The situation I'm sitting outside Cyclops Café & Lounge in Belltown with singer/guitarist Andrew Vait. With us are Daniel Nash (drums) and Brent Rusinow (bass/synth), who play in Vait's retro-rock band, Eternal Fair. Vait, 27, has a lion-like mane of wavy hair, which makes him look like a young Fabio. "I've gotten that before," he says. "It hasn't stuck, but it's lingered."
How They Got Here All three bandmates make their living as either session musicians or music teachers--Vait's been teaching voice and guitar at the Fremont Music School since he moved to Seattle four years ago. Originally from Homer, Alaska, Vait's first music teacher happened to be Jewel's father. His only memory of the singer is a vague recollection of a night in fifth grade when he hung out with the budding star at a holiday party, but he's almost certain there was hot chocolate involved.
Shop Talk Vait has two separate projects--his solo work, where he traffics in Americana alt-folk, and Eternal Fair, which Rusinow describes as "neo-psychedelic rock."
"I'm a big fan of My Morning Jacket, I think we all listen to a lot of Grizzly Bear, and kind of those guys who are dipping into that classic, '70s rock and roll," says Vait. "Eternal Fair's doing the bigger, grander rock-and-roll stuff that I really want to spend my time doing. I think it just cuts to a deeper place."
BTW: In June, Reverb correspondent Dave Lake reviewed Vait's show at the Columbia City Theater and called him "the talking police" for shushing the audience "like a kindergarten teacher scolding his class." I ask Vait about the incident: "I was acting out of frustration," he says. (He also says he was just having fun with the audience.) "It's the acoustic instruments versus a mass of people, and you're not always going to win. I saw the Fleet Foxes play at the same venue, and you could've heard a pin drop the whole night. What I learned is you're not going to teach an audience a lesson. As much as I would have like to have the power to say 'QUIET!' and have silence fall over the audience, it's not going to be that way. You can't ask for that; you really have to earn it."
"But that's folk . . . " says Nash.
"Yeah," says Vait, "we really don't have that problem with Eternal Fair."
Eternal Fair plays the Comet Tavern with American Girls and John Craig & The Weekend this Friday, August 12. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the cover is $7.