>> The Rochester music scene has a bit to offer for everyone, and if an old school Rock and Roll sound is what you’re looking for, the band Thoroughbred is a good place to start. Consisting of guitarist Don Lloyd and drummer Moon Swenson, the band describes themselves as combining “a rich Rock 'N Roll sound, textured by blues and psychedelia, with poetic lyrics and classic songwriting”. Listening to their music, you can pick out influences from The Doors to Chuck Berry, but make no mistake, Thoroughbred is far from stuck in 1966. All the music they listen to, not just the blues standards, garage rockers, and psychedelic weirdness influence their work. The band takes these influences and creates something new altogether.

The band started back in 2013 when they recorded their first demo, before they even played any live shows. While this is uncommon for many bands, Thoroughbred prefers it this way. “It’s good to be able to work off of yourself and be able to grow,” said Moon Swenson, “It’s nice to have perspective on yourself.” This process has allowed the band to refine their sound for their live performances.

Even before the demo, Thoroughbred traces their roots to open mic nights that members of the band were running in Honeoye Falls, New York, a village south of Rochester. These open mic performances allowed Lloyd and Swenson to begin forming their sound and experimenting. “Thoroughbred started from a lot of improvisation ideas; when we were filling in time and entertaining people,” Don Lloyd recounted.

The band has been in action for the better part of four years now, but they continue to grow as musicians. A big part of this growth is writing new material. The band talked about the differences between recording in a studio and performing live, both existing songs and improvisations, “We can hit the stage at any time and improv for a good amount of time to come up with new ideas”, said Lloyd, “but when you sit down in the studio, you’re in a different state of mind.”

“We’re always recording ourselves and coming up with new ideas and new sounds”, said Swenson, “We recently got some new equipment, and it’s the first time we’re using all vintage equipment”. She added that they were working on “a slew of new tunes”. “The new equipment has really opened our minds to the different avenues we can take our music”, added Lloyd.

Being a two piece band, you would have to think that there are some holes in the sound. However, Thoroughbred fills in the gaps with ease, “With our band it’s a two piece but we try and make it sound like a three or four piece band, so we try and compensate for the different parts”, said Lloyd. He told us it added a challenge, but the band had become adept at filling in bass parts with the drums and even the guitar at times. If I might add, they do a damn good job of it. Listening to their recorded material, you get a sense of amplitude to the band. They are able to deliver a huge sound with only two members, and you truly feel that there has to be a full band backing them. However, it is just the two members that make up Thoroughbred, reeling and rocking to the break of dawn. <<