There’s a talented young teacher you may have seen around campus, or playing with one of his two local bands, Play> and Swingin’ Amiss. Or you might have seen him at his other job serving drinks at the Rose Garden. He’s also a PSU grad student and a first year German teacher.
There’s a talented young teacher you may have seen around campus, or playing with one of his two local bands, Play> and Swingin’ Amiss. Or you might have seen him at his other job serving drinks at the Rose Garden. He’s also a PSU grad student and a first year German teacher. And somehow, amidst all this, Connor Doe finds time to work on his puppet show sitcom with a few friends.
Like many PSU students, he’s gone to other colleges before arriving here-University of Portland and Hardin-Simmons University. He graduated from PSU last June with a German degree and in the fall began teaching here.
“There aren’t as many differences as you might think, between a student and a teacher,” says Doe. “Because I’m a student and a teacher at the same time, I get the best and the worst of both worlds. I can use the copy machine in the foreign languages office; that’s a perk.”
At his bartending job, he doesn’t get to see the concerts, but he does get to hear them. “George Strait last night. Yee-haw,” said Doe with a totally straight face.
When he was about 16 years old, Doe took up both guitar and drums, and he plays both with panache and dynamism. Play>, is gearing up for a show on Feb. 9 at the Ash Street Saloon.
They’re a four-member guitar rock band. “I call it Cheap Trick covering The Velvet Underground. Or the other way around, depending on how we’re feeling that day.”
It’s all original music, but they “want to do ‘Turn Me Loose’ by Loverboy.” His role in the band is “animalistic drummer and falsetto harmony vocalist.”
When asked his favorite drummer, he immediately answers, “Stewart Copeland … him and Bonham, of course.”
In a lot of indie bands, the drummers don’t stand out, Doe says. “The drummer just plays their part. We’re definitely not like that. Each member of the band has character. The drums drive it a lot more. Keith Moon is not my favorite drummer, but I appreciate how busy he can be and still keep it in time.”
Doe’s other band, Swingin’ Amiss, is kind of a jazzy Americana indie folk band, for which he sings and plays guitar.
“The original music is my focus. We’re working on recording right now. It’s gonna be good. We’ve got 12 songs. I’m going to start on the vocals today. I call it folk-infused jazz, neo-folk, alt-country. I think it’s fairly unique.”
The line-up is acoustic guitar, electric/acoustic guitar, and upright bass. Doe also plays drums on their recordings. “As far as influences … it’s not as country as Lyle Lovett … You can’t get away from the Bob Dylan reference … We do tons of covers, a lot of ’30s and ’40s jazz, 70-year-old pop tunes like ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon.’ We do a lot of Cole Porter. That’s when songs were songs. I love the songwriting from that era. The songs were about something. The rhyme schemes were incredible. Cole Porter could write music and lyrics.”
When Swingin’ Amiss will play weddings or private gigs they’ll do mostly covers, but many mistake the play list for originals.
“People always think they’re our own. Most people don’t know the songs,” he said.
Doe and Eddie Dragonetti, the bass player, write their original material. They have a new album coming out in spring, possibly called Riveting Symbols, “because I used a riveted cymbal on almost every song.” Their first album is called Speakeasy and is in local stores and available online. You can also check out their MySpace page or www.swinginamiss.com.
Doe is also working on a Simpsons and South Park-inspired puppet show called Heavens to Betsy.
Play> Friday, Feb. 9 at 9:30 p.m.Ash Street Saloon $8