Pounding coal into diamonds is what The Get Togethers were made to do. Their music tells the story of tragedy, defeat, and redemption that make them who they are. For them, art is life and life is art. Their live shows are frenzied celebrations of suffering and salvation. The end result is music that is melodic, catchy, noisy, and raw.
Their upcoming release, Home as in Houston, follows lead singer Bethany Frazier’s struggles and her experience of coming out on the other side. It is a testament to the idea that stories can write songs as much as songs can write stories. It is evidence of the saving power of music.
The Get Togethers are husband and wife Bethany and Daniel Frazier, brother Andrew Frazier, and friend Kayce Grossman.
NYMM: Home as in Houston clearly tells a story. What is the idea behind it?
Andrew: The album covers not so much how we formed as a band but Bethany’s story.
Daniel: Bethany had an affair in high school with a female teacher. It was a really big scandal in her school. She had a rough family life growing up. A 27-year-old person, who is supposed to help you in life, just totally used her and abused her emotionally, then threw her away. The whole thing was really traumatizing.
Bethany: The concept behind this record was a history of the year 2007. That year was more than tragic and devastating for me. I was no longer a human. When it was over, this woman that I had fallen in love with completely abandoned me. I already had no family and no security, so I felt like this person was completing my existence. I felt like someone finally cared about me. As a 17-year-old, whatever happens to you feels like the most heightened moment of your life, so it destroyed everything. This record is documentation so that I don’t have to keep it stored away in myself.
NYMM: How did you meet and turn this into a band?
Bethany: Daniel and a friend of his were passing through Houston, following Radiohead shows, and his friend knew my best friend. While they were in Houston, I got into a head-on collision going 65 mph. It was shocking that I was even alive. My collarbone snapped and I was all bruised up, and the car had been crushed. When my best friend found out about the accident, she decided to come see me. She asked Daniel and his friend if they would come along to visit me. So the first time I met Daniel, I had been pumped full of painkillers and was looking and acting crazy.
Later, Daniel told me that the moment he walked into that room, he knew it was the most important moment of his entire life. It wasn’t because he knew he was going to marry me, he just felt the weight of it. At the time, I was gay, with multiple girlfriends, living recklessly, and hurting everyone around me. I was walking death. Daniel befriended me and listened to me talk about my crazy life for months. Eventually, I fell in love with him.
NYMM: How did all of this transform into an album?
Daniel: Bethany met a producer, Charlie Lewis, who encouraged her to record her songs. He was in Seattle, and she finally agreed to go up there and record with him. At the time, the songs were sounding folksy and cutesy. Charlie was great, but Bethany just hadn’t honed in on what she wanted to do. She called me in desperation, asking Andrew, Kayce, and me to come up and help her make the record.
Andrew: We originally went up to Seattle as backup because we wanted to help Beth. I was thinking it would sound like Neko Case or Joanna Newsom. It wasn’t the kind of thing I was interested in as a musician, but we all liked Beth and wanted to help. I got up there before Kayce, so I had to try and play drums and it was miserable. The whole thing just wasn’t working and I was ready to leave.
Daniel: Andrew and I were up there about a month without Kayce. We desperately needed him, and he needed a car. I had one that I wasn’t using, so I agreed to give him my car if he would come play drums for us. Once Kayce got there it all fell into place quickly.
Andrew: The first day we practiced with Kayce it just worked. It went from us trying to help Beth do her thing, to something that we all fell in love with and wanted to be a part of.
Daniel: Those ended up just being demo sessions, but the songs were there.
NYMM: How do the rest of you find identity in these songs?
Kayce: When I met Beth, she was a totally different person. You could tell she was still hurting. I got to see her become who she is now as the process of letting go happened. Being a part of that, and having my hands in a project that helped her, makes me feel like I was able to be involved in some way. None of us knew how important she would be in our lives until later. When we perform, we all put power behind the songs because they mean something. Even though it’s not our story, it’s still one we want people to hear. I got to play a small role in helping someone through something that hurt them, and that’s good enough for me.
Home as in Houston will be released on September 24th.
All images courtesy of The Get Togethers
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