Uppertiers
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Uppertiers

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First thing’s first: Uppertiers do not make CDs. “I’ve contributed to 15% of the world’s pollution with the amount of plastic cases and tossed wrappers I’ve [accumulated] over musical purchases,” says singer Joe Sidney, “I’m not gonna let you fuckers contribute to that. All you have to do now is take up space on your hard drive. And that’s like, theoretical space.” For now, the tracks reside on the interweb, though its clear that vinyl does not classify as a general waste concern: the band members are hopeful that records should be available for purchase in the coming months.


Uppertiers was formed in NY in 2007 by Sidney as a project for new songs and new recording gear. The latter consisted of a digital recorder [manual: tossed], 12 dumpster guitars [eBay], and a million AA batteries [pollution: not yet a concern]. With drummer Mike Ingber under his wing, Sidney recorded throughout Manhattan, Queens and Long Island. 60 hours later, “The Favourite Game” was born: an EP jokingly referred to by band members as a “thirty-fourth time listen” due to its deliberate lo-fi alienation as well as dynamic story threads made increasingly audible after repeated listens.


Throughout the rest of 2007 and into the new year, Uppertiers sped through various line-up changes coming out in relatively stable condition. Over the spring of 2008, Sidney recorded Uppertiers’ second EP with contributions from Uppertier-mainstay, guitarist Garrett Wakefield.


As tracks for the EP were sent to Austin, TX to be mixed and mastered by Ingber, Garrett’s brother Sean (bass) returned home from a tour with his own band and decided it was time for a change of pace. Sean had worked with Sidney on side projects in both 2005 and 2007. The conclusion was to join up and get the ball rolling.


“I came off tour,” Sean recalls, “and [Garrett] convinced me to join in the band right out of bed in his underwear.”


Sidney ellaborates on the connection by adding, "This power of the brother, like the Isleys or Wilsons, [is] just like some X-factor in their genes. They should've been playing together for years. But the timing is right now, the planets aligned for them to play together at this juncture. I've been to their Easter...Thanksgiving, it's like I get to play with this surrogate family whose folks feeds me with the rest of them at dinner. A band should be like family [so] they've already helped that idea out by being related."


On their second EP, “A Kind of Excellent Dumb Discourse”, Uppertiers continue a thread-like flow tearing through new wave and post-punk revivals currently on the mainstream and indie radars. “We get comparisons to some of these revival bands but it’s only 'cause we both listen to the same old records. I don’t listen to the contemporary hacks. I’m not fucking concerned with [these] people.”

No room for a breather either. Uppertiers are back to work on their 3rd EP: "Tiger Papers", hoping to see a late 2008 release. "When the mixtape thing in New York started to get frequent like comic books, it just inspired us to up the ante, like these MCs are going in and creating all the fucking time. Why can't the rockers?"


The live line-up is fleshed out by Ryan Leone on drums, and Uppertiers are beginning to make the rounds, humorously, in a similar fashion to Black Flag. “It’s actually the stagnant, boxed in, cookie cutter conformity of this punk and independent community that we’re up against. Not Disco, not Regan. It’s our own so-called people this time around. We take pride in you not feeling this. You don’t get it. Good. It’s not for everyone,” Sidney states. “I mean, we practice constantly and we do it hard and we do it 100%. If that’s your Black Flag metaphor, then so be it. But I see a Black Flag analogy like, we’re up against watered down bullshit, and we’re gonna walk through your crap puddles and do our thing no matter what.” - 410 Magazine


Concert for Katrina Relief at Levels

The images of Hurricane Katrina's destructive rampage have touched and horrified us all. Great Neck musician Joe Sidney decided to turn his grief into action. "Everyone should step up to the plate," said Sidney, who does just that on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m., when his Concert for Katrina Relief plays Levels in the Great Neck Library.

Great Neck musician Joe Sidney presents his Concert for Katrina Relief, Saturday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at Levels in the Great Neck Library.

