#TALKTOTHELEG: OVER EASY
Interview & Article by Jake Van Valkenburg
#TalktotheLeg is a short series of interviews where we interview young and inspiring professionals in the artistic field about what art means to them and how we can improve the arts community in Chattanooga. It is a means to continue the conversation about the social function of art in Chattanooga as well as how we can create more transformative arts experiences. Whatever you have on your mind, #TalktotheLeg.
During my last month interning at Barking Legs, I got the opportunity to talk to Over Easy’s lead guitarist Adam Stone and rhythm guitarist Caleb Saunders. Ever since their bombastic performance at JJ’s Bohemia following an opening spot for Divinity Roxx at Nightfall, I’ve been itching to talk to these guys about music. Anyone who sees a live performance from the band can hear the influences all over their sound: the ambitious progressive rock of Yes, the other-worldly jams of 70’s funk, and a dynamic sensibility for upbeat jam music. A live performance of Over Easy is full of hard rock, funk, and jazz splendor that’ll transform a crowd of tired ‘9-to-5’ers into euphoric dancing mob. “We try to make every show different,” says lead guitarist Adam Stone, “we want people to go away and be like ‘Wow, That was something.'” And Chattanooga isn’t taking the group for granted either–they’ve played numerous shows at JJ’s Bohemia and even managed to snatch a spot opening up for the legendary New Orleans group, Rebirth Brass Band at the Revelry Room.
The group began in 2015 with a core group of four musicians, but their relationships range back to grade school. Both Adam and Caleb attended Soddy Daisy Middle High School where Caleb played drums and Adam played guitar in the high school jazz band. “Before melody, or anything really, is rhythm,” says Caleb who began playing drums before picking up the guitar. Following the traditional path, he started off studying the blues techniques and stylings of Buddy Guy and John Mayer. Adam, however, followed more of the root of that classic rock sound a la Led Zeppelin. He became infatuated with Jimmy Page’s guitar tone which caused him to practice days on end until he got that sound right.
From an early age, both guitarists knew that if you were going to be good and get that sound you’ve been reaching for, you had to practice. That goes for the rest of the band too; the entire group is classically trained. The current incarnation of the group came from them meeting at UTC in the jazz band. According to the two, the band practices nearly three times every week out of habit from rehearsing and turning in rehearsal cards from high school. “We want that sound,” says Caleb, “we hear a sound in our head and we want it. And the only way to get it is to practice.”
After speaking on their beginnings, we got caught up talking about music and their influences. Yes and Steely Dan are the big ones according to Adam, but you’ll catch the band listening to Black Sabbath when rehearsing or Anderson .Paak and Miguel on the way to the gig. “If you asked me what kind of music we should send out there to the aliens, it’d be Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock. They’d be like ‘Oh cool, this planet’s chill'” quipped Adam.
So far, the next step for the group is putting out an EP among other things. “[We want to] continue to play more shows, because we have to fund this business, this Over Easy thing. We’re working on merchandising with a couple of people who are digitally painting logos, t-shirts designs, and the like.” The idea of an EP brought me in. According to them, work will begin on the new EP starting September at The Soundry Studio in Soddy Daisy. On their first studio-official recording, they’ll be putting in more vocal tracks on the EP versus their instrumental heavy live performances. It’ll consist of some old songs as well as some new songs with lyrics from Caleb. “I think a big thing about getting noise about this album is having those catchy vocals lines and sax lines that are poppy enough to draw people in,” says Adam. “Lyrics are important to get people’s attention as well as relating to the songs. It’s hard for someone to relate to a saxophone 16th note run in a chromatic jazz bebop scale.”
So for a band that’s gained notable success in Chattanooga, how would they improve the music scene as it is? The main thing that they’ve learned is patience and learning to really build on yourself before reaching out to help others. We’ve jived on that theme for a bit, the guys emphasizing the importance of discipline while keeping it relaxed. “Above all else we’re just goofy dudes playing funk music,” joked Adam. They note the disconnect is from the larger venues to the smaller venues as well as some connections between bands in Chattanooga. However, the scene’s looking to solve that wrong through the Chattanooga Music Clinic–where Adam is a member–which is already fostering healthier inner- and intra-band relationships. Overall, despite Chattanooga’s problems, both Adam and Caleb agree that the music scene’s been very welcoming and friendly to new groups like theirs trying to make it as a working band.
Catch these guys tonight (August 23rd) at Jazz in the Lounge at 7PM, you won’t want to miss it. They’ll also be playing JJ’s Bohemia opening up for Morning Teleportation on September 19th. It was a pleasure to talk to these guys and I can’t wait to see what becomes of the group in the future.
Keep on movin’ and shakin’, people.