Sunshine psychedelic pop and rock and roll may be the only way to describe Charleston, S.C., band The Explorers Club. Not only because the band thinks so, but because The Explorers Club makes a point to make their classic pop rock-inspired songs as fun and enjoyable as possible.
The band, featuring Jason Brewer (vocals, guitar, piano), Jim Faust (vocals, guitar, piano), Dave Ellis (vocals, 12-string guitar, accordion, mandolin, percussion), Wally Reddington (vocals, bass), Neil Thomas (drums), Stefan Rogenmoser (piano, organ, keyboards), began from the remnants of another band featuring three of the band’s members.
“Some of the guys, Jason, Neil and Jim, were in a rock band inspired heavily by The Who and the Kinks called 1984 who then disbanded for one reason or another,” said Rogenmoser. “A few months later, those three started practicing with Wally. I showed up to the first practice of this sort, and there was this Viscount organ at the practice space. Jason told me to play this one part of a song on the organ, and I did. From then on I played more and more stuff and got better and became a member of the band. We played our first two local shows as the Explorers Club with this lineup, and about a month later Dave started playing percussion and singing with us. Jason had a whole bunch of new songs and wanted the Explorers Club to be more pop-inspired as far as the songwriting is concerned, since 1984 had basically reached their limitations of what they could do.”
The Beach Boys are obviously a major influence in the band’s sound. But The Beach Boys are not the only influence to The Explorers Club. In fact, their influences range from bands like The Beatles, The Zombies and The Association to Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Merry-Go-Round to newer bands like Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian and Wilco.
“We listen to this kind of stuff because, first of all, we like the way it sounds,” said Rogenmoser. “We like the odd chords and unpredictable chord changes, the lyrics, the vocals, the guitars, drums, keyboards, just the way the music all blends together. And most importantly the songs themselves are good, they have wonderful melodies.”
On April 25, The Explorers Club will be coming to play at Cafe Metropolis in Wilkes-Barre with The Spinto Band, And The Moneynotes and The Sw!ms. The Sw!ms and The Explorers Club not only share a similar sound but have a of history playing with each other. And the impression that the Sw!ms left on the band is very apparent.
“We totally love the guys in the Sw!ms,” said Rogenmoser. “We met them online a while back, and 1984 went up and played some shows with them some years ago. The rest of us got to meet them in the summer of 2006, and we had a total blast the entire time. It was like a nonstop party of jokes and silliness, and we loved it. Brian (Langan) from the Sw!ms is one of the funniest people any of us have ever met; he’s right up there with Zach Galifianakis. We love playing shows with the Sw!ms, we invite each other up to play to each other’s songs, and hanging out with them is some of the most fun we’ve had together as a band.”
The band was originally supposed to play Cafe Metropolis with The Sw!ms approximately a year ago, but the show fell through due to the band’s lack of money. The Explorers Club are clearly upset because of the show’s cancellation.
“We really wanted to do those shows,” said Rogenmoser. “We were supposed to meet Brian, and some of us were going to play the Sw!ms songs with him because his band members wouldn’t be able to play certain cities. But we found out that if we would have gone we would have had to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket to make it all the way up there and back. We had just gotten back from our biggest tour yet, and I think most of us were ready to hit the road again, even though we’d spent our last few dollars on the tour we had just come back from. After some discussion with our manager, it was decided that we couldn’t afford to go. So money stopped us. We’re in better shape this time. It really hit some of us hard last year that we couldn’t go, especially me and Jim because we had nothing else at all going on at that time. It was very disappointing; we were so stoked about going.”
Who: The Spinto Band, The Sw!ms, The Explorers Club,
And The Moneynotes
When: Friday, April 25,
doors 7 p.m., show 8 p.m.
Where: Café Metropolis,
94 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre
Cost: $8, all ages