By Charlie Weinmann, Arts Editor
A folding table obscured with several types of vegetation sits by the kitchen entrance of this single floor apartment in Newmarket, New Hampshire while Buddy the little white dog scampers about. Upon stepping through the threshold into the living room, the recording and jam space of The Raunchy Randos is revealed.
Stefan Trogisch and Lucas Perry have known each other since they met on the school bus in the fifth grade.
“We were always the ones on the bus people stared at. We were always being weird and grotesque,” Perry said.
The Raunchy Randos is comprised of three friends who live in their cozy Newmarket apartment upon the hill on Church Street. The band is one that defies specific definition, but according to their Facebook page, they play psychedelic rock, indie, garage and world music.
Previously known as Flamenco in the Bath Tub, the group has recently redefined themselves, incorporating the combined skills of Perry, Trogisch, as well as bass player and friend, Shane Devanney. The three began playing together during their first year of college.
Devanney and Perry are both University of New Hamshire graduates, having studied environmental conservation, while Trogisch attended Northern Essex Community College and graduated with degrees in business and environmental studies. Devanney currently works at UNH full time at the organic dairy farm. The three enjoy gardening when they are not playing music.
“We all wanted to play music more because of each other,” Perry said.
After breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Perry would practice guitar for hours each day. Shortly after, he would produce his first demo.
“It was a really [expletive] demo,” Perry said. “I would play pop punk indie solo acoustic stuff and then it was a duo with my friend Zack, and then we added Shane.”
They acquired the “worst drum kit ever” from Craig’s List for $100 and entered a battle of the bands at UNH. After winning the competition, they were rewarded with four hours of studio time at a local studio that has since gone out of business. This is where they would record their first four-song EP as a band under a different band name.
Devanney and Perry used to live in what several UNH students had referred to as the “toast house.” This legendary home apparently was a popular location for the band Phish to perform in their early days and received it’s name after a member of Phish allegedly nailed a piece of toast to the wall.
“We used to throw these gnarly parties there because it’s such a party house,” Trogisch said.
The band currently gigs around New England, booking as many shows as they can for themselves.
“It has become so easy to book shows with no official, business name,” Trogisch said. “Its becoming less monopolized in terms of booking … the bands are booking their own shows.”
“The rock/punk scene is becoming a more inclusive community,” Perry said. “I feel like the punk scene used to be exclusive in a way, but now it’s becoming more of a thing where, like, different influences are getting in.”
The Raunchy Randos have a mission. They attempt to bring the people something new and interesting during their live performances. There is no room for typicality in their repertoire.
“Mainstream music is going the same direction it always has been: it’s super advertised, and they are shooting it at you,” said Trogisch. “The underground scene where people are doing everything themselves is growing so much because they hate that [mainstream] scene.”
This is what Raunchy Randos are trying to accomplish: a sense of originality. And they hope people will take to it.
“We make our own CD’s, we make our own genres … we take a little bit from everything so that if someone comes to our show they’re gonna like at least one song,” Devanney said.
The song, “Blaspheme Library” by Raunchy Randos sounds almost Brit-rock, while “Sea Shanty” is a toned-down acoustic melody.
The band takes pride in what they call “live art,” or visual displays during their live performances. Raunchy Randos utilizes old clock faces and a beat up projector to produce quite the impressive visualizer as a background for their performances. Oil, dye, alcohol and water are used to create blobs of color and moving bubbles that resemble something from the Pink Floyd days.
“This is our liquid light show, our magical box,” Perry said as he moved towards the projector. “These are two clock faces that I acquired,” he said. “You can’t get these unless you go to the antique shop. You need that concave thing or else [the dye] will just run everywhere. If you use both of them at once it creates the trippiest shit ever.”
The band does this to incorporate an element of surprise and intrigue in their shows. They also invite other types of artists to their shows to sell their artwork, so to promote local talent.
“It’s more about getting everybody together just to gather, and look at people’s art, and buy their art, and watch music and just hang out,” Trogisch said.
Perry works a day job during the week, although he aims to be a musician full time, along with his band.
“Ideally, we want to plan a big tour,” Perry said, “probably in the summer.”
They plan to tour throughout New England this winter.
The band makes 100 copies of each EP they put out, and then they move on and make a new one. This tactic allows them to remain fresh in their music making.
“We never get stale,” Devanney said.
The band has “gotten rid of” roughly 220 CDs at this point, and once they go through the other 80 or so, they will start anew, and make a new EP.
Perry spends a lot of his time booking shows for his band, but he will invite other bands from the area to join the bill.
“I have a list of like 150 bands from around here,” Perry says. “I like organizing lists. Mainly I focus on punk, indie, psychedelic, folk and rock.”
Perry spent a year of his life traveling across America as a “vagabond.” He spent time in Hawaii, camped in the forest in San Francisco, as well as lodging in a hippy commune for two weeks, all with his guitar by his side.
“I pretty much live the same life-style I did when I was traveling; I just stay in one place now,” Perry said. “I still don’t make a lot of money, and I follow my dreams as opposed to following a career.”
The band gets paid for only a fraction of their shows. They usually make just enough to pay for their gas money.
“We had this guy get pissed at us because there wasn’t a lot of people at a show that he set up that we were playing,” Perry said, “he was basically saying, ‘When you are on stage you’re an advertisement’ and I thought that was really [expletive] up. Yeah we are a business, but [our] main goal is spread our art, not to make money.”
The trio dreams of going on tour, but if that doesn’t work out as planned, the three friends want to open a music venue.
“That’s my dream, to basically make it touring everywhere, or just to have our own venue where we put shows on all the time,” Devanney said.
The Raunchy Randos are a testament to the fact that earning a college degree doesn’t necessarily mean having to work in a specific field. Trogisch, along with the others, feel that their musical endeavors are well worth the hard work. Trogisch spoke for his band mates when he said, “a band is definitely a business.”