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The Odd Numbers Celebrate New LP

In Music
THREE DAVES: The Odd Numbers look back on a life of music with first new record in 16 years, 'The Oddyssey.' Photo by Scissabob.

THREE DAVES: The Odd Numbers look back on a life of music with first new record in 16 years, 'The Oddyssey.' Photo by Scissabob.

Dave Baisa doesn’t mince his words. Perhaps he gets that from his job: tending bar often requires a highly direct manner of speaking. Or maybe it’s all the practice he’s gotten drawing boundaries and explaining the world to his kids. Then again, it’s probably both—plus the fact that as the frontman for The Odd Numbers, Baisa has been distilling his thoughts into punchy skate-punk songs for 30 years.

“We did a lot in the early years,” Baisa says, looking back at the time he spent touring Europe and the U.S. with The Odd Numbers back in the early ’90s. “We had a chance to make it a little bigger. But things went kinda sour for us and we missed a bunch of opportunities.”

For those unfamiliar with the veteran San Jose band’s history, Baisa is referring to the grisly motorcycle wreck that sidelined The Odd Numbers for months. It was the summer of 1995 and the band wrapped a gig in England when the band’s drummer, John Cummings, hopped on the back of a bike after far too many drinks.

“He basically lopped his leg off,” Baisa says. “They saved it, but he was in a hospital for months.”

After that, things were never really the same—especially for Cummings. “It freaked us out,” Baisa says. The band eventually picked up another drummer and kept going, but the momentum they lost on that tour was hard to make up for.

The Odd Numbers released two more records after the accident, but by the time the aughts rolled around, they were all in their early 30s, starting families and looking at dialing back the rock & roll lifestyle.

“You just can’t keep on getting into the van after a while,” he says.

For many, these details would merely serve as fodder for Uncle Rico-esque lamentations of what might have been. But in the hands of Baisa and his bandmates, Dave Miller (bass and vocals) and Dave Conrad (drums and vocals), these experiences and many more form the foundation of The Odd Numbers fifth album, The Oddyssey—the trio’s first LP in 16 years.

True to form, Baisa doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. “So through a series of events I found myself still alive,” he sings on album opener “Teach Myself,” a poppy, propulsive punk song that clocks in at just under two minutes and thirty seconds, and features a chorus that celebrates the hard lessons that only failure can teach: 

“I don’t mind falling down; I like to, I know that,” Baisa sings. “The only way I’ll ever learn is if I teach myself.”

Writing the new record, Baisa says, he and his bandmates realize that they’ve managed to teach themselves quite a bit over the course of 30 years. “This band truly has been on an odyssey,” he says. “We’ve been playing together basically all of our mature lives.”

Even over the last decade and a half, while the band hasn’t released anything new, they’ve continued to play one off shows, and Baisa says they still get inquiries from fans and interested promoters. Now that his kids—and the children of his bandmates have grown older—he says The Odd Numbers are looking at hitting the road again, albeit in a more restrained manner than when they were in their early 20s.

After they celebrate the release of The Oddyssey with a show at The Ritz this Friday, Baisa says The Odd Numbers plan to go on a series of short tours around the U.S. and aim to return to Europe; they’ve always had a following in Sweden, he notes.

“I’m super excited about it,” Baisa says of the prospect of hitting the road and getting on stage again. “Playing in front of people still totally inspires me,” he says. “That’s what it’s all about—learning to live through rock.”

Disclosure: Dave Miller also works for Metro Silicon valley.

The Odd Numbers
Sep 15, 8pm, $10
The Ritz, San Jose
theritzsanjose.com

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