It's no stretch to say that a flair for the dramatic has followed, and often fuelled, the significant events—musical and otherwise—in Tim Kasher's life. Whether translating painful personal experience into song, breaking Cursive up, only to reunite with its players months later, or imaging Dorothy Gale all grown up in Cursive's latest yarn, Happy Hollow, his relationship with the stuff of Hollywood (melo)drama is well documented.
But while it may have seemed inevitable that Kasher would one day follow his own road, yellow brick or otherwise, to Tinseltown, what's surprising is that his arrival—he recently moved into Eagle Rock, in east Hollywood—comes as Cursive's going stronger than ever. Fans will recall that before Happy Hollow was completed, speculation—some of it from Kasher himself—suggested that Cursive might have been toast. "Some of Happy Hollow was written at the end of touring for [2003's] The Ugly Organ, when we still had the ambition to do another record," explains Kasher from Omaha, his former home, as he's being fitted for a tuxedo to wear during Cursive's current tour. "But everything imploded for us at the end of that tour and we went on a hiatus where we weren't sure if it was right to do another Cursive record. And then there was the period where I was highly ambitious, writing like crazy."
But Kasher's creativity didn't stay dormant during the down time that came between those poles. He channelled it into a Tennessee Williams-style screenplay called Help Wanted Nights about a man who spends a week at a small-town bar when his car breaks down. So while Kasher insists his motivations for moving to LA are modest, it's reasonable to assume that he's also intrigued by the prospect of making screenwriting a regular gig. "It's kind of what I always wanted to do," he says. "I got away from writing music for a while and it was great. Now I miss that period. But it's one thing to be a scriptwriter and it's one thing to be a professional scriptwriter. All I can say is it's my hobby and I'm trying to practice and learn as much as I can."
Though there's currently no news to report about the script being picked up or even necessarily completely finished, Kasher has recorded a new record, also called Help Wanted Nights, for his Good Life project that's due out in September. While the disc shares some of the screenplay's themes, it's a departure from the film's storyline and, significantly, Kasher's storytelling roots. "With Happy Hollow, we tried to have each song be its own form of storytelling," he explains. "What's different about the Good Life record is that it's the counterpart to a story that's already written. The focus for me was to keep it about moments and ideas and human reactions to that story. It's a different way to write, but I liked it."
Of course, he'll have plenty of opportunities to flex his more familiar tendencies in the near future, too. Besides both bands' touring commitments, he also plans to begin writing the next Cursive record later this year. "I think there's a lot of positivity about how we're bringing the music together, staying fresh in the arrangements," he says. "We're doing a different show than we have before. I feel like I'm more excited than I usually have been in the past."