she met her grisly end / ashes and dust have taken up residency..." Alice, her hands nicotine-stained and grimy, gyrates to her decadent inner death.

The backdrop rises and fallsnext up, the marijuana-infused Pink Floyd-ish "Dr. Gerald E. Bunker." Acid dropping ghosts in the machine appear in this freakish scenario which is just on the other side of sanity. Madness abounds in this tale of the dark side. "Last night in Calais I met the doctor / with powdered bulbs / for healing wounds / must have been a strong concoction / what once were legs replaced by snakes..." Down the hole, Alice.

Gavin's eclectic schedule includes up-coming Nashville and New Orleans gigs. He also plays in about 50 bands so be sure to place yourself in Gavin's atmosphere and get your brain twisted. See ya there!

-Kat Dickenson - Music Monthly

"BreakThru Radio Artist of the Week"

Behold the Leader of the Undie Rock Revolution!

Surprisingly, he's from Baltimore, Maryland.

His real name is Gavin Elder, yet the meaning behind the rather grandiose title bestowed upon him is not what you may think.

"Undie Rock equals undependent, which we most certainly are," says Elder. "We're gonna do what we're gonna do, regardless of who is listening to it or funding it."

"Oh, that and we sometimes play in our underoos."

If we go beneath those 'underoos,' we discover that Gavin Elders fixation with complex and imaginative lyrics began developing at a very young age. "The first song I remember hearing is the Bee Gees 'Stayin Alive.' I had a cheap record player that had a crappy built-in speaker that ran 45s at about 65rpms, so through the shortcomings of eighties Chinese technology I thought the words of the chorus were Speed-a-lash. It was a major disappointment to discover the true lyrics, and I vowed to never write a song that made any rational sense."

This is an affirmation Elder has most certainly held onto. Throughout the randomness of his songs one common thread can be found; the words evoke a somewhat strange and vivid imagery. An example of this can be found in the opening line of his track entitled, 'My Big Head when Elder belts out in a deep and soothing voice, "I thought so much I stretched my brain, now we can all take cover in the pouring rain, under my big head." The lyrics conjure up an almost Salvador Dali-type image in ones brain.

That track is just one of the 9 illustrative songs on Elder's album Rock and/or Roll, a title he and his bandmates stumbled upon and immediately realized was a perfect fit.

"Being humans with senses of humor, we all love the Simpsons and would philosophize, pontificate, and quote it every moment of every day, says Elder. We were also passively searching for words to describe the sound of the recording. Along came the Rev. Lovejoys line Wait a minute, this sounds like rock and/or roll! We knew we had to go with it, risking litigation from the shifty Simpsons lawyers. I probably shouldn't mention how the writers stole an episode from a friend of mine," Elder jokes.

With his sense of humor and playful nature it would seem that recording an album with Elder could be a lot of fun. And that may have been the case, but with a hectic schedule, recording Rock and/or Roll was also a lot of work. "I made the record in 11 days and had a gruelingly wonderful time doing it," says Elder. Of course most wouldn't mind being locked in a studio with the likes of Ken Coomer, famed drummer of the indie rock band Wilco. Coomer produced Elder's album at a very quick pace, along with producer Charlie Brocco. "We had very long days because my budget was so limited, but we basically did a song per day," says Elder. "We would start out in the morning with a click track, then I would record scratch guitar and vocal tracks to get the structure of the song down. Then we would spend the rest of the day adding things until it became a song," Elder explains.

The production skills of Coomer and Brocco are indeed valiant contributors to the synergy of the album, but Elder himself supplies the textured, rich sound that is its driving force. On the album Elder supplies not only his voice, but also the guitar, bass, keyboards, organs, synthesizers, pianos, samplers, and maracas, just to name a few.

It would be rather tough for Gavin Elder to play all of these instruments simultaneously on tour. However if there was anyone that could pull it off, it would have to be him.

