2015 Battle of the Bands Hammered (Weekender)

Jamie Friedel will be playing in the Band Roulette group The Beeps, the Sweeps and the Creeps.

Jim Lee, The Weekender

There are times when I've dabbled with the idea of what it would be like to have a supergroup comprised of members from all my favorite local bands. The premise of Woods Unsigned's Band Roulette explores that idea.

Only instead of cherry-picking each musician, the groups in Band Roulette were selected at random by founder Mike Woods. They were given ample time to plan and practice four songs, including at least one original. By 8 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 9), bands will have to show up to The Marquee and play their set.

Clashing of styles and musical preferences are bound to occur, but that's part of the fun. It's also a chance for musicians to jam alongside people they haven't played with before.

Josh Ronfeldt, who has played in GypsyLover and The Dueling D***heads, is a newcomer to Band Roulette, which has now seen four shows. "I've never been able to do it," he said. "Every time there was a Band Roulette I was already booked."

He'll be playing alongside Corey Pithan, Bob Larson and young guitarist Eli Dykstra in the Band Roulette group Generations, named after the stark age differences between the band members. 

"What I really like about it is you get a chance to play with people that you wouldn't have," said Ronfeldt. "I've seen Eli play a few months ago and I was like, 'Oh man! I hope I get him for Band Roulette' And then I ended up getting him!

"I've been able to bridge this gap between me and this 15-year-old kid that I normally would never have done, but we were put in this together."

Jamie Friedel has performed in a previous Band Roulette and carries the same sentiment. But where does one start after getting paired with a group of new musicians? For Friedel and his group -- named The Beeps, the Sweeps, and the Creeps -- the first step was playing a Tom Petty cover bands were instructed to play. 

"After that, we decided we wanted to do all originals," said Friedel. "We've had three practices and will have one more before the show. So it will be interesting if we can pull it together."

Sound tough? Friedel said it can be, especially when members don't know each other's styles going into it. As a result, some groups will delve into different genres. 

"There's going to be straight-up blues and a little bit all over the place -- minus country and rap," said Friedel. 

What does Band Roulette compare to? According to Friedel, it feels like auditioning for a new band.

"You audition for the band and you don't know if it's going to work out or not," he said. "Then you go from there. That's what it seems like every time. Never played with the guys before last year [at Band Roulette 3] and I never played with these guys either. You go into it thinking it's like an audition, show off what you got and then go from there."

Friedel's bandmate Risty Bryce agrees. "Everything is kind of an unknown," said Bryce. "But there is this excitement. And it's really cool to watch all the other bands, too. It'll just be fun to perform!"

And it somewhat forces musicians out of their comfort zones, which could produce interesting results. 

"Most of the time you form bands with your friends and an idea of what you want to sound like," said Bryce. "For this, you have no idea if the guitar player is going to match up, or if anyone has an ego, who's willing to go with the flow, who's going to take charge and make decisions because you have one month to do four songs."

Bryce has played in a previous Band Roulette. Walking away from that experience, he said he found a new respect for musicians. And he expects that to happen again.

"The music scene is still thriving -- still open and cool," he said. "I always take away from it a sense of change for myself. And it's just so fun." 


Weekender reporter

Load comments