On June 13 and 14, from noon – 6 pm, InLiquid presents Art for the Cash Poor 16. Go Mad for Music as the three-day event includes all the elements that drive us crazy-in-love with Philadelphia’s creative sector. Musical therapy comes in the form of live bands. Throughout the weekend, eight bands will donate their music to the cause of art for all, while Disco Hootenanny turns Friday night’s preview into a dance while you drink-shop-eat kinda night.
The Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlesome Bells tower over the Philadelphia music scene with premonitions of poetry. Band member RJ Gilligan talks album art and symbolism in an interview below.
Can you give me a bit of background on The Meddlesome Meddlesome Meddlesome Bells? How did you all meet?
Yuri and I are childhood wood-rats. We chopped wood and listened to Neurosis. Our first song together at 14 was called “My Parents Were Eaten By A Bear”. Years later, I lived in your classic nearly-squat shit-landlord punk house with hobo intelligentsia from off the Rochester Cannon Ball line, and the matriarch of the house and I had a stellar rapport. She joined in on virtually every instrument. We were a folk band in the beginning. But always kind of off-putting and into noise. Heaviness eventually begot us. Yuri’s brother Caleb plays bass now, and we grabbed Tony because he’s the best damn drummer in Bucks County, but he’ll talk your fucking ear off.
The band name reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells”. Why did you land on such a long title?
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells! It’s actually from a Julian Cope Poem called “The Wall”, which has a similar tintinnabulation of repetition and meter. So, I wonder how inspired he was by Poe. I give all kinds of answers to this question, and they’re all true. It takes up vast real estate on posters. It’s fun to hear people say the whole name. When someone asks our name, I can’t say it at all but boldly, or else the whole meddlesome mountain comes crumbling down.
Would you mind telling me a bit about your album art?
The bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica fell in 1913 and was captured in a grainy photograph. Could you imagine the sound that thing made when it fell? I’d reckon the bells never rang as loudly or as clear. Our new record has the lyric, “dry-eyed lover lingers like a tower, makes me dig..” because there is an irremediable disconnect between the tower we’ve all created together, and the emotion we feel towards it. In our sub-conscious, we all pray the tower falls. This symbol is featured prominently on the cover of our new record with an intentionally barely-legible poem beside it which tells a creation story (“… they brushed ‘er down and dove in depth to cutting up the world!”). The Tower is a symbol of upheaval and change. When it falls, as it does here (and with bells ringing, no less!), it is the physical manifestation of all of our child-like hope. It follows that the lyrics of this record are more abstracted than the last things we’ve done, but it’s still protesting (like always) against this adult world of possession (“.. nobody looks up to the sky!”) and destruction (“… things are rarely what they should be, at least you feel free”). It’s our take on the psychedelic.
Do you have any upcoming performances?
Yes, our next Philadelphia show is with THE SKULL at KFN on June 27th. Look, this show’s gonna be nuts. They’re the real senior motherfuckers.
You’ll be playing with a group of bands you’re friends with at the event. Outside of these bands, who are some of your other favorite local bands to perform with?
Trophy Wife is the best band in Philly. Someone give them a medal.
What are you looking forward to most about participating in Art for the Cash Poor 16?
That it’s outside! Music should be played outside.