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Shared love of vinyl bonds rock duo Farnsworth

WANT TO GO?

Farnsworth in-store EP release appearance

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Budget Tapes and Records, 3708 MacCorkle Ave. SE

COST: Free. (EPs $7)

INFO: 304-925-8273 CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes a CD cover is a different story. The cover of "I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough," the debut EP from local rock duo Farnsworth, encapsulates everything Chris Vance and Jason Reese are about: classic rock records and rocking out.

On the cover, Vance and Reese are pictured at their rehearsal spot, Reese at the drum kit and Vance, the singer-guitarist, on the floor amidst a sea of bottles and records from their favorite rock bands: Free, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Grand Funk Railroad, among others.

Talking over the phone from Reese's apartment, the pair said the cover is wholly indicative of what they're all about and that their in-store EP release performance at Budget Tapes and Records Friday brings them back to what helped bring them together: the records.

"All of the albums on the cover are big time, huge influences on us," Reese said.

Both musicians collect vinyl, and Vance said they bonded at the record store before they became a band.

"What's funny about having the release show at Budget is that's where we first started getting together," he said. "We'd meet at Budget once every couple of weeks, and go through the record bin and talk about bands that we like like Free, Lee Michaels, Deep Purple and Mountain.

"That was that was a big thing for Jason and I getting together; we would just talk albums. And Jason has the best record collection I have ever seen." Vance said with emphasis and awe.

Fast forward to the present. After starting out with a bassist last year, Farnsworth is now stripped down and back to raw rock and roll roots, Vance said.

"It's a chemistry thing," he said of his and Reese's musical bond. "From the first time I played guitar with other people, it'd be just me and a drummer jamming. And it's funny now that Jason and I are in Farnsworth together, because that's how I got my start -- just jamming with a drummer. There's just something really raw and primal about that connection."

"It's a little different; it's freeing," Reese said of the configuration. "When we had a bassist, I just played in the pocket. I didn't really branch out or do anything flashy. There's more sound to fill out."

While citing more contemporary influences and favorites like Buffalo Killers, The Suede Brothers and Shepherdstown's The Demon Beat, Vance recalled a particularly transformative experience seeing a two-piece rock band as a teen.

"The first band that I ever saw that really got my blood going was a band from Baltimore called Stars of the Dogon. They played the American Legion in Saint Albans. I was like 15 years old, and I couldn't drive. I remember seeing them come in with guitar amp after guitar amp and a drum kit, and it was just two guys on stage.

"We were like 'Where's the bassist?' And they just put on this show that I'll never forget. It changed me from then on. It was the most passionate, raw thing I'd ever seen."

He hopes that Farnsworth will inspire just as much passion in others as Stars of the Dogon did in him. 

"We hope to play as much as we can, for whoever, whenever, wherever," Vance said. "We're hoping that when we play shows, people feel the same thing that Jason and I do when we listen to these records or see these great bands. We just hope it takes us where we want to go."

Vance said that as Farnsworth, he and Reese -- two dudes in their mid-20s with an affection for records older than they are -- embody something timeless about rock and roll

"I'll say this: first off, us being big vinyl fans, one of the first questions I get, and I imagine Jason gets a lot is, when you talk to people about records, some go 'They still make those?'

"One of the best things about playing out of state or going to Budget is, there are new vinyl records being pressed every single day by amazing and wonderful bands like The Demon Beat and The Suede Brothers," Vance continued.

"I don't know. I feel like people want to say that rock is dead, but it's out there, and the passion and the lust for pure rock and roll is out there. It never goes away."

Vance said that he and Reese hope to release a full-length record by this time next year. It's safe to assume it will probably be on vinyl.

WANT MORE?

EP release after party

With The Demon Beat and Tofujitsu

WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday

WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.

COST: $7 (show your copy of the EP for $2 off)

INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.emptyglass.com

Reach Nick Harrah at wvrockscene@gmail.com.


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