Faber plays guitar, sings half the songs, and writes a lot of the songs
for GSW. Here in his own words is...
My earliest musical experiences came about as a result of my mother, Ellen
Faber, being in a bluegrass band; this was in the mid-Seventies when I
was about seven to eleven years old. They worked about five nights a week
and often my brother Tony and I would be brought along to watch the gigs
when we couldn't find a babysitter. We also accompanied the band on several
tours of the festival circuit. The band also rehearsed directly under
my bedroom and I remember many night when I couldn't sleep all night for
listening to them practicing their harmonies and learning new tunes. So
there were always a lot of musicians and musical instruments around the
house and I just sort of casually started learning to play things. I started
out on banjo when I was about ten, and learned bass, guitar, mandolin,
and piano over the next few years.
When I was about 13 I got into rock music instead of country for the first
time, but living in rural New Jersey without alot of friends my own age
I was pretty much limited to my mom's records as far as what I listened
to--basic stuff like the Beatles, Stones, the Dead, James Taylor. I took
up electric bass in order to join my first band when I was 13 and played
bass in all my various high school bands until Tomo and I formed The Lucky
Charms when we were 17, when I got to play guitar in a band for the first
time. By that time I was into a lot of other music--I listened to the
Sex Pistols and the Ramones when punk was first happening, and I went
totally crazy for the Talking Heads when "Remain in Light" came
In 1984 I graduated high school and took a year off. A lot of that year
was spent working for the family business, Eberhard Faber Inc., (yes,
the pencil company), and getting to know my dad better whom I hadn't grown
up with. I was pretty miserable wearing a suit and selling pencils though,
and finally decided to enroll in NYU and go to college. I also started
getting into jazz around this time, first by listening to Steely Dan (the
ultimate jazz-rock band) and then by buying the Real Book and tons of
straight jazz records and learning things by ear.
My jazz education continued when I met Dan in 1986 and we transferred
together to Manhattan School Of Music the next year to study jazz. I had
(and still have) mixed feelings about studying music in an academic environment,
and I eventually dropped out of MSM when God Street started getting a
lot of gigs. But I did learn a lot there, about theory and arranging,
and I had the chance to write big band arrangements and hear them played
which was quite a treat. I also learned that straight jazz wasn't exactly
what I wanted to do, musically; it just got dry after a while, and there
didn't seem to be much of a career in it.
I've always been interested in a lot of different kinds of music and I
think that shows in the many phases and styles that GSW has experimented
with over the years. I love pure pop songs and the Beatles are still my
all-time idols. I also like more involved "art-rock"--Pink Floyd,
Zappa, King Crimson, and nowadays, Phish. Then there's jazz, of course,
and the country and bluegrass that I grew up on as a kid. I also played
quite a bit of reggae with Tomo when we were truants in high school--not
just Bob Marley but all the obscure stuff you have to search for. Finally,
I also like words--like those of Bob Dylan, another idol, and great songwriters
like Elvis Costello and Joni Mitchell--and those from literature, like
Shakepeare, William Blake, sci-fi authors Philip Dick and Stanislaw Lem,
and storytellers like Raymond Carver.
I feel very lucky to have and to have had the opportunity to be a part
of a musical organization like GSW that lets me indulge any and all of
these interests, to perform in front of people, to write songs and hear
them played, and to have a great time and make a living while doing it.
Date of Birth: 5-20-66
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Where you were born: Wilkes-Barre, PA
Where you grew up: Belle Mead, NJ
READERS WANT TO KNOW
the strangest God Street Wine show ever?
I think our first show ever in Telluride, CO would have to be up there.
The power for the whole town blacked out literally as we were just about
to go on, so we joined the audience in banging on percussion instruments
by candlelight for the next two hours, and then played one of our wildest
shows ever when the power came back on. There are many other weird ones,
like the horn section show at the 712 Club where one of our trumpet
players started having a bad acid trip onstage, which manifested itself
first in his switching instruments to a small plastic bagpipe, then
in his attacking the rest of the horn section with a ball peen hammer.
What else....playing behind chicken wire at an SLU frat party....playing
in the snow for Earth Day in Burlington, Vermont in '92....any of the
shows in Paris.
you like to do when you're not thinking about music?
When am I not thinking about music? Well, sometimes I just like to go
out to dinner with my girlfriend. Sometimes I like to play golf. I am
also an avid poker player. Sometimes I write vast descriptions of an
imaginary world for a D&D campaign run by my brother. Once in a
while I need to hang out in a bar and drink a lot of Irish whiskey.
Mostly I hang out at home and my girlfriend and I stare at our cats,
and discuss them for hours on end.
you look up to as a kid?
My dad; my stepdad; the Beatles; Bob Dylan; all the older and more popular
kids at PDS.
the best thing about being in God Street Wine?
You get to play music and get paid for it, you get to travel the country
in a tour bus, you get a lot of free beer, you get to hang out with
Tomo (which I understand is most people's ultimate goal), and you get
to think of a new nickname for Aaron on an almost daily basis. You generally
avoid growing up and becoming an adult, and instead you spend a lot
of time working on vocal harmonies. Plus occasionally you get recognized
in public, which really impresses whoever you're with.
you be doing if you weren't in God Street Wine?
