New York’s Diane Coffee playing Wilkes-Barre venue The Other Side March 31
WILKES-BARRE — The projects Shaun Fleming has helped bring to life during his years in entertainment have entered millions of households worldwide. Fleming played twin brothers Tim and Jim Possible on Disney Channel cartoon “Kim Possible” and gave a voice to “Final Fantasy X” main character Tidus in the Disney/Square Enix crossover game “Kingdom Hearts.” Later, he branched into music as the touring drummer for rock band Foxygen and, in 2013, released his first solo album under the name Diane Coffee. Fleming now hails from New York, but his road to solo artist started in California at his former high school.
“In high school I stated learning guitar because of girls,” Fleming said. “I also had taken a choral class and my choral teacher, John Mosley, he was probably one of the biggest influences musically that I had at the time. He taught me a lot … after taking his class I had a deep passion for the musical arts.”
Fleming recorded the first Diane Coffee album, “My Friend Fish,” in two weeks without actually knowing he was recording a record; he described it as more or less a collection of demos written between Foxygen tours. For his second release, 2015’s “Everybody’s a Good Dog,” Fleming was finally able to craft the cohesive solo effort he was aiming for.
“This is kind of the first time I’ve been able to actually get into a proper studio and put in the work,” Fleming said. “That’s kind of the way I wanted my first record to sound in my head. On ‘Everybody’s a Good Dog’ I was able to take some time and actually go into it knowing I was going to release it.”
The music of Diane Coffee is equal parts Mott the Hoople, Motown and Mark Cohen. Fleming said he was heavily influenced by his dad’s tastes in ’60s and ’70s rock, along with tracks like Cohen’s “Walking in Memphis.” The musical influences of 27 year-old Wilkes-Barre resident Jamie Kali, whose band Mock Sun will open for Diane Coffee March 31 at The Other Side, are also largely patriarchal.
“My dad has been in bands since before I was born, so music was always around me,” Kali said. “I guess I was really inspired by how my dad had always been so productive when it came to music. My mother was always singing around me too, so it was a big part of my life.”
Kali (keyboard/vocals) and best friend Mark Wohl (guitar) formed Mock Sun in 2011 after a jam session in Wohl’s living room. At first, the vocalist was adverse to the idea of singing in public, but her love for another language-based art form helped her put those reservations to rest and take her place as the voice of Mock Sun.
“One of the things that helped me get over my distaste for singing in front of people was poetry,” Kali said. “Writing it and going out and reciting it was something I was also not into doing, but I knew I had to overcome that fear.”
Both Kali and Fleming said to expect a lot of energy from their bands when each takes the stage at the 119 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre venue. Fleming may have started his career lending his voice to others, but the 11 tracks on “Everybody’s a Good Dog” are the artist saying what he wanted to say, how he wanted to say it. When he takes the stage as Diane Coffee he’ll use the language of music to lend a voice to his own creations; the language of music and, according to Fleming, a whole lot of costumes and love.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
WHO: Diane Coffee and Mock Sun
WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31. Doors open at 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Other Side, 119 South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre
HOW MUCH: $7 at the door or online at brownpapertickets.com