Big Bad Buffalo frontman Jordan Krimston talks with a measured, sure-footed cadence that belies the fact that he’s all of 16 years old.
To say the kid is confident (and highly intelligent) would be putting it lightly. Knowing his affinity for any John Reis vehicle, I’ve asked the curly-haired guitarist/vocalist to share his thoughts on the recent Drive Like Jehu reunion in an attempt to shake his calculated mind. He didn’t bite.
“It’s pretty unreal. When I heard that Jehu was reuniting for that Organ Pavilion show I didn’t even freak out; I just laughed. I don’t think my body knew how to take it.”
When I was Krimston’s age, I wrote mundane schoolyard ditties on a shitty acoustic guitar — my adolescent voice nothing more than a thin whisper. I was self taught, which was just an indignant excuse for refusing to learn how to do it right. Big Bad Buffalo (which also consists of bassist Silvio Damone and drummer Alex Staninger, both 18-year olds) can’t even legally stay inside most of the clubs they perform in but they’ve already got a West Coast tour under their belts, a rapidly increasing fanbase due to their compelling live shows, a phenomenal post-rock debut album (American) that dropped earlier this year, and an opening slot for Hot Snakes at the Irenic on Wednesday, Sept. 10.
“I was blown away,” Krimston says when asked what it felt like when they got the gig. “[Hot Snakes] have been one of my favorite bands ever since Big Bad Buffalo started. I never thought I’d get the chance to share the stage with them. I was also stoked when I found out Ghetto Blaster was playing. I’ve never seen them before, but I’m a huge fan.”
Now you can clearly see what I’m dealing with: This dude is an aggravating model of politeness; seemingly always mild-mannered; a complimentary gentleman through and through. Mentioning the other opening band in his own band’s interview? Unheard of. He’s just too damn nice. This guy would probably replace backstage strippers and blow with chocolate milk and Doritos. Why do I get the feeling he’d apologize to audiences for playing too loud?
Regardless, he’s a student of music (literally — he performs with the School of Rock band), and it shows when we were discussing what he’s looking forward to from other local groups: “I’m really excited for Weatherbox’s upcoming tour, Octagrape in general, more music from Swift Intruders, more music from Oh Spirit and a potential Meraki reunion … if that ever happens. One can dream.”
One can also dream that these boys don’t toil in obscurity and if the response from the first album is any indication, they’re already well on their way. Their debut is a solid collection of a dozen near-math rock tunes that owe as much to yester-decade Jade Tree artists like Jets to Brazil, Pedro the Lion and Joan of Arc as they do to Sonic Youth, early-era Death Cab For Cutie and Cursive.
On it, Krimston’s angular guitar playing — alternately bursting with shards of harmonically rich leads and thick, distorted slabs of rhythm riffs — underlie his speak/sing voice and captivating, mildly sardonic (read, humorous) lyrics like, “Godless blondes are praying to their lipstick and they’re spraying tan lines on their white thighs that their gods could not prevent” from “Tricky With the Digits.” Damone and Staninger provide a constant lurching, heaving bed of odd time signatures and counter melodies amid razor sharp mid-song breaks. This isn’t music for the faint of heart; American was made by music fans for music fans. Weekend warrior Top 40 radio listeners can move right along … off a cliff.
It partially explains why being tapped to play Wednesday night’s Hot Snakes show is appropriately perfect — after all, the legendary band has always been a big deal for Krimston and Co.: “I love every Hot Snakes album … they are definitely one of the most consistent bands out there. I saw them at FYF Fest two years ago and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Also, the first song Big Bad Buffalo ‘wrote’ was a terrible rip-off of ‘LAX’ by Hot Snakes.”
And what’s next for the trio after this monumental show? As usual, the frontman’s on top of his game.
“We are deep in the writing process for LP2. We’re working slowly, but surely. We want to get everything just right. Hopefully, we can organize another quick West Coast jaunt or better yet, tour eastward. [The band] has a lot of plans for the future and things are looking bright. Oh! And we’ll also be debuting some new material at the Irenic show if you wanna hear how the new album is shaping up.”
When I was 16, I was bagging groceries at my local Safeway and making fart jokes (still do). These guys are touring the nation and playing shows with post-hardcore icons.