If you’re in your own band at Fairfield, there are limited exciting outlets available for your talents. The Levee attracts a total of 50 people per week, and half of them go to Prep. The Dolan Chapel is amazing in theory, but it’s a chapel-turned-study hall and everyone knows a priest or something hung himself from the rafters way back when. The BCC and Jazzman’s aren’t bad, but they are intensely makeshift and sadly lame for a college band. That leaves the smelly Gonzaga Auditorium, the few chances to play outdoors and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a student-run band play at the Quick Center or in Alumni Hall. The point is, it’s not exactly easy to get yourself out there as a band at Fairfield. Unless, of course, you’re Alex Claydon’s band. If you’re Alex Claydon’s band, you’ve played all those places and more, and you’ve been excited about every single one of them. Currently Claydon and his regular band, whose name is in the works, are in the studio recording their first album. AJ Piper ’08 is still Claydon’s regular second-hand (or voice) man and the rest of the band is made up of non-FU musicians. Will Whatley is on drums Pat Cardone is on bass and the group is lucky to have Jen Durkin, from the band Deep Banana Blackout, lending her vocal talent to some of the tracks. They’re recording in Monroe, CT in the back rooms and attic of a music store/school owned by musician and sound engineer Jim Swaine, who’s doing all the recording for the band. And after visiting the studio for a recording session last week, it’s clear that the process might be more time-consuming than any Engineering class or Philosophy term paper ever completed at Fairfield. With five songs completed, and at least five more to go, the band isn’t even at their halfway mark and they started in mid February. Claydon said this is mainly because they’ve been juggling classes, work, recording and playing live. Meticulous attention is being paid to every inch of tape that’s recorded and from the sounds of “Life Times Too” and “Hold it Down,” two finished tracks, it shows. From seeing the band play live and from hearing his new recordings, Claydon’s influences seems to include Allman Brothers Band, Simon and Garfunkel, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton and other tried-and-true musicians with a real knack for creating real and exciting music for anyone who’s got ears. They plan to have all the parts to every song recorded to for a demo CD before the end of the Summer, with a CD finished around the start of school in the Fall. The tracks will be fully mostly unmixed at that time, which means they’ll need the finishing touch of a producer. Claydon said the band might be called The Americans by then, but the album name is still up in the air. His sound engineer, Swaine, is a busy man who’d working into the morning for these guys on at least a weekly basis. He said, “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was a goo project.” He couldn’t explain what kind of music it is, but he mentioned classic rock. He said it’s good that they don’t sound like someone else. “This is no genre stuff, man,” he said. It is always exciting, but also empowering, to hear about the real hard-workers at Fairfield. And there are plenty of talented musicians on campus, and they’re all worth checking out as many times as possible, but Claydon and his band have made it their business to be as present as possible. And now you can expect a full-length CD from them in the Fall.
To keep up on the progress of the band’s work or to just listen to some tunes, visit www.myspace.com/alexclaydon