Old is the new “new”

Promises Promises

Promises Promises is putting a new coat of paint on the old. From left, Pierre Marché, Tayler Wooten, Jared Mort and Greg McLean.

Promises Promises is putting a new coat of paint on the old. From left, Pierre Marché, Tayler Wooten, Jared Mort and Greg McLean.

Photo By David Robert

Promises Promises performs with This Calendar Year and Fletch August 19 at 8 p.m. at Club Underground, 555 E. Fourth St. $10. Call 786-2582 or visit Myspace.com/promisespromisesreno.

“Wow!” says Pierre Marché, explaining his initial reaction when his friend and former band mate Jared Mort began performing solo. “Jared sings?”

The duo had been playing music together in various bands for more than five years. Fed up with typical rock ‘n’ roll ego drama, Mort struck out on his own to pursue a more folk-flavored, storytelling tack over a year ago. When Marché saw him perform, he was inspired. “In the other bands we played in, Jared didn’t sing, so, I didn’t really know that he could,” Marché says.

As a founding member of punk band Sucka Punch, 36-year-old Marché has been “playing hard and fast for the past 15 years.” The direction Mort was going—an Omaha-flavored, stripped-down blues sound—was refreshing to Marché.

“There’s this song, ‘Dixon Road,’ that he wrote. It’s about this old spot where he used to go fishing when he was growing up,” Marché says. To an old punk more accustomed to anti-everything anger music, a simple folksong about a fishing hole was quaint and revitalizing.

When Mort “got bored” with performing solo and wanted to start a new band, Marché made time to play drums. Additionally, Mort enlisted the services of guitarist Tayler Wooten, a Los Angeles transplant with an eclectic musical background.

“When I was younger, I was into some weird, far-out shit,” Wooten says. The mainstream has since caught up, and the influences he lists don’t seem like they’re so far-out after all: Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Radiohead. Nontheless, his shoe-gazer/ambient/New Wave vibe is an interesting accent to Mort’s folky Bright Eyes-style crooning. Mort didn’t know a bass player, so he posted a bulletin on Myspace. Greg McLean, a 26-year-old music student at the University of Nevada, Reno, showed up, and Promises Promises was born in March 2007.

“When we started, I had a bunch of songs that I’d already written,” says Mort. “And Tayler had some stuff.” The trick was adapting the songs for a four-piece band.

In the age of the Internet, when fans expect to sample any music they want with the click of a mouse, the group felt immediate pressure to get something recorded. “We went down to Sacramento and banged out the demo within a few weeks of getting together,” says Marché.

In the ensuing couple of months, they’ve gigged around and created some interest and now plan to take a break from performing to write. “I feel like we’re finally starting to write as a group,” says Mort.

No more rock ‘n’ roll egos here; they’re all respectful of each other’s input and talents.

“We might have three of us that want to try a song three different ways,” says Mort. “And we’ll try it all three ways. It’s very open.”

Promises Promises is considering recording a full-length album early next year.

“We’re hoping that Tayler gets a new guitar for Christmas so we can record,” says Marché.

Meanhile, they’re excited about the places they’re going creatively and happy to be moving forward and collaborating with like-minded artists.

“My old band broke into my house and stole my gear,” says Wooten. “Playing in this band is so much better than that.”