Thursday, December 2, 2010
The TrueHoop house band
By Henry Abbott
Photo courtesy of Jumbling Towers
Jumbling Towers is Josiah DeBoer, Louis Wall, Nate Drexler and Michael Kendall.
Kevin Arnovitz is cooler than me. He dresses better. He reads smarter books. He has a better movie collection.
And he listens to cooler music.
He tells me of the ways that he finds that cool music is by reading Matthew Perpetua's Fluxblog, where he came across a St. Louis group called Jumbling Towers.
At first he just liked the music. "'Ramifications of an Exciting Spouse,'" he explains, "was the first Jumbling Towers track I latched onto. It's an infectious, smartly written song built around all sorts of quirky instrumental flourishes. At about the 1:35 mark, it revs into overdrive. You're riding that wave until about the 2:02 mark, when it moves in for the kill."
Then he found himself attached to the lyrics, especially of that song. But ... what were they, exactly?
"I'd lose that song's lyrics," he explains, "right at that moment, around the 2:02 kill. It was like someone had ripped out the last 10 pages of a novel I couldn't put down."
Google was no help. While Jumbling Towers are online, they're not big in the way that some poor sucker has transcribed every last lyric to appease the likes of Arnovitz.
So, after scratching his head for a while, Kevin did what any reasonable lyric-obsessed person would do: He wrote the band.
"I sent off an e-mail" he says, "explaining that I was a fan of their music and was tormented by the fact that I couldn't make out the last stanza to 'Ramifications of an Exciting Spouse.'"
Then something pretty cool happened. The bassist, Nate Drexler, quickly replied that "It's sort of ironic getting an e-mail from you being that I read TrueHoop almost every day."
If we're honest, that's precisely the moment Jumbling Towers both created the position of "TrueHoop house band" and filled it.
Turns out that Jumbling Towers love basketball (that photo above is their main one). Beyonce and a basketball court are part of one of their YouTube efforts, walking around shooting hoops is another. (Near the end of that last video, stay tuned for some PG-13 talk about how Scotch and watching Trevor Ariza can help you sleep.) They play, watch and talk hoops.
So Kevin asked Drexler and Joe DeBoer, the band's lead singer, to explain their attachment to the game:
Man, we grew up on basketball. It was the cool sport at our prep school, which we both started attending in seventh grade ... it's what you did. So we played, and more influentially watched our varsity team play to packed out crowds in a really small, constantly packed gym filled with rich, hot girls and great hoops (we were the "poor roughneck" kids at our school cause our parents only made 60K instead of 500 ... was a cool card to play).
The district championship that year featured our 2A team (eight-man squad) up against a city powerhouse Catholic school ... that was the greatest game we've ever witnessed. Double OT. Our two best players ended up fouling out and we lost like 110-108, but man, that was the game. We had two dudes who shot 50% from 3 that year, two big men who averaged double doubles and the only black guy on the team who made us feel legit against city schools and was a defensive stopper like you've never seen.
So for about a decade basketball was absolutely the most important thing about life, along with those rich, hot girls.
That was the foundation. March Madness and the Jordan/Hakeem/Jordan NBA years were all part of growing up, but it was that close-to-home influence that sold us out.
Then we realized we sucked and were more artistic than athletic, but we follow the game religiously... which is way easier and less pressure-filled. So is running 3-man weave drills with no defense.
We call each other every now and then geek out on fantasy teams that could full court press the s--- out of everyone else in the world.
I still write high school basketball coverage for the local online paper here in Chattanooga for a part time job (I get paid less than any journalist who gets paid ... in history). Just the other day I stepped out of a game at halftime to call Joe and tell him about string of possessions that I thought he might like. I got a voicemail back from in the fourth quarter and he was all over it. He finished the message something like this: "Talk to you later. It sure would be nice to be in that warm gym on such a cold night. I'll bet the hardwood looks great."