While the high tide of melodic, big reverb, beach-rock bands refuses to recede, it’s spread far enough away from the rough, garage waves from whence it came that sometimes the bands seem to have forgotten the choppy fun. Too many layers of washy guitars, too many echoed-out harmonies, and songs left in the undertow. So Best Behavior’s more straight-up stuff feels fresh.
This Brooklyn band has their debut album, Good Luck Bad Karma, washing up on August 14 via Money Fire. And though leader Alex Gruenburg had himself one of those when it rains it pours kind of years, he’s turned it into an album that does not drown in its sorrows. We asked Gruenberg a few about his recent troubles and triumphs. Check out his responses and the premiere of Buried On A Mountain, below.
So you recorded everything yourself on the album, but who’s the live band now?
Well I first started playing with Chris Jimenez, who plays drums. It was kind of a “blind date” situation set up by a mutual friend. I had previously played with Alex Heigl on bass, in a shitty punk band. We had a reputation for our live show, and he seemed like the perfect fit. We also have Jon Mann playing on guitar. No joke, I texted him at 3 p.m. and he knew the entire album by 7:30. We’ve definitely been playing out a lot this year. Not sure if they give out yearly superlatives, but we’re going for “hardest working band in Brooklyn.” Just in case you’re voting this year. Is Best Behavior the “James Brown of Brooklyn?” I’d like to think so.
Give me some more basic history of Best Behavior?
Last summer, I had a Montel Williams style break-up with my girlfriend, I ended up writing an album’s worth of material in a month. I passed some of the demos around and people started to get excited. I had previously met John Meredith, the guy behind Money Fire Records. He was into the material, and we started recording the 12 songs that would become the album, Good Luck Bad Karma. I got some friends together to play the songs live, and the rest is history. All that said, nothing about our history is “basic.”
Can you tell me a story of when you were not on your best behavior?
Our live shows get pretty wild, man. Sometimes I get a crazy adrenaline rush that is uncontrollable. We recently played at an up-and-coming venue in Bushwick, which will remain unnamed. We play the last chord of the last song of the set, and I was so pumped I punched a hole in the wall. I’m not even sure why I did it. The crowd got me hyped, man. Needless to say, we didn’t get paid that night.
Did an astrologer actually tell you that you have no future as a musician? What did you say to the astrologer when she said that?
“Check, please.” Seriously, I think I remember her trying to sell me some aura-healing jewelry afterwards for my horrible karma. That’s the last time I hang out with an astrologer I met on Twitter.
So did that bit of insight affect you? Do you have dreams where a psychic is chasing you into a regular day job?
At first I was crushed. My parents were into metaphysical stuff while I was growing up, so I’ve always been a believer. That, combined with my crippling anxiety, it was out of control. But honestly, I’d be more scared of a psychic chasing me into an internship. At least at a day job you get paid.