- Better Days Will Haunt You - - 2006-10-10
- Ride the Fader - - 1996-11-05
- Pentagram Ring - - 1995-10-17
- Gone Glimmering - - 1995-05-23
- “Repeat the Ending” b/w “Hack the Sides Away” - - 1994-07-25
Better Days Will Haunt You
Two legendary albums, a bunch of tours, a small but fanatical fanbase... the twin guitar attack of CHAVEZ is at last enshrined in a landmark, extremely enhanced collection. No stranger to the brain-cracking power chord, CHAVEZ differs from bands both from the mid-'90s and now in the application of extraordinary minor-key harmonies and mindblown, fiercely joyous lyrical subjects. These sit easily atop the silver-electric guitarage of Matt Sweeney and Clay Tarver. Scott Marshall's huge bass moves give space and counterpoint to the shattering ANTI-rock drumming of James Lo. Indeed, the band claimed Carl Maria von Weber as a major influence, and it is not hard to think of the lower-Manhattan-based quartet as the reincarnation of 19th-century romanticism via incredible chops and a musical upbringing soaked in the Kinks, AC/DC and Pretty Things. Ferociously rocking with a high-wire fragility, CHAVEZ's music stuns and satisfies like nothing else.
Ride the Fader
Woe unto ye olde wizened guitar troubadour, wearily peddling his wares from pillar to post. Oversaturation has blighted the robust market that's now only a memory. Savvy insurgents buffet him with science as technological innovation renders those once vigorous sensations shopworn. His axe is dragging. Though having become sorely embittered over the years, he feels lucky to have at least plied his trade in a simpler time; when the bounty was rife with riches, air-guitaring prostration, young lads' adulation, and moistened undies. Now he feels only pity and some loathing for the beleaguered modern-day rock practitioner. He is enlivened, however, by some fresh-faced upstarts on the scene.
Blessing the house with some of that old time religion, NYC's Chavez are proselytizing and profilin' in '96 with Ride The Fader. Most first-time listeners are engaged by the upwardly mobile arrangements and whirly dissonance, then hooked by their wholesome candy-ass pop bonhomie. This was a style that could really rally the kids together. Indeed, both affected highbrow nerds and unibrow uncivilized rocker bonded over Chavez's debut, Gone Glimmering, and while that effort met with responses ranging from intrigued fence-sitting to spastic huzzahs, Ride The Fader confidently blows it to bits in every category. Any occasionally awkward baby steps on the debut have been mercilessly slapped and bashed into submission. Everything's harder, more boombastic, cocksure etc. while simultaneously managing to be more kissable and cuddlier (i.e. the power ballad action of "Unreal Is Here"). The songs are trim motherfuckers too with all the extraneous fat burned off for easier digestion.
Guitarists Matt Sweeney and Clay Tarver began dithering about in late '92. They were joined by drummer James Lo over a half year later who had played with Sweeney in Wider, With a now departed bass player, they recorded two songs in October '93 that Matador released in the summer of '94 as a 7" single. By this time, fiery bantam Scott Masciarelli, childhood friend of Sweeney's, took over on bass and the band began playing live for the first time, opening for Shellac, Dinosaur Jr. and Come among others. Summer of '95 saw the release of Gone Glimmering.
In the past year since its release, the band has been in relative repose, mostly due to lack of a booking agent (they have one now) and bassist Scott Masciarelli bolting to Hollywood to pursue filmwork. This break in the action allowed other members to follow their interests too with drummer James Lo recording compositions and traveling with choreographer John Jasperse, guitarist Clay Tarver doing freelance filmwork and singer/guitarist Matt Sweeney toiling with odd jobs around the house.
Still, Chavez managed a two week U.S. tour with Guided By Voices and Bardo Pond plus three weeks in Europe with GBV. When Scott finally waltzed back to town earlier this year, the band got busy and entered Water Music with John Agnello in August. Bryce Goggin recorded "Unreal Is Here" and "Memorize This Face" at Iiwii and Baby Monster.
October 17, 1995
Pioneers of the mensa-metal movement, NYC's Chavez put the mo back in EMO with Pentagram Ring, tack on two new songs, include both sides of their never-before-CD'd "Repeat The Ending" 7" and prepare to win the swimsuit competition (if it isn't cancelled next year). Songwriting, (lamb) chops, hummability, Chavez bring people together like a telethon (minus the wheelie-boys).
These guys are set to explode at radio. (No, they're not gonna get tons of airplay, we're just gonna strap dynamite to Scotty's torso, send him 'round to WINS and blow the fucking place up! Kick out the jams, motherfuckers, and fuck Freebeing.)
