One of the best albums of 2009 was from Wisconsin’s The Daredevil Christopher Wright, In Deference to a Broken Back. Starting on a rather somber note in “Hospital” infused with strings and the lyrics: “I died on the way to the hospital/I died/You cried all the way from the funeral/You cried,” In Deference to a Broken Back sets the listener up for the thoughtful, and sometimes quirky, lyrics of The Daredevil Christopher Wright.
The melodic voices of the trio (Jon Sunde, Jason Sunde, and Jesse Edgington) bounce through each song with the up-beat tempo you’d expect from a six-year old playing hopscotch. Each track is different from the previous with lyrics that cover everything from death to marriage to loss to cancer, and of course, the “dangerous” and villainous” adventures of “The Daredevil Christopher Wright,” the tenth song on the album.
The day-dreamy lyrics of “Stewardess” depicts the relationship of two people with two separate dreams, one to be a playwright, and the other to be a stewardess. As the opening lines are sung again halfway through the song, “Won’t you come back/I’m not the same without you/Without you/Let’s face the facts/I’m not nearly as clever or as funny to anybody but you,” they’re under different circumstances, as the people in question are faced with reality: “A million miles above the ocean/Come crashing down in slow motion.” “Stewardess” is the perfect example of how every song is steeped in poignancy and beauty, breathing the best and worst parts of life out loud.
Gorgeous and original, The Daredevil Christopher Wright has given us an amazing collection of songs with their debut full-length (they also have a self-titled ep that came out in 2005). Wanting even more of their musical endeavors poured into my ear, I felt it was my responsibility to track them down and find out the goods on the band. Vocalist and guitarist, Jon, was kind enough to do me the honor:
SICK OF THE RADIO: First things first…where did you come up with the name The Daredevil Christopher Wright?
JON: When we were preparing to record our first EP in 2005, we were trying to figure out a name for the band. We had briefly gone under the name Waltzes With Bears, taken from the title of a children’s song that played a small part in my growing up, but weren’t terribly excited about it. When I picked up our drummer Jesse to go to the studio to start recording, I mentioned that I had just written this song called The Daredevil Christopher Wright. He thought it sounded like a good name and since we were going to be putting out our first recording in the relatively near future, we made the quick decision and went with it. Thankfully I think it has endured as a fairly interesting name since. It is quite long however.
SICK OF THE RADIO: What’s the history behind how you came together to be the band you are?
JON: Well I had been doing solo singer-songwriter stuff throughout high school. My intentions when I went to college were to try and put together a band. Although I was briefly part of a band in high school, the town I grew up in just didn’t have much of a culture of kids getting together to make music. So I started performing solo in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where I was going to university, and some mutual friends who went to a university in a town close by, brought Jesse to a few of my shows. They knew he was a drummer and that I was looking to get a band together. We started performing together as just a duo. One summer my father convinced my brother Jason and I that it wouldn’t be that bad if Jason might try playing in the band. For whatever reason, we both were hesitant to play together. Jason sat in for a show and it just worked really well. We were a three piece from then on out.
SICK OF THE RADIO: First band you saw live and how old were you?
JON: The first band I saw live was my Father’s band Song. For the first seven or eight years of my life my Dad performed in a band that lead music for Lutheran youth conventions all over the place from Red Rocks in Colorado, to the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, to various Ramada Inn hotels in the Twin Cities. It was this that first put the thought of being a musician in a band in my head. I think one of the first non-familial bands I saw live was Soul Coughing when I was 14. It was a great show.
SICK OF THE RADIO: If you could tour with any band, living or dead, who would it be?
JON: That is an interesting question. Well I’m a huge Elliot Smith fan and so it would be pretty great to tour with him. I think it would have been cool to tour with David Bowie on the Hunky Dorie tour.
SICK OF THE RADIO: Creepiest thing a fan has ever done in the audience to get your attention?
JON: I think we are currently unknown enough that we haven’t bred a level of fan that resorts to anything beyond rather mundane means to get our attention. Apart from the various fan that gets pretty drunk and stumbles up to the front of the stage and creeps out the people around them, I don’t really have any good stories.
SICK OF THE RADIO: What’s the one item you can’t live without when you’re on tour?
JON: I take a fair amount of books when we travel. Those keep me going certainly.
SICK OF THE RADIO: The Daredevil Christopher Wright is going to be made into a Saturday morning cartoon. What notable cartoon characters would play you guys?
JON: Ok, let’s see. Jason would be played by Hikaru from Hikaru No Go. It’s an anime cartoon about a kid who plays Go, which is maybe like the Chinese equivalent to chess. Jason is a smart fellow, quite good at games in my estimation however doesn’t like me to say it, and is currently really into figuring out Go. Jesse would be played by Galactus the Eater of Worlds. He enjoys cooking and good food. I think I would be played by Aurthur from the cartoon the Tick. I can be a bit of a worrier at times.
SICK OF THE RADIO: When can we expect a new album?
JON: We are currently working on new material for the next record and hope to start recording this summer. So we’re hoping it will complete itself in the not too distant future. We’re all crossing our fingers.
By, Amanda Chatel