Thursday, June 14, 2007
Marry Me Moses could be the name of a nun's autobiography or a Judeo-Christian marriage seminar. But here in Lawrence, Marry Me Moses is synonymous with face-melting rock riffs, more or less. Composed of three Kritikos brothers-Ted, Alex and Henry-as well as bassist Jenny Davidson and drummer Mark Harries, the industrious group recently ascended Mount Sinai (a.k.a. Neighborhood Studios), and recorded their debut tablet (a.k.a. album). "Engine Engine" is a 10-song mosaic spanning pop rock, glam rock, indie rock, '70s rock and just plain rock. The whole shebang is fearlessly commanded by high-register vocal acrobat Ted Kritikos-also heard in the local "Jesus Christ Superstar" rock ensemble. Four of the five Moseses (excepting Henry) stopped by our podcast studio to listen to the new record and tease Ted about his girlish voice.
Marry Me Moses could be the name of a nun's autobiography or a Judeo-Christian marriage seminar. But here in Lawrence, Marry Me Moses is synonymous with face-melting rock riffs, more or less. Composed of three Kritikos brothers-Ted, Alex and Henry-as well as bassist Jenny Davidson and drummer Mark Harries, ...
No-fi highlights of the interview
lawrence.com: So Ted is Mary Magdalene in the local rock production of "Jesus Christ Superstar." Is it ok that I share that with people?
Ted: Yes, that's just fine. In fact, we did that at Wakarusa and I had to endure an entire day of people calling me Mary. But that's ok.
Is that a role that was originally sung by a female or a male?
Ted: It was originally sung by a female. I kind of sing like a girl ... I'm very comfortable with my vocal range. I think the Lawrence Journal-World has called it a soprano, but we like to call it a tenor.
- Saturday, June 23, 2007, 9 p.m.
- Bottleneck, 737 New Hampshire, Lawrence
- All ages / $5
To be honest, Ted, I don't think you sing like a girl.
Ted (in a girly voice): Thank you.
I just think you have a good range.
Ted: You know who else sings like a girl? Robert Plant.
So tell me about the title of the record.
Ted: Upon listening to the album, I was struck with how fast we played all of the songs. So I wanted to pick a name that had some sort of momentum to it. I thought about "Engine," but that wasn't very good. So I thought up "Engine Engine."
Alex: It was a lot better than the previously suggested title of "Ass-trology."
I get the impression that you guys are tuning into the oldies dial when you're cruising down the highway.
Ted: It's definitely '70s and '80s and early '90s oriented. There's very little that a contemporary audience can latch on to.
Lyrically ... tell me some of the stuff you were thinking about.
Ted: Well, essentially we've made a pop rock record. I think that's safe to say, even though our shows have become much more garage rock-ish. Within that genre, I try to write lyrics that are about girls ... Sophisticated girly love songs.
About mature, sophisticated love?
Mark: About immature love described in a mature sort of biblical-referenced way.
Ted: Yeah, it's very pretentious.
Did being involved with "Jesus Christ Superstar" influence the content of this record?
Alex: Didn't we once rearrange some of these songs and turn it into a rock opera?
All: Oh yeah.
Ted: Some of these songs originally appeared in a rock opera about Paul Bunyan.
Why in the world would you abandon such a project? Why in the world would you begin such a project?
Ted: We started there because I thought it would be something that no one on earth has ever done before; we would be first ever Paul Bunyan rock opera.
Alex: And coincidentally, we were slated to enter a battle of the bands and needed an edge.
Ted: But then we typed "Paul Bunyan Opera" into Google and it turns out there is one already. It's not a rock opera, but there is a Paul Bunyan opera.
Mark: I think it's a comic opera. Ours is serious.
Ted: Yeah, it's really serious -- like fake trees and fake snow onstage serious.
So what sort of themes carried over from that to "Engine Engine"?
Ted: The kind of angrier songs I had originally intended to be sung by the villain of the rock opera. There are different personas that make their appearance on the album. There's also a song about lumberjacks ... lines about chopping down trees and stuff. If you look for it you'll find Paul Bunyan references everywhere.
So my challenge question for you is: How would you compare the saga of Marry Me Moses to the saga of Paul Bunyan?
Mark: A pretty equal number of pancakes involved, I think.
Alex: I wore a lot of flannel in high school.
Ted: I am incredibly tall.
Jenny: I don't know.