>> Memorable music is created through a mix of devotion to the craft, tireless practice and a bit of humility. An artist’s heart needs to be in it when writing music or else it will never come to fruition. These traits were immediately apparent during my interview with Jon Lewis of the Jon Lewis Band. He’s someone who’s spent his life performing whether it be through playing guitar or doing improv comedy. His current job is playing music for kids as Mr. Loops; a job that has him occasionally swamped by adoring fans whenever he goes out in public. He’s no stranger to putting himself out there for the entertainment of his audience.
The band came together in an unusual but fitting way. Jon had put out five albums himself before beginning with the band. These were all recorded in his basement, though, which discouraged him from further playing. Dave, the band’s vocals and bass player, had recently moved back to Rochester to open 1809 Recording Studios.
He acted as a sound engineer, mixer, and producer. Hearing what music could sound like in a professional setting reignited Jon’s passion. From there Jon and Dave began playing some songs together but Dave wasn’t ready to join an actual band. Jon views Dave as the true igniter of the on Lewis Band as they still record together at 1809.
Jacob, the band’s drummer, became acquainted with Jon through working at a stereo shop in Henrietta together. Just from work, the two knew they wanted to play music together one day. They had a feeling that they could create something truly great. This didn’t occur until a year after Jon left the stereo shop. It was Jacob and Jon finally playing live shows together that marked the next step of the Jon Lewis Band. Not long after, Dave started playing live with them. In Jon’s words, the three of them acted like a battery when it came to writing music.
Shawn, the band’s guitar player, had been having recording sessions at 1809. There he did a mix of laying down tracks for other people and rapping, trying to get out his hip-hop music. He ended up doing guitar work for Jon’s first full-length album. They worked together so well that Sean became a part of the band shortly after.
Alex was the last to join the band. He had been working on his own stuff as a keyboard and guitar player. Jon asked him to lay down some tracks with them one day. The moment all five of them started playing together Jon said it just made sense. The five of them were all the lead members of their own bands. They had passion, the desire to keep writing music and agreed to never write or play if it felt forced. No one joined the band by looking for a place as a drummer or guitar player or singer. Each member had a passion for playing which led them to meet with the others who shared similar views. This is what has allowed the band to release three albums over the last two years.
Live shows have been nothing but great for the band. They’ve been able to play in places they love like Providence, Rhode Island. Local bands have been supportive here in Rochester as well as the various cities they’ve toured through. The scariest experience they’ve had is when Jon’s guitar strap broke on stage, causing him to catch it in the air. He shared that it only worsened his performance anxiety. Unlike his time performing in improv, Jon gets nervous playing on stage since the attention is more focused his way. It’s something he says you just need to work every day at; the more you get on stage, the easier it is to stand in front of a crowd.
The Jon Lewis Band is one to keep an eye out for. They manage to put out new music on a consistent basis. Last month they released their newest album, Baby Brother. For the second year in a row, they’ve been nominated for the best of Rochester contest. There’s no doubt that this band is going places and we’re excited to see where the path leads them. <<