Kings of yeah

Kings of yeah

Dayton expatriates still rockin’ in new band Connections

By Gary Spencer
photo: Columbus quintet Connections play Canal Street Tavern Feb. 8; photo credit: Rachael Barbash

Does anyone in our readership remember the rock n’ roll machine from just north of Dayton called 84 Nash? They didn’t play out a lot before members relocated themselves and the band to our state capital Columbus in the late ‘90s, but when they did perform they made it count.  Lead guitarist Andy Hampel banged out one three-chord garage punk lick after another while vocalist Kevin Elliot, when not singing and energizing the crowd would pogo all over the stage area with infectious enthusiasm. 84 Nash broke up a several years ago, but Hampel and Elliot have formed a new rock ensemble with members of fellow Columbus bands Times New Viking and El Jesus de Magico. Put all of these combustible music minds together in the same band and you get the quintet that calls itself Connections. The band just released its debut album, Private Airplane, and the songs within are brief but catchy and long enough to get you going with soaring choruses and, as a whole, are textbook exercises in just plain old rocking out with no need to be pigeonholed into any specific musical niche. It’s music for people who prefer their indie rock upbeat with no pretense beyond providing the listener a good time and recommended if you like Guided by Voices, The Undertones and The Kinks.

Recently, I had a chance to speak with Connections’ guitarist and founding member Andy Hampel about Connections and its upcoming gig at Canal Street Tavern on Friday, Feb. 8. Here’s how it went…

Tell me about the origins of the band.

I started writing songs again a couple years ago. Kevin (Elliot) and I at some point decided to work again together and record down in the basement. We half-seriously worked on a ton of songs for a couple of years until we had to make a real band again. We were lucky enough to get Adam (Elliot), Dave (Capaldi) and Phil (Kim) on board, which changed everything. All of a sudden we were on point – it worked beyond what I had hoped for. -Andy Hampel

How did you end up landing the other guys in Connections after you and Kevin laid the foundation for the band? 

First we asked Adam to play drums and he said “yeah,” which was awesome. (Also) we have this thing once a year in Columbus called the Rock Potluck. They take 40 people from 40 different bands and form, like, five new bands who have to write a few songs and perform them live the same night. Kevin did it and the bass player in the band he was put in (with) was Phil. We got in touch with Phil and luckily he was into it. The four of us practiced for a month or so and it was cool. We just needed a lead guitarist. [I] asked Dave who was in El Jesus De Magico and is a great guitar player. He came over and it worked right away.  Pretty much everything we play has been written since the band got together. We just had to wait a couple years until it all came together. -AH

What is similar and/or different about what Connections is doing in comparison to your work in 84 Nash during the ‘90s?

People who liked 84 Nash will dig Connections. They are all pop songs in the end. Just the stuff we are doing together now makes more sense to me. I think we are playing to the same type of audience as before, really – that doesn’t change so much. I know back in the day when we were in Dayton and certainly here in Columbus there is a pretty large group of dedicated music fans who will always come out to watch good bands play. -AH

In a nutshell, what is Connections all about, musically/lyrically/conceptually?  

I’m not sure what Connections is about. There is no plan. We don’t have, like, an aesthetic to adhere to. There are 1,000 bands with guitars, bass, drums and vocals and most of them are a laugh. Hopefully we aren’t one of them. -AH

So what does the future hold for Connections? 

This should be a busy year. Our debut record, Private Airplane (is being) released nationally via Anyway Records at the end of January and should be available in Dayton’s fine record store. We have a 7” with the single “Cindy” off the new album and “Jonny and Jeni” off our second record, Body Language, which is ready to go. We also have an EP, Tough City, coming out on Lost Weekend Records on Record Store Day in April. We are playing out regularly and plan to get out of town as well. -AH

Anything else you want to say to our readership?

It’d be nice to see a big crowd at the show with some friends from back in the day and some new friends (as well). -AH

Connections will perform on Friday, Feb. 8 at Canal Street Tavern, 308 E. First St. Also on the bill are The Motel Beds and The Kyle Sowashes. Admission is $5 for 18 & up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.canalstreettavern.com. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@daytoncitypaper.com 


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