When Kevin Devine comes to Columbus to perform at The Basement, fans might find him roaming other parts of town.
“Columbus is actually, in that part of the country, one of my favorite places,” Devine said. “I think the shows are always really fun; I think you guys have really, kind of smart, vibrant, plugged-in people. And Jeni’s ice cream, that is out-of-control good.”
Folk-rock musician Devine and his Goddamn Band are set to visit The Basement Tuesday, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
Devine called being able to tour through America “a really lucky thing.”
“What I kind of like about touring is making an effort to find the culture in each place that does make that place its own thing,” he said. “A lot of that I find through food and through talking to people.”
He said he is most grateful and aware of the connections he’s made at tour stops all over the country — from his native New York, to Los Angeles, to Phoenix or Atlanta.
“We have people in all of these places (on tour), and that’s amazing. Not just people who like the band, but friends,” Devine said. “You do something long enough and you just start accruing these people. And that’s pretty amazing to me.”
Fans can expect this kind of friendly, intimate atmosphere in Devine’s Columbus show, said PromoWest Productions marketing director Marissa Luther.
“The Basement is the more intimate one of our venues, so the audience can expect to get much closer to the band,” Luther said. “Typically the band will come out after and meet fans or do signings, and you don’t always get that at other venues.”
She said The Basement has a standing-room only capacity of 300.
Devine is perhaps most used to playing in intimate venues, as he said his history with music has been one of “slightly expanding attention” and “slowly expanding the circle” of fans and tour stops.
“It’s all been very gradual,” Devine said. “It’s been about a 20-year arc to this point from first playing in punk rock bands (as a teenager) to being in the position we’re in now. It’s a long story that I see as very connected like links on a chain.”
The latest link on that chain includes Devine starting his own record label through a crowdfunding effort and releasing two albums simultaneously.
He said being hands-on even when working with a label led him to want to see where crowdfunding could take him on his own, and with his “monumentally successful” Kickstarter campaign, releasing two albums at once seemed logical to him.
“I was looking for reasons to justify the Kickstarter to me, and (releasing two albums) was the best thing I could think of,” he said. “Because I also think as a guy who does a few different kinds of music, I was sort of uniquely positioned to make, well like, let’s make a folk-rock record and a punk-rock record and just put them out at the same time, because the whole spirit of this project is to do things that are antithetical to the prevailing wisdom of the music industry in 2013.”
Devine’s Kickstarter campaign, which allows “backers” to support projects monetarily, raised nearly $115,000 in the span of the 45-day campaign.
The two albums, “Bulldozer” and “Bubblegum,” were released Oct. 15.
Devine’s current tour is in support of punk-rock effort “Bubblegum,” which Devine said was a more “outward” record, while “Bulldozer” is its antithesis, an “inward” record.
“‘Bulldozer’ is a bit more refined, and ‘Bubblegum’ is a bit more immediate,” Devine said. “I think most people will associate (‘Bulldozer’) with the way I sound, which is sort of somewhat rock-inflected but kind of very lyrical, sort of folk music with some spike to it.
“‘Bubblegum’ is more of like a punk-rock record, more of ‘step on a distortion pedal, hit the drums really loud.’ It kind of nods more to the bands I grew up with, like Nirvana, The Pixies and Superchunk.”
Through writing music and creating a mixture of different rock and folk sounds on his albums, Devine said he also has “little flecks of country music” in some of what he writes, which served as the inspiration for his somewhat eccentric band name, Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band.
“I listened to a lot of country music at that time, and I thought ‘The Goddamn Band’ sounded like kind of, you know, shit-kickers, guys playing at saloons somewhere,” he said. “And I thought for our music it was kind of funny. They were pretty gentle, inward-looking songs, and thought it was kind of funny to have this sort of raucous name attached to it.”
He said his intention was never to tie a religious context to the band, and in fact, didn’t think too deeply about the name at the time.
“I’m always surprised when it’s an issue,” Devine said. “I always forget, then someone will either not say the name or write ‘G-damn’ or ‘Gosh-Darn Band.’ They’re just words.
“I grew up in a Catholic household and I wouldn’t call myself a practicing Catholic today but I wouldn’t call myself a non-believer. And I guess I just feel like whatever god I do think might exist or whatever that is or isn’t, he probably isn’t concerned about whether I use dirty words or not. But, you know, to each his own.”
Tickets to see Devine and his Goddamn Band are available for $12.50 in advance and $15 the day of the show. Three artists, Now, Now, Harrison Hudson and Van Dale, are scheduled to open the show.