Pulsars Don't Need Nobody Else

Boys having fun with keyboards.

Some boys get attached to their favorite baseball gloves, some to an

especially smokin' bicycle, and then there's the Trumfio brothers from the

Chicago band, the Pulsars. We've already told you all about their EP,

Submission to the Master , a five-song homage to all things New Wave, but

have we mentioned their unnatural attachment to a certain, uh, inanimate friend

named Theodore aka T9000? As the story goes, the "third" Pulsar is old Teddy, a

keyboard the boys are quite attached to, so attached, in fact, that their

never-released first EP was an 11-song homage to Theodore and, for now, he's

the only company they need on the road.

In an attempt to re-teach audiences

what generations of rockers have instructed them to expect, i.e., live players

plinking away at guitars and such, the duo are taking their naive pop

symphonies on the road, with singer Dave Trumfio playing guitar and brother

Harry handling drums and the machines doing the rest. "We put all the keyboard

parts on tape, plus a whole new extra set of guitar parts that don't appear on

the record," says Dave Trumfio, safe and sound between gigs at his Chicago

studio, King Size Sound Labs.

In other words, when you look up at the pair

and hear sheets of naive pop sound, rest assured that they've got some

behind-the-scenes help from their mechanical friend. In order to add an element

of unpredictability to what could very well be a paint-by-numbers show, Trumfio

says the band recorded the extra guitar lines with no effects and then run them

through an amp in the live show, where they always come out differently based

on the mix and amount of distortion they apply. You see, just like a real, live

band. ..

"We make lots of sound for two guys," says Trumfio

happily, "which sometimes leads to baffled looks from the audience. But we're a

duo, we always have been and we want people to think of us that way. We've been

a duo for a long time and that's where the technology part of it really comes

through. That's the beauty of keyboards, you can program them and manipulate

them in all these great ways that you can't do with a guitar."

As if to

prove his point, Trumfio ticks off a list of bands like OMD and Tears For Fears

that were essentially two-man synth bands that made it work. As for how they

keep it fresh each night when much of the music is pre-recorded, Trumfio says

the arrangements are the same, but his guitar parts are always different,

mainly because he thinks of himself as a "sloppy" guitarist at best and the

band has brought along a Chicago friend (Marc, the sound guy at Lounge Ax), who

finds a way to tweak the mix every night and emphasize different parts of


"Marc really changes the sound from night to night and eventually

we're planning on adding some ambient-like segues between songs that will keep

things moving," says Trumfio. Meanwhile the pair are busy mixing their

full-length debut which will be released on March 11 of next year, and, like

the EP, features some guest trumpet-playing from their boss at ALMO, Herb

Alpert. If you wanna check out the mechanical men live, try to catch them on

their next mini-tour:

Pulsars Tour Dates

Nov. 14; Philadelphia;

Pontiac Grille

Nov. 15; New York; Brownies

Nov. 16; Cambridge, MA; T.T.

The Bear's

Nov. 20; Madison, WI; East End

Nov. 21; Milwaukee; Rave


Nov. 22; Minneapolis; 7th Street Entry

Nov. 23; Lawrence, KS;

Replay Lounge

Nov. 24; St. Louis; Cicero's

Nov. 27; Cleveland; Euclid


Nov. 28; Toledo, OH; Carols

Nov. 30; Chicago; Lounge Ax

VMAs 2017