The Due Diligence
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The Due Diligence

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock

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"Cigarettes & Cynicism Will Only Get You So Far"

Isaac Gillespie may be an evil mastermind. He looks sweet and unassuming, but I think it’s just a clever guise. You see, I listened to the title track from his forthcoming album with the Due Diligence, I Will Wreck Your Life, for the first time on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, I was walking around my apartment, singing the chorus… over and over again. I try to avoid direct comparisons between bands and songs, but “I Will Wreck Your Life” compares favorably to the Felice Brothers’ instant classic “Frankie’s Gun!” in that it is a shambling good time that makes you want to sing along, loudly, about terrible things.
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/track=2779349700/size=grande/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=eb8d0f/
Also featuring players Alex P, Jo Schornikow, Morgan Heringer, Ben Sadock, Colin Fahrner, IWWYL runs the course from twangy (“Antifolk Song”) to slinky (“Uncle Stephen”) and is a delight all-around with lyrics that can be simultaneously sweet and cynical. Here’s the catch: To give this album a physical release, Due Diligence need some help. They have a Kickstarter program to raise money for a vinyl pressing of IWWYL that is now in its final days. They have a modest amount to go to reach their goal (Kickstarter is an all or nothing prospect), and Gillespie has some clever rewards for backers, especially in the higher dollar amounts (if I didn’t need a Kickstarter for my own life, I’d be aiming at the $300 level so I could hear Gillespie cover the Afghan Whigs’ Black Love), and you could be the one to make it all happen. - Now This Sound Is Brave


"Cigarettes & Cynicism Will Only Get You So Far"

Isaac Gillespie may be an evil mastermind. He looks sweet and unassuming, but I think it’s just a clever guise. You see, I listened to the title track from his forthcoming album with the Due Diligence, I Will Wreck Your Life, for the first time on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, I was walking around my apartment, singing the chorus… over and over again. I try to avoid direct comparisons between bands and songs, but “I Will Wreck Your Life” compares favorably to the Felice Brothers’ instant classic “Frankie’s Gun!” in that it is a shambling good time that makes you want to sing along, loudly, about terrible things.
http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer.swf/track=2779349700/size=grande/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=eb8d0f/
Also featuring players Alex P, Jo Schornikow, Morgan Heringer, Ben Sadock, Colin Fahrner, IWWYL runs the course from twangy (“Antifolk Song”) to slinky (“Uncle Stephen”) and is a delight all-around with lyrics that can be simultaneously sweet and cynical. Here’s the catch: To give this album a physical release, Due Diligence need some help. They have a Kickstarter program to raise money for a vinyl pressing of IWWYL that is now in its final days. They have a modest amount to go to reach their goal (Kickstarter is an all or nothing prospect), and Gillespie has some clever rewards for backers, especially in the higher dollar amounts (if I didn’t need a Kickstarter for my own life, I’d be aiming at the $300 level so I could hear Gillespie cover the Afghan Whigs’ Black Love), and you could be the one to make it all happen. - Now This Sound Is Brave


"Due Diligence on New Music Collaborative"

was hooked at first listen by this song, especially it's lyrics "I will wreck your life, but a little more slowly/not like heroin but much more like booze." I like the precision of that statement and then I was very much taken with the rest of the song as it ambles down a rocky americana path of destruction. I keep singing "I will wreck your life" over and over, I can't make it stop. Due Diligence accomplished their kickstarter goal and will be pressing vinyl in the near future which is exciting since I currently see no way to purchase their music yet. They're also on a tour and headed south from Philadelphia at the moment, see if they're playing near you. - New Music Collaborative


"'I Will Wreck Your Life' on Friends With Both Arms"

I Will Wreck Your Life is an interesting album name, one in which I would’ve appreciated as a post-script to boyfriends passed. Example, hey, my name is *** I Will Wreck Your Life. See how convenient that would be? I also wish, in said backwards world, that people were as attractive as their character (my friends would all still be total babes, especially Ms. Andrea Dyer). Anyway, the band’s name is Due Diligence and they play with a “rotating cast with members drawing from bands as diverse as Body Language, Big Tree, the Relatives and of course the Shivers” The Shivers, as mentioned were one of my favorites from this year, so of course I was pleased with this project. With the fronting of Isaac Gillespie and his beautiful beard, the band plays this sort of jazz-infused, hearty classic rock & roll and a little bit country and folk. The songs for the full length are all break up songs, mostly played as hopeful empathy, rather than absolute misery. There’s still the lingering happiness or freedom that you can hear, despite the sad lyrics, “tell me you love me”. Check out their two new tracks below: - Friends With Both Arms


"Live Review: The Due Diligence at Now That's Class in Cleveland"

Regular readers know I've been enjoying the music of the Due Diligence (i.e. Isaac Gillespie) for a while now, so I was excited for the opportunity to see the New York-based artist live. Gillespie set the tone by kicking off with a ragged tribute to Sly and the Family Stone in the form of a cover of "Family Affair". Going from a quiet figure (with an impressive beard) to a stomping, howling demon in seconds, Gillespie seems to be less playing and singing the songs than he is pulling them out of his chest, strand by gut-drenched strand.

