8 Oct


“Come and Show Me Your Magic (Shoppe)”

It’s at the epicenter of every illusion: “Now you see it – now you don’t!” Reverse that notion – and turn the reverb knob up to “11” – and you’ll have a decent introduction to Magic Shoppe.

First I didn’t see it – now I do. It seems strange that until just a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Boston’s own Magic Shoppe and yet today, I literally cannot get away from them. I blame myself – I literally cannot stop listening to their debut album, “Reverberation,” out now on Optical Sounds Records. It sounds like … well, it sounds like what you might expect an album called “Reverberation” would sound like and it has more hooks than a good fisherman. If a song like “Something’s Wrong” doesn’t have you closing your eyes and nodding along, then something is wrong indeed. Something is wrong with you.

Singer/guitarist/expectant father Josiah Webb was more than happy to give us a glance at some of the tricks Magic Shoppe has up its sleeve.

With an EP entitled “Reverb” and your excellent debut “Reverberation,” one has to wonder: is there such a thing as too much reverb?

Fuck , yes … yeah. But I’m overly meticulous.  So it depends on the situation.


Oh, oh, oh, it's Magic! Magic Shoppe ...


What other reverb drenched bands served to inspire the creation of this Magic Shoppe?

Some classic shit. “Try It” (the entire record) by The Standells would be my number one influence, followed closely behind by the rest of that L.A. shit (The Chocolate Watch Band, The Seeds). And more obvious influences:  Spacemen3, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Warlocks. I’m into total repetitiveness, but then also … fucking songs!!!

The name itself conjures up the magic created by the pre-Dead Moon outfit lead by Fred Cole, The Lollipop Shoppe. Tip of the hat or mere coincidence?

I’ve only heard “You Must Be a Witch.” It’s OK. It doesn’t slap me in the head with a two-by-four, like Murry Wilson used to do to Brian, though.

What particular magic went into the formation of this Shoppe? Have the members collaborated on other musical projects in the past? What does that past history – or the lack thereof – contribute to the overall sound and art of Magic Shoppe?

Since Magic Shoppe started, there have been eleven guitarists,  four drummers, thirteen bass players, and two tambourine players in and out of the group. I write everything – out of convenience, really. I moved around (inter-state) a lot, but recently, myself and the bass player (Jeff Bartell) have been collaborating on some stuff. He’s really young, but super-talented.

What can you tell us about your own musical evolution? What were the first bands that you truly fell in love with? Are you likely to still listen to those bands today? Can you think of an artist who you love today, that you can’t imagine liking 5 or 10 years ago?

I played in drums in a hardly well-known Shoegaze group named Difference Engine. We were on Caroline in the mid to late ’90’s, and traveled to the UK when  was 21 to record … and we just fell apart. The guitarist quit right in the middle of the recording, and then it was myself and a busted up couple in a van. It sucked! I started recording songs right after we got home. There are bands that are STILL influential to me (and that I listen to). I could listen to “Isn’t Anything” [My Bloody Valentine] forever and be content. Any of the early records by The Brian Jonestown Massacre – homeboy’s on an electro-kick now, and is quick to claim credit for everyone playing L.A. influenced psych. His shit is great, for sure … but he didn’t invent the shit.

What music have you been listening to lately? What’s your favorite Byrds song of all time?

Lately, this band Mystery Lights from San Francisco (they are a band NOW), and Small Faces’ “From The Beginning” – sort of been on a Steve Marriott kick lately. [Yeah, but what about The Byrds? Stop dodging the question, Josiah! ]

Magic Shoppe will be forced to perform and record a cover version of either “Magic Man” by Heart or “Abbra Cadabra” by The Steve Miller Band. Which do you chose? Defend your answer.

Neither. I couldn’t do “Magic Man” justice, and “Abbra Cadabra” is a piece of crap. I’d rather become a cashier at Starbucks.

In a 1975 article from Crawdaddy magazine, William Burroughs has a chat with a wizard who often goes by the name Jimmy Page. Burroughs asserts that, “”Rock music can be seen as one attempt to break out of this dead soulless universe and reassert the universe of magic.” Your thoughts?

That makes perfect sense. Jimmy Page could totally do magic tricks. Myself … I’m not down with wizardry or sawing chicks in half, so …

How – if at all – does being a Boston-based band effect the plans of Magic Shoppe? Will you in fact partner with members of Ghost Box Orchestra to release a reverb-drenched update of the famous hardcore compilation, “This Is Boston, Not L.A.”?

Ha!!  You know those guys? Weird. Patrick is really tight with those guys and we’ve played a show or 2 with them. Super nice lads … and I’d steal Chris in a fucking heartbeat (as an addition to Chris Pearson and myself)!

What’s next for Magic Shoppe?

I’m having a baby with my wife in like a month. Making music constantly … and playing shows again in early summer of 2011.


2 Responses to “MAGIC SHOPPE”

  1. -valis October 10, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    Josiah’s a great guy & the Magic Shoppe is (yet another)one to watch..!



  1. Magic Shoppe and the Apes « Mr. Atavist - October 9, 2010

    […] :: Magic Shoppe interview […]

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