I might be an economist, since that's what I was studying at NYU. I
also might be an artist since when I was a teenager I liked visual arts
just as much as playing music (girls like musicians better than artists
though, at least in high school). I'd like to design games for a living
since I love games of all kinds--board games, card games, computer games.
I'd also like to be a history professor since I love reading history
and I think I could make it more interesting than it's usually presented.
Finally I'd like to be a baseball player, but there are currently no
5'5" players in the major leagues (although Florida's John Cangelosi,
who is officially listed at 5'7", is probably in reality pretty
close to my height).
most people realize about touring?
Some people continue to think that God Street Wine is their local band,
that we come from whatever town we're playing in (despite a tour bus
being parked outside). Some people think all sorts of things about the
band, in fact, judging by the rumours I've heard from fans and on the
Internet. Some people don't really realize that our gigs are booked
by an agent and are not always under the direct control of the band
("why aren't you guys playing Tuscaloosa this tour?") Some
people don't realize that we generally have to leave town a few hours
after the show ends ("you guys want to come to our frat and do
bongs all night?") The worst for me is, some people don't realize
how many towns we visit and how many people we meet in each town and
how hard it is for me to remember everybody's names, and I would like
to most sincerely apologize to all the people I've met over the years,
whose company and conversation I've enjoyed, whose names I can't for
the life of me remember.
would you give to aspiring musicians?
Listen. Listen. Listen to as much music as you can and figure it out
by ear; your ear, not your hands, is your most important musical tool.
Concentrate on playing good music, not on getting a record deal. Play
the music you like, not the music you think will be "commercial".
Remember to have a good time. If everyone followed these simple rules
there would be a lot more great music being made.
meals? Lobster; spaghetti carbonara; buffalo wings; western omelette.
Favorite beverages? Rolling Rock, Irish whiskey (Bushmill's or
Jameson's), Grape Gatorade.
Favorite movies? Apocalypse Now, Hearts Of Darkness, Rear Window,
Vertigo, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Magnificent Ambersons,
Love And Death, The Apartment, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Blue Velvet,
Favorite TV shows? The Simpsons, Twin Peaks, any baseball or
Favorite books? Death In Venice by Thomas Mann, A Scanner Darkly
by Philip K. Dick, Amber series by Roger Zelazny, Lord Of The Rings
by Tolkien, The Red and The Black by Stendhal, anything by Raymond Chandler,
any mystery by John Dickson Carr.
Favorite philosopher? Voltaire was pretty cool.
Favorite albums (rock/pop)? The Beatles "Revolver",
Bob Dylan "Blonde On Blonde", "Highway 61 Revisited",
Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here", Grateful Dead "American
Beauty", Frank Zappa "Apostrophe", Brian Eno "Another
Green World", Talking Heads "Remain In Light", U2 "Rattle
and Hum", Elvis Costello "My Aim Is True", Bob Marley
"Uprising", Bunny Wailer "Blackheart Man", Jonathan
Richmond "Back In Your Life", Prince "Arounf The World
In A Day", Steely Dan "The Royal Scam".
Favorite albums (other music)? Any Beethoven piano sonatas played
by Glenn Gould, any Mozart opera particularly Magic Flute, Debussy Etudies,
Chopin Nocturnes, Miles Davis "Kind Of Blue", "Milestones",
John Coltrane "A Love Supreme", "Crescent", "My
Favorite Things", Oliver Nelson "Blues And The Abstract Truth",
George Jones "Super Hits", Bill Monroe "Uncle Pen",
"Blue Moon Of Kentucky", Flatt & Scruggs "The Columbia
Years", anything by the Stanley Brothers, anything by the Lewis
Family, anything by Gram Parsons.
Favorite GSW songs? "Into The Sea", "Home Again",
"Run To You", "Mantoloking", "Made Of Blood",
"Red & Milky White", "Feather", "Oklahoma",
Favorite bands (currently active)? Ominous Seapods (of course),
Phish, Black Crowes, G. Love and Special Sauce.
Favorite sports team/athletes? New York Mets, Tiger Woods.
Favorite computer/video game? Civilization II, Resident Evil,
The Need For Speed.
you wear to bed? Flannel boxers and T-shirt.
is your worst habit? Smoking, I guess. I also like to drive fast.
kind of car do you drive? Honda Accord EX 1994.
pets do you have? 2 cats: Max (2 yr old male), Blue (1 yr old female,
medications are you currently taking? None. I'm big on Sudafed on
the road though.
kind of condoms do you use? Lifestyles Extra-Sensitive Spermicidally
kind of animal would you like to be? A cat. Or maybe a "great
cat": puma, tiger, cheetah.
skills do you have that no one knows about? I can make a squeaking
sound by rubbing my ear against my head. I can convincingly imitate
Mr Burns from The Simpsons.
do you eat for breakfast? Mushroom & cheese omelette, bacon,
grapefruit juice, white toast.
people with respect, don't trust the government, and live long.
"Use men after their dessert, and who shall 'scape whipping? Use
them after you own honour and dignity, and the less they deserve, the
more merit is in your bounty." -Hamlet