Reverse Neutral Drive is, as posted on its MySpace Web site, “like a whole wheat pita stuffed with rock, marinated in jazz and melted to perfection in an oven built from the blood, sweat, and tears of six pretty cool musicians.” Pioneered by guitarist, pimary songwriter and senior Geoff Bennington and vocalist, lyricist and senior Jed Lubin, the band expanded to six members, including baritone saxophonist and alumnus Brian Conlon, guitarist, drummer and junior Willem Lutter, drummer and junior Dan Kim and keyboard player and sophomore Cristin Stephens.
With graduation nearing and the band members differing in their musical aspirations, the long-term future is uncertain for this newly formed band. Bennington is determined to continue performing with the original name and songs intact. Despite these tribulations, an upcoming performance at the California Brew Haus this Sunday proves that Reverse Neutral Drive is gaining momentum in the Rochester music scene.
In an interview, Bennington and Lutter shared both the trials and rewards of their love of music and the “relationship” with their band.
How would you describe your genre?
Willem Lutter: Well, we don’t cover songs. So it’s kind of hard.
Geoff Bennington: Everyone wants a prefix these days like indie rock, post-rock or glam rock. I’d say we’re rock with a little folk.
How do you write your songs?
W.L.: Geoff writes a riff. I say it’s pretty cool. Then we work together on a chorus. I play a bunch of stuff until I find something that doesn’t suck when played simultaneously with Geoff’s riff. The rest of the band improvises from there. Usually the first couple times suck, but once everyone gets a feel for it, it starts to sound pretty good.
G.B: And then Jed writes the lyrics. It’s kind of a push and pull between Jed and I because I’m more interested in musical structures and he’s more interested in lyrical structures, but the compromise is something unique that neither of us could come up by ourselves. In our new song [“Things to do instead of doing it”] we created an entirely new section to fit his words and it sounds a lot better than before.
What are your ambitions with the band from here?
W.L.: We’re trying to win Grammys (laughs). Our ambitions kind of differ within the band. Our drummer wants to be a dentist.
G.B.: And Brian, our bari, just got into Harvard Law School. Cristin is a sophomore.
W.L.: Geoff is suffering from “I’m graduating with a music major and I don’t know [what to do].” That’s why he really wants to pull things together to direct his creative energies.
G.B.: Ideally, I would like Jed and I to move and start this over again, and then when Will graduates, he can move and play with us. Being in a band is like having an insane girlfriend, except you have five of them. I intend on keeping the name and the songs because I consider myself the primary songwriter. And Jed doesn’t like the lyrics he writes, so I’m going to keep them.
W.L.: Even though they’re really good and better than what we could come up with.
What’s your motivation behind playing in a band?
W.L.: Geoff is motivated because he likes playing music for people.
G.B.: Playing live is one of the most incredible experiences ever.
W.L.: It’s kind of like the sex part.
G.B.: Yeah, if a band is a girlfriend, playing live is the sex. And half an hour after every show, you get into a big fight. I think Will is motivated because he’s always playing music. He’s the kid who always has a guitar or violin with him.
W.L.: I like playing good music for people.
If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?
G.B.: Broken Social Scene “You Forgot it in People”; and if you haven’t heard it, you should buy it. Their music has been extremely influential in everything from writing rock music to composing classical pieces.
If you could meet any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
W.L.: I think I’d probably meet Bach, because not only is he a really sick musician, but he was also really good with the ladies. He had like 20 kids.
Reverse Neutral Drive will be performing this Saturday at the Community Learning Center with Walri and The Renowned Army at 10 p.m. They will also be performing on Sunday at the California Brew Haus with Seven Green, Major, Motion Picture, Endever, Hey Thanks, Lights Out Paris, The Tides, and One Hand Waving Free at 3 p.m. For tickets to the Brew Haus show, contact Bennington at email@example.com. You can also check out their MySpace at http://myspace.com/ReverseNeutralDrive for more details.
Sanehira is a member of the class of 2011.