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  • Terminal Band -12.04
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    [ The Better Half ]

    The Better Half - Past, Present, and Future

    My favorite part about being in a band is the freedom of expression one has. It is a completely free form of art that you can mold into any creation. And yet on the other hand, it is a team effort where minds and ideas collide. -Malcolm Holt

    The first words of the lead singer are followed shortly by the tapping of a cymbal, and then the gentle rumbling of a bass. Next, comes the melodic strumming of two guitars, in harmonies that echo through your mind. The song takes off, and you feel the drums match your heartbeat. The thunderous bass shakes the floor of the packed coffee house. You feel that vibration through the soles of your shoes, traveling through your body until the bass line becomes a part of you. As if your very survival depends on the continuation of that steady rhythm.

    You would expect a music scene which garners such feelings to exist in an urban metropolis. A place where up-and-coming bands soak up every ounce of the many cultures their city has to offer, and feed off the countless available venues. Talented bands are a dime a dozen in places like Seattle, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. But, it takes a special kind of band to draw this type of emotion from an audience in a town that has never been notorious for its punk rock scene. Growing up in a small, rural southern Oregon town, Ashland's own The Better Half has proven time and time again that they possess the talent, the passion, and the determination to make this happen.

    The Better Half is comprised of four talented musicians, all from the southern Oregon area. Lead guitarist Andrew Combs, drummer Malcolm Holt, bassist Dayton Mason, and lead singer Trevor Watson have been making waves in Oregon's music scene since their formation two years ago. During those two years, they have experienced good times, bad times, and completely indescribable moments, all of which have helped them grow both as musicians, and as a group. Between playing shows for their local fan base, and a bold three month trip to Los Angeles, The Better Half has shown that it is here to stay.

    Much more contributes to being a great band than the normal activities of recording, touring and playing. "We have had so many great and horrible experiences that have helped us grow together, and apart, and back together again," says drummer Malcolm Holt. "Just things that happen while traveling and being on the road really help us get closer."

    "We're completely immature," says bass player Dayton Mason with a grin, "but we always take our music seriously."

    It's never been all about work for this band, and being close friends themselves, sometimes it's necessary to take a break from the grueling work of practicing and performing, and have a little fun. "We love to party," says lead vocalist Trevor Watson, smiling and putting down the guitar he'd been strumming. "When we're on tour, one of our favorite things to do is just party with random people."

    But, when The Better Half takes the stage, you can tell that the hard work and the long hours spent practicing and recording are worth it. When you walk into a Better Half concert, you will most likely find a startling display of energy during any given song. Lead guitarist Andy Combs is known for his flashy playing style. He has been known to play guitar solos behind his back, on the ground, and even with his teeth. Branching off in new directions with their music, the newer songs require even more energy and intensity than ever, and while it's hard to choose, the band seems to have come to a consensus about which song is their favorite. "My favorite song is usually the latest song we've written at the time," says Holt. "Currently it is Yield Infections."

    Beginning with a musical intro characteristic of Better Half songs, Yield Infections never fails to draw the crowd's attention.

    "In this song," says Mason, "I am playing more complicated parts, and I'm even singing a little. It's more challenging, and it has a lot of energy behind it."

    Currently The Better Half is in the process of recording a new EP with all their new material. The new songs are reflective of a change in the Better Half mentality. Taking their musical careers more seriously has yielded a more complicated and bold style of music that is sure to get the attention of fans, and hopefully a record label in the near future.

    "We are going to get signed soon," states Holt optimistically. "Then we're going to tour nine months out of each of the following six years. But to get there, we need to record a killer EP."

    Touring has also become a major part of The Better Half's experiences as a band. Last summer the band went on a three-month tour to LA, which all of the members agree has been an invaluable experience for the band.

    "Going to LA was a huge thing for us," says Watson. "Being on the road all the time really gave us a chance to get closer and to get to know each other better."

    "When you're somewhere completely foreign and new," comments Holt, "you really rely on anything that's familiar. And for us that's each other."

    So what's next for The Better Half? Aside from continuing to wow local audiences with frequent shows, the band has some definite plans for the future.

    "My goals for this band are to keep having fun," says Mason. "Keep touring, keep making good music, and maybe make a little money."

    "What do we want to do in the future?" asks Watson with a far-away look. "Rock the galaxy."

    To learn more about The Better Half, visit their website at www.thebetterhalfmusic.com.

    Written By: Tehlor B