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Friday, April 20, 2007
If a singer can completely reform a band, yet keep the same name (see: Axl Rose and Guns N' Roses), then a drummer can, too. Considered among the best drummers of the 1990s American indie rock scene, Damon Che's frenetic, innovative style played a large role in the underground success of Don Caballero, seminal math rockers (bands characterized by songs with odd tempos). Formed in 1991, the act were seeking a singer when gig offers started to come in. After playing initially as an instrumental group, they opted to simply remain one. Famed producer Steve Albini recommended them to Chicago's Touch & Go Records and the label went on to release four highly-praised full-lengths by the band, starting with 1993's "For Respect."
By 1999, Che and guitarist Ian Williams were all that remained from Don Cab's early days. Despite working well together onstage, offstage they couldn't stand one another, causing the group to disband in late 2000 after touring in support of that year's "American Don." Williams went on to find acclaim with Battles, who are performing at this year's Fuji Rock Festival.
Che raised eyebrows in music circles in 2003 when he announced he was resurrecting Don Cab with new members. Recruiting the band Creta Bourzia, Don Cab began touring and writing again. The revamped band made their recorded "debut" last spring when metal imprint Relapse Records put out "World Class Listening Problem." Sticking surprisingly close to the group's original sound -- complex tracks with humorous titles such as "Palm Trees in the Fecking Bahamas" -- the new line-up plays angular, progressive rock and jazz with remarkable technical precision. Che and company will be embarking on their first ever Japanese tour this month.
Don Caballero play April 24, 6:45 p.m., at Shinsaibashi Club Quattro, Osaka ( 6281-8181); April 25, 6:45 p.m., at Nagoya Club Quattro ( 264-8211); April 27, 6:45 p.m., at Shibuya Club Quattro, Tokyo ([03) 3444-6751); Tickets 4,500 yen in advance. For more information visit www.smash-jpn.com