Banding Together: The Ballad of Odds for the Ageless

Banding+Together%3A+The+Ballad+of+Odds+for+the+Ageless

by David Ferguson

“We’re not a garage band, we’re above that,” bassist Cody Grimm jokes, as we sit in the band’s practice spot above Grimm’s garage. It is a Friday night practice, the band has been practicing since six, it is already eight, and the band shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Into the night, periods of music intertwine with periods of laughter: this is Odds for the Ageless, a band about building memories, having memories, having fun, and making music.

Born in the basement of guitarist/drummer/singer Kevin Ducey, OFTA is the result of an unexpected collision of two local bands: KAM and Thirteen Waffles Later, the former a mostly cover band formed between four friends, the latter an eclectic rock band consisting of two brothers and a friend. After each band lost a member over the last summer, the two groups came together, at first just to jam, but the collaboration soon morphed into something more. Today Odds for the Ageless consists of five Hudson seniors – Kevin Ducey, Matt Snow, Tristan Sherell, Cody Grimm and Jack Colaianni.

“It was Cody who first came to me with the idea of trying to play with Kevin and Matt,” said drummer/singer Jack Colaianni. “We had played the Amira concert [as Thirteen Waffles Later], but [KAM] was also there. At that point, I had seen how much better they were. So when we were going to play with them, I practiced every song I knew in order to not screw up. Then we all went over to Kevin’s house and had a great jam.”

The result: lots of laughs, lots of guitars, and lots of noise. At the first the group played mainly covers, playing the songs of Nirvana, Death Cab for Cutie, Jimi Hendrix, and various other artists. Together they were able to get a feel for each member’s musical background and training.  And eventually, as the two bands started playing together more, they metamorphosed into the single unit they are today; blending each others’ styles and personalities.

Their shared affinity for music brought them together, yet each member brought his own unique background and personality to the table.

Grimm, who is an active member of the Drama Society, brings a musical passion to the band.  “He loves loves songs, if that makes sense,” said Colaianni. “I have never met someone who goes ‘I love this song’ as often as Cody. He appreciates the music for what it is. Romanticism might be a good word to describe Cody and music. He respects the integrity of every song.”

“While Cody loves the song, Matt gets excited about the music,” said Colaianni. Snow, who is an active member in student government and various other after-school clubs, brings a certain energy to the band. “Matt brings enthusiasm, he brings happiness, he brings reality, he brings humor,” added Colaianni. “In a way he’s the cheerleader. If we are doing something and the moods gets down, Matt is there to bring us all up.”

Tristan, the newest to music of the five band members, is always finding new ways to contribute to a song. “Tristan reminds me of one of the guys from the Apple Corporation,” said Colaianni. “It was started in a garage and there was a next-door neighbor, not Steve Wozniak, who doesn’t know about computers, but still wants to take a part in the project. So he comes and does what Steve Jobs asks, and thirty years later he’s working for Apple. He may not have started off as the most talented, but he worked every day to get better.”

At the practice I observed, Kevin was a teacher and collaborator, showing each member his ideas and explaining the vision he had in his head; going from each band member to band member and having discussions about what each instrumental part could be. “He’s the teacher teaching the struggling kids how to read,” said Colaianni. “I did not know how to play the drums, but he has showed me how to play. And among many other things, he brings the artistic vision to the band. He has a clear view of what the song can be, but at the same time isn’t rigid about it. He knows the tone of the song and what will sound good.”

Instinctively, Colaianni has taken a role as bandleader, or at very least, the member who can pull it all together. After Colaianni fielded the majority of the interview questions, Sherell said, “I think it is very telling that Jack has taken a lot of these questions. He’s good at taking control of the situation. Sometimes we will all be doing something completely different, and it will be Jack that pulls us back together.”

In an age when many bands seem to come together with the goal of making money or getting attention, Odds for the Ageless have come together for simpler reasons: for the camaraderie and friendships, for the creativity and expression, and for a general love and appreciation of music.

“I find everything about this band to be really fun; this is one of the most enjoyable environments to be in,” said Sherell. “Just being in a close knit group, playing together, is great. Creativity is everywhere, and it is just an amazing place to be.”

For others the band has become more therapeutic. “I get stressed out a lot, and I don’t have a ton of time to play my bass,” said Grimm. “But setting off Fridays for nothing but band practice is, one, a great destressor, and two, gets me through each week. It gives me something to look forward to.”

Recently, the band has taken to writing their own songs – moving away from covers and collaborating on originals. “I can’t connect with covers as well as originals,” said Ducey. “Songwriting is a really cool way of expressing yourself, that isn’t necessarily in a way that you can articulate yourself outside of songwriting.”

“I like seeing everything coming together,” said Sherell. “You’ll see one part merging into another part and each piecing fitting together to form one song. And you don’t have that connection with a cover song: you already know the final result.”

The best description of the bands music would be eclectic. The band merges blues with early 90s rock with folk with guitar solos thrown in the middle.  Musically, the members do not limit themselves. Experimentation is just part of the process: “We never feel too comfortable,” said Colaianni. “All the sudden there will be two basses, or there is a harmonica, or a mandolin, or all the sudden I’m playing the drums. I guess you could say we don’t rest on our laurels.”

Listen below to Odd for the Ageless’  “Deserve This” – a acoustic song with Colaianni on vocals – and “Lunar Light” – an electrical guitar heavy song with Ducey on vocals.

Right now, the band is a single unit: spending time together, writing music together, and making music together. Yet, the band is coming to an end. “The reality is we’re all here to just have fun as long as we can,” said Grimm. “Soon we are all gonna be going off to different colleges, and we will be in different places. But this is a connection we’re always going to have, and in the future if we’re all in town we can come together and play again.”

*Anyone interested in seeing the band live: they will be performing at the Harvest Cafe in Hudson on Saturday March 22 at 2 pm. Donations will be collected for the upcoming HHS trip to the Amazon.