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Devolver to give concert at Hagerstown City Park

June 08, 2000

Devolver

When: Saturday, June 17, 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown City Park bandshell

Free

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

Devolver will bring its music mix - rock, reggae, blues, jazz and funk - to the bandshell at Hagerstown City Park Saturday, June 17, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The music of Phish, the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, Primus, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Talking Heads has influenced members of the Hanover, Pa.-based group, but Devolver has its own sound.

"Windsor Court," Devolver's first recording, a collection of 10 original songs, was released last year. The band's second album of original songs, "One of These Times ..." came out in April.

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Sometimes, songs are written by individual members. Sometimes there is collaboration, said Zach Lerman, who plays bass and provides vocals. Most of the instrumentals come out of jamming, Lerman said.

"Each song is just different."

Devolver's jams are more than just lengthy guitar solos. The aim is to have a beginning and an end and a definite goal, and everyone is active in shaping a jam so it reflects all the instruments working together, according to the band's biographical information. "The cool thing is taking songs into other songs," Lerman said. Sometimes performances are plotted out; the band uses a set list. Other times, songs are called out just before they're played.

The band was formed in 1995. Andy Miller and Kyle McKercher provide guitar and vocals. Shawn Myers is lyricist. Lerman, Miller, McKercher and Myers were together in high school. Drummer Josh DeWald and "hand percussionist" Rich Wright - he plays bongos, conga, timbale, cow bell and more - came aboard in 1999.

They range in age from 18 to 21, but find that their music appeals to a wide range of people. Their audiences in bars usually are an "older crowd," but "they don't seem to mind" the music, Lerman said.

The group's name happened when original players - then more into metal music and "more disgruntled things" - heard a line about "devolving youth" in a news broadcast, Lerman says. He loves that it's a bit misleading. Some people expect a metal band and are surprised when they hear the music.

DeWald works full time, and the other band members are students - for now. Lerman and sometime keyboardist Anthony Petrino attend Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., Wright is a 2000 graduate of Southwestern High School in Hanover and McKercher and Miller are at Penn State's main campus.

None of them has extremely strong career plans, Lerman said. "I think the band is the future we all want," he added.

They work hard at it.

Despite being separated by a couple of hours drive during the school year, they managed to perform three or four shows a month. "It was tough, but we really kept it going," Lerman said.

There's more band time during the summer. They all have day jobs - Lerman works in a pizza shop. When he gets home he spends some time calling bars and other potential performance venues to try to book gigs. They gather to practice in the evenings until 10 p.m. "Basically, the night is shot," Lerman said. Weekend shows run until 2 a.m. "We want to take it real serious," Lerman said.

Band members are thinking of taking off a year from school to devote more time to their music. They'd hate to look back and regret that they didn't take it as far as it can go. Devolver is 100 percent dedicated to the band right now, Lerman said.

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