The Third Wheelers
The Third Wheelers is a group bound together by a shared love of music as well as an addiction to nicotine. The front porch was the perfect setting for the band’s folk-acoustic style as a post-interview smoke break turned into an impromptu band practice. The 10 members took turns singing while trading an acoustic guitar and a ukulele between songs.
The Third Wheelers has quite the robust roster: Jay Collins and Devin Jones play guitar, Forest Molina on drums, Victor Monson plays ukulele and guitar, Robert Molina on bass, Ellie Collins rocks the xylophone, Trevor LeMay plays the violin and guitar along with singers Heidi Arndt, Jenny Stamps and Rose Molina.
The group had been friends long before they started creating music together. But the band germinated with siblings Jay and Ellie and Jones when they wrote their first song “Thursday Afternoon” back in May.
The band’s name came from a joke made by another Collins sister. Ellie and Jay are siblings, Ellie and Jones are in a relationship, and Jay and Jones are best friends, making each original member a third wheel in one sense or another. The joke stuck as the band’s name. Forest joined soon after, and the band has been adding third wheels ever since.
Jay admits thst having a band with so many people can be a hassle, especially in getting members together for practice. But he says the rewards outweigh the headaches.
“It’s definitely really difficult being in a band this size, but listening to the music we made, the payoff is unbelievable,” he said.
Forest said he enjoys the sheer volume of creative energy the group produces. The members all contribute songs to the band. Even though the band has only been together for about half a year, it has created more than 20 original songs. Once, Jay and Jones pumped out five songs in one day.
Though there is a lot of creativity and a broad swath of voices going into their music, Forest said the band stays on the same wavelength.
“That’s the nice thing about our sound that I’ve noticed,” Forest said. “Because we have so many people, it’s really broad, but it’s still very focused.”
One subject the band tends to focus on is the concept of family. And that’s not just because there are two sets of siblings in the band. (Robert, Rose and Forest are also siblings.)
Jones said he loves the energy that comes with playing in a band with so many people, especially siblings. Ellie and Rose enjoy being in the band with their brothers. They said the intimacy that comes with songwriting has brought the siblings closer together.
“Our music comes from deep inside,” Ellie said. “So we do learn about each other, the way that we write, and it has just brought us so much closer together as friends and as families.”
The song “Family and Friends” is about how the two things are one and the same, Jay said. The Third Wheelers said the band members have come to rely on each other just like a family. This sense of closeness resonates through songs such as “Fall too Fast,” “Seeing Stones” and other band favorites.
“’Miracle of Flight’ is one of my favorite songs” Monson said. “I felt like all of us were going through hard stuff in our lives at the same time, and that song is sad but uplifting with the lyrics and it makes you hopeful.”
“I love ’The March’” Arndt added. “All of our songs are so freaking mellow and that one is just ’Huzza!’”