May 23, 1995
Unabashed "hard rock" without stupid lyrics, codpiece styles (but they're working on it) and surprising subtlety, rhthmic invention...this stuff isn't supposed to happen, but happen it has. Chavez are a NYC quartet that inspires rabid audience reactions, and not just 'cause of the bass player's silver trousers. Their first year of slumming onstage with superstar pals like GBV, Shellac, Bailter Space and others has seen a solid jump in earplug sales around the East Coast.
Gone Glimmering was recorded over weekends in December '94 and January '95 at various locations with various producers/engineers (Bob Weston, Bryce Goggin and John Agnello). Their efforts have been described by know-it-alls in terms like "an odd hybrid of ringing, shifting guitar riffs; ample doses of catchy, subtle melodies and harmonies that weave their way above, below and through the music." Someone else was caught claiming that Chavez were "the future of hard rock as filtered through nearly two decades of New York neo-noise." Of course not everyone agrees. One reviewer was heard to grumble, "they have a way with seasonings, but they sure know how to overcook everything," but who are you gonna trust, your own instincts or the Zagat guide?
Chavez are not merely famous ex-musicians, but they also have exciting credentials in the non-rock world:
- Ex-Bullet LaVolta guitarist Clay Tarver is also known as the director of the award-winning "Got Milk?" series of televisions advertisements,
- Ex-Skunk guitarist/vocalist and Wider bassist Matt Sweeney augments his Chavez paycheck by working as a publicist for the Helmsley family (Leona, not Sherman).
- Bassist Scotty Marshall and Live Skull drummer James Lo very briefly played in the house band on the old "Into The Night...With Rick Dees" program. Use of a sophisticated VCR w/ frame-by-frame advancement is necessary to prove this, however.
- Bob Pollard likes these guys so much, he told us he'd get Jim Greer to join GBV if we signed Chavez. We were drunk and didn't understand...we thought he said he'd get Jim Greer to join the Moonies.
“Repeat the Ending” b/w
“Hack the Sides Away”
July 25, 1994
Under the pretense of making worthwhile rock music, Clay Tarver and Matt Sweeney started playing guitars together in late 1992. For eight months, they played without a drummer or a bass player. After a while most of their friends figured Tarver were just saying they were in a band so they could get drunk a couple of times a week in peace (they were not incorrect; the primary purpose of Chavez is to provide a worry-free drinking environment for its members. )
Enter the diabolical James Lo of Live Skull and Wider fame, who was not invited to play, but offered his services nonetheless. As Lo was the first person in eight months to express any interest whatsoever in what they were doing (the very mention of a band with ex-members of Bullet LaVolta and Skunk produced chortles, guffaws or aggressive indifference from most New York rock types), and as the words "James Lo" and "Bad Ass" are synonymous, his request to join the rock outfit was met with an enthusiastic "eeerase."
Utterly free of anyone's expectations, high or otherwise, they contentedly dicked around in their rehearsal room. Along with friend Davey Hoskins, they recorded two songs in October of '93 so they could "hear what we were doing." Masters holder and Hollywood swinger Scott Masciarelli, Sweeney's long time pal, moved to New York in March of '94 and joined the men of Chavez as Bass Player in an effort to hinder a budding film career. Two weeks after Masciarelli joined, the band started playing live. Seeing (another) chance to blow huge amounts of cash, Matador pressed the aforementioned tape into a 7" single which they released summer 1994.
The Men of Chavez appreciate your time and patience.
The Men of Chavez are sworn to fun and loyal to none.
The men of Chavez are...
James Lo - drumset
Clay Tarver - guitar, vocals
Matt Sweeney - vocals, guitar
Scott Masciarelli - bass
News From The Matablog
Tonight on HBO (or as people older than dirt used to call it, "Home Box Office", Mike Judge's newest TV creation, the highly touted "Silicon Valley" premieres. Chavez guitarist Clay Tarver (above, far right) is one of the show's writers and weirdly enough, episode one features (drum roll)... THE MUSIC OF CHAVEZ.
(Video courtesy Noisey). In which Chavez/Endless Boogie/Soldiers Of Fortune guitarist / producer extraordinaire Matt Sweeney talks guitarism with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme. The whole series is great, btw, even if Matt failed to secure a sitdown with Michael Angel Batio.
(EDIITOR'S NOTE : the 24 hour rock news cycle isn't kind to stories of great seriousness, but we're hopeful the following will serve as a teaching moment of sorts for our younger readers, or the illiterate older people they hang out with. The memo below came to us via Chavez earlier today - GC) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Chavez regrets to announce cancellation of their appearance at September 23's "I'll Be Your Mirror" / All Tomorrow's Parties in New York curated by Greg Dulli. Suffering from what has been called "near lethal exhaustion" due to the band's heavy touring schedule, guitarist Clay Tarver has checked himself into The Serenities Treatment Center outside of Mesa, Arizona. The band's management said only he will be receiving attention for issues he has battled for some time, and released a short statement from the famed guitarist: "I hope to catch my breath, face some demons, and come out kicking more ass than ever. You're the best." Chavez asks "the number one fans in the world" to please respect Tarver's privacy at this delicate time.
