From the beginning of our correspondence, local band Harbor set out to impress me.
I left a message on lead guitarist Ted Weidenbachís voice mail, saying, ìHey! I heard the Lighthouse EP and Iím totally interested in writing about you guys!”
Weidenbach, a University senior, called back within the hour. Contrasting my casual dialect with proper hellos and yeses, he introduced himself and the other members.
Immediately after hanging up, he called his bandmates ó perhaps so each could prepare his answers, as they were too perfect to be impromptu.
Harbor takes these things seriously because they take their band seriously, especially now that they think things finally are taking shape. They have a February release date for their second EP, a couple of shows scheduled, a deal with a new record label and a publicist who doubles as Weidenbachís ladyfriend.
To their credit, they also follow a snazzy little theme. Harbor recorded EPs ìLighthouse” and ìHigh Tide,” named songs ìLake City,” ìBlue Hawaii” and ìLighthouse,” and thinks of their band as a place where boats, excuse me, members can return home and share ideas. Adorable.
Harbor has been a band of sorts for more than four years. A mysterious concert (I said I wouldnít reveal the mid-í90s band playing, as itís embarrassing Ö Iíll keep my promise) during high school inspired the guys to pick up guitars.
Weidenbach and drummer James Eagle, a student at the University of St. Thomas, formed a band soon after. Matt Schufman, also a University senior, had been ìitching to play with those guys,” so he borrowed Weidenbachís old guitar and joined in. Since their days at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, theyíve been through their fair share of bass players. But with the help of Craigslist, they seem to have settled on Brian Katz.
ì(Matt, James and I) played instruments in high school ó like the trumpet,” Weidenbach said.
In contrast, Katz majored in jazz performance at the University of West Florida. He has been in ìrock bands, salsa bands, calypso bands, bluegrass bands, jazz bands, anything.”
ìHarborís definitely rock-oriented,” he said. ìAnd it suits my needs right now.”
By rock-oriented, he means theyíre inspired by artists such as Coldplay, Radiohead, Ryan Adams and Wilco. (What college band isnít?)
Harbor might draw too heavily off Drive 105 (donít we all), but Weidenbach firmly stated, ìIíll always try to base music off of who I idolize, but when it comes down to it, Iím much more influenced by Matt, James and Brian.”
In their first EP, Harbor relied on mimicking the top-100 hits of the moment. The riffs are predictable, the rhythm is static and one song blends into the next