End of Land
Based in Oakland, CA, FreeLunchLine is a band formed by brothers Ernesto and Mario Ornelas. The East Bay natives have over a decade of playing music together, having played in several other bands, including Canal Cero, a Spanish rock band that released a CD and opened for international acts in the late 90s. Ernesto is FreeLunchLine's singer/songwriter and guitarist. Mario plays drums, percussion, and keyboards. FLL's distinct brand of melodic indie pop rock is influenced by many bands/artists. These include Coldplay, Keane, Wilco, Grandaddy, Mason Jennings, Neil Finn, Jeff Buckley, and Rufus Wainwright, among others. FLL's first offering, The End of Land, is a hook-laden, summer-vibed, introspective album that reflects on themes of love, hope, and the longing to escape the mundaneness of urban living. ---------- MI FAMILIA Ernesto is the 3rd youngest and Mario is the 2nd youngest in a family of 10 siblings. Can you say "Osmonds of Oakland"? There was never a dull moment growing up in the Ornelas home. Fortunately, the basement was converted into a music studio which allowed for a much needed place to chill. The "Bat Cave" is where Ernesto and Mario were introduced to playing music by older siblings Alex, Francisco, and Jesus, who at the time had their own gigging band. KINDA LIKE LOS LOBOS, BUT NOT REALLY From the late 80s through the early 90s, Ernesto and Mario played in Principe, another Ornelas family-driven band which played traditional Mexican jams at private parties. The group included older brothers J. (lead vocals and keyboards) and Beto (bass). Ernesto played guitar and Mario played percussion, while various childhood friends rounded out the lineup. Principe would practice 3 to 4 times a week in the well-worn Ornelas basement. During the rainy season the below-ground-level basement would get flooded, often up to 6 inches! Setting up a bucket brigade before band practice to scoop out the water was an all-to-common chore. Fortunately, and miraculously, no one was ever shocked. Quite the opposite, it kept the band in great physical shape, helping to counteract the effects of the free beer at the shows. ROCK EN ESPAÑOL After gigging regularly for several years with no solid record deal prospects, Principe lost momentum. This was in the early 90s, around the time when the rock in Spanish scene came to life. Feeling a natural connection with rock, Ernesto and Mario saw this as an opportune time to make a change. Together with older brother J. on bass and ex-Principe bandmate Ralph on keyboards, Canal Cero was formed. Mario quickly picked up the drums, providing a tight backbeat for the new band. Ernesto continued playing guitar, while adding on the role of lead singer/songwriter. Canal Cero gained a fair amount of popularity in Northern and Southern California, and played with international acts Enanitos Verdes and Cafe Tacuba. They recorded a self-titled CD which received national and international airplay at various indie and college radio stations. Eventually, the rock in Spanish scene slowed down, limiting the number of available gigs which led to the eventual disbanding of Canal Cero. ALIVE AND KICKING After a short hiatus, Ernesto and Mario, the two lone bachelors, hooked up for a new music project. Beginning in late 2004, they recorded song sketches in Ernesto's home studio. These initial home recordings proved to be important as they formed the basis for The End of Land, FreeLunchLine's debut album. In the Spring of 2006, the two brothers completed their 12-song CD at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco and have since begun to build a buzz in the Bay Area music scene. After a long and winding road, and 1,500 buckets of floodwater, they have found their true artistic voice.