Magical (Musical) Mystery Tour: Part Nine

As Yet Unbroken, Part Two

As Yet Unbroken

Hey, remember that long, strange trip we took through my long, winding musical non-career a few years ago? Well, as I stand here at the junction of another musical path (things in MOONBOOTS-land have been, um, sort of up in the air ever since we released our debut EP and our drummer announced a quasi-hiatus), it seems like as good a time as any to add another chapter in this near-lifetime affair with the Mistress of Music. Or whatever.

At our previous stop on the tour, I had joined in on drums with my pal Mark (bass) and his friend Tim (vocals) in the early stage of a new musical project. We’d roughed out some grungy metal tunes with the help of a few young guitarists inside the borrowed spare bedroom of Tim’s neighbor, but weren’t making much progress. I was just returning to the drums, and having lived in an apartment for a while, wasn’t able to practice at all in between band meetings. A few things soon changed.

First, we moved band rehearsals from a cramped bedroom in North Las Vegas to the back of what was then The Fallout gallery inside Commerce Street Studios. The spot, owned by First Friday co-founder Cindy Funkhouser, was downstairs from Mark’s own gallery, MTZC, and the back area felt like a real rehearsal studio, replete with a drum riser. Plus, it was downtown, in the heart of the Arts District.

Then, we found our missing link: Guitarist Richard Epse. We were looking for an older, more experienced, more responsible guitar player, and Rick met all of those requirements. He was a friend of Mark’s from work, had good musical tastes, and not only brought a different style of playing to what was then a sort-of one-trick band, but he also brought good songwriting sensibilities. Plus, Rick’s really tall, so he could get stuff off the top shelf when needed.

The third thing that happened around this time (which is roughly spring of 2008) is that I moved from my high-rise apartment to a rented house near downtown. Although it wasn’t that well-soundproofed, I was able to use one of the rooms in the house as a dedicated music practice space, into which the band would eventually move, as well.

At The Fallout, however, is where we first met Rick, and if memory serves me (it probably doesn’t), he might have even played lead guitar on an early demo of the song “Pseudo Angel” on his first or second practice. We vibed with Rick pretty quickly. One of the other guitarists, Josh, was still kind of around, and even appeared in our earliest “official” band photos, but he was always one foot out the door, both because of his work commitments (I think he worked some sort of construction gig, which meant his schedule could change at a moment’s notice), and because he was potentially moving out of town. By late spring of ’08, Josh was gone, the band was solidified as a quartet, and we finally had settled on a name: As Yet Unbroken.

I honestly don’t remember if it was Tim or Mark who came up with the name. Pretty sure Tim. Definitely not me, and definitely not Rick. I found an email I sent out in March of that year to Mark and Tim with the following list of potential band names:

Rock Formation
Life Not Lived
We Bring Chaos

But I have no idea whether those were MY suggestions, a compilation of ideas from various parties, or something else altogether. They’re all pretty terrible. The only suggestion I distinctly know I made was “The Unknown,” which I still kind of dig, and which ended up being the title of As Yet Unbroken’s debut album (minus the definite article).

Either way, As Yet Unbroken was now a thing. We had a MySpace page (um, 2008, hello?). We might have had a website. We had a handful of demos we’d recorded at The Fallout. We had some dreamy band photos taken of the new line-up inside Commerce Street Studios. Now, all we needed was to take our music from the rehearsal studio to the masses. So, of course, we did what every new band should do for their first public performance: Enter a battle of the bands.

To be continued!

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