"Have music, will travel," was Tim Considine's motto, whether while playing his guitar in Costa Rica during a Peace Corps stint or strumming on his front porch in south Broad Ripple. Considine, best known for his work with his band The Derelicks, died at age 54 in a house fire earlier this month.
Considine formed The Derelicks as a duo with keyboardist Mike Kelley in 1985. The group expanded by the late '90s after the release of two albums, 1991's cassette- and acoustic-only Getting Ugly and 1995's Quick Trip Up, Long Slide Down, which saw the band creating a roots rock sound.
Adam White first met Considine in 1998 when he hired him to play drums on the album Continued Pointless Obscurity. He become a regular collaborator with Considine as drummer, producer and engineer.
White says his first two albums with Considine - Obscurity and 2002's Broken Art - were full of "tongue-in-cheek lyrics," funny and light enough that they might be classified as novelty songs. Indeed, Considine earned airplay on the ne-plus-ultra of novelty music, The Dr. Demento Show, when, in 1987, The Derelicks' "In The Wintertime" was sandwiched between Tiny Tim and Don McLean on the playlist.
2006's Trouble at the Circus was a showcase for Considine's more serious material.
"Over the course of a year we worked very closely on that project," White says of Trouble, on which he served as engineer and producer. "Tim would show up to the studio early in the morning with snacks for both of us. He would brag about his 'assortment of exotic muffins' and 'freshly aged A&W root beer'. Every day: same snacks, same joke. Somehow it never got old. That was the charm of Tim. Tim didn't own a cell phone or a computer. He still recorded all of his demos to cassette tape. His idiosyncrasies were overshadowed by his passion for music."
Longtime friend and artist Rhet Lickliter remembers when Considine asked he and his son Adam to create the cover to Trouble At The Circus.
"He would only give us the title," Lickliter says. "He didn't want to tell me anything more - he wanted us to create something based on our response to that. So that's what we did and Tim was so grateful and excited with the results."
Considine's final album was The Flat Can Cover Sessions, on which White again served as producer.
"Again the project was propelled by Tim's unbridled enthusiasm," White explains. "The album was a tribute to Tim's deepest influences: Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan, Capt. Beefheart. After that I would receive the occasional phone message or letter or postcard from Tim. Tim still sent hand written letters and postcards. He left me a message about a month ago saying that he wanted to work on another project and that he would be in touch."
Ken Simpson knew Considine both as a musical partner (as backing vocalist) and family member.
"If he hadn't been labeled my brother-in-law, I would have described Tim as one of my dearest friends," Simpson says. "We were both Beatles devotees and loved to play guitar. His sense of humor was based in an appreciation for the absurd and we agreed that there was nothing funnier than The Rutles' 'Piggy in the Middle.' I envied him for his musicianship.
"As a songwriter, his lyrics were all over the landscape, intentionally silly but simultaneously clever and intelligent," Simpson continues. "He could write the perfect pop song and then break your heart with a ballad about lost love. He liked the occasional novelty song but was just as comfortable and skilled playing an instrumental. One of the first recorded songs Tim played for me, called 'Capital F,' is lyrically offensive but the bounciness of the melody makes you forget the song is regarding the use of an expletive phrase."
Simpson remembers the day when Considine made a direct gift of his music.
"When our son (Tim's nephew) was born, I wrote a song about the months leading up to his birth and after his arrival that I played for Tim. He gave me encouragement, saying he liked the melody and that I should record it. My life was pretty hectic at that point so I thanked Tim for the kind words and told him, 'Maybe someday.' Four weeks later on Christmas morning, Tim showed up at our door with a coffee cake and tape in hand. He had arranged, produced and recorded 'Patrick's Here' on his home equipment... My wife and I were overcome by Tim's musical gift and generosity. The coffee cake was pretty good too."
Timothy A. Considine was born March 5, 1955 in St. Paul, Minn. After graduating from Indiana University, he served in the Peace Corps for five years, spending the first three in the Philippines and the latter two in Costa Rica. Considine operated a house painting business, Bucket Painting, and was an active volunteer at the community kitchen and food pantry Second Helpings.
Plenty of Considine's music is online at www.thederelicks.com, including generous selections from Flat Can Cover Sessions, Trouble at the Circus, Broken Art and Continued Pointless Obscurity.