Dan Crane has carved out pretty enviable stage personas as Jean-Luc Retard in the cheeky fake-French band Nous Non Plus and as air guitar legend BjÃ¶rn TÃ¼roque. But in his newest endeavor, the Quick Hellos, he plays non other than Dan Crane, a guy who writes downright pretty songs.
“I felt that maybe it’s time that I started a band that didn’t have a ridiculous premise to it, where I could speak English and not have an alter ego,” Crane says, with (of course) a laugh. “Hey, this is the first interview I’ve done as me.”
- ||| Download: The Quick Hellos, “Fence”
In the Quick Hellos, he’s joined by Holland Greco (ex-Peak Show), Glen Martin and two players who work with Juliette Commagere, Ben Messelbeck and Joachim Cooder. The group is finishing up its first EP, a concoction of twangy, jangly, ukulele-addled folk songs that reveal Crane as a songwriter who has, for now, put away the irony in favor of embracing his sensitive side.
“I’m about to be 40; maybe it’s about time to take myself seriously,” he says. “I should get a T-shirt made: ’40 and Schtick-Free.'”
It was a circuitous route. In between Nous Non Plus projects and responsibilities as host of the World Air Guitar Championships, Crane had ingratiated himself with the “Glee”-ful Silverlake Chorus, the brainchild of singer-songwriter (and Sally Struthers’ daughter) Samantha Rader. “After I got kicked out of the Silverlake Chorus for reasons that weren’t exactly clear,” Crane says, he got together with fellow 4-string aficionados Martin and Greco in the Laulau Ukulele Army. Now they’ve branched off to flesh out Crane’s songs, some of which have been on his back burner for years.
“I don’t want to be a shoegazing indie-rock guy – I still like shows to be entertaining and fun,” Crane says. “But I think the songs are good enough to stand up … And what’s been interesting is that we haven’t gone into this with a specific approach. The songs are kind of country, but not in a deliberate way. And Joachim’s drumming really made them come to life.”