Dan Lee of Scrabbel is hard at work on new music for the band.
Scrabbel’s sound draws fans far & wide
A scaled-down version of the band's light, quiet style will be on display downtown
Being unemployed has allowed Dan Lee to work on his first love, music.
Scrabbel, plus the Cherry Blossom Cabaret, Black Square and the Malcognitas
Place: NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St.
Time: 9 p.m. Tuesday
Cover: $7 for 21 and over, and $10 for ages 18 to 20 (free until 10 p.m.)
Call: 384-5706 or online at myspace.com/thekaleidoscopeshow
The 33-year-old San Francisco resident is working on a batch of new tunes for his band Scrabbel -- and yes, he realizes it's usually spelled S-C-R-A-B-B-L-E, but it's meant to be a joke.
Lee said Scrabbel "started off as a two-piece around 1999-2000 with my old high school friend Becky Barron. ... She was the drummer and I was the guitarist. But we parted ways in 2002, but I kept going as Scrabbel and made a second album called '1909,' with the help of random friends from other bands in town."
One of those friends is cellist Hellen Jo, who helped design Scrabbel's appealingly light and quiet "twee" sound. That sound, albeit scaled down, will be featured as part of the weekly Kaleidoscope Tuesdays alternative music/performance event at downtown's NextDoor.
After touring a bit with other reputable indie rock bands as Yo La Tengo and Belle and Sebastian, Lee and company started recording again for what ultimately was their self-titled third album. By then, Scrabbel was getting its fair share of press in the Bay Area and have garnered fans as far as Japan. No word yet about Korea, where Lee's immigrant parents are from.
"Our music varies so much that it attracts different kinds of people," Lee said. "The song 'Not Right' has been one of our more popular songs live. '1909' with other Korean Americans, because of the historical content of the song (the year of Japanese occupation). And the instrumental 'Save the Green Planet' was inspired by the Korean film of the same name."
Another instrumental that the band unexpectedly covered was the Beatles' "Flying," from "Magical Mystery Tour." It was Lee's older brother who exposed him to older music, so much so that "my favorite genre stuff is from the '60s, like the Who, the Beatles and the Kinks, up to the mid-'70s, and David Bowie and T. Rex."
Speaking of the Kinks, Lee said he and his girlfriend and fellow Scrabbeler (Scrabblee?) Aya Nakamura probably will do their cover of the wistful "Waterloo Sunset." The couple, coming out for the wedding of a friend, decided to do a gig while they're visiting Honolulu.
In the meantime, work on the new album continues.
"It will sound sort of different, as the new songs will have more of an '80s feel. I have tons and tons of music, and I'm currently hooked on Devo and Gary Numan.
"Since my unemployment benefits finish at the end of the year, I hope the new album will be out by then," Lee said.