On the third floor of Doc Watson’s Pub, where flashes from disco balls and strobe lights emanate from a dim smokiness, you’ll find a zealous crowd of music lovers listening to bands passionately making music with their instruments. One band in particular, Bamshire, graces the stage with its music and lively presence. Ending a high-energy night with an original song, “Any Kind of Home,” the band mates all smile with the thrill of another nights’ performance.
Bamshire’s roots lie in the mountainous region of Stroudsburg, Pa., where all four of the band members grew up. Now, after years of playing together, they find themselves still creating and performing music at Temple.
Sophomore Dan Papa, affectionately called “Pops,” is Bamshire’s oldest member and plays the synthesizer. Dan Bickart, Ben Daniels and Steve Teare are freshmen and play percussion, bass, guitar and vocals respectively.
“We aren’t trying to follow any particular cookie-cutter image of a band,” Daniels said.
“We all bring different styles and ideas to the table for each and every song, so our songs all have a different sound to them.”
The sounds of blues and roots music as well as folk melodies have a strong influence on Teare, while Daniels, being the most musically educated, has studied theory, classical and jazz music. Papa loves electronics and is the most experimental of the group.
Bickart enjoys live jam beats of the band Phish and the rawness of improvised music. He loves to watch people improvise. While some may find it less than pleasing, Bickart notes, “I love that it sounds horrible. It’s their struggle to find the harmony.”
Bringing together their various music idols, Radiohead, Phish, Modest Mouse, Beck and Flaming Lips to name a few, inspires the music so unique to Bamshire. Together the guys also find creative nourishment from “Celebration of the Arts” held at the Deerhead Inn in Bickart’s hometown, Delaware Water Gap, Pa.
“COTA is one the happiest moments of my life. People come from all over to hear, play, and share music, particularly jazz. It’s a religious celebration of life,” Teare said.
Bringing together their passions and experiences, Bamshire found themselves practicing for hours on end in the Bickart’s basement, with original lyrics and music. There in the concrete basement, Teare would bring his rough drafts to the other band members for criticisms and modifications.
“Bamshire’s writing process is very democratic. The songs stem from Steve’s folk-oriented sound, and then we each add to it as we see fit,” Daniels said.
The guys acquired a list of original songs they practiced and performed local gigs in Stroudsburg. As their local fame seemed to be prospering, the band encountered two obstacles: Papa’s departure to attend Temple and Teare moving to South Carolina. The summer of 2003 appeared to be the end of Bamshire.
Graduating high school early in January 2004, Teare rushed back home to Stroudsburg. He decided to live with a retired couple, Robert and Mary Smith, and hoped to resurrect Bamshire. When the summer came around and the Smiths were vacationing, the band mates took turns letting Teare into their homes. Bamshire was more alive than ever, as Papa was back from college and all four guys could collaborate and play once again.
It was then that the band decided to make an album. Soon they found themselves in an old, abandoned art studio in downtown Stroudsburg recording their music for hours a day. Bamshire finished the recording of We Are So Exhausted in two short weeks.
“The studio belonged to our friend’s mom, an artist, and she told us that we could use it as a space. She left it like she was in the middle of work. There was art stuff everywhere. Clay, pottery, utensils, chairs and even coffee mugs still full of coffee. Once we finished clearing it out it was a great space for recording,” Papa said.
Not only has Bamshire recorded their own album, but they have also crafted two of their own “music videos.” Papa’s love for computers, photography, and film aided the band to expand their music to incorporate a visual component as well.
The guys have stuck together through many hardships from their beginnings in junior high to college. Unlike many other amateur bands that usually falter before the end of high school, Bamshire has found their success to only greatly accumulate now that they are at Temple. To find out more about Bamshire and its members visit www.bamshire.moonfruit.com.
Kaitlyn Dreyling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.