Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
The day that DeVotchKa stopped by to tape this session, it was just after noon on July 4th. We were working our way through one of the hottest streaks of weather the summer had seen that far and there was no escaping the brutal temperatures and the humidity that was coming along for the ride. The sun was blazing mercilessly and the thing that the multi-dimensional band from Denver, Colorado, wanted more than ever when they got off the tour bus were cups of coffee. The bus for the short run of dates - which included a stop off at Milwaukee's annual Summerfest - came unequipped with a working coffee maker, that piece of crap. They straggled into the studio, with their own empty and browned around the rims, old Starbucks cups and filled up as quickly as they could. We told them they could keep the coffee maker and, while they were at it, they could have the rest of the package of ground coffee, just so the bus wouldn't be so unbearable.
We just hated to see them like this, but if they would perform every time the way they did here at the old schoolhouse in Davenport, there's not a reason not to consider coffee deprivation to bring out in them the best versions of these fevered dreams. The way that lead singer Nick Urata sings them, the temptation is to think that they are incessant and demanding. There are just so many things that need reassurance. There's a lot of pinching involved - to check presence, to evaluate if the heart and the soul are still around, or if the people that you thought you knew, the people that you thought you loved have gone ahead and moved themselves along. Urata and fellow Jacks of all trade Tom Hagerman, Jeanie Schroder and Shawn King question the kooky situations and people that they see in broad daylight, wondering when things get easier and sharper. But they know that when even something like finding a cup of coffee - any old coffee - can be a bit of a wild goose chase and a difficult thing to track down, there's no real certainty as to how anything should be stable, much less crazy things like the affairs of lovers.