A band of free spirits

February 23, 2010

By Michelle Dvorak

Michelle Dvorak

The best part about being in a band, Nick Luempert said, “is jamming with friends.” For Neil Gregerson, it’s making music and “figuring out how to put the pieces together.”

The two seniors started their band, Masters and Johnson, during the summer of their sophomore year at Issaquah High School. You can catch them playing at a number of music venues, including the Old Firehouse in Issaquah, and at art galleries, such as the Ursa Minor in Seattle.

Masters and Johnson draws from “crazy jazz drumming,” “punk music, ’60s underground” and “Captain Beefheart and Sonic Youth,” the members said. The result is eclectic yet distinctively Seattle, a bit of punk and some Indie for the underground scene.

The two say they like messing around with different instruments. Gregerson sticks with guitar and vocals, but is also a drummer at the Chilladelphia in Seattle with roots in viola. Luempert plays the drums, but started out on bass guitar and piano. They had only a few months of classical lessons, but felt there’s more freedom in self-teaching.

In the various garages they play in, experimentation reigns. Gregerson fiddles with the drums, tunes his strings alternatively and mashes up 30 parts for one song. They change patterns, sounds, even instruments. The music, Luempert said, “just evolves.”

Both have hopes of attending Evergreen State College, where they could study history, sociology or even library sciences.

“It’s hard to see where the arts and music come in,” Gregerson said.

But music is not something either of them will give up. A place to practice on campus without drawing complaints from neighbors would be ideal.

“I feel the most natural doing music,” Gregerson said.

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