Casey Neill rocks

Acoustic music for a good moshing

By Bobble Tiki on May 10, 2007

Bobble Tiki sometimes feels a bit out of place in Olympia. From time to time, Bobble Tiki has been known to head south from his Tacoma bungalow, and hit up Le Voyeur for a few drinks and one of the few non-vegan delights on the menu. Sometimes Bobble Tiki cruises by the Clipper for a couple of stiff cocktails and maybe a Dirty Birds’ show, or a loud set from C-Average. Upon several occasions, Bobble Tiki has hit Batdorf and Bronson for coffee and one of those delicious pastries they have delivered every morning from the San Francisco St. Bakery, only to sit in front of a New York Times for so long — reading stories about roadside bombs, and quagmires, and death — that all Bobble Tiki could do when he was done was shuffle to the Brotherhood, drown his depression, blast every Who song on the jukebox, and play a little shuffleboard.

Bobble Tiki always enjoys his time in Olympia, but he never quite feels like he belongs. Bobble Tiki sticks out like a soar thumb in Oly. His jeans aren’t tight enough, and he drinks the wrong kind of crappy beer. Bobble Tiki isn’t green either, and he always feels like every hipster in Olympia smells it on him.

Then again, maybe it’s just Bobble Tiki’s Rite-Aid bought, Aspen Cologne that makes Oly sneer.

Bobble Tiki has not, nor will he ever, let his outsider feelings keep him from enjoying what Olympia has to offer. It’s the quintessential quirky, eco-friendly, dreadlocked college town, and Bobble Tiki loves that energy.

Tonight, Casey Neill will make a tour stop at the Olympia Eagle’s Hall, and though Bobble Tiki has a meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, nothing’s going to keep him from making his way down I-5 for this one.

Neill officially released Brooklyn Bridge on May 8, and though the album bears the same name as an NYC landmark, Neill is an artist the Northwest can claim and take pride in. Neill did spend a stint in Brooklyn during the making of his latest record, but most of his formative years were spent in the musical breeding ground that is Portland, and after moving to NYC and becoming tired of the East Coast, these days Neill is once again based out of PDX.

Brooklyn Bridge is not a record that was banged out — one of those in-and-out of the studio, three-months-in-the-making discs that bands release with ease. No, this effort took nearly six years. Neill started Brooklyn Bridge in 2001 with producer, and famed fiddler, Johnny Cunningham.  In the beginning, Neill brought Cunningham a record full of songs that didn’t mesh, a record with so many blaring influences they could never dance together cohesively. Though Cunningham died in 2003, his direction is a major reason that, six years after it started, Brooklyn Bridge is a seamless gem that displays the hidden, more rocking side of a guy people usually associate with a raspy folk voice and an acoustic guitar. It also features a slew of noteworthy guests like Jenny Conlee of the Decemberists, among others. 

Lucky for you, Bobble Tiki caught up with Neill this week, by way of telephone, from a tour stop in Santa Cruz, California.

BOBBLE TIKI: How big of an influence did the late Johnny Cunningham have on Brooklyn Bridge?

CASEY NEILL: He was digging through my record collection, and he was, like, ‘all you listen to is Clash records, and indie rock stuff, and you sound like none of this.’ He really thought these songs would be better suited in that sort of setting. He just kind of brought that out of me.

TIKI: When you started this record, way back in 2001, did you ever imagine it would turn out like this?

NEILL: This was definitely not the original intention, so it is a surprise to have it end up where it did. I’m more proud of this record than any other I’ve done. The only other record I’m as proud of is one I did in the mid-nineties in basements around Olympia. This is the first record I’ve ever made that I’d listen to if it wasn’t me.

TIKI: What can people expect out of the Olympia show? Are you excited to play the Eagle’s Hall?

NEILL: The show will feature the band I’ve been touring with, plus Jenny from the Decemberists. My official CD release show in Portland will bring everyone who’s on the record together. I am excited to play Olympia. I lived there for years, and played there consistently. Then a lot of years went by and I didn’t play there, and it was one of those things where I was afraid things had changed, especially in a college town. If I had gone back and the gig was lame I would have been so bummed, but I had a show there last September, and people were like, ‘where you been?’

As Always, Bobble Tiki doesn’t really care what you do this week because he doesn’t even know you.  And unless you can explain to Bobble Tiki what happened to Lisa on that beach (Mr. and Mrs. Tiki are now full-fledged “Six Feet Under” freaks, working on the fifth and final season as we speak) then he’s certain he doesn’t want to meet you. Besides, it’s time to blow this joint because who needs friends when Bobble Tiki has the Fishers?

[Eagle’s Hall, Thursday, May 10, 8 p.m., Corner of Fourth Avenue and Plum, Olympia,]
Bobble Tiki is going out of his head via e-mail here and