Avi Buffalo was once just the kid named Avi (short for Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg).
From the press release:
He’s now singing and playing guitar, but was then a vaguely aspirational skateboarder living in Long Beach, who figured between hip trauma and a never-quite-conquered fear of dropping into a half-pipe that he might need to come up with something else to do with the rest of his life.
His parents never got around to getting him the Game Boy he wanted, so he turned to guitar. Years of 12-hour days attacking that (plus lessons-to-mentoring with seriously iconoclastic local blues guys) revealed a natural talent for making a very special kind of bent but lovely pop song. And that is the connect-the-dots story of how Avi Buffalo became a band—-boy meets guitar. It’s a good old story.
Then boy meets rest of his band at high school – Sheridan Riley on drums, Rebecca Coleman on keys and Arin Fazio (the old man at almost 21) on bass. By the time you read this bio, they will pretty much all be out of high school. And that means we can push past the age thing into the music thing – yes, they’re young, and yes, says Avi, they can effectively metabolize even the most ill-advised tour slops, and yes, many an article is gonna haul out a word like “wunderkind.” But what can you do? They’re gonna graduate into a beautiful little album, and not everybody gets to do that. But even this young, it’s been a long time coming.
Avi (the guy) also loves noise. What he calls “really tasteless brutal speaker gargling,” is why the Long Beach Police Department no longer permits him to rehearse in his own garage. He spent the mid-2000s singing quiet, lovely, scruffy, sophisticated songs into whatever free programs he could put on his PC.
A solo show at a much-loved vegan restaurant magnetised Avi Buffalo into a full band, they hit all the major press in the city before they had ANY kind of record out at all and engineer Aaron Embry (Elliott Smith and Emmylou Harris sideman, among others) invited Avi Buffalo to help him test out the new studio he’d built in his house. This was the big leap as Avi Buffalo had never existed anywhere but a laptop or a really good house party.
One of the first songs recorded just for fun was ‘What’s In It For?’. It was also one of the first songs Avi put up on MySpace (“Because that’s all it takes,” says Avi, still a tiny bit shocked). Once Sub Pop came inquiring, ‘What’s In It For?’ became the first single from the debut album. This all happened within a few months – it even screwed up their high school results (don’t worry, no catastrophes). And then, says Avi, “everything got kind of freaky!”
That’s where they are now: about to follow their first ten songs into the outside world, about to celebrate a 21st birthday and about to settle into something that they could do for the rest of their lives.
Avi Buffalo’s debut album is out on the 30th of April through Sub Pop / Stomp. Listen to the first single ‘What’s In It For’ on their Myspace page.