There’s a problem with the local band 83 Feet. Once you’re hooked on them you’ll find yourself evangelizing to friends on the merits of catching their next gig. That’s when you realize the inherent problem in describing their uniquely oddball sound. One Web site describes them as ska. They’re not. Another calls them hard rock. Nope. A jam band? Not really. 83 Feet is the throbbing sound of frustration. A pulsing, angst-laced sound that seems equal parts progressive rock and action movie soundtrack.
“We’re basically just rock with a trombone,” says Josh McKinney, guitarist and front man. “But I like how my friend Andy described us. He said we’re like a big sandwich. There’s a lot to chew on.”
Assuming the sandwich analogy holds true, then bass guitar must be the meat. A brooding bass undertone seems to typify the average 83 Feet tune. It’s no surprise that all the band members have bass skills in their background.
“We’ve pretty much all taken our turn at bass,” says current bassist Mike Eicher, who was originally brought into the mix as a drummer. The band formed when Josh and Joe met over a game of pool and started jamming together. Joe was friends with eventual guitarist Chris Desserich and brought him into the fold, and Mike Eicher was brought on as a drummer.
“During one of our early practices I was having a hard time finding the right beat and Joe stepped in and just killed. He was a way better drummer than me. I decided I’d better learn bass.”
Even trombonist Drew Darby gets in on 83 Feet’s bass-centric vibe. “When I’m playing my trombone, I just pretend I’m the second bass,” he says.
Which explains why they just don’t fit either the ska category or the big wall of sound you’d normally associate with a rock band’s brass section. Darby’s trombone work just brings a whole different element to the sound.
This begs the question, “Why feature trombone in a rock band in the first place?”
“It was all part of my ongoing plot to get the people I like to jam and party with to move to Indy,” McKinney says.
They’ve just finished their first full-length CD, which was recorded and mixed at the Engine Room. You can get the CD and catch their sound Friday, May 14 at the Melody Inn. They’ll follow it up with an all-ages CD release show at the Emerson on May 22.
Who: 83 Feet When: May 14 & May 22 Where: The Melody Inn & The Emerson