As these things so often do, Family And Friends began as a lowly seedling of inspiration. “Good music, good people.” A stalk gave yield to branches. One became six, a collective of musicians by trade, lovers by spirit. Inspired by a life worth living, the Fam and Pals remained rooted with three ambitions in heart, mind, and soul: the people, the music, the memories. The reflection represented by blend of earnest folk rock and a communal spirit pouring a collective heart into something bigger than itself. An intangible force of an unfaltering love worth giving away. A Family And Friend tree ever-growing, ever-lasting.
With just a few shows under their belts, this Athens band sure knows how to put on a show! It was know wonder that audience members were begging the band to stay on stage, after a 30-minute set of full-blown dancing, cheering and fun! We got to chat with Family and Friends after the show and boy, does this band rock! Check out what they had to say:
What is the first gig you ever attended?
Jamie Rios (Percussion): The Village People and it was awesome!
Maria Kindt (Viola, Vocals): P-Funk, and it was really cool because there was a man in a wedding dress and there was a guy in the audience that had this astronaut suit on. It was really fucking amazing.
Mike MacDonald (Guitar, Vocals): The first concert that I can remember was this singer-songwriter, Bruce Springsteen. My parents told me that he was a big deal and he was awful, but I really respect him. It was not my thing as a 5-year old.
Tuna Fortuna (Bass): My first show was at the basement of the Tabernacle, which was the Cotton Room at the time. It was a band called Messed and The Used. I got to see a kid stage dive past the crowd and that was pretty impressive.
Ryan Houchens (Percussion): My first show was at the Masquerade. mewithoutYou, Anberlin… all those tooth and nail bands. The glory days… when it was cool to be a Christian.
JP McKenzie (Guitar): My first show was Dashboard Confessional. I actually saw them three times. I actually once had a really good MySpace interaction with them…
You guys just appeared on the scene. Have you been planning this for a while now?
Mike: I had this idea coming out of college that I wanted to make this band happen even though it wasn’t what I studied. I didn’t want to do it like the other bands, I wanted to practice and practice until we were fully ready. We practiced for a good half a year until we felt like we were ready. We’re not there by any means, but I am very pleased with how it’s going.
Who came up with the name and are any of you all actually related?
Mike: We’re all family. By blood we might not be family, but by friendship we’re family. That’s the vibe that we’ve always wanted, that idea of a community and a collective. It’s not just the band, but it’s the crowd and everyone that’s a part of it.
What is your dream gig?
JP: Red Rocks in Colorado. There’s this band called Tigers on Trains and that’s my dream to play with them.
Tuna: I want to play Madison Square Garden with The Flaming Lips.
Mike: Fifty years down the road, I don’t think it’s crazy to think that we could be playing on the moon or the International Space Station with one of my favorite artists, Bruce Springsteen… no (laughs), The Beatles.
Ryan: In high school I was obsessed with this band called The Working Title, and I don’t think I’ve ever loved a band as much, not to say that I like them as much now, but I’ve never loved a band as much as I did then. I’m guessing I would want to play with them because they had such an impact on my life. I would want to play with them in my backyard because then I would get to be friends with them too!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Maria: Lots of “oooohhhhmmmms”.
Mike: One thing we do is the team huddle, which is really just to collect ourselves and to be in the moment and to appreciate what’s happening. I would like to open that huddle up someday to the crowd.
What’s your 5-year plan?
Mike: Festivals, tours, albums, everything… For me, realistically it’s pretty difficult for bands to make it, and I’m very proud of what we’ve done so far. I don’t want to regret anything and just live life, as cheesy as that sounds.
Ryan: In five years, I’d like to see this band open up so many more doors other than just being in a band, as far as, linking up with other artists, not even necessarily music wise, but actual painters, illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, whatever!
Family and Friends will be headlining a show at The Drunken Unicorn tomorrow, June 12th! Make sure to check them out! It’s a show you won’t want to miss!