Standing on a downtown street corner for a First Wednesday show, the pair caught the attention of David Fender, who stopped to watch the performance. Later they were introduced by Fender’s wife, who had been Brian’s classmate. Even though he hadn’t played drums in a few years, Fender said he liked the music and offered his services, if they ever needed him.The pair soon called Fender and invited him to sit in for a show later that
day. Without ever practicing as a unit, the threesome played a show that got Darren thinking. When a second performance went equally well, Darren started thinking about moving back home and making the band official.
“I wasn’t down here to form a band but, from a musical standpoint, I always
loved the idea of having a band,” explains Darren. “I wasn’t solo acoustic
necessarily by choice, it’s just that you’ve got to start somewhere. I was doing that because it’s what I had.”
Music from Darren’s solo days was reworked to fit the fledgling band and the group started preparing new material that utilized the new setup.
To showcase thenew direction, the threesome headed into the studio and recorded a five-song EP, “It All Starts Here.”
“The music started evolving really fast,” says Brian. “Darren was able to write for a band now, instead of just for himself. So, it started changing — the music itself. Even the same songs that we did that first gig started evolving and taking on a new flavor.”
According to Fender, Darren’s solo days were much more stripped down than
what the band does and it ran somewhere in the neighborhood of Jack Johnson’s music. The shift in dynamics, however, allowed Darren to pursue new areas and move more in a rock direction, while “maintaining the integrity of the melody.”
“When I was by myself, I could only do what me and my guitar could do,” says Darren. “I can now do what the band can do.”
Since releasing its debut, the group has returned to the studio to record a threesong set that it offers at its shows. Included on the disc is the track “Better Than Nothing,” which has earned the band airplay on local radio station KSND.
This past December, the group participated in the Salem Public Library’s
Battle Of The Bands and took first place. Thanks to that win, the trio will return to Loucks Auditorium for a headline show that will close out the World Of Music At The Library series.
Another key show in December was a benefit for the AIDS Foundation of
South Africa that Darren organized. As a student, he went to South Africa to study and believes his time there greatly impacted him, including giving him the desire to pursue music in earnest.
“Africa and my time there changed my life,” says Darren. “I kind of owe
my life — what it is now — to my time there.”