by Joe Fielder w/ photo by Zoe Ruth Erwin
Here's a stream of the group's posthumously-released FREE final album, followed by said commentar -- which we like to think of less of a eulogy and more of a drunken Irish wake in a brawl with a goddamn Viking funeral pyre....
SARAH NEGAHDARI - THE HAPPY HOLLOWS
Death to Anders will always hold the most important place of any local band in my heart. Rob and Nick have been longtime friends, and it was their collaboration in Death to Anders, that so many years ago, inspired me to play music.
They wrote some of the most important and favorite songs of my whole life. Songs like, "Africa", "the Fall", "Heavyweight", and "Camera Lens", are better, and more genius, than almost any song I've heard come out in the world in the last decade.Why they were not world famous from their early days on, I just don't know.
Maybe it's Los Angeles, maybe because they didn't have the urban outfitters hipster "look" enough for people to really hear. I will tell you that it is not because of their music. The songs they made were pure genius, and that band deserved to be plucked out of this city and placed on the world's stage.
I am sad that Death to Anders is no more, but I feel good in the knowing that the songs they recorded are forever. Also, Im looking forward to everything they are doing in new projects to come! Thank you for sharing and expressing your genius guys. What a gift to my life. What a gift your music is to so many lives. Love, Sarah
BEN "MOUSE" MCSHANE - CLASSICAL GEEK THEATRE
I first saw Death to Anders at a Radio Free Silver Lake show at Bordello. My face melted. I got to know Rob, Nick, Pete, and John some over the years. Eventually I became Rob's roommate in Echo Park. We got drunk at Pehrspace. A lot. We put-on a show at Spaceland with D2A and The Mae Shi, and it was one of the best local shows I ever attended. (Rob's hands are in the promo video.) Rob was always bringing bands together, trying to put-on shows, pushing is music and passionately carrying on, even after his Collective imploded and not many people really cared about Death to Anders anymore. (Admittedly, myself included.) He was and is a great guy. I still play poker with Nick sometimes. He texts me about my Colts and I text him about his 49ers. Pete's daughter is adorable. I haven't seen John in years. I never met the new guys in the band.
Death to Anders was usually better than most bands, if not great, but they were always Doing A Good Thing. They were loud. Their music was weird. You could jump around to it. No goddamned facepaint or stupid fey nostalgia. I really liked that one song about the horse.
ANDREW SPITSER - RADARS TO THE SKY
At the beginning of the song, "Two Chords," the first track on the Don't Give Up e.p. Death to Anders put out last fall, Rob sings, "What'cha gonna do when you make it fall apart? / What'cha gonna do when it makes its way this far?" It's a question many artists of many kinds through many iterations have faced -- what do I do when I get here, when I've gotten this far into this thing that I love doing, and yet it seems on the verge of falling apart?
And truly, there is no perfect answer. Even the greats struggle with exits. Willie Mays, perhaps one of the greatest five baseball players of all time, famously held on too long, a paunchy 40-something spilling out of a strange-looking Mets uniform and struggling just to hold his spot on the team. Robert DeNiro has taken to playing the father in "comedies" whose major gag is that one of the characters has a last name that sounds like a swear word. Bill Clinton now seems like that dad in the stands at a Little League game clinging desperately to his old glories while yelling a little too vociferously about the umpire's bad calls. On the other hand, there's Hemingway who shoots himself when he can't muster another Nick Adams story he's happy with.
But, then again, those decisions of the greats are fraught with less implications than the question of when to pick up your chips and walk away a loser. Michael Jordan's Washington Wizards career may have sullied the outlines of his career, but nothing can destroy his greaness at his peak. You can't un-write The Sun Also Rises or erase the memory of Taxi Driver. But what about the kid drafted Jordan's rookie year who didn't even make the team and spent the next six years bouncing from one team in Spain to another in Israel. When is he ready to hang it up and go deliver the mail? How does he give up the dream? When does the young painter realize she's never going to get that Soho gallery show? And what does she do when she does -- does she keep painting; or take that job as a paralegal?
Thrillhouse Productions released the movie Pass the Music last year. Perhaps more than anything, it chronicled a moment in time, when a bunch of people who were friendly and supportive of each other came together to play shows and write blog posts and film videos and do Sunday night shows on famous music stations that all centered around the idea that all of those people had channeled something, some zeitgeist, some tidal wave of community that would lift all boats. And watching that movie projected on the side of a wall to a packed room in the back of the Bootleg Theatre a few months ago, the feeling that stuck out above all of the laughs and the claps and the knowing chuckles at one Siara brother putting another in a headlock, was -- for me, at least, and, I suspect, quite a few of the other people who were chroicled as having been part of that fleeting moment -- a feeling of having lost something. It was the ghost of Christmas past.
Because the fact is, that moment passed.
So what do you do? What do you when it's made its way this far? Do you have the strength to let it fall apart? Can you do that with dignity, before everyone has stopped even caring?