Music : Multigenerational band shares one musical thought
Photo courtesy of Random Thought
The new band Random Thought is, appropriately, made up of a random collection of musicians. The lineup, whose ages range from 17 to 61, includes two established Island musicians, two teenagers, and Paul Lazes, the father of one of the teens, who brought this unlikely group of performers together.
The players are Paul Size – formerly of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish – on lead guitar; Rick Padilla, frontman for the band Mercy Beat, on vocals; Mr. Lazes on rhythm guitar; and two high school juniors – Hudson Bausman on drums and Mr. Lazes' son, Avery, on bass.
The band plays original tunes in a style described by Mr. Size as "rock mixed with funk and heavy rock ballads." The songs are written collaboratively. "We just start pumping out songs, whatever comes to mind. If it works we goes with it," commented Mr. Size.
Random Thought's evolution involves almost the reverse of the typical "Let's start a band" story. Rather than a group of musicians getting together with intent and then looking for opportunities to play, Random Thought is a group that was thrown together for a gig, which then led to the decision to solidify into a band.
A year and a half ago, Mr. Lazes' wife-to-be Jamie Hamlin threw a big bash for his 60th birthday. "For some reason I got it into my head that it would be fun if I could put a band together and play," said Mr. Lazes. He and his son had been taking guitar lessons from Mr. Size for a number of years so he asked the seasoned pro if he would join them to play at the party. Avery recruited his childhood friend Hudson to play drums, and Mr. Lazes provided vocals. They played covers primarily of Mr. Lazes' choice – tunes by Bob Dylan, Al Green, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others.
"It was my first time performing," Mr. Lazes said. "It was one of those evenings when everything came together. I thought it was going to be a one-night deal and that would be the end of it, but afterwards they wanted to keep going."
The band started regular weekly rehearsals, and at one point they brought in Rick Padilla to sing and front the band. Mr. Padilla is known for his deep soulful voice and the positive high energy he brings to his longstanding punk rock group Mercy Beat. "He's a presence," Mr. Size exclaimed. "He really added to this whole thing. It catapulted us to write some stuff. He's a professional."
The band has performed publicly twice now – once at an Aboveground Records event and more recently at the wedding of Mr. Lazes and Ms. Hamlin last October. This Friday they will headline a Pathways Projects event at the Chilmark Tavern.
Mr. Size is probably the most accomplished musician of the group. He's been playing guitar for almost 30 years. After serving as lead remove guitarist for Johnny Hoy for a dozen years, Mr. Size set out on his own last summer. He now works as a freelancer, traveling the country and Europe to play at blues festivals.
Mr. Lazes was Mr. Size's first student, starting six years ago. About a year later, Avery began taking lessons from Mr. Size as well. "I approached teaching him in a different way," Mr. Size said, "I can tell he wants to play what he wants to play. I don't teach theory. I teach from experience and love of music. I knew right away that he had a love of music." Mr. Size credits Avery with creating the bass lines that lead to many of the group's collaborative songwriting efforts.
According to Mr. Lazes, Avery has two passions – music and culinary arts – and his future plans will most likely include one or the other or both.
Hudson Bausman is the son of Rick Bausman, who has played with a number of local bands and who, 25 years ago, founded the Drum Workshop, which provides ensemble drumming experiences and interactive performances to groups of people of all ages.
"As long as I can remember I've been banging on the drums," Hudson said. He has taken lessons from Mr. Bausman and from Entrain founder Tom Major and has been playing with his father in a calypso trio called Vicious Fishes for the last four years.
"Hudson is really one of the best drummers that I've ever heard," Mr. Lazes said. "He's another force to be reckoned with in the band," added Mr. Size. "If you don't have a good drummer, forget it. If we didn't have him we'd need some old pro to make this happen." Hudson plans to attend music school after he graduates from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School next spring.
Despite the differences in age and accomplishment, Random Thought proves to be a cohesive unit and provides an enriching experience for both the older and the younger members.
"It's awesome to be playing with someone like Paul Size, who's been gigging for a long time on the Island," Hudson said. "The same goes for Rick Padilla. I'm learning a lot from those guys."
Mr. Size said that playing with this band is an entirely different experience from anything he'd done previously. For one thing, the band is dedicated to playing all original material, and they all contribute to the songwriting process. "It's all a band thing," he explained. "We all make decisions. There's no dictatorship." He's impressed with the commitment of his younger bandmates: "They put 100 percent into it. They have that non-jaded approach."
Mr. Lazes is happy to have the opportunity to enjoy a shared passion with his son and to fulfill the dream of playing with a band, and Mr. Size is equally enthusiastic. "Who knew this was going to happen? I'm dedicated to this band. Right now we're still in the embryo state. Just going where the wind blows us."
Random Thought will play at the Chilmark Tavern as part of the Pathways Project Initiatives this Friday, March 8, from 7 to 9 pm. Rich Brown (with Paul Size) will open the show with a set of his original country tunes.
A Blast of Light: An evening concert of original rock songs, presenting premieres of newly composed works by Jonathan Auerbach and Carole Charlin at Pathways on Saturday, March 9, from 7 to 9 pm.
Free admission, light refreshments. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-645-9098.