Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: The Overdubs

A lot of bands talk about being families. The Overdubs, though, really do have family ties -- with husband-wife and father-son pairs.

We caught up with member Ryan Townsend before the band's show at 7:30 p.m. today at Kuppajoe, 3673 N. First St. Cover is $5. Give us the history of The Overdubs. The Overdubs began as a side project and evolved. We started in Orange County as Girlfriend in a Coma but I changed the name to The Overdubs when I moved to Davis because everyone thought we were a Smiths cover band. I love the Smiths, but we don't play '80s nights. When we came back to Fresno, I recruited Nathan Bjaaland and Sean Cohea as the rhythm section; we'd all been in a punk band called Chevron Girl back in the day. Of course, Bekah Townsend, my wife, has always been in the band. Now we have another refugee from Chevron Girl, Justin Landis, and father-son duo Gino and Weston Grillo in our crew as well.

What's your style and what influenced it? Our style is eclectic American indie rock. We're influenced by American rock acts like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Wilco and The Replacements, as well as by '90s college radio bands like Pavement, Elliott Smith, Superdrag and Modest Mouse.

What are the challenges of doing the husband/wife band thing? I used to think that husband/wife duos were pretty lame. Eventually, I realized that Bekah knows all the songs, is a better singer than me, and can play percussion and piano equally well. One challenge is that we can sometimes carry disagreements about music into our family life, which is a bummer. Also, we have a young daughter, Amelia, who is only 15 months old, so Bekah usually doesn't come to practice, which is OK because she listens when I sit around the living room playing the songs anyway.

You guys keep up both a blog and a podcast. Why did you start these? It came from a place of being frustrated that we've only released one album, "Here Is Where We Are" in 2006, and I have tons of songs waiting to be put out. The podcast has gotten a pretty good response, we've done 21 episodes and since you can subscribe via iTunes, I assume that at least a couple of albums have been sold there as a result. We've been using MySpace to communicate with fans, and the podcast and blog have helped raise our profile with them.

What do you think separates you from other Fresno indie bands? We hope to write and perform songs that are good, songs that are true. We don't really plan to make any money or achieve acclaim. We are committed to being responsible members of our community. For instance, tonight, we are playing a benefit show at Kuppajoe to help them get a new sound system. It is a chance to give something back to a venue that helps so many young bands. We admire the work that Dave Brown has done there and see the club as an essential part of the local scene.

What should people expect from your live show? Our live show is unpredictable and sometimes unintentionally hilarious. We have a lot of people playing at one time now, so I hope it's entertaining. We really are just a family band. We have regular jobs, and we like to play rock music.

For music and more: Go to theoverdubs.com and myspace.com/theoverdubs.

Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda, mosegueda@fresnobee.com.

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