Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Made in Middletown: Pun Machine.

A couple of months ago, I had the deep pleasure of spending a bright Saturday morning at Brew Bakers. Now, despite the fact that I am a staunch night-owl that can barely function before 10AM, I was awakened that morning by the altogether pleasurable tunes of a local Middletown band; Pun Machine. Recently I got to interview one of the members of the band; Andrew Best, guitarist, and he took the time from his busy schedule to sit down and tell me a little bit about this whimsical group of local Middletowners. 

Pun Machine is comprised of; Jen Galvin - the singer. And the pun machine. Andrew Best - the rhythm guitar. And the other pun machine. Dan Hollenbeck - the funk bassist/jazz pianist and part time rapper. Alex Hayowyk - the drummer. Nick Wrobel - the jazz fusion solo guitarist. Out of our brief but highly information interview; I learned that they were influenced by indie, acoustic, and light classic rock; with two specific sources of inspiration: NPR, and the parental foresight to expose all four members to music through concerts at Wesleyan and other venues. Moreso, when asked whether there was anything that surprised the band about the music industry, Andrew Best thoughtfully responded:
It's not different from the entertainment industry, and by that I mean it's not easy to find stability in pursuing it. Bands and people who are striving to find success in the industry always talk about taking a risk-- the risk is, you can be extremely gifted and talented and all that jazz but you might still not be recognized appropriately for it. Like anything else it comes down to the people you know and connections to more solid gigs, and those take up time, and money. Granted, there are many mediums for advertising and promotion, but once that swells (YouTube has innumerable amounts of music covers and musicians doing their thing), it's not really marketing yourself as much as it is throwing your name into a giant visual Craigslist for general entertainment. That being said, I think the music industry, is, like media, very misdirected and largely promotes the wrong messages via the artists they choose to pick. I'd rather hear more about those we don't get to hear about, because there's talent everywhere, from a blues player on the side street in Louisiana to tribal singers in Africa to...I don't know, me. If the music industry promoted both good music and good messages, then that would both surprise and impress me.
While the band as of November is temporarily retired as its members pursue education and careers, if you are lucky, some Saturday morning you may hear them playing once again at Brew Bakers.

To sample their unique and astral music, visit their soundcloud page here. (my personal favorite is their cover of Hallelujah, located at the bottom of the page).

Do you know of an artist, musician, writer, community hero, or person who should otherwise be highlighted in the Middletown community?  Please email your inquiries to 

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