By KATIE STEWART
The Tucson-based band Sun Bones calls their upcoming performance at the Rialto Theatre their biggest performance to date.
The group, which plays a variety of genres from folk and hip-hop to rock and classical, continues to evolve from humble beginnings as high school musicians.
Sun Bones consists of:
- Evan Casler – guitar, vocals, percussion, bass
- Sam Golden – vocals, guitar
- Bob Hanshaw – bass, vocals, guitar
- Seth Vietti – drums, vocals
Golden and Vietti started in a folk band called Grandpa Moses, and invited Hanshaw to join them in 2007 for a high school battle of the bands. They later formed a rock band called Boreas. Casler joined as a University of Arizona student.
“We all met in high school and college,” Hanshaw said. “I met Evan Casler in the UA choir and he eventually joined the band.”
The close-knit musicians say they work together to form a whole.
“If we were a skeleton, Sam would be the head, Bob would be the spine, I would be the hips and Seth would be the flailing arms and legs,” Casler said.
Casler also described Hanshaw as a kind of a father figure and mad scientist, while Golden is the technician and Vietti is the gleeful heart-throb. Casler sees himself as the hype-man and boogie machine.
Each musician has had classical training, including vocal and music composition.
“I think it’s fair to say that we retain a part of the rigor and language of all classical music instruction,” Vietti said.
It helps them as a group to listen closely and think critically when they’re making new material or adding to old compositions.
The group is hard pressed to explain why they started to perform together.
Hanshaw said any bunch of teenagers that knows how to play music will think it is exciting and cool to be in a band.
Like most teen bands, they began by playing cover songs for friends. By the time they formed Sun Bones, music had become a life-affirming pastime.
“I don’t think any of us would feel whole at this point if we weren’t playing music in some kind of group,” Hanshaw said.
“The kind of music we play always comes back to one thing ‘accessible, but not ordinary,’” he added. “Leonard Bernstein said that about Beethoven’s music, and we try to make it true of ours.”
They love pop, punk, beautiful melodies and aggressive in-your-face energy, but also like to challenge themselves with twists. The goal is to create something unexpected but tasteful.
Their first song, “Kamikaze Dream” from their album “Sentinel Peak,” posed a challenge.
“It was really hard and kind of demoralizing,” Hanshaw said. “But we eventually did get it down how we liked it. Once it was there, it was kind of a relief.”
The “Sentinel Peak” album was transformative because it gave the group direction for genre and type of band. Their producer, Charles Dorman, helped them focus and narrow their range of sound.
“Sentinel Peak was very diverse, but also was clearly unified,” Hanshaw said.
When they gradually worked toward a second album, they had a better sense of where to go.
Their goal for the future is to make as much music as possible to its truest possible sound to make people happy.
Each performance provides a different experience, but band members say that they practice a set of songs so much that it eventually becomes a routine.
Vietti described performing as a strange and addicting confrontation between perfection and chaos.
Reactions from fans have touched them, almost in a spiritual sense, and they’re very honored by the impact they’ve had.
“If that’s something we can do for people, then we want to do that as much as possible,” Hanshaw said.
It amazes them that they’re making even a bit of difference in people’s lives through their music.
“We’re always so focused on making music better and better that we don’t really know how to react when people respond to it,” Casler said.
For more information about Sun Bones, visit http://sunbones.com/epk.
Sun Bones, with other alt indie bands including Best Dog Award and The Electric Blankets
When: Dec. 7 at 9 p.m.
Where: Rialto Theatre, 318 E Congress St.