By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It's not unusual in Denton for a crowd to possess a certain anticipatory electricity when a new band finally emerges from its rehearsal space to grace a stage or living room with a performance, but the crowd at Rubber Gloves was positively buzzing half-way through Oh Lewis' recent set. It must be reassuring for a band to already be building positive hype before it has even played its third gig. The buzz would seem a tad early for Oh Lewis, if the band wasn't formed around the nucleus of a popular act that broke up last September (under less than favorable conditions).
Formed in 2004, The Brewers were a hard-rocking two-piece composed of longtime friends Will Sherrod on guitar and vocals and Cole Patterson on drums. And, though several factors contributed to the Brewers' fizzling out, the main problem seems to have been that the band was, well, only a duo. "It was just the two of us, you know," Sherrod says, "and I guess it's kinda like having a girlfriend. When you get in a fight and get pissed off at each other, there's nobody else to keep reason, so there was no way to talk us out of it in the end. We were both unhappy with things, and there wasn't a third person there to lighten things up, so we stopped."
But it wasn't the pair's chemistry alone that caused the breakup (after all, they're still friends and now bandmates again). The music itself had started to wear on Sherrod. "Well, I like the music that The Brewers wrote, but it was all pretty much loud and heavy the whole time, and I always felt like there had to be a lot of low-end since we didn't have a bass player." So, power chords ruled the band's driving sound, which as a two-piece left little room for creativity. "I wanted there to be more dynamics this time around," Sherrod says. And that was easily done by adding John Wilcox on guitar and John Crowley on bass.
Formed in early spring, Oh Lewis started writing songs, found a practice space to rent and played its first gig in early October at Hailey's Club. Pretty quickly the band's made a name for itself and its dyed-in-the-wool early-'90s MTV-rock sound—think Guided by Voices and Pavement from 120 Minutes with a little of Alternative Nation's Nirvana and Pearl Jam thrown in for good measure.
I mentioned to Sherrod some of the bands that Oh Lewis calls to mind. "Oh, yeah, I grew up on '90s music, that's my thing. I mean, I'm all over the place musically, but it's definitely back there."