The Situation It's somewhere past 1 in the morning on a Wednesday, and I'm at Sully's Lounge on top of Queen Anne with the experimental folk trio Ravenna Woods—that'd be songwriter and guitarist Chris Cunningham, drummer Matt Badger, and "auxiliary percussionist" Brantley Duke.
RAVENNA WOODS With Hillstomp, Correspondents. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. $8. 9:30 p.m. Fri., Sept. 17.
Intoxication I'm having beers, they're having whiskeys; we can't seem to stop talking about animals, like my dog James, who's out in my car, or Cubby, the hound tattooed on Cunningham's chest. "Oh! There are cows on TV!" Cunningham exclaims at one point. There's also a guy sitting at the bar wearing a crab hat. As in a red hat shaped like a crab. We never do figure out why.
How They Got Here Cunningham works a day job at a law firm downtown, an office that he says is accommodating and doesn't mind his lip ring. Duke lives in a house he inherited in Brier.
Badger drives a delivery truck for Ballard's New Roots Organic, but he's holding out for a job as—back to animals—a zookeeper at Woodland Park Zoo, which he just applied for. We all like African wild dogs, but argue about gorillas, which are Badger's favorite, but which I think are unspeakably creepy and terrifying.
"We have a gorilla named Koko that lives in my basement," says Cunningham. "You have to hug him."
Shop Talk The band just released a full-length called Demons and Lakes; it's stirring, volatile music that fits their fidgety, excitable personalities. It's also getting categorized as folk, a label they contest.
"People hear vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar and they think it's folk," says Cunningham. "But I derive a lot of my guitar rhythms from hardcore music."
BTW: If anyone's looking to form a Marlon Brando fan club in Seattle, talk to these guys. All three of them spend the evening randomly breaking into Brando impressions and On the Waterfront references. "Marlon Brando will fuck you up!" says Duke, who recently received a $120 traffic ticket. "I was driving and talking to Matt on the phone. We were doing Brando impressions."
"If you cover Brantley's ticket," Cunningham proposes, "you don't have to meet Koko."
"I'd take the ticket," says Badger.