Friday September 26th 9PM
Downtown Perryville, MO
All three of us started out in different bands when we were in our teens. Matt, with a group called Innosense, and then a band named unglued, and a couple of others of which he can’t recall the names. Leon played in a band called The Dalton Gang, and later with The Ray Steele Band. I remember getting an acoustic when I was about 14, and my father said if I learned to play it he would get me an electric, so immediately I started to learn chords. I think the first song I learned was by blues traveler? After getting a mexi-fender strat I collected as many bar chords and nineties songs as I could master, and started to write my own music too. I started a group called Daughter around 1996, the name comes from a Pearl Jam song. It would have been a great name for an all chick pearl jam tribute band, however we were neither…so began my music playing career. The group consisted of me, Leon, and Josh Yamnitz. I knew Leon from school, and Josh since I can remember, and better yet they were available. Learning from long table drumming session of wipe-out in home-ec that Leon was a phenomenal drummer, I asked him if he would like to join Josh and I and start a band. Josh played guitar, and I played guitar and sang; Leon drummed. It can be difficult to find someone to play bass in rural Missouri. This was the ground work for 3rdgear.
We played a couple of shows in smoky bars to bartenders and their patrons playing covers and sprinkling in originals, but the band eventually fizzled. One good thing is our school let us play at the halftime of basketball games. This got me noticed by a kid from a neighboring town who had some friends in a band.
Since Daughter wasn’t really doing anything I decided to take the offer from the band from the neighboring town, and I became their singer. It consisted of Robbie Buesking-drums, Jeremy Mooney-guitar, David Kelly-bass, and me. It was a pretty heavy band, their influences were: tool, deftones, sevendust, and korn, and some of the guys had just went to a small club show where Limp Bizkit was the opening act, they were extatic.
Having trouble settling on a name at a practice one day Somebody’s girlfriend said, “why don’t you call yourselves 3rdgear”… and it stuck. We played together for a year or so playing mostly backyard metal parties. Eventually the band grew tired of my different influence and direction/ideas and they stiffed me a few days before some actual shows at a city festival we had just got booked for. I scurried around for a plan B, enter Brandon Talent…
Brandon was a punk rock kid who had moved to my school several months earlier and I asked him if he would like to learn 10 songs in a couple days, play acoustic guitars for people that are expecting an actual band, get paid hardly anything, and sound like crap. He said, “sure.” Come to think of it, that’s what he always said. The shows went over fine, but what they really accomplished was re-motivating me to make some real music.
Brandon had a cousin at our school: Michael Jeter, who ended up playing drums for us, and a friend I knew from Perryville told me about a guy who played bass, Matt Watts. We quickly threw some new songs and some previously recorded songs on a cd and called it our first album. Matt and I quickly became good friends. After playing many shows on weekends and late school nights Brandon left the band. We heard of a kid named Chad who played guitar like a banshee, he joined us, but he eventually left too, along with Michael. Now Matt and I were back to square one. I told him I knew a guy named Leon who played drums, but that he was pretty hard to track down, I was right.
It was summer time so Leon didn’t have the constraints of school to keep him on a schedule, cell phones weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are now, and Leon tended to bounce around from house to house staying with friends, so it was a chore to find him. I think I actually had to send him a message via word of mouth through friends, to let him know I was looking for him. When we did meet, he agreed to once again join me in making music. Matt, Leon, and Robby. This to me is the real beginning of 3rdgear.
Things started to progress quickly. It just fit. Matt knew a guy name Shannon Myers who played guitar. The guy was incredible, he had a sound that was as smooth as glass, but at the same time thick and tough. Shannon too was a good fit with guys and I, we all got along great and worked well together. We played many stages in many states learning how to feed off one another’s strengths in playing music. In time, the pressures of constant practices and shows, not to mention trying to make a living, got to be too much and Shannon decided to part ways. We were disappointed, but supported him completely.
From this point we decided to study 3 piece bands and what made them great. We learned from their examples and made music our way benefiting from them. Bands like nirvana, green day, everclear, blink 182, and stone temple pilots. Bands that used three instruments but still had a large sound. From this point we really had the recipe figured out. We continued to play our music to crowds in and around St. Louis and occasionally across the states. What an incredible ride it has been, we are very appreciative for the experiences we’ve been able to have and the people we’ve been able to meet. As for what’s next?...
Lead Vocals & Guitar
Bass & Supporting Vocals
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