While the touring version of the Due Diligence is much stripped-down from the album line-up, the song arrangements lend themselves easily to a simple guitar-and-drums set-up, especially when amped up by Gillespie's flip-a-switch energy. Including originals like "I Will Wreck Your Life" and "Uncle Stephen" and covers like the aforementioned "Family Affair" and Steve Miller's "Keep On Rockin' Me, Baby", the Due Diligence set covered extremes from slow and sultry to a screaming wall of sound. - NoDepression.com


"How Diligence Pays Off"

Isaac Gillespie is an interesting man. His wry humor and knack for melody often produce sincere, obtuse songs one can only classify as antifolk. The New York Citydweller recently put together a dream team of young musicians to create The Due Diligence, and orchestrated I Will Wreck Your Life, one of the most pleasurable albums of the spring. Soon after the album was released, Isaac chatted about his musical starts on a boat with one of the Dead and how he met his favorite musical contemporaries.



What have you been up to?

All spring we had a series of incredible shows and then the album release at the end of March. Basically, the whole spring was one crazy sprint towards releasing this album. Every show got better, and they were all at these venues like Death By Audio and Cake Shop. Ever since then… to be honest, getting the next one together (laughs).

As The Due Diligence?

That’s an interesting question… I haven’t told anyone, including the people in the band, but I’m kind of considering renaming the band, just because The Due Diligence of the record I Will Wreck Your Life is such a sprawling affair, almost a collective. I guess since the beginning of 2011, we’ve been doing this trio thing, myself, Alex [P], and Charles [Goold], like a classic 60’s power trio. It is the most fun ever, us rocking really loud. It feels different from I Will Wreck Your Life; it’s much more streamlined.



How long have you known all the players?

I was up in Boston, staying at this kind of commune, where it’s affiliated with Harvard. It’s where the Magnetic Fields first lived and practiced. I’m trying to play music and I couldn’t find the group of people I was looking for. I said, “Fuck it. I’m going to New York. Music isn’t working; I’m going to try film.” I don’t know why I went to Boston to do music, but I went to New York to do film. I landed at a great, nonfiction production company. I worked in TV! I was at the company for two years. I did development, coming up with the next TV show, and I produced a few episodes of A&E Biography, Justin Timberlake and N’Sync.

I came up with an idea to do a travel show hosted by Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead. He was going to go around in this bus, using his experience traveling back and forth across the country; he could clue you in on the greasy spoon, the whacky corners of the continent. We pitched it and he got really excited. He came out to New York for a pitch video.

I wasn’t really playing music at this time, a little bit for myself. But of course, Mickey Hart’s in town. We shot this thing and the last day, we’re on this boat in the Hudson River and I brought my guitar and some drums. I start playing. He starts playing. We’re jamming together. It’s really fun.

The Latin clave, it’s the central rhythm to Latin music. People know it as the Bo Diddly Beat. Mickey’s playing this on the bongos. I start playing these different Grateful Dead songs, but to the Latin clave. He’s getting a kick. Some Grateful Dead are already in it, like “Not Fade Away”, but then he starts throwing curve balls. “Do ‘Box of Rain’,” songs that don’t easily lend themselves to this rhythm. I’m like, OK, going trough the whole catalogue.

He says, “Keep playing,” and pulls out his phone. He dials; it goes to voicemail, and he goes, “Hey, Bob, I found a kid that can play all The Grateful Dead songs in the Latin clave!” He calls up Bob Weir. In the course of that, off the cuff, he says, “Hey, man, that’s diligence.”

It sounds hippie, but I learned about life from Mickey Hart. He’s an aesthetic. He sees colors when he hears music. He sees all things as rhythm. The central fallacy of modern life is we think we exist as static creatures, an image, but really, everything is moving forward, changing with time. If you can get in time with somebody, that’s the only time you have real communication.

The other thing is that one of my best friends from college unexpectedly drowned. It was a wake up call. One of the last times I’d seen him we went to a rock festival and we were camping, a jam session broke out. One of the last times I talked to him I was telling him I don’t know if I want to keep working in TV. I knew I wasn’t totally fulfilled. He said, “Look, man. I’m not a musician, and I don’t know what it was, but I know that night you were jamming, was something. You don’t have to play music, but it was something.”



I had just moved into the West Village with an older therapist and an art professor. My friend asked me to play bass with him, a cheesy 80s cover band. He wanted to go to the Sidewalk Café open mic and me to play bass. The first time I walked in there, it was like, “This is what I’ve been looking for!” It was coming home for the first time.

Open mic is the jumping off point for a lot of people, The Moldy Peaches, Regina Spector, Jeff Buckley, Beck. It opened up my conception of what a song can be. The open mic, it starts at 7:30 and goes until three in the morning. If you stay for the whole thing you’re guaranteed to fall in love at least twice. Not everything is great, but almost everything is authentic.

