Fresh off its success at Battle of the Bands last Sunday, Feb. 16, East-born band, A Gecko Named Terrance, is pumped for the finals taking place in late May. But that’s not the only exciting project coming up for the band. After almost a year of gigs, A Gecko Named Terrance is hoping to record their debut album this summer. Seniors Matt Boehnke and Kamran Tavakolinia are two members of the band, along with Nick Cecil and Gardner Grantham, who graduated last year.
Grantham is a freshman at University of Kansas, and Cecil is currently studying at Johnson County Community College. Tavakolinia, Cecil and Boehnke rehearse almost everyday after school, and Gardner comes back from college on weekends to practice with them.
The band formed in March 2013, after Cecil, Grantham and Tavakolinia had already been informally practicing their instruments together for several weeks. Cecil plays lead guitar, Tavakolinia is on the drums and Grantham plays rhythm guitar. Grantham sings lead, with Cecil and Tavakolinia on backup vocals. They knew Boehnke had experience on bass guitar, so Grantham asked him if he wanted to join them. Boehnke currently plays in jazz band and Tavakolinia is a member of Choraliers.
The group got their first gig soon after Boehnke joined, and have been making music ever since. Their unusual name comes from the Environmental Ed class they shared last year, where everyone’s favorite animal was a gecko named, you guessed it, Terrance.
The band write their songs themselves, preferring to perform their own material than covers. Their songs include “Talk to You”, “Shake Me Out” and “Lose Myself”.
“My favorite song of ours has to be Laser, a new one we’ve written,” Tavakolinia said. “It came out of nowhere when we wrote it, and it’s just too groovy.”
When writing a song, the guitar players, Cecil and Grantham, introduce the song concepts and structures, and the whole group works to complete them. The band also improvises songs, and changes them around as they continue to practice them. The band often rehearse at Tavakolinia’s house.
“Kam’s mom has had to listen to “Lose Myself” so many times when we’ve been rehearsing,” Boehnke said. “So we renamed it “Denise’s Song” after her.”
Through an associate of Cecil’s father who is an aspiring producer, the band were able to record their most well-known track, “Shake Me Out” in a studio. A Gecko Named Terrance hope to record a full album by May so that it will be ready by their planned tour this summer. They want to road trip around the Midwest, playing gigs in places like Missouri, New Mexico and Colorado.
A Gecko Named Terrance describe themselves on their Facebook page as a “progressive rock band with roots in funk, pop rock, jazz and blues”, but they say it’s always hard for them to sum up what genre of music they really fit into.
“We’re just kind of a bit of everything,” Tavakolinia said. “People just hear what they want to hear I guess.”
A Gecko Named Terrance is influenced by rock bands Umphrey’s McGee and Coheed And Cambria, as well as lots of modern popular indie rock. According to the band, they’re also really inspired by the Beatles.
“When I see videos of them [the Beatles], with thousands of screaming fans I’m like, damn, that’s what I want,” Tavakolinia said.
Most of the band’s gigs are organized by Cecil, sending out a recording of “Shake Me Out” to various venues and bars. The other bands they perform with sometimes ask them if they want to share the stage with them again, and venues often invite them back.
“A lot of people don’t take us seriously because of how young we are, and I just like proving them wrong,” Boehnke said.
The band is definite about continuing to make music next year, when all its members have left East. A Gecko Named Terrance does hope that at some point they can turn the band into a career, but they say they know it’s kind of a long shot.
“We just want our music to mean more to some people than just a few songs on an album,” Tavakolinia said.
Although they have high hopes for this summer’s album and tour, for the guys being in the band’s all about the camaraderie.
“I like just hanging out and making music with my best friends,” Boehnke said.