If you're like us (and I suspect you are), YOU LOVE MUSIC FESTIVALS almost as much as you love freedom. And there's so many that are close to our hearts. Matador's Lost Weekend. Atlamont. The Gathering Of The Juggalos. The Cornerstone Festival. I could go on, but you've probably got some illegal downloading to back to, so let's cut to the chase. Transmission Entertainment's 7th annual Fun Fun Fun Festival is happening in Austin, TX this coming November 2, 3 and 4, and we're thrilled to
find out at the last minuteannounce Tanlines, Fucked Up, Paul Banks and The Young are all taking part. Likewise, ATP America's "I'll Be Your Mirror" weekender (September 21-23) has been moved from Asbury Park, NJ to the glamorous West Side of Manhattan. The Lee Ranaldo Band and Chavez will be playing, along with a tremendous lineup of performers, none of whom are named Louis C.K. They'll all have their hands full measuring up to Richie Blackmore at California Jam (above) , but there's no harm in trying.
Chavez took part in All Tomorrow's Parties' 'I'll Be Your Mirror' at London's Alexandra Palace this past weekend, and aside from missing out on Matt, Clay, Scott and James playing to a huge mob, those of stuck stateside also didn't see Codeine sharing a stage with Slayer. Not at the same time, mind you. I've got to assume we'd have heard about that on Twitter.
7/10/07--Chavez Ringtones Now Available
Matador Records is pleased to announce a new ringtones service. We currently have ringtones available from 11 artists, including Chavez, and more are coming soon. mobile.matadorrecords.com is the new home for all your Matador ringtones needs.
2/21/07 — Rolling Stone rolls with Chavez
Chavez's "the guard attacks" is a song you would play for a Martian who wanted to know what electric guitars are for. It's only three minutes long, yet Clay Tarver and Matt Sweeney splatter the walls with power chords and explosive harmonics, surging from peak to peak. Plus, the words are funny ("Your uncertain age gives me the shakes"), and the drummer is a madman.
-Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
Truer words were never written. At least not in that magazine. Read the whole review HERE.
11/28/06 — Chavez giveth and Chavez taketh away: Silverlake date added
The cancellation of Chavez's scheduled appearance in Baltimore is old news by now, and so is the rumored Chicago show that stayed a rumor, but that doesn't make it hurt any less.
Still, it isn't all gray skies as we head into the winter. The residents of sunny Los Angeles will be able to ring in the new year the Chavez way with a show at Spaceland on 12/31. No word as to whether the festivities will include a live reenactment of the "Break Up Your Band" video, but if so, Southern California is as good a place as any. Find all the details on this and any other Chavez concert HERE.
10/24/06 — Chavez walks among us
The first public appearances of Chavez since, well, those last ones, have been confirmed.
Dec 2 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Dec. 16 - Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw (16 +)
Endless Boogie will provide support (moral, spiritual) on both dates. Look for further info/venue links on the Tour Page.
10/18/06 — www.menofchavez.com: the official site
If you visit the official album site for 'Better Days Will Haunt You,' you can stream some tracks and watch mind-blowing music videos for "Unreal Is Here, and "Break Up Your Band" (Keep your eyes peeled for a certain label's certain art director!). Also at menofchavez.com: Browse through animated versions of the album art.
10/13/06 —Obscure online publication raves about Chavez
Some online music site that, despite it's name, is NOT devoted to chronicling the Black Metal underground is going crazy for "Better Days Will Haunt You." The votes are in ladies and gentlemen, and the men of Chavez earned a 9.4 on what I can only assume is a ten point scale.
Still, the question remains: How can you name your website after Satan's accessory of choice and not review anything by Venom? Read the whole review HERE.
09/12/06 — Remastered MP3s Up
THREE MP3s from the 'Better Days Will Haunt You' double CD-plus-DVD set are now available for your listening pleasure. The REMASTERED songs are "The Guard Attacks / Unreal Is Here" tracks 2 and 3 from Ride The Fader(1996), and "You Faded," a non-album B-side from the long out-of-printPentagram Ring EP (1995). Listen here.
08/28/06 — A memo: A moment for the men of Chavez
08/07/06 — At last, a testament
The 'Better Days Will Haunt You' double CD-plus-DVD set is a tribute to over-completeness and deluxitude. This fully remastered set contains:
- A triple-gatefold digipak: 2 CDs plus DVD
- Two 28-page books
- The two original studio albums, Gone Glimmering (1995) andRide The Fader (1996)
- A previously unreleased studio track entitled “White Jeans”
- The 2 mindblowingly audacious and ambitious promo videos, for “Break Up Your Band” and “Unreal Is Here”
- The ‘Boys Making Music... Music Making Men’ documentary of the band touring Europe with Guided By Voices in 1996, with commentary by legendary Hollywood producer/director Garry Marshall
- Plus other DVD Easter eggs
As Alternative Press wrote, literally 10 years ago, "Fuck the album, where's the box set?" (Jason Pettigrew). Well, here it is. Complete track listing below.
