â€œI am conducting one hell of a punk rock experiment on my life,â€ says Lillard A., guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter of Putnam Hall.
Imagine that you had been brought up in a nice suburban home in southern California, then went on to graduate from UC Berkeley with double degrees in economics and rhetoric, and finally, realized the â€œYuppie American Dreamâ€ by working a high paying job in the finance field.
Then, as abruptly as you can flip the bird to the Man, you quit the job and renounce the lifestyle that has served as the focus of your existence for the past twenty-some-odd years to single-mindedly and unabashedly commit yourself to your band- the post-punk, indie rock outfit, Putnam Hall.
â€œAsk anyone at my old company, man. They knew right away that I wasnâ€™t fitting in; my hair was too long, my clothes were too unkempt, and I was definitely what they called â€˜insubordinateâ€™ all the time,â€ Lillard laughs. â€œIâ€™ve always had this pressure to keep my musical inclinations suppressed. So, in many ways, this band, Kris, and Al saved my life. Or at least, saved me from a life as a caged animal.â€
Lillard first met Kris in 2002 when the drummer got his hands on a four-song demo that Lillard had recorded on his own. The two became fast friends and found writing music together came easily. â€œAt first, I wasnâ€™t sure about Lillard,â€ Wismer recalls. â€œBut then, we bonded over James Brown, the Skatalites, and the music we were writing. Lillard made it very clear from day one that he wanted us to do this as a career.â€
Upon the departure of their original bassist, and just prior to the recording of their first EP, â€œbrandnudemusicâ€, Lillard and Wismer scrambled to find a replacement. Enter Al Walters, then bassist in a fledgling band that had formerly included Wismer. â€œThere were no other auditions,â€ quips Lillard. â€œI heard the melodies from Alâ€™s bass and thought, â€˜Thatâ€™s it. Alâ€™s our guy.â€™â€
In July â€™05, armed with an invigorated sense of punk rock attitude (think Rancid) and thoughtful, multifaceted songwriting (think No Doubt), Putnam Hall went back to the studio with fervor to surpass the success of â€œbrandnudemusic.â€ The resulting five-song EP, â€œLove and Industryâ€, is a dynamic blend of throaty vocals, raw guitars and pulsating rhythms that hearken the frustration of being locked in a suburban lifestyle that just doesnâ€™t fit you.
And so, the punk rock experiment continues. Will Putnam Hall accomplish everything that Lillard, Kris and Al gave up so much in pursuit of? Only time will tell, but considering Putnam Hallâ€™s guerilla Do-It-Yourself promotional tactics and flat-out hard work that has brought their music from shows all across Orange and LA Counties to garnering radio airplay on 106.7 KROQ and Indie 103.1 without a record deal, things definitely lean in Putnam Hallâ€™s favor.
In the meantime, listen to the songs on â€œLove and Industryâ€ and hear the manifestation of a bandâ€™s sincere effort to fight for a life less ordinary...
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2. 4 the Girls
3. It's Not Me, It's You
4. Shallow Waters
5. Leaving Genevive