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
"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
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
To learn more about The Better Half, visit their website at www.thebetterhalfmusic.com.
Written By: Tehlor B