"We're nervous because we don't know how KC will take us," Bush says. "This is definitely a hard-rock town." Indeed, Burial's laid-back sound evokes Pedro the Lion, Seam, Damien Jurado, Neil Young hardly the most popular style in a town that loves its filthy rock and baggy-pants metal. But the band is determined to make it or break it in Kansas City, where most of its members now live.
"The reason I moved up here was for Burial," says drummer Jimmy Reed. "I quit my 40-grand-a-year job to move up here and work door at a bar." Reed laughs as he and Bush exchange housing-situation horror stories. (Reed immigrated last year from Texarkana, Texas; Bush moved from Lawrence about six months ago.)
"I woke up one morning in September, completely naked, to find a middle-aged man going through my dresser," Bush says. He says he chased the man out of his apartment with a nine-iron. "It turns out my landlord had broken into the apartment thinking no one was home. Welcome to Kansas City!"
Reed's troubles, on the other hand, are causing him to lead a double life.
"I'm not supposed to be living at my apartment, so I have to pretend to be my roommate's gay lover," Reed says with a smirk. "We started a drunken, gay, secret society."
These tales of merry pranksters living it up in their midtwenties, however, don't make it into the band's music.
Shawn Lamoreaux (with whom Bush played in pre-Salt the Earth band Mechanic for Captain) and bassist Marc Pepperman round out Burial's lineup. They've recorded a demo of morose yet curiously optimistic, melodic tracks peppered with horn flourishes. This bands' songs, Bush says, "come more from the heart than the groin."
The conversation, however, is a different matter.
"You should see Emogame.com," Reed interrupts. "It's fucking hilarious Steven Tyler donkey-punches Robbie Pope and kidnaps the Get Up Kids and forces anal sex on them." (Actually, Tyler sodomizes and throat-fucks Pope, but why split hairs?) Bush jumps in: "I would piss on Steven Tyler."
At this point, Pepperman calls Bush to ask about practice. Reed looks up, concerned. "Are we rehearsing tomorrow? Thank God."