gets quintet's goat
Aug. 15, 2002
"Goats are great," James Patrick Jordan states. "They're
communal, they maintain this great cohesion, but they have pride."
Singer-songwriter-guitarist-goat father of two Jordan has written
many songs about goats, including "Goat Songs I: The Flesh,"
an album that chronicles a duo of Nubian bucks through their conception,
birth and first few months of life. He also has, through the country
outfit Caliche Con Carne, assembled a goatlike five-piece of Tucson
musicians that functions harmoniously when necessary but brings
great individuality to the band.
As Jordan notes, those goats are "lusty animals."
Three of the members hail from the on-hiatus (perhaps for good)
jazz prog explosion Cortex Bomb and its groove-based companion A.P.E.
- bassist Eric Baldoni, who became a Caliche six years ago; guitarist-mandolinist
Leo Schwamm, who joined close to three years ago; and drummer Bryn
Jones, the baby with five months with Con Carne. Singer Raquel Mogollon
has given five good years and counting.
"We sometimes have serious identity crises," Mogollon
Caliche Con Carne was started in 1995 as an acoustic trio, but only
Jordan remains. (Founding member Eric Royer does, however, offer
up some banjo on its new CD.)
Though Jordan writes the majority of the songs, Caliche is strengthened
by the sum of its members. The end results tend to fit comfortably
in the country container, with songs based as much on the interrelationships
in the band as Jordan's lyrical leanings. Jones and Baldoni are
a tight but friendly rhythm section, Mogollon and Jordan (a couple)
have mastered a conversational approach to harmonizing and Schwamm's
undercurrent of self-taught slide guitar ties everything together.
"We're more gospel than country. Gospel-folk," Jordan
"I don't know about gospel, but folk, yeah," Baldoni says
with a nod. "And we have some punk."
"We're gos-punk," Jordan muses.
"Did you say God's punk?" Mogollon asks.
"No, gos-punk," Jordan counters.
"I like God's punk," Mogollon asserts.
"We're truly gospel," Jordan says, holding a bottle of
Michelob, "because we plunge the depths of sin and righteousness."
The band, which tosses in the occasional Spanish-language tune,
tends toward story songs. "OldMan LittleBoy," for instance,
was inspired by an encounter Jordan had as an inquisitive child
attempting to get glimpses of World War II from the senior down
And, with a roster of close to 150 songs, there are a lot of tales
to tell. The most recent storybook comes in the form of "The
Great Cyclops and Other Tales Rendered." The official release
of the CD will be in the second week of September, but it is currently
available through MockBrawn Records (www.mockbrawn.com) and Toxic
"I know there's one at Zia," Mogollon offers. "My
sister sold hers."
"What?" Jordan asks, amazed.
Recorded at Waterworks West, the band garnered further cohesion
from its favorite sound engineer, Jim Waters, the local talent who
has brought out the best of such bands as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
"He's a hard ass," Schwamm says.
"But he's funny and entertaining," Jordan adds.
"We were doing this song about a woman bemoaning the loss of
her sailor, when Jim turned the sound down so we could only hear
James singing 'and my sailor will come back to me' in this soft,
sweet voice. And that was great. That's Jim."
And, Baldoni says, the band is ready to record another.
Caliche Con Carne has been a fixture at downtown bars for years,
but Mogollon fears the band has become too insulated in the downtown
scene. "I don't like that the border is so tight between us
and South Tucson," she says. "There's some really fing
weird forcefield there."
The band will embark on an Arizona tour in mid-September, with plans
to play Phoenix, Benson and Bisbee. This fits Jordan's interest
in connecting with the regional musical community.
"Music is an expression of your community. I'm very inspired
by the music of my region," Jordan says. "When music has
exploded, you look to the south - to country, jazz, bluegrass, rock.
All are the product of strong cultural roots."
And the Caliche's diverse cultural roots serve its end product.
"I think we play best when we're all pissed off at each other,"
"We always start our practices with prayer and substance abuse,"
Jordan says. "The best music is produced from tension. Look
at Johnny Cash and his pills."
order the great cyclops