That’s where I met everyone on the record. I got hooked on the Sidewalk Café antifolk scene. I met The Shivers, Keith and Jo, the first time I went; they rocked my world. We became fast friends. When it came time to do this record, I knew I couldn’t do it without Jo.

I met Alex P at the Sidewalk a week before my first show. Music lovers, when they meet each other, do this one-upmanship thing. “I know you love this, but do you know this?” You’re trying to establish who’s deeper into the music. “Don’t worry about it; I’ll tell you the good records.” I remember we’d go back and forth, record for record, the response was, “Yeah, I know that record,” and we eventually gave up (Laughs).

You did Kickstarter to have the album put out on LP.

The process of putting out a record made me realize how used to convenience I am. Digital files, that’s what I grew up with, there’s no constraints. We recorded to analog. Well, it was a mix. We did some overdubs digitally. Everything went into ProTools and then out again through analog compressors and sometimes we’d even send a vocal track through a guitar amp, back into the computer. We mastered analog too. I feel like that’s my favorite thing about music today: the integration of technology with old ways of doing things.



We started recording with Alex and then we brought it over to Space and Sound. We also recorded with the Brooklyn Tea Party, and the title track was done at 6611 Studios. Even now, if you talk to Tom [Tierney] about this record, they joke about how technically it was the worst: everything I brought them was a different bit rate and recorded in a different way, but I was like, “Oh, fix it in post.” When I brought it to be mastered they said they didn’t know if they could make it sound the same. I said I don’t want it to. I wanted it to sound like a patchwork quilt. The idea was to get everything that I experienced into this record, cram everybody that I met and everything that interests me, into 10 songs. I wanted to play music tag, and everyone to be It. I’m proud of having written these songs, but what’s fun for me is to showcase the phenomenal people I know.

It drives me crazy that Lady Gaga is a thing. The only good thing anyone has to say about her is she’s good at promoting herself. So what? The New York Times says, “She’s the pop star we need for the moment.” I’m like, “Why do we need a pop star?” I guess some people like her music, but most people that I talk to don’t. They say, “Well, you have to respect her.” I’m like, “No, you don’t have to respect her. You don’t even have to think about her.”

I feel about Lady Gaga the same way I feel about Sarah Palin. I’m resentful of the bandwidth they take up in my brain. I’m upset they’ve take hold of it. I’m upset we’re talking about it right now.



Do the songs you play off of I Will Wreck Your Life go through evolutions?

For the most part, we don’t play those songs. We play “Uncle Stephen”, “I Will Wreck Your Life”, and sometimes “Crucifixion”. I’d say each has transformed. One thing we did with “Uncle Stephen”, early on, was tack on an instrumental coda. We launch into jamming.

The stage show’s gotten pretty intense. Around 4th of July last year I went to this punk rock party in Bushwick, and had my mind flipped around. I saw some really loud bands with just a few members that was so much fun. That was about the time I played the Cake Shop, and I played solo, acoustic. I got a good response in the people in the first three rows, that could hear me, but beyond that, I don’t know if people knew there was music going on (laughs).

I gotta to say, playing with these guys is great. We played at Death By Audio recently, and I have an electric guitar that I love, but I break strings a lot, so I decided I’d buy another guitar on Craigslist, so if I broke strings I could switch off. I bought this guitar for $50 and it was the biggest piece of shit. It went out of tune. The jack didn’t work. So we’re playing at Death by Audio and the guitar kept fucking up, so I went nuts and smashed it. The cool thing was Alex and Charles did not miss a beat. - Angelica Music


Discography

2011 - I Will Wreck Your Life

Photos

Bio

The Due Diligence is the brainchild of antifolk songwriter Isaac Gillespie. The name comes from a jam session he once had with Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart while on a boat in the Hudson River. As the jam progressed, Hart suddenly challenged Gillespie to play every Grateful Dead song to a Bo Diddley beat. Gillespie complied and Hart was so impressed that he called Dead-bandmate Bob Weir to leave a voicemail recording of the session. "Hey, that's Diligence!" Hart remarked off-handedly and Gillespie was re-christened Isaac Diligence, destined to spread the gospel of rootsy songs set over funky rhythms.

The first incarnation of the Due Diligence appeared in summer of 2009, drawing members from established New York groups such as the Shivers, Big Tree and Relatives. Over the next two years, the group slowly worked on their full-length debut LP. The result is "I Will Wreck Your Life"; ten rollicking country/soul hits about breaking up and getting yourself together. Inspired by the Band, Neil Young and Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, the Due Diligence captures a powerful charging sound that somehow pushes forward while also settling back into a relaxed groove.

By the beginning of 2011, the band had settled into the regular trio of Isaac Diligence playing guitar and singing, Charles Wiley on the drums and Alex P on the bass. They have played all over New York and the East Coast, sharing bills with acts such as the David Wax Museum, Shilpa Ray and Franz Nicolay.