Fan Off, Bird Safe

local music veterans put the rock back in indie

Ian Jacoby, photos by Hanna Agar

Let’s just say that FanOffBirdSafe isn’t going to be playing your wedding reception anytime soon. The Eau Claire-based three piece rocks hard, plays well, and has more EC music pedigree than you can shake a stick at. Between FanOffBirdSafe’s three members (Michael Bushman, Matt Florence, and Andy Mulheron) there are multiple bands, a couple of zines, and enough street cred to take to the bank for a sufficient real estate loan.

The seeds for FanOffBirdSafe were planted in our fair city over a decade ago. In the early ’90s, Bushman was a college student and member of the band Primitive Son, while Florence played bass in another great local band, Inamorata. It was a time period that Bushman recalls with more than a little bit of nostalgia in his voice, “I remember seeing Matt Florence when he was only 17 playing bass with dreadlocks down to his ass. ... It was also a time before the internet, so bands were really active in promotion. There were fliers up on campus and handbills passed out around town.” This DIY attitude lead to an increasingly large fan base, enough of one, in fact, to make Primitive Son move from Eau Claire to Los Angeles to see if they could “make it” as a band. Florence followed them to LA soon after, but on his own separate quest for musical kinship.

While in southern California, Bushman started the rock magazine Modern Fix. It flourished ... until the bottom fell out of the music industry in 2006, leaving many record labels tightening up the budget on advertising money. Florence played in the super successful post-rock group Naked Aggression, touring the United States and Europe regularly. Bushman and Florence’s paths wouldn’t cross again until they both had moved back to Eau Claire over a decade later. Teamed with another local music vet, Andy Mulheron (Ruger Policy, Aloha Triangle), they have quickly forged a name for themselves in the scene’s fledgling aggressive, post-rock scene.