June 10, 2004

Secret Machines: The Migrant Farmers of Rock ‘N Roll?

By Randy J. Klodz

Fresh off a recent successful tour in support of Blonde Redhead, Secret Machines has quickly become less of a secret to fans across the nation with the dream-rock of the band’s recent album “Now Here is Nowhere.” The Secret Machines will be making its Chicago headlining debut on June 13 at Metro.

Secret Machines—a Dallas-born trio features Ben Curtis (vocals/guitar), Brandon Curtis (bass/keyboards/vocals) and Josh Garza (drums)—has, for now, abandoned the band’s Midwestern roots, geographically speaking, but the band’s gritty attitude keeps the band Midwestern boys at heart.

“They even have us working on our day off here,” said Ben Curtis, bassist / keyboardist / singer for Secret Machines, as the 25-year-old phoned in while he strolled through New York while on a two-day “break” from touring. “We’re the migrant farmers of rock ‘n roll, we work when there’s work.”

Though the band has lived in New York for four years, the band’s members have restrained themselves from becoming teeny-bop visitors to MTV’s “TRL” program, where teens often flock in the streets in front of the show’s live broadcast, which takes place in Times Square. “We actually just stand out front waving signs for Justin Timberlake,” Curtis said jokingly. “You have to look closely, but you’ll see us there, everyday.”

Since the May 18 release of “Now Here is Nowhere,” Secret Machines has been receiving loads of positive press, a feat of which most bands won’t complain. The best feature of the flattering reviews, Curtis said, is that “the criticism, good our bad, has been about our music.” While many bands get press by having famous relatives, celebrity girlfriends or attention-grabbing gimmicks, Secret Machines is letting the music speak for itself.

And the music, which has been compared to classic-rock greats Pink Floyd, and other light rock and pioneer psychedelic rockers, is thriving with potential in this current time of indie-rock success.

The “Nowhere Again” lyrics: “Cellophane flowers never happened for me / I’ve been sleeping the day off / Watching the night fall / Covering nowhere / Filling my time share” glisten with light, catchy guitar-pop. Josh Garza’s sturdy drum work gives the track a head-nod quality, sure to get live crowds bopping.

Metro is at 3730 N. Clark St. Tickets for this 18+ show are listed for $8 each, with show time scheduled for 8 p.m. Skeleton Key and New Black are also scheduled to perform. For more information log on to www.thesecretmachines.com.

Secret Machines Photo: Phil Knott