Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Will Holston
04/23/2009 | St. Louis University News | | Live Show Preview
Indie rock group Cursive is preparing to start their new tour in St. Louis this Friday at 8:00 p.m. at the Firebird on Olive.

The problem? They're scattered across the U.S.

"We're in different cities, so everyone has to work shit out on their own," Ted Stevens, guitarist and vocalist for the group, said. "We'll work shit out in St. Louis on the 24th, but we just came off of a two to three week tour so songs are pretty fresh in our minds."

The band was formed in 1995 by Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn, Clint Schnase and Steve Pedersen, before breaking up for a short period in 1998. When it re-formed in 1999, Pedersen was unable to commit to the band and Stevens was brought in.

"It was very difficult," he said. "Those guys had a really tight dynamic and a really good tone."

Though joining the band was tough, Stevens continues to work to meld with Cursive's musical dynamic.

"I still feel like I'm trying to find my place," he said. "I just tried to stick to my gut."

Schnase has since dropped out of the band as well, replaced-until recently-with drummer Cornbread Compton.

Cursive recently released its 7th album, Mama, I'm Swollen (Saddle Creek, 2009). Stevens feels that the band's search for a more mature sound is evident in the songs recorded for it.

"I think this album is definitely more stripped down than one's in the past," he said. "The project just came off more like five guys in a room. It has its own sound in our catalog. It's kind of murky and stripped down. I think we spent a little too much time mixing in the past."

Additionally, Cursive made its TV debut on The Late Show with David Letterman on March 13.

"It felt really good and normal on one level. They took good care of us," Stevens said. "It's been hectic as hell since. Every person I've talked to saw it. They heard that song. It feels pretty good."

"We've been through so many drummers," he said. "We've used different instruments and horns. I've learned a lot from all of these musicians."

Stevens has some worries about the current tour.

"I'm nervous about performing, getting out there and remembering all of these songs. I think I've developed [nervousness] since we're living in different towns, and the pressure's on."

Still, he is confident in the band's ability to pull it all together.

"Anything can happen, depending on the band or the audience," he said. "Tim [Kasher] is going to be the king entertainer. The rest of us just try to back him up."

Spending so much time with a core group of people on tour can be trying for Stevens at times.

"I think we've been up and down and through any kind of relationship issue," he said. "The band has been in such tight quarters for so long. We're always desperate to meet new people."

Though he finds touring to be a bittersweet experience, he always tries to make the best of it.

"I keep telling myself that I want to make the best of every tour," Stevens said. "But I kind of just end up sitting at the club."

Cursive is scattered across the country currently, but Stevens is hopeful that the change in the members' lives will feed into their music.

"We're kind of all just going through the process of adulthood," he said.

For more information about Cursive or to hear a sample of their music, visit or their MySpace at

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Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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