There are plenty of bands that feature brothers, sisters or married couples. But, it’s rare to find a band that has a parent and a child. A generation gap drives the rhythm section of Engine Fire, though.
This melodic punk-meets-straightforward-rock band from Reno features drummer Pierre Marche and his son, Josh, on bass. The family members play with two of Pierre's longtime musician friends: singer and guitarist Christopher Holloway and guitarist Shaun Rucker.
It makes you wonder if the father-son dynamic is a part of Engine Fire's band life. The answer: not really.
“I just watch what I say a little more,” Josh Marche said to laughs from his bandmates.
“You both do,” Holloway quickly chimed in.
“It doesn't really come up unless I make a smart-ass joke about it, about him being ‘my boy,'” Pierre said. “But when I look over at him, I just see an awesome bass player with his foot on the amp, just shredding away.”
“Being a father, what I thought was rad was when we recorded,” Holloway continued, talking about Engine Fire's EP session earlier this year in Sacramento. “Pierre had that extra Dad empathy. When [Josh] was down in the dumps, and it was when none of us wanted to be in the studio anymore, Pierre would be picking him up, and that was rad. He wouldn't do that for me [laughs].”
Like his bandmates, Josh Marche is also experienced in the scene. His past bands include punk faves like Donkey Jaw and Viva Revenge. He's also economical with his words.
“The thing about Josh is that he's the cool, calm one among us,” Pierre said. “When we start panicking about a canceled practice and blow up like a sewing circle, like in a group text, Josh won't even acknowledge us. I know he's thinking, ‘Here they go.'”
“I'm all about solutions over problems,” Josh Marche explained.
That's not to say Engine Fire isn't all about the bonhomie. The band started a year ago, but its roots are in the friendship between Holloway and Pierre that stretches back to the late '90s Reno scene. They also played together in the bands Stamp Collection Suicide and Calling Cadence in the '00s.
Holloway took a musical break for the past few years, but when the Marches asked to work with him again, the time seemed right. Rucker, who the band knew from his time in local Drugknuckle, joined up just in time for its recordings.
“I remember that [Pierre] texted me and asked, ‘How are your hands doing?' Because I just had surgery on both hands,” Rucker said. “I had to relearn how to play guitar, and right about then Pierre called. I said, ‘They're feeling great. I can get them up to par.'”
Rucker and Holloway's twin guitars work with the Marche's rhythm to power Engine Fire's sound, a mix of '90s-style punk and the melodic-but-edgy college rock of American and UK '80s bands. Add Holloway's introspective, everyman lyrics, and you have a brew that's quite addictive.
“We weren't interested in reinventing the wheel,” Pierre said. “ When I played our stuff for some musician friends, they all said, ‘Oh, you're like this or that from the late '90s.' And I thought, ‘You know what? We write what we know.' We've been playing and loving our style of music for 20 years now, and Josh grew up listening to it. That's why he fits in like a glove.”