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The Afflicted: Bryan Baxter and Barb Western, partners in Arlington shoegaze band Koshari—and in marriage—since 2001.
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Diagnosis: Fall from bass. Guitarist Baxter and vocalist Western are the creative forces behind the band, but while drummer Dan Ralston has provided a steady beat for the couple’s tunes from the get-go, a steady bassist has been more difficult to acquire. “This band has really become Bryan’s and my baby,” says Western. “It can be hard to get an outsider invested in our music.”
Symptoms: Constricted playing. Baxter and Western, who say they’ve gone through six bassists in seven years, are looking for one who’s willing to stick to Koshari’s rules. “We want to play with someone who appreciates where we’ve come from instead of wanting to put their own stamp on our music,” says Baxter, whose own bass background makes the audition process especially tough. “One guy was having trouble with the bass line of a song we’ve been playing for two years, and when I tried to correct him, he told me I was playing it wrong,” says Baxter. He didn’t make the cut. “Were not interested in someone just getting the idea of a song and sort of free-jazzing it.”
Treatment: Just the two of them. Though recent acquisition Ivan Smorodin has been in Koshari for four months, he’s not yet a lifer. “Am I 100-percent convinced he’s gonna be the bass player forever? No,” says Baxter. Baxter and Western say that it’s critical to keep their bass frets from interfering with their life outside the group. “I’m fortunate that I’m married to a woman who understands what I’m trying to say in music and puts it into words,” he says. “Koshari is our band for life. We’ll never stop.” —Amanda Hess
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