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Broken van doesn't halt Giraffes

Band's only focus is to play — despite tour mishaps that arise

The Giraffes consider themselves more a playing band than a recording band \— always tweaking songs.
The Giraffes consider themselves more a playing band than a recording band \— always tweaking songs.
Todd Kancar, Razor \& Tie Media Services

Singer Aaron Lazar said he was a fan of the Giraffes before the band asked him to join.

"I vowed never to be in a band again after being in so many," Lazar said by phone from his home in New York. "I was really going to honor that commitment. But then the guys in Giraffes asked me to join. I was a major fan and really liked their sound. When they asked, I dropped my commitment to myself and said, 'Sure.' "

The band's only goal was to play music. "We considered it a bonus to play outside of New York."

Now the band is playing across the nation. Riding, of course, in a van. "We've had to buy a van while on the road," Lazar said with a laugh. "We were driving to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest conference and our van broke down midway between. So we found ourselves at a car dealership with our broken van, on a platform tow truck."

What made them feel better was their connection with producer Joel Hamilton, who has worked with Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Frank Black and the Dub Trio. "He has so many road stories," said Lazar. "We called him from the dealership and asked him, 'Guess what we're doing now?' And he knew. He knew we were at a car dealership buying a new van. That helped lighten the mood."

Hamilton has been a friend of the band for a few years, said Lazar. "He's been great to us. He produced our album and we have learned a lot from him. He's a mentor and really caught what we're about on the album."

While Lazar is happy with the album, he said the Giraffe members think of themselves more as a live band than a recording band. "We always tweak songs throughout the tours. We were tweaking songs up to the last day we recorded them.

"I like the recording process, but love going on stage. One of the hardest parts of playing live is the fact that I don't think too much of what I'm going to do once I get on stage. All of a sudden there's a panic moment when I see the audience and think, 'I've go to entertain these people. I should have thought of something.' "

Throughout the tour and their downtime, the band is constantly writing new songs. "We have so many songs that if someone told us we had to record an album a month, we could do it. We could. But we couldn't guarantee they would sound very good."

If you go . . .

What: The Giraffes

Where: Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East

When: tonight, 7 p.m.

How much: $10

Phone: 746-0558