Allen Aucoin: Life Lessons of a Disco Biscuit
Allen Aucoin is all about pushing his musical limits. The Georgia-born, Berklee-bred drummer joined the Disco Biscuits in 2005, and since then, he's presented artistry beyond imagination, drumming up beats and patterns seemingly impossible from human limbs. On his Zildijan drums and mix of Edrum pads, Aucoin's precision and pace are forces to be reckoned with. As a Disco Biscuit, he adds danceable definition, activating the thunder in an unparalleled storm of jamtronic flooding. On his own, he tours as his alter ego, DrFameus, a one-man beat machine likened to a spiraling tornado that never loses its speed. And although calling him a disaster would be a disservice, natural is quite a suitable way to describe this phenomenal man's gifted talent.
Aucoin brings his DrFameus act to Boca's Funky Buddha tonight, where jamheads and electro fiends will gather for a hefty dose of bass, breakbeats and livestep (live dubstep) to feed the need to wobble and bounce. But, enough of the seriousness, let's get down to some story time. We caught up with Aucoin to find out how his life has changed since becoming a member of the mighty Disco Biscuits.
1. There's never enough alone time.
Aucoin says being on the road with a band like the Disco Biscuits makes it really hard to find any time alone to recharge his batteries (since he's a robot) or just tune everything out for a few. "We share a bus with band and crew, and sometimes extra people cruising from one show to the next," he says. "We don't always get a hotel room in every city and when we do, even then, there's usually a roommate or two." How does he cope? By escaping in the morning, when all the ragers have finally passed on out. It's then he finds serenity at the empty venue, where the atmosphere is calm and the crew is happy and hard at work, transforming the stage into the spectacle of musical instruments, lights and sound. "I've always enjoyed seeing the stage transform. It's a mellow and magical time of day before it unfolds, starting with sound-check, then doors, and then it's time for the party," he shares.
2. The more nicknames, the merrier.
Throughout his professional career, Aucoin's heard his share of creative nicknames, and he says they've all been pretty cool. "It started with DrFameus," he admits. "I got that one from a friend in college for being so famously late. Next, it was Octopus. Someone called me that because they said I was moving so fast, it looked like I had eight arms." He's also been called an alien, which he's particularly fond of because it's pretty close to, well, Allen. Then, there was The X Factor. "That one was fun," he recalls. "It kind of made me feel like a superhero." He's also been called The Terminator. "Who wouldn't like that nickname? It's kind of badass." He also appreciates The Robot and The Machine, "These are all much better than the nicknames I used to get when I was younger and in school," he says of filed oldies like Carrot Top or Copper Top, along with other creative nicknames redheads get stuck with during adolescence.
3. Tour the world whenever you can.
With the Disco Biscuits, Aucoin has been fortunate to have had the luxury to tour the world. "It has always been a dream of mine to see the world and be a world traveling musician," he confesses. When Aucoin was a tyke, he lived in Germany for a few years. He attributes that patch of time to his desire to see the rest of the world. He's been to Amsterdam, though he's a little foggy remembering everything (for some reason). Then, his first and only Jam Cruise took him through "the beautiful blue, turquoise and light green waters of the Caribbean," and on to Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. "I loved Jam Cruise, and have been trying to get back on the boat ever since." (Hint, Hint, Cloud 9 Adventures.)
He says the rest of Europe was really cool too, from Glasgow to Scotland to London, it's the first time he's ever truly felt like a rock star. In Germany, the electronic music scene was "alive and pumping," before hopping a train to Copenhagen and ending in Sweden. "There was a group of about 30 to 40 fans that came along on the trip too," he remembers. "They rode a bus all through Europe to catch us play over there." But, his absolute favorite stop as a globetrotter was Japan, where he took in the culture, visited Tokyo, played on Mt. Fuji at Fuji Rock and explored Kyoto. "The Japanese fans ended the trip with a going away party. It was such an awesome and humbling experience." But, let's not forget Aucoin's most recent journeys to paradise for the annual Mayan Holidaze excursion, which has jumped from Jamaica to the Yucatan Peninsula. "It's pretty awesome performing on a beach to all the smiling faces dancing in the sand and wading in the water." We're right there with ya, Allen.
4. Obsessed fans never let up.
"Obsessed fans... Haha!" Aucoin's seen his fair share of them, which he appreciates, "because you can't be a performing musician without the fans. It's strange to me that someone who doesn't really know you could love, love, love you so much," he explains. He's been swarmed pre-show and post-show, chased on to the tour bus, followed to his hotel, and even followed into the bathroom - twice. "The wife loved that story," he laughs. "It was the men's bathroom, I didn't think the girls would follow me in there. I thought I was safe."
5. You can never get used to a tour bus full of dudes.
It's never just Aucoin and the three other Biscuits on the bus. "It's more like sharing a bus with 12 dudes and a girl," he says. There are always lots of people, and it gets very small very quickly. "Most of us are pretty clean, but there are those who just don't get it, and never clean up after themselves, making it feel even more cramped. It takes lots of patience to be on a bus with that many people, and sometimes more - if the party is going really well and holds over to the next show. There are all sorts of sounds and smells."
Check out Allen Aucoin as DrFameus, along with Atlanta's electro-folk outfit Stokeswood and Boca's Freq, on Friday, June 1 at the Funky Buddha. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, 18 and over.