Clara, 3, runs barefoot from the kitchen to answer the front door, posting herself at the base of the stairs with a grin so wide it pushes her cheeks into twin peaches on her face. Her sister, Elouise, started first grade today. Her mommy is at work. She’s holding her latest piece of artwork in her hand and she’s got maybe a little bit of a juice stain around her mouth.
“C’mon Clara,” says Eric Mann, 38, who with his bandmates in Basement Life will this weekend release Devour, their second LP in just two years. But that’s not until Saturday. Today there’s Clara.
“You want to watch some videos while we talk?”
Before Clara, Mann was part of a cohort of late 1990s Guilford College grads that made a mark on the cultural history of Greensboro, coalescing with the band Kudzu Wish and the things that came before and after.
Tim LaFallotte succumbed, too quickly, to ALS, and then Devender Sellars moved away; Geordie Woods is in New Orleans; Adam Thorn is stil around, if you know where to look.
Eric followed his wife as she got her medical degree, starting Craigslist bands in the cities where she worked — Fighting Poseidon (Charlotte), Big City Bangers (Asheville). They came back to Greensboro. He got a masters. Then, after almost four years without playing a note, he joined a band.[pullquote]Mann was part of a cohort of late 1990s Guilford College grads that made a mark on the cultural history of Greensboro[/pullquote]
He’s not the only pedigreed musician in the group. Bassist Gavan Holden came from Funny Like a Funeral. Drummer Caleb Gross was in Social Life. And the material flowed easily. The band’s first effort, Love is Not Real, debuted just 17 months ago, in March 2017.
“A lot of bands put out a release and then play tons of live shows in support of it,” he says. “They use those shows to get more shows, and they don’t write songs for another year.
“We don’t play that many shows.”
Clara emerges joyously from another room, her forearms smeared with blue paint, laughter her only explanation. Mann excuses himself.
Saturday’s release party at on Pop of the World will be a daytime affair, an afternoon matinee with five bands, a cookout and face-painting. The headliner will take the stage at around 8 p.m.
This is mostly because of Clara, who at some point is going to need a nap.
Basement Life releases Devour on Saturday at On Pop of the World in Greensboro.