Better Days Will Haunt You OLE-720
1. Repeat The Ending - FIRST SINGLE A-SIDE (OLE-104-7)
2. Hack The Sides Away - FIRST SINGLE B-SIDE (OLE-104-7)
3. Nailed To The Blank Spot
4. Break Up Your Band
5. Laugh Track
6. The Ghost By The Sea
7. Pentagram Ring
8. Peeled Out Too Late
9. The Flaming Gong
10. Wakeman’s Air
11. Relaxed Fit
12. The Nerve - PENTAGRAM RING CD EP (OLE-146-2)
13. You Faded - PENTAGRAM RING CD EP (OLE-146-2)
14. Little 12 Toes - SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK
RIDE THE FADER
1. Top Pocket Man
2. The Guard Attacks
3. Unreal Is Here
4. New Room
5. Tight Around The Jaws
7. Our Boys Will Shine Tonight
8. Memorize This Face
9. Cold Joys
10. Flight ‘96
11. Ever Overpsyched
12. You Must Be Stopped
13. Theme >From ‘For Russ’ - WHAT'S UP MATADOR
14. White Jeans - PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED STUDIO TRACK, WITH NEW VOCALS
1. Break Up Your Band VIDEO
2. Unreal Is Here VIDEO
3. Boys Making Music... Music Making Men DOCUMENTARY (with Garry Marshall commentary)
easter eggs: Flight '96 live, something called 'soundcheck'
|12/03/99 — You’ve been asking forChavez updates. We’ve been curious, too. Seems the high profile rockers are occupying their time with the mundane chores of day to day life. Grocery shopping, phone answering, and shower taking top the short list. "I’ve been paying a lot of bills," says James Lo, drummer. We’ll bring you more exciting reports as they arrive.|
11/15/1999 — Tonic’s Songwriter Series, this Sunday the 14th: Matt Sweeney, international minister of intrigue, is singer/guitarist of Chavezand has also played with Cat Power, Guided By Voices and Bonnie Prince Billie, among others. He built his empire on the back of drummer James Lo (Chavez), who will be joining him this evening. With Anomoanon. At Tonic, 107 Norfolk Street.
You've been asking for Chavez updates. We've been curious, too. Seems the high profile rockers are occupying their time with the mundane chores of day to day life. Grocery shopping, phone answering, and shower taking top the short list. "I've been paying a lot of bills," says James Lo, drummer. We'll bring you more exciting reports as they arrive.
Tonic's Songwriter Series, this Sunday the 14th: Matt Sweeney, international minister of intrigue, is singer/guitarist of Chavez and has also played with Cat Power, Guided By Voices and Bonnie Prince Billie, among others. He built his empire on the back of drummer James Lo (Chavez), who will be joining him this evening. With Anomoanon. At Tonic, 107 Norfolk Street.
The Matador 10th Anniversary shows will be up onhttp://www.cdnow.com/events starting 10/8 and ending 11/15. Upon launch they will put up close to full sets for all the bands except Yo La Tengo, Come and Jega, whose partial sets will go up 10/12. Chavez will not be participating.
Also look next week to us for a complete photo and interview fest with all your favorite Matador acts. For now, we bring you candid snapshots and MP3 interview clips with Chan Marshal and Chavez on how they came to know Matador, childhood scars, and kegs of beer.
Matt Sweeny and James Lo of Chavez talk about the first bands they ever formed. Matt and James talk aboutchildhood scars. Matt and James talk about the first Matador records they bought. James hates weddings. I only asked him about cake.
Overheard in the crowd at the 10th Anniversary shows: "The only good band they have anymore is Chavez."
A few words about Chavez, brought to you by marketing chief Christina Zafiris:
Last month, the Bonnie "Prince" Billie's Easy Times tour of Europe featured some boys of Chavez. Matt played lead guitar and James drummed along with Mike Fellows (ex Royal Trux, Air Miami) and Will Oldham. Word is they used a lot of set time with Thin Lizzy and AC/DC covers (the way it should be).... On his quest for easy times in Iceland, Matt was flipped off (given the finger) by the locals. Our friend Nils had the same experience in that fine country (must be a nice place)... Remember Chavez are playing at the Bowery Ballroom (New York) on Tuesday (2/23) and tickets are still available. We heard that they are starting "interband negotiations" to start working on their new record, working title Deeze Nutz (as in "let me consult with my associates, deeze nuts").