Listen to songs by Knock on Wood, winners of the sixth annual Teen Battle of the Bands, at www.myspace.com/knockonwoodband. As part of its prize package, the band will play a weeknight gig at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill this summer.
Steamboat Springs A little more than four months ago, Steamboat Springs High School students Connor Birch, Jake Supple and Max Shoffner decided to enter a student band competition at Olympian Hall.
"We pretty much learned our entire set for that overnight," Birch said. With no reason to stop, the band decided to keep playing.
"We thought we had a unique sound, and we wanted to follow up on that and see what we could do with it," Shoffner said. "We had two acoustic guitars and a djembe and an electric bass - it's not that unique, but it's different from what a lot of bands are doing.
Supple started bringing songs he had written to rehearsals, and the band put together their varied classic rock, punk and ska music tastes to form what members describe as a slow ska or an acoustic reggae.
"We kind of all add a different aspect to our music - if it's Max with punk or Jake with everything," Birch said. The style propelled Knock on Wood to first place at the sixth annual Teen Battle of the Bands on May 15.
Officially, Knock on Wood is Supple on guitar and lead vocals, Birch on lead guitar and Shoffner on bass. For the battle, drummer River Loughran joined the mix.
The act beat out five other teen bands by winning points in six categories: originality, appearance, musicianship, sound, lyrics and overall score. Knock on Wood's winning set featured two original songs, an up-tempo ska version of Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child of Mine" and a mash-up of Sublime's "Smoke Two Joints" and Pepper's "Too Much."
The trio took home a trophy constructed by industrial arts students at the high school, a promise of airtime on KFMU 104.1 FM, a weeknight summertime gig at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, this article and bragging rights.
"We're not like a lot of bands out there that are going to be going wild or going crazy," Supple said. "We're more of a subtle kind of group."
This summer, the members of Knock on Wood hope to put together their first studio album, a collection of original songs they'll lay down with the help of Steamboat Springs producer Steve Boynton at his First String Music studio.
In the time the band has been together, Knock on Wood has played open mic night at Mahogany and outside All That Jazz music store. With two high school juniors and one sophomore in the lineup, the group said a close friendship has helped keep the songwriting coming and band practices smooth.
"We all have a really similar idea of what sounds good," Birch said. Knock on Wood works, Shoffner said, because the musicians involved are willing to work together.
"We're not just playing the music for ourselves," he said.