Sonic Business 

Terrance D.H. launches Magstatic 2.0 with the new Country vs. City.

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The day job is integral to a musician’s existence—the “salad” in one’s “salad days” (the duration of which is indefinite). Of the local musicians featured in past installments of Scene & Heard, we’ve had pizza delivery guys, bean grinders, bean counters, librarians, web designers, private detectives … the list goes on. But when a musician manages to find a way to make a living within the music industry, we rejoice and stifle pangs of envy. Magstatic main man Terrance D.H., then, is a magnificent dude. He not only makes a living recording local bands at Counterpoint Studios, but he’s found a way to supplement that income by writing hip-hop beats and selling them to eager MCs.

“These guys are always looking for beats,” he beams. “And they’re paying up to $2,000 for them. I said, ‘Hell, I’ll do ’em for $400!’” He’s having some success, too, reporting calls from satisfied customers. “I put guitar in my beats and they really like it. I’m also doing commercial jingles for Beehive Bail Bonds. Have you heard them on Rock 99? [Sings, metal god-style] Stuck in jaaaiiil?! Call Beehive Baaaiiil Bonds! I’m also trying to get a sponsorship with Uinta Beer,” he says between swigs.

With such a full plate, it’s a wonder he has time to rock, but somehow he’s found time to rebuild the good-rockin’ Magstatic—a band he has captained since 1995—and record his best album to date, Country vs. City (on Olympia indie Pop Sweatshop).

After releasing Wrist Rockets & Roller Coasters in 2001, Terrance watched drummer Joe Patterson relocate to Seattle and bassist Pete Lindgren quit to pursue family life. Left to start over, he set up with thoughts of solo life. However, after meeting and jamming with drummer Garry Ventura (L.A.’s Raffgreen, Dallas’ Love Remote), it was clear Magstatic would have a new incarnation.

“I didn’t want to start over,” he explains. “These are still my songs, so it’s still Magstatic. It was easier, rather than starting a new band, to keep it Magstatic. That was a whole step we could skip, ’cause people knew who Magstatic was.”

After a very fleeting consideration of a two-man config, the two enlisted Nurse Sherri’s Chelsa Vaun (bass) and Jason Horn (guitar). The new band rehearsed for five months and began playing out. At a recent Liquid Joe’s gig, they rocked with intensity on tunes from Country vs. City and older gems like “Home” and “Boat.”

The renewal is palpable on the new album, from the title track’s Southern rock-gone-emo opening shot through the Fu Man-chewy “Speedboat,” an excellent re-recording of “Home” and the sedate “How to Play Good Golf.” Lest the Southern rock and Fu Manchu references have you thinking sonic overhaul, accept this assessment: On Country vs. City, Magstatic hits the sweet spot between 1999’s song-oriented melody buffet, Cruiseliner, and the blowing-out-the-cobwebs rockfest, Wrist Rockets. In its new incarnation, Magstatic has created a sublime rock & roll experience. And with enthusiastic support of Pop Sweatshop, the band might see its greatest success since releasing a 7-inch single on über-indie Sub Pop. That is, if Terrance can squeeze a tour into his busy schedule.

“We have to tour, [but] I personally don’t want to go out for a month. We are going to be strategic about it this time, [because] I love just being a local band and having a good time with it. We all decided we really wanted it to be fun and not a business. Then it’s no fun. I’ve started to see that my friends who are successful in music are not really enjoying it much anymore. I don’t want to be living in a van playing to 100 people, eating fast food and going to the bathroom in strange places the rest of my life. I’ve done it quite enough. If we start traveling in a nice motor home, we’ll talk. [For now], I’m psyched to be a part of this killer local scene. It’s plenty to fulfill my needs.”

Well, that and the beer.

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