Eric Elbogen's Say Hi (to Your Mom) played a bunch of songs from the new album "The Wishes and the Glitch" at the Hi-Dive last night. It started out with "Zero to Love," with Eric singing and playing guitar, his Mac playing the bass and keyboard parts, and Westin Glass helping out on drums. Also played "Northwestern Girls," "Spiders," among others. Then, since the Hi-Dive has no place for bands to duck while crowds sweatily clamor for an encore, they stayed on stage and just said the next two songs would be the encore. (Although Eric told the crowd Say Hi doesn't believe in encores and was just going to play the next two songs and go happily into the night). With that, they played "These Fangs," then Westin left the stage as Eric played a beautiful solo version of "Let's Talk About Spaceships."
Elbogen, who grew up in L.A., spent seven years in New York before moving to Seattle in December '06. While previous albums focused on vampires and androids, the new one is a little more grown up, even if there is a song referencing Ms. Pacman.
"Moving to a different city gives you a fresh perspective. The intention of the new record was to make a record about fresh starts," Elbogen said before the show.
The former freelance music writer has been making music full time for the last three years. Besides writing all Say Hi's songs and playing most all the parts on the new album, he's also behind his own record label, which started because no one else would put his music out. He's his own roadie and driver, etc, etc, etc.
"You work a lot of the time. Going on tour isn't the easiest thing in the world. You're driving a lot, then hanging out in the venue waiting to play. Then you have to carry out all your equipment, find a place to stay, then do it all over again. But I'm not sitting in a cubicle doing mindless tedious things."
Before Denver, Elbogen was in Texas and played shows at SXSW. Just a few more dates and he'll be back home in Seattle.
"As un-rock and roll as it sounds, a priority is trying to get enough sleep, which sometimes my tourmates are not too happy about. They may not have toured before or are younger, so they're upset when we have to go to the hotel and go directly to bed!"
"A lot of times you have to act a little bit younger when you're in this business. I'm not working 9 to 5, go out and driving city to city, playing rock music: It forces you to be as youthful as possible."
The new album again features songs written and recorded by Elbogen, but friends provide guest vocals (David Bazan / Pedro the Lion and John Roderick from the Long Winters) and input on some of the songs.
Elbogen started playing guitar around 13.
"I never wanted to be a singer. I started writing songs, and the band I was with was looking for a singer. We didn't find one for the longest time, so my bandmates said 'you wrote the songs, why don't you sing.' So I became the singer by default."
In college he got a bass, then started tinkering on keyboards through the course of the Say Hi records. "I'm still not technically phenomenal at all the auxiliary instruments but I can find my way around," he says then smiles. "Especially where you can use computers to tweak the imperfections."
RANDOM QUESTION: Have you kept up with the presidential race?
EE: Unfortunately no. I feel really guilty about it. I've been really out of touch with politics. Leading up to the tour, I was working on the tour, preparing the record. I was working 12 hours a day. so I didn't get a chance. Which is embarrassing. When I get back, I'll retroactively do all my homework to prepare by November.
Action Packed Thrill Ride of Denver opened and lived up to their name. Fantastic. They'll be back 4/18 at the Hi-Dive. Then Kevin Devine, who played the Hi-Dive not so long ago with Manchester Orchestra and Annuals, took the stage. May have been more people to see him than Say Hi.