What makes a band? In the ever-evolving world of popular music, bands come together; some stay together, some break up – and some re-form, or regroup under the same name with a sometimes wildly different line-up.
Jason Magee, Ben Lorenz and Brian Poore, the core of Ann Arbor-based modern rock band restroom poets, did it a little differently. After developing a strong local following, critical praise, and peer respect in the ‘90’s, the guys went their separate ways, only to find the bonds of friendship – they formed the poets in high school – and music were as strong and compelling as ever. As the poets, they had focused on a harder-edged approach, yet Magee, the principal songwriter, had always written a substantial number of songs from an Americana/alt-country perspective. (All you need to know is that one of his songwriting heroes is Bob Dylan.) Once Lorenz broke down and admitted that country music wasn’t so bad after all, the band’s transformation was swift. They started playing out again and found a like-minded bass player, Erik Santos. Erik, who moonlights as a music professor at the University of Michigan, started hanging out with the guys and trading songs. They started rehearsing. They discovered harmony. They started recording. And they decided they needed a new name, since they were, in essence, doing a new thing.