This is the first in a new series of by request Flashback Fast Forward articles, where we catch up to the present with musical artists from the past. This week’s choice, Timbuk3, was selected by twitter user @justthisguy . This article is also dedicated to @ochimaru, who sang “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” at karaoke with me in Colorado Springs.
Timbuk3 was formed in 1984 and was a husband and wife team comprised of Pat MacDonald and Barbara K. MacDonald. Pat played acoustic, electric, bass and MIDI guitars, harmonica, sang vocals and did the drum programming while Barbara handled the electric guitar, mandolin, violin, rhythm programming, and vocals.
The duo initially began playing together in Madison, Wisconsin, where the Austin Retro Music Examiner went to college. Later that same year -1984 – the band moved to Austin, Texas. They performed live as a duo backed up by a large boombox. This boombox technique, which was unique at the time, represented a transition in music. Its popularity set the stage for backtracking and samplers becoming commonplace techniques that are still used today. The boombox is going to be displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. You can click on this link to read the boombox story on Timbuk 3’s website.
Timbuk3 was signed by I.R.S. Records after appearing on an episode of MTV’s The Cutting Edge in 1986. Soon after they released their first album Greetings from Timbuk 3 which included their one hit wonder, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”. That song has had numerous movie and television appearances over the years since its release, and been included in numerous compilation CDs. Also from the same album, the song “Shame On You” was played during the opening scene of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, released in 1986. The band was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987. They appeared onscreen as the house band in a bar in the 1988 film, D.O.A.
After their successful debut, Timbuk3 receded from the spotlight but went on to record five more critically acclaimed albums. The group broke up in 1995, with the ex-members going on to record other music independently. Pat MacDonald moved to Barcelona and recorded several albums for Ulftone, a German indie label. They were entitled Sleeps With his Guitar, Begging Her Graces, Degrees of Gone, In the Red Room and Strange Love: PM does DM, a collection of Depeche Mode covers. Pat is also an acclaimed songwriter whose credits include collaborations with Cher, Keith Urban, Imogen Heap, Stewart Copeland of The Police, Peter Frampton, and famed Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Pat’s 2007 album Troubadour of Stomp on the Broken Halo label was his first U.S. release since 1997.
Barbara K. MacDonald has released two albums: Ready and Undercover which is a set of acoustic covers of Timbuk3 songs. She is currently working as part of Sparrow’s Wheel, an Austin label for independent music and is part of a new group called Ghosts and Sparrows.
On Friday August 27, 2010, Purgatory Hill featuring Pat Macdonald of Timbuk3 is performing live at the Barrington Coffeehouse located at 131 Clements Bridge Rd, Barrington, New Jersey. The show at 8:00, and tickets cost $12 and are available by sending paypal to [email protected] or at the coffeehouse door.