Tim Fogarty, one half of the duo that makes up El Ten Eleven, is struggling to contain his anger.
“I hope they die, honestly,” he says with a what-can-you-do sort of laugh.
The reason Fogarty is upset is because the vast majority of the band’s gear was stolen at the end of March, right before they were going to head out on their current tour.
“It was about 90 percent of all our gear,” Fogarty says, “All my electronics, my drums. The hardest part for me was losing all the electronic drum stuff. I had a backup sampler all ready to go in case something happened with my regular rig live so I could just swap it out. But they got both of them, so I’ve spent the last few days trying to put together all the programming again. I had some of the samples saved, but there was a lot of programming gone. It was a nightmare.”
But in a moment of sarcastic, glass-half-full magnanimity, Fogarty finds a bright spot.
“They left my bass drum, which was really nice of them,” Fogarty says.
So, while the two musicians are on the road in support of their latest record, Transitions, they are having to transition from having all their gear set up how they like and being ready to perform live, to having a bunch of equipment they got at the last minute and being unsure what will happen once they start playing shows. But since they are not unfamiliar with tragedy and unfortunate circumstances, they keep pressing on.
“We’re still missing stuff and the backups don’t exactly sound the same, but we’ll make it work,” Fogarty says.
While the phrase “we’ll make it work” is said here with a never-say-die sort of attitude, it also applies to their latest album in a different way. An eclectic mix of rock & roll, electronic music and hip-hop, the songs on Transitions are put together in a cohesive fashion that suggests the band wanted to combine a host of disparate sounds and make them sound fresh and natural. The title track is aptly named, as the 10-plus-minute song includes sections of bass-heavy rock, subdued interludes, driving dance rock, funky sections and introspective guitar solos. In a way, this serves as their mission statement of not wanting to do the same thing over and over.
“[Transitions] is the next step in the way we’re evolving in terms of songwriting and performing,” Fogarty says. “It’s a little bit of everything. There’s some upbeat stuff and some mellow, chill kind of stuff, so it’s a pretty good mix.”
The album’s seven tracks range from the quiet (“Lullaby”) to the raucous (“Transitions”) and contain a fair amount of material with serious connotations (“Thanks Bill” is a nod to the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, because it helped the girlfriend of a bandmate get sober before the two got married). A cover of Duran Duran’s “Tiger Tiger” shows they are not above having fun with their music, but the most interesting track is “No One Died This Time!” which is simultaneously serious and humorous.
“When we were in the process of making previous records, people in our lives passed away, and so we would dedicate a song to them,” Fogarty says. “This time, nobody did, which is awesome, so instead of dedicating a song to someone who died, we did ‘No One Died this Time!’ because we were elated that nobody did. That’s probably why the song is sort of light and serious at the same time, because while it’s sort of serious subject matter, we were happy we didn’t have to dedicate one to anybody.”
This news comes as a relief to people who know Fogarty and Dunn.
“People must be afraid to be our friends because people in our lives keep dying,” Fogarty says with a laugh. “But that’s really not the way it is.”
EL TEN ELEVEN
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Saturday, April 27, 9 p.m.