Here in the ?Boro, Sebastian’s was still on the square and hosted several emerging groups of the time such as Fluid Ounces, The Features, and newcomers in 1996, The Katies.
I remember being 16 the first time I saw The Katies at Sebastian’s. I was under age so I couldn’t go into the bar, but the door man was cool enough to let me hang out with him so I could still see the show. I hadn’t been exposed to live rock ?n roll like that before, not from the locals.
It was brutal, and ear-splittingly loud, and one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. On stage it was pure controlled chaos. Around the same time I saw my first Katies show, the band, Jason Moore, Gary Welsh and Joshua Moore were being signed to Electra records.
After only one album, 1999’s The Katies, they were dropped from their label.
Proceed to the bite of the California bug, it’s left a scar on thousands of pretty boys with guitars. The Katies would be no different.
“All the cliches you hear about Hollywood are true, and we ran out of money,” said drummer Joshua Moore about life on the west coast.
102 degrees and this desolation spills out in front of me in ripples off the asphalt. This desert should offer me some answers, at least echo my questions back to me. No scenic drive around the Panhandle, not this time. No sun setting over the ocean, just singing highway and hardpan. I-40 in the sweltering afternoon. Turn up the radio, try not to think. When the night takes a deep breath/ and the daylight has no air/ If I crawl, if I come crawling back/ will you still be there? All lights have worn off, now they only keep me up at night. I am not a product, I have nothing to sell but my soul. That goes cheap in Hollywood. Three nights and four days driving home to somewhere that was never really home; though nowhere has ever really been home as far as I?m concerned.
What does this have to do with anything? Think
about leaving California. Think about being a big fish in a small pond and traveling to more polluted waters to swim with the sharks.
Guitarist and vocalist Jason Moore talked more with The Murfreesboro Pulse about leaving California.
MP: What was the turning point, what made leaving easier than staying?
JM: L.A. is not any easy place to stay long if you don’t have a lot of disposable income and if fake things, mainly fake people, bother you. Don’t get me wrong I met some cool people and had a lot of good times in L.A. The weather is great, the food is great, being in a big city is fun. The Pacific Ocean is wonderful, and the deserts to the east are gorgeous. But something about the place never set right with me. I can’t pinpoint it and say “this or that” it is I just knew my time in L.A. was running out. The band Joshua and I formed after The Katies broke up, When Breathing Stops, had fallen apart after the other guitarist Shawn Turner left L.A. abruptly. So here we were, back at square one and it just seemed like the right time to leave.
MP: What were your feelings upon returning home only to start over again?
JM: It’s hard and it’s disheartening. A lot has changed in Nashville so it’s cool seeing that, but hard to see where we might fit. Who knows, we’ll just have to see.
MP: What’s different this time around?
JM: I think we are nicer to each other and not as high on God knows what anymore,which makes communication easier.
I think I understand what I want to say in a song better now. Having another guitar player, or I should say having Joey (Cambell), in the band has added a dynamic that was missing especially in working on the songs. Mostly I think we appreciate what we have now.
MP: How has this experienced changed you guys as a band?
JM: Hopefully for the better.
“We just play music,” Welsh, bass and vocals, said over drinks after their Dec. 10 show with Luna Halo at 12th and Porter, “It’s not that complicated, but we love what we do.”
And they do it so well. In their newer songs, like “Devilbox,” the listener can hear the rejection not just in the lyrics, but in the music itself. The louder it gets, the deeper it cuts.
With a chorus of “Jesus never saves me, Jesus never saves me
. . . these wounds go deep,” The Katies put it best in the song, “Texas.”
Life just becomes old, you feel yourself grow cold. Whispers and old coats turn into someone and visions of heaven stay waiting in anthems that never get sung.
What else can I say? We went to two different shows
to put this together and there’s not much difference in their performance at a huge venue in Nashville versus a small one on the square just down the road from where it all began, at least for me.
These guys get on stage and bleed for you, they’re jaded and their honest about it. Best of all they’re good at it.
Maybe California wasn’t ready for them, or they weren’t prepared for the size of the sharks. Either way, they’re not the same Katies that left Tennessee.
Maybe in the long run, that’s what will make the difference.