One of the unintended consequences of being in college and living in the dorms together is that all of a sudden, without warning, you find yourself in a rock band. Whoops, I learned to play drums. Oh man, dude, I’m playing sweet riffs now. What happened?
That’s something like what happened to Burn the Clocks, a rock band from Old Town. Chris Ludden, Eddie Williams and Brendan Butt all were buddies living in Oxford Hall at the University of Maine. One minute, they were just a couple of college guys. The next, they were in a band. Sometimes it just happens like that.
Williams, the drummer, never had picked up a pair of drumsticks until just a year ago. He just wanted to try it. And, as it turns out, he was pretty good at it.
“I never took lessons or played before or anything,” said Williams. “I just managed to get a drum set for pretty cheap, started playing along to my favorite songs and learned on my own. I guess I kind of naturally knew how to do it. I keep an Animal toy from the Muppets on my bass drum, as my little tribute to Keith Moon. That’s my kind of drummer. He just loved to be loud and heavy, and he was awesome.”
That straight-up love of rock ’n’ roll is the thing that brought the three together as a band. Butt, the bassist, and guitarist Ludden had been in bands in high school, but largely stopped after graduating. None of them ever planned to get together and jam — but that’s what happened.
“Eddie was playing drums, and we just started playing along with him,” said Ludden. “We started writing these crappy songs that every band writes at first. And then something just clicked, you know? It started coming together.”
Burn the Clocks is a combination of all three interests of each musician. Williams loves classic rock, such as the Who, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. Butt is a fan of modern rock, such as the Foo Fighters. And Ludden loves desert rock — the term for metal bands such as Kyuss and, later, Queens of the Stone Age, who combine heavy riffs with a psychedelic edge. If you can imagine the place where those influences meet, you can hear where Burn the Clocks are coming from. Or you can just go see them live at their show tonight at the Dime in Old Town or next weekend at 103 Ultra Lounge in Orono.
“I tend to say something like, ‘crunchy riffs, bluesy guitar and classic rock roots,’ when I describe us to people,” said Ludden. “All of this kind of comes from the fact that we all just love rock ’n’ roll. That’s what brings us together.”
All three members credit their initial friendship as the core reason they formed a band in the first place.
“I think the fact that we’re all really good friends is what makes it work. We mesh really well,” said Ludden. “We understand each other. I think I can read Eddie’s mind. We know what to expect from each other, and we communicate really well. And we have so much fun playing live. It’s the most fun ever.”
A demo CD was recorded last year and is available at all Burn the Clocks shows. This summer, the plan is to record a full-length album. For now, the band is branching out past the Orono area, to shows in Portland and New Hampshire in the coming weeks. They’re also working on finishing their degrees at UMaine — Butt will graduate this spring, while Ludden and Williams both have another semester.
“Every day, after school, I’m online or making phone calls, trying to get us gigs and put our name out there,” said Ludden. “I really, really love this band, and I want to make it work. You definitely have to work hard to get yourself out there, so you can play more gigs. It’s the live shows that make it fun.”
Burn the Clocks will perform at 9 tonight at the Dime on Main Street in Old Town, and with the bands Civil Disturbance and Rant at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, at 103 Ultra Lounge in Orono. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/burntheclocks.