One of the easiest ways to learn about how the people in a band play together - who influences them, what they listen to, the group's dynamics and individual quirks - is to make them list their favorite songs.
For the four guys in Lumber Jack Jim, who took top honors at this year's Teen Battle of the Bands, choosing 15 songs they could listen to forever is next to impossible.
"This is hard. I'm only to the Ds on my iPod, and I know there are plenty of good bands after that," guitarist Colin Boyle said as he clicked through classic rock tracks on his music player.
It's not much of a challenge for Boyle and the rest of Lumber Jack Jim to choose 15 songs that they could listen to, on repeat, for the rest of their lives. It's just incredibly difficult for them to stop at 15.
Leaving out Jimi Hendrix would be almost a sin, but they're also reluctant to put "Rock Lobster" - a song that is either loved for its eccentricity or hated for its existence - on the chopping block. They want to include entire albums from Pink Floyd, Cream or Led Zeppelin, and they're upset when they realize the list only includes one reggae track.
Inexplicably, they all love Boston.
"So we have enough room for Zeppelin, Zappa and Hendrix," drummer Dane Mark said when Lumber Jack Jim had three songs left to pick. "That's all you really need, except for all the other stuff that's already on there."
Taken together, those tastes explain the mix of classic rock covers and jamming out that impressed Battle of the Bands judges. Along with Boyle and Mark, Kyle Hornor (guitar) and Logan Lightfoot (bass) have a collective music taste that thrives on its diversity, as well as a common love for rock 'n' roll and the styles that spawned it.
With about six months of playing together as a band behind them, Lumber Jack Jim practiced almost every day leading up to Battle of the Bands. They spent some of that time honing in on covers and amping up originals, but all four band members say they'd rather just pick a key and play.
"We sort of make it up as we go," Hornor said of Lumber Jack Jim's tendency to doodle, which the band members indulged for a 10-minute encore at the end of their Battle set.
As part of its prize package, the band will play a weeknight gig at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill at a to-be-determined date.