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Sketch Machine: Drawing a Crowd
By Sean Smith
Fort Wayne Reader
Jeremy Gerardot loves music, and like a lot of music fans, he loves making lists — top 100 songs, top 50 albums, etc. When Gerardot isn’t making lists about music, he’s actually making music with the band Sketch Machine. Gerardot sings and plays guitar and is joined by Brian Myers on guitar, Joe Brock on bass, and Josh Clements on drums. Seeing them live should be at the top of your list. I recently talked with the guys in Sketch Machine about their recent Battle of the Bands III performances, upcoming album and why they couldn't do any of this without their fans.
FWR: How long has Sketch Machine been around?
Joe: In November of 2001, Jeremy and I got back together with Barry Weikle, who was in another band with us. We didn’t start using the name Sketch Machine until Brian joined in June of 2003. In March of 2005, Josh replaced Weikle on drums. It wasn’t until the fall of 2005 that we really hit the scene.
FWR: How did Sketch Machine form?
Jeremy: Joe and I have known each other since 1995 when we played in our first band. Joe met Brian and Josh at Comcast Cablevision. No, we never considered naming ourselves The Cable Guys.
FWR: Do you remember the first few shows that you played together?
Jeremy: Our first couple gigs were pretty rough. It took us a while to really cut loose onstage. We used to work too hard at making our shows better. Nowadays, we realize that the most important thing for us is to have fun on stage.
Josh: Our first real gig was at Legends and we were all pretty nervous. We opened with our song “Greenlawn Girl” and after it ended we heard a great response from the crowd and it washed all the apprehension away and we cut loose.
FWR: You surprised a lot of people by placing as high as you did in the Battle of the Bands III this year. What was that experience like?
Jeremy: The band was largely opposed to competing in the BotB, but I kept hearing fans say that we should enter because they thought we could do well. So, Steve Stoots (our manager and 5th member) and I decided to sign us up for it without the rest of the band knowing. We had very low expectations. We didn't think we were going to make it past Moser Woods, Nurse, and SupaBadd in the first round. Needless to say, we surpassed all expectations and we owe that to our fans.
FWR: Are you planning on releasing an album?
Jeremy: We are nearly finished with the damn thing! It has been in the works for almost a year. It is tentatively titled In Spite Of All The Danger
Brian: We are putting it out on Blu-Ray disc only for the Christmas season!
FWR: Who has provided musical inspiration for you guys?
Jeremy: I learned more about writing and performing songs by watching local musicians, like David Todoran and Duane Eby, than I ever would have by fumbling my way through Beatles tunes.
Joe: Little River Band, Journey, Foreigner, and my middle school music teacher, Kent Hathaway.
Brian: Pink Floyd, Police, Blind Melon, Robin Trower, Jeff Beck, Misfits, The Church and Neil Young and plenty more.
Josh: Right now I would have to say that Stuart Copeland from the Police is my favorite player. Chad Sexton from 311 is another one of my favorites; I think he has the best mix of tech and groove I have ever heard. Carter Beauford from Dave Mathews Band is an absolute monster.
FWR: That all helps to form the sound. How do you describe the music that you create?
Jeremy: We never sat down one day to decide what kind of music we were going to play. We are definitely in the Alt-Rock genre. We have been compared to Incubus, but I don’t know if that applies so much anymore. We like to experiment inside the box. Some bands try to do something completely different. We don’t try to ‘break the rules’. We try to make the rules work for us. The only band we all are fans of are The Police and we sure as hell don’t sound like them.
FWR: You have some really loyal fans…
Jeremy: There are some people who rarely miss any of our shows. That's so crazy, but we appreciate it so much.
Joe: They (totally) rock! They keep the heart of Sketch Machine pumping.
Brian: They are awesome, you know, for that clapping thing that they do.
Josh: We have a great core of fans. Most of them come to every show. I would like to thank everyone especially my wife Ta'Nisha who has always supported me in anything that I do. If it wasn't for her I couldn't do this. Really. She bought me my drum kit.
FWR: The music scene has really grown in the last few years. What are your thoughts on the scene?
Jeremy: The Fort Wayne music scene is so diverse and talented. If we elected a President and congress of the scene I think that we could take this country by storm...vote Matt Kelley '08! Everyone just needs to play for the same team.
Josh: I think this scene is great. There are some really great players in this town and good original music.
FWR: What bands would you like to see and/or play live with?
Jeremy: We have had the honor of playing shows with LLC, Tito Discovery, and Moser Woods, three bands that we respect very much. From a spectator stand point, I love Definitely Gary, Sankofa, and I,Wombat. D.Gary brings the live show to KISS proportions, minus the pyrotechnics. Sankofa is the only rap artist I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing live. I, Wombat just writes the kind of music that no one else in the area does and they do it very well. Watch out for Superhunk. They have my vote for the most exciting new band in Fort Wayne.
Josh: I would like to thank all the bands we played with at the Battle of the Bands III this year. Moser Woods, The Migraines, and Brad Kelsey and Triple Tornado were all cool with us.
FWR: What goals do you have for the band?
Josh: Right now our number one goal is to finish the album and have it be something we are proud of.
Sketch Machine plays October 20th at Columbia Street West with Basement What?