Video Premiere: Dumb Waiter’s “Climbing Up a Broken Ladder” is Like Screaming at a Wall

We’re all very aware of the DIY ethos and how grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns can create opportunity. It’s sort of how Richmond, VA avant-noise weirdos Dumb Waiter came to be in 2012. As humorous legend has it, guitarist Nick Crider had booked a Lightning Bolt show and wasn’t content to just be the gig’s promoter and be standing in the crowd; he wanted to share the stage with the chaotic noise rock duo. The biggest hurdle standing in the way of this coming to fruition was the fact that Crider wasn’t in a band. In true DIY spirit, he contacted his buddy and drummer Nathaniel Roseberry with the intent of putting together a “noise power violence band” for the show. Roseberry brought a couple of his friends (saxophonist Tristan Brennis and bassist Keith Paul) along and Dumb Waiter was born. Five albums later — including the forthcoming Gauche Gists — and the band has moved from spontaneous and noisy power violence to a decidedly more measured and avant-garde brand of jazzy, experimental math rock that exists in a sphere similar to Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, Morphine, Ex Eye, Noxagt and Naked City.

Today we present you fine folks with the premiere of the “Climbing Up a Broken Ladder” video, which could be construed as a brief collision of the TV show Wipeout with some of Red Fang’s more destructive visual moments. Says Crider about the creation of this video:

“Making this video was fun. I got to take a road trip with my partner, stayed in some weird places, saw some of my best friends in Orlando and played pool at the cork room. There was another aspect that was hard work. I had to conceptualize the work, find the right location (a ton of site visits), design the costumes, gather the crew, build the set, make sure to have the right equipment and pick up materials. There was yet another side that was painful. Getting into a mental space to run through walls, worrying about money, worrying it wasn’t going to turn out and ultimately punishing my body by breaking through wall after wall (the walls weren’t too bad, but the body-to-pavement wasn’t too fun).

“Some might call me a masochist. I overbook myself, exhaust my schedule, strive for unattainable perfection and over analyze every move. To top it all off, I show my frustration by running through walls. One might argue that I don’t have to do any of this. Originally, this performance was meant to represent humanity in some grandiose Sisyphusian gesture. It was to be a modern rendition, with less time/reward in between the meaningless tasks to represent a seemingly faster modern life. Leaving all of Camus’s words to be applicable. My partner and I had spent a lot of energy in making the characters somewhat androgynous and lacking of racial cues to further represent all.

“After I gave myself a chance to step away from the project and come back to it months later I had realized how painful and personal this video felt to me. To me the performance represents my self-deprecating drive and my inability to compromise or acknowledge reward. Not running through the wall is more damning than continuing forward. It represents being unable to accept that there’s another wall in front of me. An aloof hopeful hopelessness.

“A special thanks to Adrienne Shurte, Nicholas Johnson, Sarah Haselwood and Bill Morrison for both physical and moral support.”


Gauche Gists was recorded by Kevin Bernsten (Full of Hell, Magrudergrind, Weekend Nachos, Noisem, Pig Destroyer) with technical help from Matt Redenbo (Eyelet, Black Lung, Misled Youth) at Developing Nations in Baltimore. Mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Isis, Pelican). The album will be released June 24th via Ossein Records on limited edition cassette as well as a limited pressing of 100 copies on citron-colored vinyl with hand-numbered inserts. Preorder here.

June 24 –  Richmond, VA @ Fuzzy Cactus w/ Toxic Moxie, Blush Face
July 11 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel w/ Night Idea, Floral

*photos by Joey Wharton