The situation: It's Tuesday night and I'm sitting at the bar at Capitol Hill's Via Tribunali with Pearl Dragon and Mark Gajadhar -- aka DJ Gajamagic -- of local hip-hop concern Champagne Champagne. Their bandmate, Sir Thomas Gray, recently started working here, and is multitasking: talking to us, grating cheese over pizza, and perfecting his cappuccino-making skills.
Go see Champagne Champagne at least one of these three times -- the 28th at Neumos, or the 31st at the Comet and later that night at Havana.
Intoxication: More impressive multitasking. Gray is also pouring all three of us a steady stream of beers while iPod-DJing an ambient soundtrack -- from the Smiths to Les Savy Fav to Ice Cube -- to go along with our drinking.
"I'm what they call a renaissance man," he says, adding, "I have the most extensive hip-hop knowledge of anyone you know."
"Thomas is also able to bullshit and convince everybody that he's right," adds Gajadhar. "This is basically the most convincing person you'll ever meet in your entire life. I'm pretty sure he's convinced me to do everything I've done. I'd be in law school right now if it wasn't for this motherfucker!"
How They Got Here: Pearl works at a pawn shop on MLK, and Gajadhar has an awesome job working for Dave Meinert's Fuzed Travel, a company that books hotels and travel plans for bands like the Pixies, the Kills, and of Montreal.
Gray likes to get up around 8 or 9 in the morning, even if he's working nights at Via.
"I like to have breakfast with my lady and walk my dog, Richard," he says. "Every day's a good day. I wake up as Thomas Gray." (That rhymes!)Shop Talk: Gajadhar spent most of the day writing new Champagne material.
"We have about 30 songs, and then probably another 200 we could choose from if we wanted," he says.
"We should have an album out by January, February," promises Pearl.
The trio is playing a slew of Halloween shows this week -- the 28th at Neumos and the 31st at the Comet, with an after-party at Havana. Last year they were the Dead Presidents (from the 1995 film), but right now their dress-up plans are still up in the air.
"I really wanna do some Mario Brothers stuff, but I don't think Pearl wants to do it," says Gajadhar. We both glance at Pearl's rounded afro.
"I'm not gonna be Toad," says Pearl, shaking his head.
BTW: Later in the night, we run across the street to Neumos to check out part of Starfucker's set. Somehow Pearl and I end up downstairs in Starfucker's dressing room, drinking their beers and eating a bag of marshmallows.
It reminds me of something Gajadhar said earlier in the evening: "These guys know everybody in town. The other day at the Showbox, this dude came up and carded me, and then he was like, 'Oh, wait a second, I know you. You hang out with those Champagne guys. They're cool dudes. If you're friends with them, you're good.' And I was like, 'I'm one of them!'"