(UPDATE: Here's the Fulton Read-hosted FLASH MOB that occurred on the streets of Austin during the big music festival)
By Sean Claes
Led by the unique raspy voice of Anthony Erickson, Austin-based piano rockers Fulton Read subscribe to the idea that music should be free.
The idea goes something like this: You give away your music = people share said music = more fans= more people at your show = merch sales = you get more popular = you win.
They also try and make their live shows an event. Past ideas included “Fulton Read in 3-D” where there was a 3-D light show accompanying the music and December’s Christmahannukwanza show where Erickson dressed up at Santa Claus and Austin’s Annie Ray had a photo booth.
Anthony Erickson took a few moments to talk with me about the band and the new free-EP release Synchronize.
Sean Claes: How did you arrive at the band’s name?
Anthony Erickson: Well, over the years we've debated the name but it has stuck with us. When we first formed our original guitarist Lou was a pop-culture buff, and threw out Fulton Read. I liked it and I think it rang well as a name and reminded me of our friends Ethan Durelle with a person's name that was no member of the band as their band name.
Turns out it's one of the Bash Brothers from the Mighty Ducks. So now we get a lot of people either having no idea what that means, or freakin out that its from their favorite Disney movie, OR the really clever ones that just start a slowclap chant of quack.... quack... quACK.. QUACK!
Claes: You're band has been called "Texas Psychedelic Piano PowerPop." Care to elaborate?
Erickson: Well we're from Texas. When I was teenager I ate some psychedelics forever changing my perspective on music and everything. I play the piano. Duffy definitely brings the power. And the… well …the rest of us bring the pop.
Claes: You've been giving away your music online... the online release of "Synchronize" on January 31 an example. Tell me about your "Free Music Model."
Erickson: As many music futurists have acknowledged, music is ALREADY FREE. The major music industry players are in denial, fighting a brick wall and ignoring their customers. They need follow every other industry where "the customer is always right", embrace changing technologies and realize music as a service not a product. I hope with Fulton Read to push forward through aging industry standards and see the "music like water" ideology come to fruition.
With this intention, we will be releasing all our future music as Creative Commons works, freely shared, remixed, modified and recreated for non-commercial purposes. I believe this will promote a better climate for artists' creativity and the industry as a whole. And don't expect the music to be lacking cuz as they say "the best things in life are free"
Claes: Live, you always seem to turn it from a show to an event, putting together art and music like Fulton Read in 3-D, and the Christmahannukwanza show. How important is it for you to marry the two?
Erickson: Oh yeah, we always try to give you something more than the record live, and part of that has to be a good concept and a crazy sick light show. I'm hoping to marry it all in to one big Icescapade Musical someday. I'm only half kidding.
Claes: You had a worldwide Synchronize Graffiti contest to kick off the release of your free online EP. How did you hatch that idea?
Erickson: The graffiti collaboration came about while musing some ideas for an interactive element that everyone could help take part in for the release of Sychronize. Better yet, something everyone could do on the same day in semi-"synchronized" fashion. And so this idea was born.
We're not ya know, promoting illegal vandalism....exactly. And I think it's a pretty good idea, kinda like the "OBEY" graffiti, except less Andre the Giant. and I mean, its not the worst idea we've had. That would be “Operation Hobo Promo” (feeding the homeless to feed you free music).
Fulton Read is: Justin Von Kennel (guitar), Ryan Gilmore (bass), Candy Sanders (backup vocals), Greg Williams (Sax), Josh Davies (Trumpet), Javier Stuppard (Trombone) backing up the jamming/writing/producing duo of Stephen Duffy (drums) and Erickson (Piano/Vocals).
Look for Fulton Read playing all over on 2010. Check http://www.fultonread.com for more information.