Gossip: Ian Smith joins Amorphous Band

    • 12/24/2010


As noted in a feature article in last week's Spotlight, Amorphous Band bassist Keith Foley retired from the band; his last bash Dec. 17. But there was little mention of his replacement Ian Smith. So "who be" this Smith?

Well he's a longtime musician who's moved around. The quick of it is, he played violin in elementary school, hit the upright about 9 and put it aside for guitar in his teens. "You know how adolescents are, you go in the music store and see a bass with four strings and then a guitar with all those shiny strings ...; and guitarist gets the chicks ...; " you get the picture. He revisted the bass at 17, "and I haven't stopped yet."

There were years playing electronic music both solo and with SPAZ, "which allowed me to tour around the world." He returned to the U.S. West Coast and stayed for 10 years. He subbed a lot and played with Fish Bones' Kendall Jones' band The Cause. He returned to New Hampshire three years ago.

Today he lives in Hopkinton, but will soon go mobile via his bus, "which I'm outfitting right now to run on veggie oil," he explains. "I'm planning on moving the bus closer to the Seacoast. ...; The idea is to be migratory."

He first connected with Chris O'Neill of Amorphous in the early '90s "through a friend of a friend." A few weeks back O'Neill called offered Smith a spot: "And I'm really glad he called."

Smith plays bass, guitar, keys and upright. "I'm hoping to switch it up especially for the original stuff," he says. Catch the new guy with Amorphous on Jan. 5 at the Barley Pub and Jan. 7 at the Dolphin Striker.

Darby Tench in demand

Darby Tench, a University of New Hampshire Italian lecturer, is busy as a "Nutcracker" kid wrangler with outside projects — singing and writing. " 'It's better for me this way,' she said gritting her teeth,'" says Tench. Well at least it's working for her.

Tench's original short play "Bundza" is one of eight selected from 70 submissions for the Parish Players Theater Festival in Theford, Vt., (Feb. 11). "It's about teachers, students, and the powers that be. And it's a musical!" she says. "It's university life ...; not based on anything autobiographical — of course."

It started life in a screenwriting workshop as a five-minute script. "Now it's for 10 minutes. I'm working to get it to a full-length by increments."

Writing is new to Tench, singing longtime. For 15 years she's created and performed solo comedy opera shows, which have taken her as far as China. "Why combine comedy and opera? I was always the class clown ...; and I could always find jokes about opera — not to make fun of opera, but because they were human situations that are funny," she says. "I'm a very good singer. But there's a lot of good singers better than I. What I can do is really relate to an audience and a lot through the humor."

Last week Tench teamed up with poet Andrew Periale for "Light Fantastic!" an afternoon of poetry and celebration at the Portsmouth Public Library, which may well become an annual event.

Martin Scott Quinn goes visual

Yes, Martin Scott Quinn the visual artist exhibiting at 1 Washington Center in Dover IS Martin (Marty) Quinn the innovator, electronic musician guy. "I got into it doing my research when I got a grant to create an exhibition for NASA called "Walk on the Sun," he explains.

"Walk on the Sun" asked viewers to pass through a projected image of the sun, which sets off a musical interpretation of the piece. Each color in the picture is assigned an instrument; a hue's different "brightness" is attributed a different musical pitch.

"So on a dark blue image you hear a low guitar sound, and on a bright blue it will be a high pitch on a guitar," he explains.

At the same time he created "Sun" he began creating images with a program called Firework, which allows overlaying and lead to his visual art.

The Washington Street exhibition (through January) includes up to 80 hung images with as many as 100 digital media pieces ("or more" he adds) that you can move through triggering tunes.

This of course has led Quinn to a new project in collaboration with the St. Lucy Days School in Philadelphia, " I'm working on communicating movies to the blind through translation of imagery through music."

In addition, Quinn is returning to school. First it's the master computer program at UNH, (where he's lectured). "I'm ultimately heading for my Ph.D.," he explains. The reason is simple, his nonprofit Sonification Research Lab, (drsrl.com), which translates all forms of date into music, will be better served by the degree.

In case you missed last week's Portsmouth Herald profile, there's a new guy in town. James Prendergast moved from Nashville, where he worked the music business as musician and producer for 30 years, and will open a studio in Portsmouth mid January, at the former McDonough Street mattress factory. Story at http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20101218-LIFE-12180301.

Jeanné McCartin has her eyes and ears out for Seacoast gossip. Visit her blog at http://thegossiplady.blogspot.com and e-mail maskmakernh@gmail.com.