The members of local band Eugene Beauty bill themselves as a "project of three Italians writing algebraic rock with unique time formulas, sin cosine tangent changes and 'ol country' song structures." The statement is like most things surrounding Eugene Beauty: it takes a bit of parsing, but once through it, you realize it was worth the time.
Wikipedia defines "math rock" thusly: "a rhythmically complex, often guitar-based, style of experimental rock and indie rock music that emerged in the late 1990s, influenced by progressive rock bands like King Crimson and 20th century minimalist composers such as Steve Reich."
It's a style that challenges the norms of standard time signatures, melodies and chord structures - a heady, but still very rock and roll approach to rock & roll.
Eugene Beauty will perform from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Fest 2013 and between 4 and 6 p.m. July 13 at SMITEFEST 2013.
Then, almost counter-intuitively, the band makes use of what they call "ol country" song structures.
For most of us, that's the 'verse-chorus-verse-chorus' format that we're so used to hearing on the radio.
At a time when doing things "ironically" (think mustaches and bad haircuts) is very popular, Eugene Beauty isn't simply being coy. They're taking something all-too-established and doing their part to reinvent it. It's a bit like they're painting the Mona Lisa entirely in graffiti.
The three "Italians" in question are more accurately Italian-Americans, and most accurately bassist/guitarist/vocalist Justin Anthony Lutz, drummer Tony Mazzullo, and vocalist/guitarist Frank "Iggy" Scarfo III. They have been playing as Eugene Beauty for over a year now, but the trio certainly weren't strangers before forming this band-to each other, or the local music scene.
Justin Anthony Lutz almost always has a musical project in the works, and at 36-years-old has been in more bands than some studio musicians. He'll juggle two or three at a time, and when his schedule or other circumstances restrict him, he records his original music under monikers like Miss Analysis, or A. S/S (A Singer Songwriter). He and Mazzullo have played in multiple bands together; The Evil Eyes in 1997-1998, Gilbert in 1999-2000, and Principle of the Idea is Irrelevant to the Truth in 2001-2002. Lutz is multi-talented, often playing bass, guitar, drums, and singing at various points in the same group.
Anthony Mazzullo is many things-a husband, father of three, philosopher, and drummer-but he is certainly not conventional.
Like Lutz, he favors pure bands who, at best, obtained a small amount of notoriety before disbanding, or at worst managed to record a few tracks before succumbing to the death of a member or simply fading into obscurity.
The trio cites inspiration from bands like the Minutemen, Fugazi, and Joy Division at the better-known end of the spectrum, and Shellac, Gilbert, Don Caballero, and Clikatat Ikatowi at the more obscure end (but still very much worth a listen).
For Mazullo, however, one of his biggest influences came from a band you're not likely to find online-no matter how exhaustive your Google search; a band called Glendale:
"A trio of musicians was performing in Jacks Corner at Lycoming College. 'We're Glendale' Nothing else was said. There was no foreplay. There was no witty humor. There was just sound ... It was a massive weight off my shoulders to know that the best live show I'd seen up to that point in my life was from a band that was of no significant record label or even the slightest bit known by anybody anywhere. About six months later I learned that they produced a seven inch vinyl ... To this day the Glendale seven-inch is my favorite vinyl."
Vocalist Frank "Iggy" Scarfo has played with bands like Dickenz, Undecided, and Monthly Herald.
He provided the band with its name and adds vocals and guitars.
The band has a steady stream of gigs and will perform on the Liberty Fest stage on Saturday, July 6 from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m.
Eugene Beauty will also be performing the week after at Smitefest 2013 on Saturday, July 13 between 4 and 6 p.m.
Find more information about Eugene Beauty online at eugenebeauty.wordpress.com and www.facebook.com/eugenebeautyband. For tickets or more information, go to www.libertymusicfestival.com for the Liberty Fest and www.facebook.com to find out more on Smite Fest 2013.