Tuatara Show No Fear In Facing The Enemy

Sophomore album from collective ranges from cop-rock to township grooves.

The members of Seattle's Tuatara sound fearless -- when it comes to their

music, at least.

They'll be the first to tell you that they wouldn't mind hearing their jazzy world

vibes remixed, re-configured and regurgitated in as many fashions as they

could think of -- just as long as it sounds right to them.

"I definitely wouldn't be averse to a remix album," said R.E.M. guitarist Peter

Buck, who along with Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, Critters Buggin'

saxophonist Skerik and Luna's Justin Harwood make up the core of the

experimental, instrumental band.

With a sophomore album, Trading With The Enemy, due on June 16,

Buck, Martin and their newest recruit, multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey of

the Minus 5, sat down earlier this year to discuss the endless creative

possibilities open to the band.

The new, 12-track album features songs that run the gamut from movie

soundtrack-sounding pieces to cop rock a la '70s TV action-drama

"Starsky and Hutch," with a Japanese folk song and the odd township-jive

groove thrown in for good measure.

"We use loops and some dub stuff live," Buck said. "We're not afraid of

technology. I'd even like to hear a female vocalist belt out some tunes someday.

Maybe make a really lush diva record, like a k.d. lang-type of thing."

Considering that this is a band that prides itself on freeing its members to

experiment and, as Buck described, "pick up instruments I don't even know how

to hold," it's not surprising that Trading With The Enemy sounds nothing

like each of the members' main bands. "Yeah, what would end up happening is

that you'd walk over to some instrument that wasn't being used," McCaughey

explained, "and you'd just pick it up and end up composing something on it; and

that was a really cool, liberating thing."

Drummer Martin said the group -- which a year ago released its debut album,

Breaking the Ethers, including the


track (RealAudio excerpt) -- is an ideal blend of personalities and

musical sensibilities. "We all like each other and each other's music, and here's

an opportunity to bounce ideas off each other," Martin said. "Plus, we all work

really fast."

In fact, it is just such a spirit of cooperation and cross-pollination of musicians

and musical ideas -- not the now passé grunge explosion -- that could be the

lasting legacy of the Seattle scene.

And it's in that spirit that Tuatara will embark on yet another musical adventure,

this time with an upcoming tour on which they will be joined by Screaming

Trees singer Mark Lanegan. This is a sequel of sorts to last summer's critically

acclaimed "Magnificent Seven" tour, which featured members of Tuatara

serving as the backing band for ex-American Music Club crooner Mark Eitzel,

as well as participating in sets by McCaughey's Minus 5. Tuatara will take to

the road in mid-June to play nightly sets of their own music, as well as perform

as Lanegan's backing band on a tour to support his upcoming third solo effort,

Scraps at Midnight (July).

"We're in the process of putting together a tour called 'A Night of Music with

Tuatara and Mark Lanegan,' " said Tuatara manager Erin Haley on Tuesday.

Haley said the tour is tentatively slated to start on the East Coast around mid-

June (after R.E.M. perform -- for the first time without founding drummer Bill

Berry -- at this year's Tibetan Freedom benefit concert, June 13-14) and

continue on the West Coast in late July.

Tuatara also will be playing at the WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance)

festival at Seattle's Marymoor Park from July 31-Aug. 2 on a bill that also

features Joan Osborne, the Klezmatics, Bela Fleck, African legend Baaba Maal

and Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo, among others. The only other confirmed

date is a July 11 appearance at the American Music Festival in Winter Park,

Colo., on a bill that also will feature Morphine and Pakistani singer Badar Ali