Striving for magic

Scarce are taking it slow; plus, Killing Pablo
By BOB GULLA  |  June 4, 2008


Do you remember Scarce? A decade ago, they were the biggest band in Providence and one of our greatest hopes. Then tragedy struck. Chick Graning, the band’s primary force, suffered a brain aneurysm and nearly departed this mortal coil. But he managed to recover and get back on his feet — after relearning how to play guitar and sing his own songs. Chick, bassist Joyce Raskin, and a bevy of drummers plowed through a few more tours, but Chick’s faltering health put a strain on things and they called it quits. “It was really hard. I don’t think I returned to normal for like five years,” Graning said the other day, noting he was just “emotionally flat. It was impossible to feel anything. I was blank for a long time, which is hard when you’re trying to feel the rock.” Joyce wrote a book about her adventures in Scarce (Aching to Be: A Girl’s True Rock and Roll Story). The writing process brought Joyce (now the mother of two little girls) and Chick together and ultimately led Scarce to reunite. Drummer Joe Propatier also made good use of his time away, playing for acts as diverse as Silver Apples, the Bevis Frond, and Will Oldham.

Scarce is trying to convince its former label, Universal/A&M, to loosen its grip on Deadsexy, and at least stick it on iTunes. The band has released a couple of collections of old tracks and demos to build anticipation, which are also on iTunes and available at their MySpace site, and they are working on demos with Blizzard of ’78’s Chris Cugini and at Joyce’s home studio.

Scarce has a bunch of tour dates in Europe slated for this fall, which means we might hear some new music before they head out. “There was just magic when we got together,” says Chick. “We’re taking it slow right now, in hopes that we capture some of it again.”

SCARCE + BLIZZARD OF ’78 + THE DIG | The Blackstone, 1005 Main St, Pawtucket | June 6 | 401.726.2181

Killing pablo
The Providence-based quartet Killing Pablo recently released its first full-length, Quiet/Loud/Repeat, on 75 or Less, following the EPs Pop Songs for Assholes and A Collection of Songs on Compact Disc. On Q/L/R, the band yoyos from sweet, melodic strumming to intense, distorted blasts of noise. The new stuff, less abrasive and more crafted than their previous work, recalls mid-’90s indie-rock — part-shoegazer, part-hipster/geek stuff like Treepeople, Silkworm, and Built to Spill. It’s a sound they’ve been working toward since ’05 when they came roaring out of Webster, Massaschusetts.

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