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David Vaipan tells the story of how he and Manuel Aparicio came up with the name for their band and you kind of don't believe him — even if you want to.
It's a weird little tale, about an annual extreme sledding competition, a great-aunt Guadalupe (who lives in a cabin in the woods outside Tahoe) and a near-death experience with a falling icicle.
“One brisk morning, the whole group shivered outside, sleds in hands, waiting for Manuel's great aunt to come out to drive them to the sledding competition. Manuel shouted for great aunt Guadalupe to come, though she did not respond. I glanced up and noticed an icicle about to break off directly above Manuel's head. I shouted out, ‘Manuel! Watch it, brotha! It's an icicle!' From then on, we referred to any near-death situation as an icicle. Such as almost getting in a car accident, overdosing on heroin, or being attacked by ostriches. And that's where our band name comes from.”
Believe the story or not, It's an Icicle seems like a cool band — they've gotten some love from people we like. Plus, Vaipan uses words like drumist and drives cross-country in a Prius.
You can check out the indie-rock duo at Fresno State's annual Vintage Days Battle of the Bands, 7 p.m. tomorrow night, or wait until it releases its first full-length album, “Stay Gold Ponyboy,” later this year.
There's only two of you. Speaking as a guy who's been in bands, that seems like a pretty efficient way to do things. Was there ever a thought of bringing other players in?
Being a two-piece definitely is efficient. It's easier to schedule band practices, and get to shows on time.
When I hear (and see) your name it's always along with a group of other bands (Circle and Circle, World's Fastest Indian, Tokyo Death March). Are you guys some sort of collective, or just play together a lot, or what?
We aren't a collective. We're a few musicians who live in the same general area and love to play music. It's actually pathetic to think that there aren't MORE local musicians who are willing to go to the shows for the music rather than a place just to hang. But at least Fresno has these cool venues where you can play shows and chill without being scared of being hassled. Even house shows are generally entertaining and great acts come through there sometimes.
I also keep hearing about the Barnyard in Clovis. But I'm an old man. Clue me in.
The Barnyard is a great church/venue. For the bigger shows in Clovis, it's definitely a good place to hold a show. We love to play there; it's a great setting.
Can we get a little band history please?
Manuel, Kameron, and I used to play hot indie rock beats in a small band called Fat Free Water. We played two shows and an acoustic show, where instead of drums I beat-boxed and free-styled. Manuel was lead guitarist and vocalist and Kameron also was the lead guitarist and keyboardist. I was the drumist. We fell apart, and after many blue moons without playing music together, Manuel and I decided to start a two-piece. We were originally going to be called, Yesterday or Today. We thought it was pretty lame. So we stuck with It's An Icicle.
You guys are planning a tour in the summer. Where are you going? Is it just the two of you? Are you taking a van?
All of the dates are set, we just need to finish recording our album before we begin booking. So, hopefully by the end of the month that'll be finished. When we do go, though, we're taking my Prius. I've already driven cross-country, and it's a pretty comfortable car. We can fit everything and ourselves in it. It really is efficient to be a two-piece.
What bands (local or otherwise) are you guys into right now?
The one song that has definitely influenced us the most would have to be “Red Top,” by King Pleasure with Annie Ross singing along. But all of the bands from our Top 8 (on MySpace) are also bands we're definitely into.
Now the silly questions: It's starting to get hot again. Fresno hot. What's your favorite way to keep cool during the summer?
Air conditioning. And ice cubes in every drink.
Complete this sentence: “It's an Icicle sounds like...”
Music a cool mom could be into.
I'm stretching for questions, here, so make one up, then answer it.
Question: Khak deelah?!
Let's hope that's not dirty.
Vintage Days Battle of the Bands
Five bands, four hours of music!
7 to 11 p.m., April 19
Satellite Student Union, California State University, Fresno