When The Secret Post first appeared on the local scene in late 2006, I wasn't quite sure what to think of the band. A near perfect mirror of the late '80s Goth movement, the band made an obvious nod to the likes of The Cure, Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy. In fact, it was so dead on that it was hard to believe. Anticipating the band's live debut, I even called out the band as either brilliant or pulling a brilliantly elaborate hoax on the music scene, the difference of which could only be told over the course of time.
The live shows proved to be just as entrancing as the recordings -- and just as perplexing. Just as the band started to gain traction on the local scene, however, it ground to a halt and disappeared back into the shadows. The Secret Post reappeared roughly one year from its debut and once again started to build a small buzz around town before retreating again in what became a curious if somewhat frustrating pattern that has repeated over the past five years.
Now, just as the season turns, the Secret Post is back to turn up the heat on the local scene yet another time. Just as in the past, however, the lineup has continued to evolve. Although the band started out as a five-piece, previous iterations have seen guitar players torn over and at one point even see the band perform as a stripped down, more punk-oriented trio.
Front man and leader Zach Wiser finally feels comfortable with the current lineup which has expanded back to a five-piece ensemble with drummer and younger brother Nicoli Wiser remaining as a core member of the group. The current roster includes Ryan Wojcik on lead guitar, Matt Daniels on bass and Tim "Synth" (of Elliot the Letter Ostrich) returning to the fold on keyboards.
Wiser said his idol has always been Robert Smith of The Cure.
"Unfortunately, I've mimicked him in band member changes as well," he said.
Nevertheless, every time The Secret Post reemerges, its small but loyal following takes notice. Wiser has been able to essentially pick up where he left off, even if the current iteration of the band also includes a slight change in direction and sound.
Over the past couple of years, The Secret Post has moved from being primarily a synth-laden band textured with guitars to a more guitar-driven sound, yet it still hasn't lost the overall vibe and tone that the group set out with.
Although The Secret Post has always worn Wiser's Goth influences in its sleeve, he also admitted to also being rooted in punk drawing inspiration from Iggy Pop, New York Dolls, Generation X and Dead Boys.
"The way I saw it, bands like The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees were all underpinned in punk anyway," Wiser said.
That understanding makes it all the more natural to understand the progression of The Secret Post, especially when it trimmed down to a trio format for a short time and deliver taught, punk driven sets before retreating into the shadows.
Wiser said the band's randomness has been partly driven by inner-band turmoil.
"The first time the band disappeared, it was because there were too many drugs and too much B.S. involved and clouding things up," he said. "The second time was more out of lack of enthusiasm from the band members. My view is if we're not bringing our all, then it's not worth doing. These are my songs and I want them portrayed the way I write them and want them presented.
It's caused some problems at times but all of the members of the band, even former ones, are still friends and come out to the shows. They just know I'm a prima donna about these things."
Just because the band has disappeared and reemerged multiple times doesn't mean Wiser's writing has gone on hiatus with the band. Although he shared that the band will still play a few older cuts like "Eyelashes," he has continued writing, moving in a more guitar oriented direction, now using keyboards as a backdrop. Current plans are in place for the band to record a new single, "First Last," which carries on with the band's love of New Order and Joy Division, with a B-side entitled "Motion 17," which Wiser described as "super slow and haunting, almost heartbreaking."
Even so, newer material that the band has yet to perform live may pop up at the next few shows, including the latest single, "Unnatural Feeling," which Wiser described as "jerky and frenetic, kind of like what you'd get if Gang of Four, Interpol and The Doors had an orgy."
While Wiser admits that he's not sure how long Secret Post will continue performing this time before retreating into the shadows, he does expect to keep the band out and active throughout the summer and perhaps longer, depending on the reaction of the audiences and local scene.
With his past demons put behind him, Wiser is leaner and healthier now than ever.
"I've long since separated myself from (alter ego and stage persona) DayRuiner," he said. "I'm really content being a construction supervisor and dad now."
Even so, Wiser's muse still remains and as long as it does, Tulsa reaps the benefits as The Secret Post continues to put on one of the most engaging and intriguing shows in town.
The next sighting of The Secret Post will be this Friday night, June 10, at Crystal Pistol with experimental electronic act Of the Tower opening the show at 10pm.
As I'm sure you've already seen, Urban Tulsa Weekly's ABoT Awards are in full swing with the write in nominations tallied and the finalists filtered out for every possible interest in Tulsa. More important to music fans, though, are the changes in this year's ABoT Music Awards.
Instead of holing out until August to hand out the awards at Cain's Ballroom, we've decided to expedite the process and celebrate the best of Tulsa's music scene with a huge party and awards show at The Joint at Hard Rock Casino on July 16. The earlier date means we don't have any time to waste, however, so the runoff ballot is ready for you to cast your vote now. Voting begins June 9 and ends June 20, so you've got not quite two weeks to make your picks or just plain stuff the ballot box for your favorites in more than 20 music categories.
As always, UTW's loyal readers have picked the nominees and you'll be the ones to pick the winners. We'll be spotlighting a few of the nominees and finer points of this year's awards in the coming weeks, but right now we need you to get out and vote -- either with your mail-in ballot or online by going to abotmusicawards.com and following the links to the voting site.
Cast your votes now and cast them often. Then we'll see you at The Joint in July as we honor the winners with our biggest blowout yet.
School is out, the temperature is rising and summer is officially here. And just as the temperatures continue to heat up, so does our concert calendar. Here are the highlights to get you pointed out the door and in the right direction this week...
• Thursday, June 9 -- Pat Green brings his ever-popular Texas country to the Hard Rock Casino, but this isn't a Joint gig -- instead, it's down and dirty at Friction and tickets are only $20 at the door. Be sure to arrive early, though, because it's guaranteed to sell out. Also on Thursday night, Philip Zoellner Band plays a low-key show at Red Rock Canyon Grill and indie breakout band The Antlers plays The Marquee with Little Scream opening with a $12 cover.
• Friday, June 10 -- All Souls Acoustic Coffeehouse holds a rare summer show with Kieran Kane (of Kaplan, Kane & Welch) and David Francey for what promises to be a great night of songwriting, especially on a warm summer night. Meanwhile Adam Lopez & the Lo-Tops plays The Colony with Matt Mason and Nude Furniture opening. The big show of the weekend, though, is Candlebox with Soul Asylum at Osage Events Center with $20 for the 18 and over crowd.
• Saturday, June 11 -- Local country fans will want to check out Tulsa's country buzz act, Kristin Nicole Band, at Woody's Corner Bar while pop fans can settle in for a night on the patio at Hunt Club with Dante & the Hawks. Whirligig also shows up to keep the summer buzz going with a show at The Colony. The day's biggest showcase, however, is Tulsa Pride Festival at Dennis R Neill Equality Center (621 E. 4th Street) with a lineup that includes Stars Go Dim, Kris Kohl, The Red Alert, RadioRadio, Eric Himan, Namoli Brennet, Rebecca Ungermann and more, including the live debut of Parker Simon. The all-day event is free and begins at 12:15pm
• Sunday, June 12 -- Noah's Ark Was A Spaceship lands at Soundpony to wrap up a busy weekend and lead into a quiet workweek with the latest iteration of Omaha's impact on the indie-rock scene.
• Wednesday, June 15 -- Mid week gets a wakeup call with a pair of fun shows on Main Street for hump day. Dave & the Haters head up the party at Hunt Club, but you might want to use this gig as the afterparty for Infected Mushroom, who headlines Cain's Ballroom with DJ Randy Seidman and DJ Elliot Poston opening the show. Either show (or both) will give you a good chance to dance before the weekend rolls back around.
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