Mark Fleming, guitarist for punk quartet the White Heat, inadvertently stumbled upon his other musical persona - the One Man Bandit - while playing with his previous band, Slobber. The group kept their gear in Fleming's bedroom, and during a moment of boredom, he realized that he possessed some serious multi-tasking dexterity.
"I sat down on the drum set with a guitar in my hand, and figured out that I could put the drum stick between my ring finger and my middle finger, and still have the pick between my index finger and thumb," Fleming says. "I could play simple rhythms on guitar and still be able to play the drums."
Fleming wrote a few songs and worked out a few covers for his solitary ensemble, and briefly took his act on the road with Boxcar Satan. "It was more like a comedy act than seeing a band play, because I was really drunk that time," he says. "But it was still fun enough to actually do it again, as long as I watched myself and didn't get so drunk that I couldn't play."
The One Man Bandit shows have since become local must-sees that Fleming pulls together once or twice a year, drawing the curious and the dubious alike. Because he doesn't have to work out musical arrangements with other players, when Fleming gets a request for something like Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby," he can often deliver the goods on the spot.
|Living in the shadow of Guyville: Liz Phair
No disc this year has stirred up more rock-crit debate than Liz Phair's self-titled release, which is - depending on who you believe - either a slick, pathetic bid for teen-pop acceptance or a joyous hookfest. While it's annoyingly dumbed-down in places ("Why Can't I?" is an unconvincing Avril Lavigne sound-alike), this record is a well-crafted, mildly subversive set of modern pop-rock, whose virtues would probably be better appreciated if Phair didn't have the shadow of 1993's masterful Exile In Guyville hanging over her.
Phair will be at Stubb's in Austin on Saturday, August 2, with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. Doors open at 7 p.m.; tickets are $22. •