Easing Elders one-man-band blues on tour is K. Adventure Boggs on bass, Dr. Uncle on guitar and trumpet, Mark Ultra on keyboards and Eddie Manoeuvre on drums. However, Elder does not run the group like a dictatorship, as much as he may like to. "Despite my natural proclivities to be a control freak, I try to give them free reign to throw out ideas and interpret their parts in their own styles. They have definitely helped arrange the newest songs that I've brought to the table," Elder explains.

Indeed there are new songs in the works, but no plans for a full-length album just yet. "We are playing a show in Nashville on July 28th at the 12th and Porter, and we plan on staying in town for a couple days to cut two new songs with the band," says Elder. "Probably 'Another Body' and 'If Only You Weren't Human.' So, the first Gavin Elder and OFM 45 will be out later this year, and I can only hope that some kid misinterprets the lyrics on a crummy little record player."

Check out Gavin Elder's tunes right here on BTR.

- Emily Smith

http://www.breakthruradio.com - BreakThruRadio.com


Rock and/or Roll LP (2005)
OFM DVD (2007)

Subject 99 has been played on FM locales such as 98 Rock, 89.7 WTMD, 103.1 WRNR, 88.1 WMUC, and internet radio and podcasts such as Insomnia Radio, Breakthru Radio, and Schwagcast.


Feeling a bit camera shy


From the Collected Musings of Dr. Neil Algebra, IV (benefactor and manager of OFM)

Born in 1912, I have witnessed times immemorable the sounds of yestreen's popular musics giving pass to the adventurous tones of the subsequent age. It is armed with this wisdom that I tread as prepared as any man can be into the realm of sonance made five-dimensional by the cluster that calls itself simply OFM. I admit to having been a bit embarrassed for their preposterousness in applying a moniker as ambiguous as to suggest nothing of their style or affiliation (to mention naught of the inelegance and boorishness of an acronym), but the true slack-jawed sense of awe came when I met the lads who comprise the quintet.

The most instantly disdaining of the lot is K. Adventure Boggs who, much like an 8-year-old child, immediately jumps in the face of any who take an interest in his band and turns around every attempt at conversation in a deliberate move to confound the questioner. This is all accomplished with the assistance of mischievous, Pan-like cackling and rapid body checking.

The next up to greet my arrival was Mark Ultra, who seemed very relaxed in his own skin. Too relaxed, perhaps. He seemed to melt before my very eyes into the spagetti-like mound of cables that he had strewn at his feet. But with a echoing POP that blew through a few layers of tympanic membrane, his visage appeared before me once again, cursing either his musical equipment or someone named Terry Minn.

What appeared to me to be a drunken, dread-locked boy crashed through the room and, upon spying me, got approximately one inch away from my face and pronounced many admonitions should I try to defraud the group, or possibly try to tarnish their pride and reputation. The rest of the boys assured Dr. Uncle that my intentions were noble and to fetch me a local-variety oat soda from the cold box. He never did reappear.

Eddie Manoeuver was the one that everyone had warned me about, but he turned out to be the nicest of the bunch. When Dr. Uncle failed to return with my beverage, Mr. Manoeuver split his drink with me, though he exhibited some puzzling behavior when he tipped his can beyond the azimuth and pronounced to no one "..and one for my honkies."

After a rousing discussion of Libertarianism, the New Colonial Age, and post-pre-modern popular musics, I departed. I never did have a chance to meet Gavin Elder that day, who seems to be the only member of the assembly that does not utilize a pseudonym. The others silently regard this with a mixture of contempt and disdain, and though none is compelled to elaborate, Mr. Boggs mentions in passing that Mr. Elder does have several personalities for different time zones and different outfits, ranging from a green devil to a doctor of some sort. I did finally meet Mr. Elder after a blistering, virile performance at the Royal Albert Hall. He seemed more like Mr. Elder than the others, and I should like to leave it at that.

Lest you think my interest in the band is purely monetary and ego-gratifying in nature, I do assure you that I have come to adore each of the boys for what they truly are: dirty, hungry, tired, self-centered rock and rollers that are clamoring to suckle the teat of any gentleman representing a recording industry corporation. And in spite of this seemingly insurmountable handicap, they make the most discordant, phylum-bending, and toe-tapping songs that I've heard in almost a century.