Saturday, April 10, 2010

Interview with Bender

Who: Bender
What: Acoustic groove band, in concert
Where: Portneuf Valley Brewing, S. 1st Ave., Pocatello, ID - map
When: Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 8:30 p.m.

Bender has been a long-time area favorite band, appearing at many outdoor local events as well as on regular rotation at Portneuf Valley Brewing. I caught up with Ed Bala recently to find out more about the band and their music.

SLG: Tell us about Bender, the band.

EB: Bender has been together as a group of really good friends for a few years now, and we’ve been playing gigs together since the fall of 2008. Most of us have played in other bands before. The band members are:

Ken Aho - lead guitar & vocals
Ed Bala - guitar & vocals
Dave Jones - lap steel
Dan Lauer - harmonica & vocals
TJ Latour - congas & percussion
Will Peterson - lead guitar & vocals
Rick Williams - banjo

SLG: Tell us where you're from and currently based in what town.

EB: Everyone is based in Pocatello, except Dave, who comes from Boise, and TJ, who comes from Lava Hot Springs. It’s really humbling to the rest of us that these 2 talented people come from so far away to play music. Most of our setlist is original material, written by Ken, Will, and Ed. It draws influences from all over the place, including blues, reggae, and roots. The only rule we try to enforce in the band is that songs need to have a groove.

SLG: Past shows or venues you'd like to brag about? Past or future shows in the Pocatello area?

EB: Future shows in the Pocatello area include Portneuf Valley Brewing April 17th at 8:30, the ISU earth day event on the quad April 23 at 7:30, and the Pocatello Environmental Fair on April 24 at 11:00. We’ve actually never had a gig anyplace in Pocatello we didn’t really like, because audiences here are so receptive, and the bars and other venues are great.

We think Portneuf Valley Brewing is super cool, and love to be there whenever we can.

SLG: Any comments about the local live music scene?

EB: We think one of the greatest things about Pocatello is the willingness of audiences to listen to original music, which we really like writing and performing. We don’t really have anything recorded yet, but are hoping to record our show at Portneuf Valley Brewing on April 17th, if all the stars, planets, and digital gods line up right.

The local music scene is awesome. If anyone likes live music, they can find most any genre being played somewhere in town almost any time. From a band’s perspective, the local music scene is fantastic because everyone knows one another, and are very supportive. For instance, Dan plays harp with us and Soul Full of Blues, Al Kuta graciously does sound for us, and also plays bass with Battery Park and the newly re-formed Country Gold.

If, for some reason someone can’t make a gig, there is always someone you can call to sit in, trade dates, etc. Finally, there are sooo many great musicians, bands, and venues here in Pocatello. Everyone really should check some of them out from time to time, I think they would be amazed.

SLG: How can fans contact you? Myspace? or another website?

EB: People can find us on Myspace at We’re also on Facebook at

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