Nathaniel Fregoso seems to be person that already experienced a few adventures in his life. Not only on a personal level but also with his band THE BLOOD ARM. After coming up in the mid-00’s with all the other hyped indie-rock bands the group clearly at its ups and downs. But all in all they managed to stay around, reinventing themselves by freeing their sound from any genre limitations. It looks like in 2013 THE BLOOD ARM made their peace with the post-hype life and their latest record Inifnite Nights marks the musical proof. With the future ahead and well aware of the here and now NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION asked Fregoso to share some of his personal favourite musical moments with us. And there they come, his very own ‘Seven Songs’.
01. THE DOORS – “Roadhouse Blues”
I was at summer camp the first time I heard THE DOORS. The older boys in my group would play them all the time and I would listen to this guy, this young Jim Morrison, long dead, singing about drinking beer in the morning and going to roadhouse bars. The future’s uncertain and the end is always near— it sounded dangerous, dark and highly appealing. In the middle “scat” portion of the song we all swore he said “eat some cum” and we wondered if our Moms heard that too. THE DOORS became an obsession of mine and I sometimes wonder if I would be making music without them.
02. THE BREEDERS – “Cannonball”
I remember hearing about THE BREEDERS from some kids at school. My father listened to a lot of crooners and my mother listened to Top 40, so modern rock bands were something I knew nothing about. I begged my Mom to take me to a Music Plus in the L.A. Valley, so I could buy the cassingle. I got two in fact, Because the Night by 10,000 MANIASCS and Cannonball. I immediately wanted to listen to Cannonball, so my Mom and I ran to the car and listened together. The song starts with distorted vocals, drum clicks and that unforgettable bass line. I thought it was the coolest thing on earth. I turned to my Mom and said so. She clearly hated it. And then she turned to me and yelled “GENERATION GAP!”. That’s when I knew I loved rock music.
03. MODEST MOUSE – “Dramamine”
I used to work at a record store on the Sunset Strip in L.A. and there was one incredibly hot summer when I discovered MODEST MOUSE and listened to This is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About in my car, with the air conditioning blasting, in only the way a young man can listen to an album — non stop. Dramamine was the first song on the record and I had heard nothing like it. The music was messy and jammy, the lyrics were punctuated with yelping screams and all Isaac Brock sung about was cars, motion sickness and alienation. I was in my late teens and I drove everywhere, so it spoke to me.
04. THE MAKE-UP – “Walking On The Dune”
My first serious girlfriend introduced me to Indie Rock in college. She used to make me mix tapes and I would obsessively listen to them. That’s how I heard about THE MAKE-UP. As a frontman, Ian Svenonius was the embodiment of everything I loved. Half Iggy Pop, half James Brown, but within my reach because he was only a ticket purchase away. I saw THE MAKE-UP four times at the Troubadour in L.A. Ian always pulled the Iggy Pop move of walking and crawling on top of audience member’s hands and I would bring a camera to take pictures of my hands holding his. The last time I saw them, I drank a bottle of cough syrup with a friend and vomited before they went on. By the time they played, I thought I was in the 1960s watching the best R&B band in the world. Maybe I was?
05. JONATHAN FIRE EATER – “Give Me Daughters”
I searched everywhere for music, it was a lifeline for me, and I would scour the darkest recesses of record stores to find something new and different. I picked up a used copy of JONATHAN FIRE EATER’s Wolf Songs for Lambs because I loved the band name and album title. Not many people know about them, but they were essentially THE STROKES a few years too early: five young, good looking guys from New York, signed to a major label and greatly hyped. But their record flopped. I thought the singer, Stewart Lupton, had amazing lyrics and Give Me Daughters was an anthem of mine. I wanted to have three daughters when I grew up. I wanted to wear rings and ride a motorcycle. He would sing about Christmastime, Halloween, curtains calling, monkeys and the specificity of it all made sense to me. Stewart Lupton was not afraid to be literate and I admired that. He later left the band and went to school while the other members of the band formed The Walkmen.
06. THE FALL – “An Older Lover, etc.”
When my band first started I wanted to sing like Mark E. Smith. Everything he said sounded cool and his lyrics were angry and weird. I hadn’t been to Manchester yet, so I didn’t realize he was basically talking over some amazing riffs, but I loved the way it sounded. I remember driving to school, listening to An Older Lover, etc. and wanting to take on an older lover, so I could understand what he was talking about. Eventually, I did. Many years later, when THE BLOOD ARM went to New York to play a show at CMJ, we went to see THE FALL. I jumped on stage and gave Mark a kiss.
07. THE STROKES – “New York City Cops”
I downloaded The Modern Age EP on Napster while working as an assistant video editor in Hollywood. The company I was working for was funded by Universal Music and they were making a documentary series on how to break into the music business. They interviewed people like will.i.am and Fred Durst. I got in trouble for using Napster at work, but I didn’t care because when I heard THE STROKES and saw that first famous press photo, things changed. They were my age, they wrote about late nights, they were constantly guzzling beer and they didn’t give a fuck. That was the image. THE BLOOD ARM was in its very early stages at this point, but we wanted all of that and it seemed tangible. Later on I entered a contest to see THE STROKES at MTV’s $2 Bill show in L.A. Amazingly, I won. In this clip from the show, you can see Dyan, our keyboardist, and me at the top left around 2:55.