San Jose has been our band's home since September of 2007 when Dirk responded to my "bandmates wanted" ad that was posted around the SJSU music building. We were in choir together (and I thought he was totally hot) and he said he played bass and wanted to start a project. In reality, he was fine at bass but was actually an absurdly talented classical pianist. I made a fool of myself playing bad keyboard lines in front of him for weeks before he put me out of my misery.
At first, we went under my old band's name "Running to the Embassy." Soon, we changed to "Cartoon Bar Fight" when he snapped my bra and sent me sailing across the bedroom one day, like a scene from a cartoon. Yep, that's where that name came from. For months, we had fun hiding the fact that we were dating from the rest of our band.
We began by writing simplistic indie folk music that was pretty agreeable and also pretty plain. After several rounds of bandmates that didn't work out over the course of three or four years, Joel Zelaya, Max Rogers, and Jerald Bittle joined and allowed our project to begin to reach its potential. We were able to write more dynamic and rhythmically challenging music that was more fun to play (and equally importantly, more interesting to listen to). We changed our name, again, to "Starover Blue" (from Nabokov's Pale Fire) to reflect the stylistic change and our long-term goals as a group.
San Jose treated us well during the eight years we were involved in the scene. We released E.P.s and albums to rooms full of loving people and were given opportunities to play some very memorable shows at lovely Cafe Stritch, the Blank Club, and Art Boutiki. The Vados who run Art Boutiki will remain some of our favorite people on the planet. Amulya and Patrick of KSJS 90.5 were delightful to us and always ready to offer support. Bands like Hawk Jones, The Record Winter, Picture Atlantic, and Curious Quail kept us excited and engaged and believing in San Jose's musicians (plus, we love the members as people and friends). We will also always love our SF buddies The Y Axes and Rin Tin Tiger.
Lastly, our San Jose friends, SJSU classmates, co-workers, and fellow musicians who came to our shows over the years kept us feeling loved and determined.
Paradoxically, it is because of this determination that we have decided to leave the Bay Area. In fact, today is the second day of our new musical life in Portland, OR.
After my beloved dad passed away just after Christmas, change was inevitable. And change often leads to more change. We decided to make the move official shortly after teaming up with Portland's Breakup Records, who will be (re)releasing our new full-length, Spacegeist, which appeared online for a brief moment in early January before we took it down. Breakup will be working with us to promote the album in a way that wouldn't have been possible on our own.
At the moment, we can't tell you exactly what is to become of our lineup. There will, however, be at least a few familiar faces, as well as the beautiful new face of Cassandra Croft who has joined us live in the past for harmonies.
So, why are we leaving San Jose? Any band member who lives in San Jose already knows the answer. The grotesque rent. The lack of mid-sized indie venues and opportunities to support mid-level, nationally touring bands. The tech culture that ensures art and music are perpetual side-notes. We couldn't break through it. We know there are ambitious and motivated and creative people in San Jose who will continue to make it better over time, but we aren't getting any younger.
Despite that, there's so much that we love about San Jose, and the nostalgia of our college years at SJSU and the shows we played for you will forever pull at our hearts. We will return to play for you in the future. In the meantime, we hope you will think of us fondly and continue to listen to us and share our music as we take our show on the road.
Thank you for everything. We will miss you, but we will see you again.