Eastman Band is comprised of John Eastman (founder, front man, lead vocals/guitar), Terry Brewer (drums), and Jimmy Cuellar (bass). This amazing group of musicians grew up together playing music (from the time they were in middle school). While John does provide the majority of the band’s inspiration in terms of their material, Terry and Jimmy both contribute significantly to all of the songs as they are created.
I met the guys at their Star Station Studios located in Springfield, Oregon on Memorial Day, 2011 (aka May 30, 2011). I actually walked in while they were recording one of their practice sessions (which they always do) – they sounded great (as per usual) and I enjoyed waiting for them to finish! After they finished that song, they were gracious enough to let me ask them some questions about the history of the band and the direction they want to take from here.
With a few exceptions of some cover tunes when they play full sets at local venues, the band really tries to stay focused on doing original material. In addition, they have a very strict policy of no drinking or smoking which keeps them sharp and clear while they are working on their songs (whether it is practicing, performing, or recording). When I asked them to describe their music, they really had a hard time answering. Some of their songs are slow rock ballads, while others are hard driving rock. Their goal is to have the audience (be it live or listening to what they have recorded) become involved in the music, finding something they can identify with. When I listen to them, I hear Bush with some Creed (but that’s just me, and yes, I liked early Creed before they became a bad name in the music biz!!). Nice solid beat, clean guitar and bass work, with vocals that you can understand and that catch you. They didn’t take much exception to the Bush reference…
Their relationship as friends over the span of many years is what makes this band sound so crystal clean. While Jimmy is now the bass player for the group, he actually started out as the light man for their gigs (when their previous bass player [Danny Bridges] had to move out of the area, Jimmy stepped up to the plate and took over that role). Terry started playing drums with the band when it was in its early stages and continues to be an integral force in this group. Their friendship has grown to include the next generation as all of their kids are friends and have grown up together with their dads being band members. The kids have picked up instruments and are doing their own work creating original material as well. Don’t be surprised if you hear of an Eastman Band II somewhere in the future!
You can listen to the live recording of the interview here: http://www.voices.com/demo_detail/78295
As a columnist reviewing the 2011 Last Band Standing, I cannot take sides, but I can definitely tell you this band is well worth taking the trouble of finding a parking spot in downtown Eugene next Friday, April 3, as they face some serious competition at the last half of the semi-finals. If you aren’t familiar with their material, you can take a free listen here: http://www.myspace.com/theeastmanband; or see one of their videos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNFJfjoYpUw&feature=player_embedded
If you know and love these guys, just be there. If you don’t, you should show up to support local bands playing live! What better plans can you have for a Friday night in drizzly, damp, downtown Eugene?