Suitcases packed with a mutual affinity for music, two farm boys from rural Pennsylvania leave the plush countryside to pursue their dreams in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles.
Hmm. Sounds like a sitcom idea for Fox. Quick, get a script writer.
That’s life in the big city for singer-guitarist David Reilly and guitarist-keyboardist Jeff Turzo, the two-headed brain trust that fronts the techno-rock band God Lives Underwater.
Reilly, Turzo and bandmates Andrew McGee (guitar) and Adam Kary (drums) made their American Recordings debut this fall with the full-length album “Empty.” It’s an odd, streetwise hybrid of Depeche Mode-like hi-tech and other distinctly modern edges (a combination of pop, funk, hip-hop and metal), a growth leap from their self-titled EP last winter.
Not exactly what you would expect from two self-professed geeks from Perkiomenville, Pa., population 400.
“I’ve always loved it there,” Turzo said recently of his hometown. “I didn’t want to escape it. I wanted that life and also be able to travel, whether I’m away for a few months, a year or five years. It’ll always be home.”
After living in L.A. for the past eight months, Reilly said the band members now are in a dwelling limbo. Because they tour so much and are never home, they have ditched their apartments and put their belongings in storage. Where they settle down is anyone’s guess.
“Some of us are staying with family in Pennsylvania,” Reilly said. “I’m not exactly attached to the area. I just have bad memories of Philadelphia.
“When we moved to L.A., I had never been there before. It was weird. But I got used to it. I found all my favorite hole-in-the-wall bars to go to. It’s not too bad living there. I might consider staying there.”
Turzo said he has five areas on his short list – San Diego, Louisville, Ky., Savannah, Ga., and Miami Beach. Reilly’s choices are different, except for one: Miami Beach. They both love the sun, surf and female sights.
Turzo and Reilly have been friends since junior high school, first discovering that they had interests in snakes. Then they set out to make music, influenced heavily by Depeche Mode.
“We both liked hard rock and techno,” Reilly said. “Then we decided the best, most convenient and sufficient way to record was to do it at home.”
A do-it-yourself demo got into the hands of disc jockey Gary Richards, who then became their manager and got them signed to American.
“We recorded all of ‘Empty’ in L.A., after the shock of moving there from a town of 400 wore off,” Reilly said. “Now, months later, we’re constantly striving to get better, trying new equipment, keeping the live band in check and staying friends.
“We’re not trying to bite off too much. We’re not expecting to become the next Pearl Jam, but we want to write some good songs and have everyone enjoy our music.”
There’s no fear of them going Hollywood, Turzo said.
“We don’t see that much of it anyway,” he said. “We’re not back home looking at the lake anymore, but we’re not seeing the glitter of the music business here either.
“We’re still stopping at the nerd tourist stops when we’re on tour. That’s just the way we are.”
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