Recent college grads Jet Edison play 1st show in Steamboat tonight
February 4, 2011
Steamboat Springs — The four musicians who make up Jet Edison aren't immune to post-college shock.
With the entire quartet having graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2010, band members are faced with the same question looming over every graduate: What do I want to do with my life?
But the members of Jet Edison might not ever have to leave college.
They've found a niche, in lifestyle and music culture, for their emerging style of jazzy beats and spacey, eclectic jams.
"The college market is built for that," drummer Alex Johnson said about living and breathing the life of a musician. "We definitely still feel like we're in college. We still go skiing on the weekends and stuff."
The jam rock band Jet Edison comprises East Coast and Midwest transplants Alex Johnson on drums; Phil Johnson (no relation) on piano, organ and trumpet; Max Kabat on guitar; and Adam Mason on bass.
The group plays its first Steamboat Springs show today at Old Town Pub. The cover is $5 and the show starts at about 9:30 p.m.
The foursome met through the intricate network of dorm-room jam sessions, finally finding one another near the end of their freshman year.
It clicked right away, but then came summer vacation, then fall semester, then winter vacation, and gigging never quite fit into their schedule.
But they kept practicing and writing songs together in the jam band vein of their main influences — Phish, the Grateful Dead, Derek Trucks and Frank Zappa — with clear, rippling guitar riffs and rootsy funk beats.
Their first live show, in 2008, was as college as it gets.
They played on campus, outside CU's student center during Boulder's annual "smoke-out" celebration on April 20.
"It was pretty intense," Alex Johnson said. "There were a couple hundred people there. We played mostly originals and we played a Rolling Stones song, I think.
"That was fun, having all our friends see us there. It was more official, like it was starting to happen."
In 2009 they played 13 shows, and in 2010 they played 71 shows. About to embark on its first Midwest tour, Johnson said the band is looking forward to buckling down and getting serious about perusing musical careers together.
"I had played with other people, but I hadn't found that 'this is the band' kind of thing until these guys," Johnson said. "I kind of knew, just knowing they're going to push me to get better."
Johnson said he realizes the live music scene on the Front Range is saturated with bands, but there are ways Jet Edison sets itself apart.
"We mix up so the parts are more challenging than just verse, chorus, rocking jam," he said. "It will make you think."
The band might also trip up thoughts with sudden time signature changes and unconventional song structures.
Johnson said they often experimented on their roommates and friends who listened in on practices, sometimes taking the beginning of a song and moving it to the middle instead. Earning accolades from staple Boulder bands like Springdale Quartet and Hot Soup, Johnson hopes all of Jet Edison's environmental studies and architecture degrees might just be a fallback plan.
"In the economic times, some people have been like, 'You're in a band, oh, cool. Don't get a real job because you're not going to find one anyway,'" he joked.
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