How he became The Incredible Moses Leroy...
once led a mild-mannered, shy and unassuming life as a
substitute schoolteacher. However, with his new album
Electric Pocket Radio, he becomes The Incredible
Moses Leroy--a dynamic, powerful songwriter able to craft
scintillating rock anthems, Casio-pop quirk and introspective
love songs in a single stroke.
The whole Moses thing kind of fits because I don't really view
it as me," explains Fountenberry. "Ron Fountenberry and
Moses just seem like two different people. I don't want
anyone to get the wrong impression--I'm not trying to say I'm
incredible. When I named the band, I was just thinking about
my great-grandfather because that was his name."
Fountenberry's great-grandfather Moses Leroy was pretty
incredible, a Texas union leader and civil rights activist
born at the turn of the 20th century who fought against
segregation and the poll tax in Houston. But the road to
becoming The Incredible Moses Leroy began just outside San
Francisco, California in Belmont, where his mother raised
Fountenberry, an only child. He spent a lot of time alone
daydreaming, watching television and listening to the radio
before he developed an interest in sports like baseball,
soccer and tennis. "I loved American Bandstand," he
remembers, "and Soul Train and Solid Gold."
When Fountenberry was six, a friend gave him "a ton" of comic
books, which made an impression years later. "The comic book
thing was not as powerful as television," he grins. "I mean,
television is like my best friend; if I could date television
I probably would. But everyone wants to be a superhero, or
at least I did. So it made sense--Incredible Hulk,
Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spiderman...The Incredible
Fountenberry would not pick up his first instrument, the
guitar, until his pivotal college days at UC-San Diego. "I
was definitely labeled as being the shy, quiet type in
Belmont, but since I didn't know anybody and nobody knew me in
San Diego, it was my first chance at reinventing myself,"
Fountenberry says. "No one had any expectations of me and
that was really good. I came out of my shell a little bit."
A roommate had an acoustic guitar, and Fountenberry, who had
grown up constantly singing ("I guess I was training myself,
but I didn't know it"), was soon begging his mother to get him
a guitar for Christmas. He played that guitar for about
"I became addicted but it was really hard for me," he says.
"I wasn't naturally adept or talented. But I think what I
lacked in playing technique, and still do, I made up for by
singing and listening to melodies." A series of stints in a
few mid-'90s, grunge-influenced San Diego groups didn't lead
Fountenberry to what he was looking for, but did build his
confidence and determination. He continued to write his own
music on the sly, learned as much as he could about the music
industry, and finally recorded his self-released, 18-track
debut, 1998's Bedroom Love Songs.
With encouragement and support from newfound friends like Mike
Halloran (former music director of the influential 91X modern
rock station), Fountenberry was headed in the right
direction. Label interest began to ensue and strangers in
San Diego started asking, "Hey, aren't you that guy...?"
After signing with Ultimatum Music in 1999, things really fell
into place. Fountenberry was off to record Electric Pocket
Radio with Keith Cleversley (producer of Flaming Lips,
Spiritualized) at his Playground Studios in Chicago.
Other sessions took place in Los Angeles with Joey Waronker
(drummer for Beck, Elliot Smith) and Wally Gagel
(engineer/mixer for Folk Implosion, Eels) who re-mixed
the LP's hidden track, "She Can't Get Any Sleep."
"Those guys are cool," the self-effacing Fountenberry
says. "And it makes me feel kinda neat that they would even
want to hang out with me." But a listen to Electric Pocket
Radio proves one thing, if Fountenberry is not careful, he's
going to wind up being reluctantly cool, indeed.
The CD opens with a very cool, obscure cover of "Beep Beep
Love" from '70s Dutch new-wavers Gruppo Sportivo. To
follow, "Fuzzy" sports a hint of the easy listening grooves
Fountenberry grew up appreciating in his mother's vinyl
collection. The song includes a sample from The Sandpipers,
but lyrically and melodically, it's all Incredible Moses
Leroy. The instrumental title track, "Electric Pocket Radio,"
contains excerpts from The Cortina Method of Speaking French,
an old French-instructional '45 found in Fountenberry's vinyl
library. He explains, "'Beep Beep Love' is actually the first
cover I've ever done, and 'Fuzzy' contains the only musical
sample. On a 16-track record, I don't feel too bad to have 14
songs be all my own work."
From the aptly titled "Anthem" and the driving abandon of
"Best Friend" to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds-meets-Roni Size
Reprazent style of "Our One Millionth Customer" and the
playful minimalism of "1983," Fountenberry delivers an
expansive and adventurous debut that qualifies as cool in any
And he's done it all by following his instincts and his heart,
daydreaming a little from time to time, and listening to the
advice of a family friend who had passed away. "It's just
something he told me," Fountenberry explains, "about basically
making the biggest noise in the world that you can. He said
to just make a great, lovely noise--no matter where it comes
from, make a really lovely noise and don't be afraid of loving
people and have them love you back."
So simple, and so incredible.
information, please contact Charles Carroll at 323-466-5141,
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