Neither Silent nor Violent

After six years together, Morricone Youth, a NYC sextet of ex--San Diegans, has released its first CD. Silenzio Violento is full of sounds that recall noir thrillers, monster movies, and spaghetti westerns. Though reminiscent of work done by cinematic composers Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, and Ennio Morricone, the tracks are originals.

"We have all these recordings of us doing actual soundtrack stuff, which we've played around town for years," says guitarist Devon Goldberg, who founded M.Y. in 1999, a year after moving to New York from S.D. He'd gone to college here and played in Creedle, Rust, and the Holy Love Snakes. "But part of the reason we never [issued the recordings] is, by law you have to pay mechanical royalties on somebody else's compositions.... At eight cents or more a track, if you have ten covers and release even just a thousand CDs, that's at least another $800 you have to come up with."

After a gig in Brooklyn last year, an encounter catalyzed the band's decision to write originals.

"This guy approached us, kinda drunk, raving about the music; said he was an in-house engineer at Electric Lady [the NYC studio built in the '60s by Jimi Hendrix], he had the keys, and he'd love to record us for fun after-hours. But his enthusiasm waned when he found out we did all covers, and he asked, 'Have you guys written any originals?' 'We can,' we told him. So, turns out the guy was for real, we wrote a bunch of originals, and eventually he tells us, 'Okay, come down this weekend, studio's free, let's do it' -- but it turns out Dave Matthews showed up to do some vocal mixing and it never happened. After a couple of these false alarms, we decided to record the new stuff elsewhere."

Goldberg also plays in NYC rock trio Pretendo with fellow M.Y. member John Castro. Castro moved from S.D. in 2000, after years manning the bass in the Rugburns (for which he still comes West to do reunion shows). Morricone Youth drummer Greg O'Keefe played in aMiniature while he lived in S.D. during the '90s. Vocalist Dreiky Caprice, who joined M.Y. in 2003, was known for years as one of three drummers in San Diego's defunct Crash Worship.

Morricone Youth plays the Belly Up Tavern on Friday, December 30.

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