Joie de musique
Reno’s Think In French discovers that sometimes you just have to DIY
In a town where the bright lights of casinos and the ringing of slot machines rule, it might seem impossible to get a small indie band off the ground. Reno may have its hidden charms, but the town’s real bread and butter is the gaming biz, which brings the 21-and-over crowd invading the casinos on weekends in search of the big prize.
“Reno is a town that doesn’t help young kids,” says Clint Neuerburg, guitarist and vocalist for Think In French, whose members actually fall in the over-21 crowd.
You can’t say the band isn’t trying, though.
Think In French—which also includes Kyle Akins (guitar, bass, vocals), guitarist Mike Modene and drummer Patrick Burkett—grew up listening to DIY punk bands like Fugazi, so it’s only natural that the members used their own means to get their music heard.
Neuerburg and Modene started their own label, Humaniterrorist, and released the band’s first self-titled EP in 2006. They recorded it themselves and distributed 125 hand-made copies at their shows. All of the bands on the label are based in Reno, and the label also operates as a collective with about 15 musicians.
Neuerburg, Modene and Akins have been a part of Reno’s music scene for several years, performing under different names and making friends along the way. The three met while working at Tower Records and soon discovered they all shared a love of bands like Fugazi and Sonic Youth. They formed Think In French in 2004. The band went on a six-month hiatus in 2005 before recruiting Burkett to take over drums in January 2006.
Things have changed quite a bit in the last year. For the band’s full-length album, Citizens of Blessed Surroundings, the members joined engineer Robert Cheek, who has worked with the Deftones and RX Bandits, at The Hangar in Sacramento. The album, which was released in August 2006, is filled with hypnotizing, layered guitars that celebrate Sonic Youth’s noisier moments, while incorporating simpler punk rock aggression. The band just released two split 7-inches with Reno’s Back Harlow Road and Words.
Neuerburg said in a world filled with MP3s and iPods, they want the younger generation to experience the fun of collecting records, so the band released its EPs on vinyl and CD. Think In French’s contribution to the Words split, “The Complete Body of Reptiles,” is a chaotic slab of noise-punk, with thunderous drums, frenetic vocals and harmonic-driven guitars.
Being deeply involved in the Reno music scene and making friends with other bands has paid off—Burkett’s pervious band, Mayharpoon, had played numerous shows with Think In French. The band has also been able to book three tours with the help of their friends. Their third tour kicks off this month and will take them up and down the West Coast and into Utah and Colorado.
Think In French’s knack for networking led them to meeting Sacramento’s Tera Melos, who helped direct them to name-in-French Chico band La Fin du Monde.
“We figured Tera Melos is friends with La Fin du Monde, we should be, too,” Neuerburg said.
The tour leads up to DenverFest 3, an annual three-day festival with more than 70 bands playing at various venues in Denver. The band was invited back after playing last year. In November, the members of Think In French will see one of their dreams come true when they play in Reno with Fugazi bassist Joe Lally. The show will take place at the Holland, an all-ages art and music initiative run by Reno music fans.
But Neuerburg says he’s excited about the upcoming show in Chico, although he admits he doesn’t know quite what to expect.
“I like to be surprised.”