Old man, take a look at your band
Ojai’s Myridian overcome tragedy — and middle age — to release their classic-rock inspired debut Pri
By Lisa Snider 05/31/2007
Old guys rock — and I’m not talking about the Rolling Stones or Aerosmith. Myridian, an Ojai-based fivesome of forty-somethings, proved earlier this year that it’s never too late to start rocking with the release of their first album, Prime Myridian. Working blue-collar day jobs as an electrician, farmer, equipment renter, pool technician and electronics installer, Myridian’s roster includes Scott Smith on keyboards, Richard Metcalfe on guitar, Kalvin Keller on lead vocals, Patrick Duffy on drums and Bud McCanless on bass.
“A young person has the energy,” says Smith, who doubles as the band’s manager. “This is more of a work ethic.”
With a minimum of twice weekly rehearsals in Smith’s garage, Myridian’s work ethic is getting them noticed. Their protest song, “Gunshots,” is now in its seventh week in the top 10 on Neil Young’s Living with War Web site.
Written by Metcalfe, Myridian’s principal songwriter, “Gunshots” was originally about inner city gang wars. “A lot of my songs seem to cross over at the time when I’m writing into other subjects, and I don’t even realize it until later,” he says. “It’s almost prophetic in a way.”
Metcalfe’s lyrics are poetic and relevant: “Lots of faceless names, with increasing toe-tag numbers/ The children have gone off to war, when they step outside their own front door.”
Metcalfe, a pro-skateboarder as a teen who was also scouted by the Yankees before an injury put him out of the game for good, takes his songwriting seriously. “I want to write songs that make people think,” he says.
The past 18 months have been a rollercoaster ride for Myridian. Last February, while competing with 60 other groups in the Ventura Battle of the Bands, Metcalfe’s wife, Kimberly, suffered a massive heart attack. The band went on to win the competition, but Kimberly did not survive.
Devastated, but with the support of his band, Metcalfe found the strength to continue. The next month, Myridian went into the studio to begin recording Prime Myridian, which would be released 11 months later.
“We all have a passion, and we share a love for the Myridian music,” Smith says. “The music is powerful and important.”
Myridian’s style, described by Metcalfe as “classic rock with a pop twist,” could be compared to Genesis and the Fixx. But the feel is more contemporary, and while the music definitely rocks, there is also an element of play. In “Media Lies,” the lyrics “Ashes to ashes/all fall down” bring back playground memories.
“One of our strengths is our vocal harmonies,” Smith says. Driven by lead Keller’s arid vocals, Myridian’s sound is unique. “It is the hallmark of what Myridian is,” Smith says.
Looking ahead, Smith says, “Our hope would be to get discovered. I think that can happen.”