In the smoky living room of an old stagecoach stop-turned-airbnb five hours north of Los Angeles, five east coast transplants sat behind their instruments contemplating band names. They had left LA for North Fork that morning, hoping that a week away from the usual sunny distractions would help them focus and finish writing their first album. They were already distracted.
That night, they took another break from writing and strolled into town. As they approached the one building with it's lights on, two Rottweilers tied to the back of a jacked up mud truck began howling, lunging at them. Against better judgement, they made their way up to the front door.
The bar was surprisingly lively but filled with a skeptical crowd who greeted the out of towners with a mix of cold stares and whispers. A heavily tatooed ex-marine-turned-bartender finally cut the tension, shouting over the jukebox, "YOU GUYS IN A BAND OR SOMETHING?"
The band doubled down, made their way to the bar, and ordered a round. One by one, the locals let down their guard and sparked up conversations inquiring about the band.
By the end of the night, they booked their first show ever - a three hour set of covers and originals to be played at the bar on the band's last night in town, five days away.
The first gig is now the stuff of local legend in North Fork. Midway through the third set, appropriately in the middle of the Petty classic "Refugee," two thirds of a packed bar emptied into the parking lot, the other third pressed up against the windows in the back of the bar. "All of a sudden, the place was empty," guitarist Joe Guese says, "I thought maybe we had finally worn out our welcome, or worse, maybe we were just terrible?" Unsure of what was happening, the band played on.
A few minutes later, the ex-marine bartender ran inside gesturing wildly, shouting for the shotgun. "Refugee" in full swing. A couple minutes later, three shirtless, adrenaline-filled locals stumbled in blood-soaked, b-lining their way to the bathroom. Holding the smoking gun, the bartender followed and locked the door behind them. Looking around in disbelief, the band played on.
"They ended up shutting it down and locking us all in after the gun fight. I joke all the time about barely surviving gigs, but that was a special one," singer Casey Shea jokes. “Grand Canyon could easily have been one of those bands you've never heard of,” laughing to himself, “as a matter of fact, we probably are."
We have a feeling that won’t be the case anymore.