Pedro the Lion is Back (For All Intents and Purposes)
"The record is pretty character-driven--it was coming out of a sense of the themes and the feelings and the mood I wanted to trade in and communicate at the time--and I feel like as a narrative, the characters and the perspectives they present still feel pretty believable to me," says Bazan. "So that's the thing that I really sink my teeth into when I'm playing these songs, going into these characters' minds and their despair and their disappointment and their cynicism.
"It doesn't feel as cartoony as I thought it was a few years after it came out," he continues. "For a while I kind of dismissed Control, like, 'Ehhh, it's just so heavy-handed.' I'm a much more content person now than I was then, my life has become more settled in a lot of ways, but I do connect with it. Every now and then, some of the expressions on the record seem mildly juvenile, really cheeky, like, 'They'll naturally like the taste of corporate cum.' I probably wouldn't write that line now, I was kinda trying it on then, but whatever. Right now I really, really enjoy the record."
At first, there was some talk of touring under the name Pedro the Lion, particularly since the band--which formed in 1995--always was Bazan at the center of a rotating cast of musical collaborators. "But I don't like how that feels," says Bazan. "I plan on playing my own shows under my own name for years and years to come, so I want this tour to count in the development of that brand recognition or whatever you want to call it."
He also briefly thought about augmenting his current trio, which has been playing together for the past three years, with a few members from Pedro's past, such as Walsh or Casey Foubert. But replacing Fitts and Westcoat was never a consideration. "Aside from the chemistry we have, they've invested their time and energy in this, so when it comes time to do a fun thing like this, I would want to reward their loyalty with loyalty," says Bazan.
"At this point it's just like, this is the Bazan band playing this record, not the reuniting of one of the 20 forms of Pedro the Lion," he laughs. "I think there's been a sense all these years since Pedro the Lion [ended] that people just haven't been making the connection that while it says 'Bazan band' on the bill, it's Pedro the Lion, for all intents and purposes. If someone wants to lament the fact that they never got to see a Pedro show, it's still always a Pedro show, it's just not called that. So hopefully after this tour, all of the remaining Pedro the Lion fans who haven't made that connection will get it."
David Bazan Band plays Pedro the Lion's Control(and other songs) at Mercury Lounge tonight (9:30 p.m./$16-$18) and Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night (9 p.m./$16-$18).