Monday, May 27

UCLA band’s aggressive acoustic stylings to rock at Roxy


UCLA band’s aggressive acoustic stylings to rock at Roxy

By Gaby Mora

Without much use for electrical outlets, UCLA’s Neither Trumpets
Nor Drums has enough energy to show the traditionally rock-oriented
Sunset strip that four acoustic guitars can be as aggressive as the
sounds from a Marshall amplifier.

Guitarists John McGinnis, Jeffrey Storey and Seth Eklund, as
well as bassist Peter Kim, will bring extra strings along with
material from their recently recorded 10-track album to the Roxy
tonight. Neither Trumpets Nor Drums believes its
out-of-the-ordinary format will introduce listeners to up and
coming sounds.

"It seems like there are a lot of trends like this," says
Storey, a fourth-year psychological anthropology student, "of
musicians putting together different combinations that have never
existed in the past, and it just pushes the envelope of music and
you don’t know where it’s gonna go."

Eklund, a fourth-year sociocultural anthropology student played
in another UCLA band before meeting his current group in Sproul
Hall: "We used to play in the stairwells in the dorm; I remember
we’d get written up for it!"

Despite the fact that none of the musicians have a background of
extensive formal training, they were voted "Best Band" in last
year’s Spring Sing competition and have presented their music
outside of the UCLA community in coffeehouses and small clubs.

The group refers to its union as mostly coincidental. Says
sixth-year math student Kim, "It was definitely good luck. I met
John and Seth at this job in ASUCLA Student Operations, where they
have this janitor division for students, and I thought it was just
a job. I didn’t know what would pan out of it."

McGinnis also didn’t know what would pan out when he came to
UCLA from Atlanta, Ga. But the third-year English student recalls
how friendships grew quicker than harmonies and lyrics, and though
they never actually planned to be an acoustic group, the format
grew out of necessity.

"We were living in the dorms," says McGinnis, "and you can’t
exactly turn up your guitar at midnight, and I couldn’t ship my
stuff out here. We were just sitting around having fun, and we
never really decided we would be an acoustic band, it just started
happening that way."

The result is the fusillade of four guitars and three voices
projecting an intense outpouring of emotions through a complex
blend of various vocal and chord patterns working within the same
structure.

The different musical backgrounds that influenced each musician
works for the benefit of the group, as Storey explains: "John is
from a punk background, Seth comes from rap and finger picking, I
was jazz and blues and Peter was kinda funk and a lot of old,
classic rock. So when we play, we don’t play just one of those
styles but they all kinda come through in the product of our
music."

The group classifies itself as aggressive acoustic, which may
sound like a paradox, but as McGinnis explains, "That’s why we
enjoy playing it. Acoustic is a lot more raw. You can’t hide behind
all the feedback, you can’t just turn it up to 10 and play it and
hope that it’ll be really loud and everybody is not going to be
able to hear a thing."

"Our music has lots of rhythms coming back at each other," adds
Eklund, "and along with the the aggression, we also have a lot of
mellow and pretty songs that make you think."

But considering the Sunset clubs more readily offer a glass of
beer before a profound proposition, Neither Trumpets Nor Drums
hopes its audience is one with an open mind. McGinnis laughs as he
agrees that the Roxy is a notorious "Glam Rock hell," but he adds,
"If (people) don’t come thinking that for a good band to be
aggressive they have to be really loud and shattering their ears
then I know they’ll enjoy themselves."

Many things are still uncertain for the UCLA quartet, but there
are also a lot of factors that were decided without much
consideration, as McGinnis concludes: "We never sat down and said
what this album was going to be about, but what we’re doing we do
because we love it, and we love it because it’s a new possibility
in music that we hear."

MUSIC: Neither Trumpets Nor Drums with Courtney Gaines at the
Roxy, 9009 Sunset Blvd., Wednesday, April 26, 9:30 p.m. $6 with
flier. For more info call the Roxy at 310-276-2222, and for info
about Neither Trumpets Nor Drums’ album, call 310-441-2168.

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