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Benb Gallaher by Mick Hobbs :
When I first met Benb Gallaher, he was just sixteen; a year later he was only seventeen. These are but two of his great qualities. Should you let Benb into your life and living? Yes, you should. Should you let Benb Gallaher into your living and your life, you will never want for finding the state of being encouraged perpetually.
Andy Fisher by Benb Gallaher:
To this point, Andy's thing has been poetry. He's quite gifted at it, and he's got a sense of organic rhythm that is strongly evidenced in his bass playing. He's currently finishing post-graduate studies at Goddard College, so he gets to experience the intermittent agony of being simultaneously in a group and enrolled in school. He enjoys spending time outdoors, which is appalling.
Andy lives in Conway, New Hampshire, and his housemates have a cat that I don't like. That's right.
Having all of that out of the way commences the daunting task of recounting our assembly.
STROBE TALBOT'S ASSEMBLY :
I think that we would have all stayed ignorant in this general capacity had it not been for Jason Willett. Jason was a personality in Frederick, MD (my hometown). He was very into music. Jad invited Jason into Half Japanese and requested that he enlist the group's members. He did. One of them was Mick Hobbs (Jason was a rabid fan of The Work). They became fast friends. Jason and Jad also cultivated a close friendship. So did Mick and Jad.
I started hanging out in the record store that Jason owned in Frederick when I should have been attending school. We formed some groups and played and recorded. Eventually, I met Jad and Mick, and we played together occasionally throughout the following years. We all liked each other very much.
In 1997, Jason, Jad, and I toured Australia. It was fun and funny. Then, we decided that Mick should accompany us on the next, if it ever happened - which it did, a year later, again in Australia. The line-up of the four of us was incredible - we were playing what I have heard described as twisted garage punk, but we all know that descriptions are stupid. Anyway, this time, Jason stayed in Australia. Then, Mick moved to Spain.
I was traveling a lot myself, as was Jad, in early 1999, during which time Mick and I played together briefly in a re-formed Family Fodder. I decided to visit Spain for the summer to do some recording for that, and then it became known that Jad would be playing and showing art in Portugal at the same time. It seemed clear that we should all be in a band together. Mick named us The Strobe Talbot Trio. The "trio" fell away before I even arrived in Spain. Strobe Talbot. I like the name, and I hate you if you don't.
We played some shows in July 1999, and they were lots of fun. Kind of raw, but actually very true to much of what's on 20 Pop Songs - you see, we were given a ton of studio time in Portugal before we'd even been a band for a week! So, what you hear there is really the first of it. The unabridged entirety of Strobe Talbot's first month was released on Portugal's LowFly label as "Daydreamy" by Strobe. Jad didn't like the Talbot, so we removed it, but we realized with time that we couldn't devise a handle that better suited the music. Please believe that we tried.
Then it gets fuzzy -- I went back to the States and fell into a hectic scholastic scene for a long time (which is where I met and befriended Andy). Jad fell headlong into love with a lifelong friend and got married. Mick had his own struggles and landed back in London. Somehow, we stayed together (even managing through all of this to meet in Maine and record some new tracks in January, 2001), and 20 Pop Songs got completed in there somewhere at no small personal and economic expense. The record itself is an amalgam of clunky pop music, propulsive lullabies, mournful mock-horror, and humorous hayseed romping. It's also the chronicle of a crazy convergence.
Now, we all seem to be settled a bit and well-righted, and in November of 2001, Mick flew over here from London to make some new units of music with Strobe Talbot. Andy had been invited to join two months earlier (he accepted the invitation), and the feeling of being a living, breathing group finally took hold with Mick's arrival (and our subsequent studio visit) in big, big ways. We recorded a ton of stuff that we feel is our best-ever work as an ensemble. Additionally, response to 20 Pop Songs has been warm and wonderful. We are all very excited about the future. So, here we are. Thank you so much for caring.