Trust and Love
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Sharp Ease
By Chris Ziegler
Photography by Molly Frances
Originally published in Arthur No. 24 (August 2006)
A slightly injured and slightly drunk Sunday afternoon with the Sharp Ease: singer Paloma Parfrey is tipsy with a beer and a bent trumpet and one sprained ankle, still limping after the part in last night’s show when she fell into a hole in the stage. But Sharp Ease write off injuries instantly. Two shows ago, Paloma had scribbled some broken glass all over her arm, and she was completely recovered within hours. That’s the resilience of the Los Angeles native—the same thing that keeps coyotes and deer poking around the edge of Echo Park also keeps the Sharp Ease alive and thriving. Early 45s like “T-Spin” and first album Going Modern (released last year on olFactory Records in cooperation with LA’s landmark all-ages space the Smell) outlined the Sharp Ease sound: Pixies and Slits with sax (by Anika Stephen) and keys (by Paloma’s brother Isaac) and cut-above lyrics by Paloma, who grew up in a commune and graduated into teenage rock ‘n’ roll band the Grown-Ups before she even graduated high school. Newest EP Remain Instant finds Sharp Ease recovering after a line-up shake-up (longtime producer/supporter Rod Cervera played guitar on this one, following original guitarist Sara Musser) for seven of their best new songs about life in still-unheard Los Angeles—the never-seen-on-TV co-ops and galleries and collectives that keep an out-of-breath outsider community breathing, where the Sharp Ease play their shows and sprain their ankles. Paloma and bassist Dana Barenfeld, drummer Christene Kings and new guitarist Aaron Friscia meet for beer and photographs at Paloma’s 1957 Airstream trailer.
Arthur: Paloma, exactly what kind of commune did you grow up in?
Paloma: My parents were both extremely politically active and they decided to join this commune after I was six months old to be able to protest regularly and feed the homeless. It was this thing in East LA—the Catholic Worker. It’s Christian-oriented, but not like hyper-Christian. Their work is to serve the hungry and protest nuclear weapons. So I’ve been protesting since I was six months old.
Christene: Paloma came out of the womb with a NO NUKES sign.Continue reading