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Sound Circuit

‘A sad psychedelic dance party’


Patrick Tape Fleming isn’t afraid to admit that he was once in a dark place.

“This is weird to say,” he admitted, glancing around the cafe briefly before committing himself to the story. “I went to a therapist, because I was pretty bummed out. I hated my job, and I didn’t really like myself.”

Gloom Balloon’s album-release party is Saturday, Nov. 30 at Vaudeville Mews.

Gloom Balloon’s album-release party is Saturday, Nov. 30 at Vaudeville Mews.

Fleming’s probably best known as the guitarist for the Poison Control Center. His biggest passion, he lived and breathed PCC for so long that when the band took a hiatus, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“I was on the road for 13 months,” he explained. “In 13 months, we played 284 shows and put out two albums. When it was done, I was thinking, ‘Well, now we’re just hitting our stride.’ But the other guys were like, ‘Well, I’m going to go home and get married,’ or, ‘I’m going to go back to grad school.’ I was the only one who didn’t have anything going on.”

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Fleming picked up a day job. But with no creative outlet, he found himself sinking deeper into that dark place. Inspiration finally struck from a home painting session with his wife. He enlisted the help of musician Chris Ford, “because if you’re going to start a band, you should start it with your favorite guy from your favorite band in town,” he said. And Gloom Balloon was born.

“The way I pitched it to (Ford), I said, ‘Well, I think a balloon is kind of like life — it’s kind of destined to die; it’s fragile, and it could pop at any moment.’ I said, ‘I’m about to pop, so I want to make this record.’ ”

Gloom Balloon hasn’t always resonated. Not everyone gets it. Even Fleming’s built-in audience has come in confused at times.

“A lot of (PCC fans) went into shows thinking it was just going to be a solo acoustic set, and it’s like, ‘No, this is a sad psychedelic dance party. Here we go.’ ”

But for Fleming, it’s a secondary concern. He’s creative again. He’s found an outlet until PCC jumps back into things. He’s enjoying himself. Gloom Balloon just completed a short tour of the south, and Fleming couldn’t be happier.

“I’m satisfied with (Gloom Balloon) because, for me, it’s something completely new.” CV

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