“…a first-rate songwriter and band leader.” — Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
“Jason Narducy is the reason Foo Fighters exists (just ask Dave Grohl). He’s also in possession of rock’s sexiest elbows (just ask Ian Rubbish).” — NPR Music
“‘Metal Frames’ [. . .] is full of compact, bristling and melodic rock songs indebted to snarling punk, noise-laced pop, muscular classic rock and Cheap Trick.” — Salon
“With ‘Metal Frames,’ Narducy not only avoids the sophomore slump, he enters MVP territory.” — Magnet
“…a powerhouse pop record that prides itself on tenacious vocals and resolute rhythm guitar.” — Stereogum
“You won’t see more indie rock cred than on the CV of Jason Narducy.” — KEXP, “Song of the Day”
I suppose the “smart” thing to do would be to start off with all the usual crap folks tend to talk about when Jason Narducy, the “brains” behind the rock collective Split Single, comes up in casual conversation, like how he plays bass with Bob Mould and those fuckers in Superchunk, used to play bass with Bob Pollard and whomever else, had a band called Verbow, inspired Dave Grohl to devote his life to music back when neither of them were even old enough to go on all the rides, and whatever the hell else you wanna throw in there. But do you want the “facts” or do you want the truth?
The truth is Narducy scares the hell out of me.
I’ll never forget the first time I met the guy. It was in Chicago or Baltimore maybe. Or it might have been Akron. Anyway, I was shuffling home after another long night of anything goes when suddenly, from out of nowhere, a van pulls right up onto the sidewalk and screeches to a halt right in front of me, its side view mirror nearly cracking me right in the jaw.
“Get in,” a voice tells me.
I look up to find Narducy, still in shades at 3am, hunched behind the wheel, the look on his face suggesting I’d better just do what I’m told. And fast. I waste no time hopping into the passenger seat and buckling up.
“Pixy Stick?” Narducy asks, extending a fisftul of colorful straws filled with the popular powdered candy in my direction while still staring straight ahead.
It feels like a test, so I grab two and suck them down as fast as I can.
“There’s more in the back if you want ‘em,” he says with a smirk, before whipping the remainder over his shoulder and hitting the gas.
What follows is easily the craziest night of my life. First, Narducy insists we go skeet shooting even though it’s pitch black out and the clay pigeons are all but impossible to see.
“Don’t care,” he grunts at me and the guy from the skeet shooting place, who’s still plenty groggy after being woken from a dead sleep. “Pull!”
From there, Narducy pulls the van to the side of the road, leaving it to idle as we rearrange a front lawn nativity scene into what I can only describe as the most disturbing sight gag I’ve ever laid eyes on. Next, Narducy takes me to an all-night diner where, over a plate of onion rings and a Cobb salad, he manages to completely seduce the mayor’s daughter, a woman who, it feels worth nothing, was 46 years-old at the time.
“I’ll call you,” Narducy says, stuffing the napkin she had just written her phone number on into the pants pocket of some sad sack passed out in a booth by the entrance and heading for the van. “Maybe.”
The night finally ends with Narducy standing on a hillside at dawn, caressing a disoriented fawn while giggling uncontrollably with a gaggle of French schoolgirls who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
The reason I bring all this up, of course, aside from the fact that it’s awesome, is because Narducy’s band Split Single has a new album out. It’s their second, it’s called Metal Frames, and, kind of like the night I just told you about, it’s goddamn exhilarating and scary and I didn’t want it to end. Narducy sings and strangles the guitar on it, Jon Wurster (Bob Mould, Superchunk, Mountain Goats, and 78 other bands) beats the crap out of the drums on it, John Stirratt (Wilco, duh) thumps the damn bass on it, and Nora O’Connor sings her ass off all over the thing.
Simply put, Metal Frames rocks, an especially notable qualification in an era when most other musicians stand on stage with a conviction that leads me to believe they don’t know how to fuck. Metal Frames is pop in the way that I bet the guys from Cheap Trick try to drive by Jason’s house like it was an accident. And Metal Frames is punk in the way that I bet Dave Grohl is still as scared of Narducy as I am. No wonder the mayor’s daughter, despite her advancing years, wanted to pork Narducy right there at table three.
Also, the waiter gave us free refills even though they don’t normally do that sort of thing and man that shit was awesome.
— Dave Hill, 2016


Photo by Marina Chavez.