"I really wanted it to be like a local telethon," the 21-year-old Sidney added, "different age ranges, different styles of music, just a variety of town talent who'd come out and do what they do out of the kindness of their hearts."

Sidney has been performing at Levels since he was in ninth grade, in music concerts, theater and television productions, and is grateful to the library's cultural center for the opportunity. "It's a testament to Levels' good will toward the community to help us in such a short amount of time," he said, "and it's the logical place to do this concert, too."

The evening will feature an assortment of musical styles, from jazz, to R&B, to standards, pop and some special surprises. Area singers and musicians on the bill include Nikki Blonsky, Jessica Fishenfeld, David Levinson, Ava Szilagi, Kris Bauman, and Sidney himself. Most importantly, concert-goers will be able to make voluntary monetary contributions to the American Red Cross. These contributions will help Red Cross workers to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Sidney invites all ages to his show, "just a general crowd of people with open ears," and urges everyone to give what they can. "Giving part of your paycheck might make up for the paycheck someone else lost because of the hurricane," he said. "What we're going to raise will help people. Maybe not a whole town, but maybe a whole family."

For more information on the Concert for Katrina Relief or Levels in general, please call Levels at the Great Neck Library at 466-8055 ext. 216. - Anton News


Joe Sidney, indie garage rocker from Long Island says his biggest break is living. He's not waiting on any special record deal or fame. In fact, he's not waiting on anything. NYC is aptly donned with artistic spontaneity, but are all those painfully serious hipsters having as much fun as Joe Sidney and his Uppertiers?


Q: Who are the Uppertiers?

A: Uppertiers came to have the fun they're not having in their own groups. Then they joined.


Q: The title of your first EP is "The Favorite Game" after Leonard Cohen's first novel. What's the book about and how does it speak to you?


A: The book follows a character Breavman and his introduction to sexuality at a young age with a girl from school. I think a line that stayed with me is that you don't
know a woman until you look into her eyes during climax. It was an incredibly intense thing to read. I identified with the book. Aside from being sexually charged, I write for myself the way Cohen did for Breavman: as someone who saw
sensuality as a very respectful, integral and poetic part of life.


Q: Your music stands behind the idea that the happiest musicians reside in the underground, where the truly great art always is.

A:That's why it's great to see bands like Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. reuniting. It's like 'the coast is clear, this place has been ransacked.' We can find each other
all over the place. If the best shit you've ever seen hasn't been free, on a whim or at 2:00 a.m. then you have yet to see the best shit.


Q:Tell me something about your lyrics.

A: I wonder if I ever had anything to say in lyrics in the first place. If I was upset or ecstatic, I like to share that. When I was introduced to William Carlos Williams, a
light went off in my head. This chicken scratch was beautiful art. I'm a firm believer that Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs' 'Wooly Bully' conveys just as much as Aerosmith's "Dream On." I mean, I'd rather take my free time to act like a fool making up ridiculous dances than sway melancholy with a Bic lighter."

Q: Your music is both savvy and crazy. Do you think it will change the world?

Think Globally, Act Locally is a good mantra to stand by but I never want to take over the world by plugging in a guitar. In my mind, I've played gigs to five people all my life, whether there is 100 people or 5. Out of 100 people I'd probably
hate 95 of them anyway. So I play to 5 people. And what comes out of a jerk-off-ism like that is that 5 people are turned upside down with the feeling that they are
100. What a feeling! So I laugh at musicians or artists who ask me about maximum occupancy, their time slots or how much they are making per head. Fuck that. - Unquiet Desperation


Discography

"The Favourite Game" EP 2007
"A Kind of Excellent Dumb Discourse" EP 2008

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Bio

Uppertiers are an indie rock band formed by singer/songwriter Joe Sidney in 2007. He produced "The Favourite Game" in Queens resulting in an EP of lo-fi mastery through eight original songs. "A Kind of Excellent Dumb Discourse" EP followed in the summer of 2008, which found Uppertiers with permanent grounding in Garrett Wakefield (guitar), Joe Sidney (vocals), Ryan Leone (drums) and Sean Wakefield (bass).