Juice for Jesus
Formed in the fall of 2004, The Swim Team has just finished their first full-length CD of original songs, Juice for Jesus. The Swim Team's line-up consists of Amos Etheridge, who plays guitar, sings and writes most of the music, Adonis Toro, who plays drums, and Lari Garrison, who plays bass and sings. Influences you might hear on this album: the Pixies, Badly Drawn Boy, John Coltrane, R.E.M., Ivy, the Police, Love & Rockets, the Sneaker Pimps, the Foo Fighters, Django Reinhardt and Dinosaur Jr. The three met through friends, who thought the three had much in common musically in early 2004. Adonis began playing drums in high school for jazz ensembles. By the early 90s he was playing more rock than jazz--drumming for two Seattle bands, the Swifties and the Polka Dots. More recently he has played for Jjam and the Hardison Project. Meanwhile, Amos began playing in Knoxville with an indie-rock band called the Pranksters in the early to mid 90s. He moved to Chicago in 1999, which is where he met Lari, who had always had a passion for music, but had never found the right outlet for her talent. Amos wanted someone to take over some of the vocal responsibilities, and saw Lari as an ideal candidate. She provided vocals (lead and supporting) for a jazz project (The Fierce Invalids) formed by Amos and former Pranksters' drummer, John Krewson. Tired of the hot summers and freezing winters, Amos and Lari left Chicago for Seattle in the fall of 2002. The first year and a half in Seattle was a period of prolific song writing. Amos found him- self crafting songs that moved increasingly away from the jazz influences that shaped the music of the Fierce Invalids and back toward the indie-rock sounds that characterized the songs he wrote for the Pranksters. Friends encouraged Amos and Lari to get out and play this new music, and not people to disappoint friends, the two began playing weekly at the Red Onion Tavern in Seattle. The weekly gig was ultimately how they began playing with Adonis, who at their urging started bringing his drums down to play along with them. The three instantly gelled both musically and personally, and decided to find a bass player to complete the ensemble. After several months of searching for a bass player, Lari decided to solve the problem for the band by picking up the bass herself in October of 2004. She progressed quickly (thanks to years of piano lessons as a kid and the enthusiastic support of her band-mates) and within a week was playing for the band at their weekly gig at the Red Onion. With all the pieces in place, the three set about recording their first full-length album together, Juice for Jesus (it's a funny homophone, and nothing more). The band recorded, produced, did the artwork, and even did the duplication themselves. The songs on the album explore such themes as love, politics and people's beliefs. Amos provides most of the lead vocals on the album, with Lari's soft harmonies complimenting. Adonis's drum work has the complexity of Stewart Copeland's work with the Police with a bit of a jazz fusion feel. Highlights of the album include 'dubya', 'belief', 'not my, dance not my song' and 'sappysong II'. 'Dubya' (track 1) is an angry political song that addresses the frustration many feel about the greed and arrogance that seem to motivate government policy in the United States. 'Belief' (track 5) is a musical conversation that tackles the issue of spirituality and the varied ways people come to grips with their places in the larger world. Like the lyrics, the music conveys the mixed emotions, confusion and even comfort that spirituality of all kinds provides. 'Not my dance, not my song' (track 6) is a song about love, and the search for it. Finally, 'sappy song II' is a song about love, pain, and healing. With their first full-length recording to promote, the three are playing at larger venues in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to playing out on a wider-basis, The Swim Team continues to write new music for a follow-up to Juice for Jesus.