Five for fun
Crushed by Jefferson
“Forest Whitaker has been the basis for most of our stuff,” says Jon Perry, lead guitarist of Crushed by Jefferson. There’s a grain of truth in the quip. They take their name from Charles Jefferson, the hulking football player who Whitaker portrayed in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and not from the crushing defeat of Charles C. Pinckney by Thomas Jefferson in the 1804 presidential election.
The band facetiously brainstorms about T-shirt ideas, trademark issues with Whitaker’s name and likeness, speculation about the upcoming Academy Awards, and even the musical proclivities of the Pope.
“We spend most of our time trying to make each other laugh,” Perry says.
The indie pop band is comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Scott Patten, bassist Greyson Beffa, Andrew Eckes manning the keyboard, Mike Young on drums, and the aforementioned lead guitarist, Perry.
They seem like good guys—humble, without being overly self-deprecating, confident with where they’re at without being obnoxious or cocky. There isn’t even a shadow of pretension or false modesty when Eckes proclaims, “We’re just a rock band,” between swigs of his domestic beer in a can.
They range in age from 21 to 27, and, with the exception of Young, they’ve known one another since their high school days in Reno. They’ve all played music for several years, and they’ve played together as Crushed by Jefferson since December of 2003.
“You name it, we’ve played it in Reno,” says Perry. Additionally, they’ve made their rounds in Northern California and the more remote parts of Northern Nevada.
“We used to play a lot of shows,” Beffa says. Lately though, balancing work, school, girlfriends, wives, families and other musical pursuits—Young is in the Saddle Tramps, and Perry is in A Moments Loss—prevents the band from performing together as much as they’d like.
“We’ve gone weeks without practicing,” says Beffa. “We’ll play little streaks, little mini tours. … Lately, we’ve been practicing a lot, though.”
When they do find themselves on a stage together, you don’t want to miss it. With influences spanning the spectrum from Motion City Soundtrack to Say Anything to the Rolling Stones, the quintet belts out catchy rock tunes with spot-on rhythm and lovely melodies. The keyboarding is fetching and not overdone, and the lyrics are poignant and mature. That’s Patten’s doing.
“I bring in a complete, perfect song,” he says. “It’s like a crystal-clear glass of water. And then these guys muddy it up.”
This opinion seems to be unanimous among the band members, but it’s more diplomatically stated by Young: “Scott will bring something in, and we all hash it out.”
They’ve managed to “hash out” an album, This is Surrender, which took more than a year to write and record. The band is distributing the album themselves, and it’s available exclusively from their van and on their MySpace page.
As for the future, the band aspires “to still be together next month,” according to Beffa. Seems reasonable. Or to “just keep playing together,” as Eckes puts it.
“It’d be cool to get on a tour,” Young says.
Scott strikes a more conclusive chord: “We’re a small-time band with medium-time aspirations.”
I guess that’s why he writes the songs.