College is a great catalyst for band formation. From Devo to Public Enemy, The Commodores to Phish, thousands of bands have formed when pursuit of higher education gave way to pursuit of music.
More specifically, dormitories have linked like-minded musicians together; while The Pixies may be the greatest band whose formation is credited to dorm-life, Hootie and the Blowfish too sold millions of records and made millions of dollars after coming together on the same dorm floor where kids were living in cramped quarters.
A bit closer to home we can look to the Bader-Snyder Complex dormitories at Fort Lewis College for being good to the local music scene. Over the last 15 years, the 186-capacity dormitory has (to this writer’s knowledge and research) produced three bands that have played around town, with two currently still playing locally and regionally. That may not seem like a lot until you consider the numbers; undergraduate students at the Fort number between 3,500 and 4,000 students, with 1,500 of those students living in eight different on-campus residential communities; to have three bands with anywhere from three to six members each who are established enough to practice, play out and record, odds are that there’s at least a couple musicians on each floor ready to pursue music as a career, or at least play out at local venues or festivals.
WHAT: Noodle plays “Psychedelic-Americana” at Rockin’ on the River.
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Powerhouse Science Center, 1333 Camino del Rio.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.powsci.org.
Whale Logic was a loud rock band whose members met in the dorm in the early aughts, playing DIY punk and metal events.
Liver Down the River is a jam-grass band that formed in 2012, after members met in Bader-Snyder and bonded over Colorado jam-bands. Now based in Denver, they still hit it hard, continuing to play just about every local or regional festival to enthusiastic crowds.
The third band is Noodle, a self-described “psychedelic-Americana” band. The sextet dropped their debut “Once On A Whim” in 2021. Noodle, who are Sal Sharp on mandolin, Matt Kolbe on keyboards, Carlo Fourzan on bass, Alec Mayes on drums, Alex Eckler on guitar and Eli Emmitt on guitar, will perform Sunday at the Powerhouse Science Center, as part of the “Rockin’ on the River” Concert Series.
It was a simple, organic start of the band; they were just dudes fresh into college looking to play music in their dorm rooms.
“In the beginning, we were kind of just doing it because it’s what we like to do,” Sharp said. “We were just hanging out in the dorms just playing music, there was a lot of that.”
Ask members who their influences are and you’ll get a diverse list of band that includes anyone from The Beatles to Car Seat Headrest; yet they’ll cite Steely Dan as the biggest collective influence.
They’ll be heading back into the studio later this year to record an EP, remaining so musically in tune with each other that they know that a song can change from the day its written to the day its recorded.
“One of us will write a song and know how we want it to sound, and then we’ll bring it to practice, but then it can end up sounding completely different,” Sharp said.
“I think there’s a certain level of trust,” Kolbe said. “We’ve been playing together for a while, so we know what will sound good, and what will be compatible with our ears.”
The band jokes that once they start to hate their day jobs they’ll be pushed into making the “big move” into being a full-time band. But for now, they’re cool with performing shows around the state, which includes the local show Sunday, and a show later this month in Gunnison when they open for Colorado jam-grass heroes Leftover Salmon.
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at email@example.com.