Long live rock! Area band members are living the dream

Many a teenage boy has dreamed about someday playing in a rock band.
Five men from Rangely and Meeker are living the dream.
They call themselves Relative Monster. They are perhaps better known around the area as Olde School, a classic rock band with a popular following. The group recently performed at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce’s Halloween Bash at Gary’s Steakhouse.
The band has been together, with various personnel changes, for several years.
“It has been us core three for about six years now,” said drummer Bill Hodges of Rangely, who has a construction company and owns Pinyon Tree Liquor.
The other two members of that core group are lead vocalist and bass player Brad Campbell of Meeker and guitarist and vocalist Larry Beber of Rangely.
Since the release of Relative Monster’s first CD in July 2007, the band lost one member — Rik Savring of Meeker, who moved away — and added two new ones. The new members are guitarist Scott Wright of Meeker and rhythm guitarist Eric Clark, who lives in Grand Junction.
“Since we picked up these guys, we’ve definitely turned into a way better sound,” said Campbell, who is an equipment operator for Colowyo Mine. “We have two new guys with us, but we have the same chemistry.”
“Till these new guys came along … “ Beber said. “They were what we were looking for. We can look at each other and tell what the other guy is going to do.”
Beber, who drives a truck for Dalbo, said the sound is a group effort.
“Somebody always comes up with a riff that works,” Beber said.
“It’s kind of unusual to have three guitar players in a band,” added Wright, who works for Ducey’s Electric. “What’s cool is with these guys, I just walked in and I felt comfortable. It’s not something you hear. It’s something you feel.”
The same teamwork applies to songwriting.
“We put all of our juices together and start writing,” Campbell said.
“From where we started to now, our music writing has had more depth and diversity,” Beber said.
During a show, the band plays mostly cover songs, but about 25 percent of the material is original music.
All of the band members get along with each other. The group hasn’t suffered from infighting, which has been the downfall of many a band.
“We’re kind of unusual in that way,” Beber said. “We have been together six years and not had one disgruntled member. We just want to have fun.”
“We’re a tight family,” Campbell said.
During one of the band’s earlier lineups, they had a different lead vocalist, Jim Cagney of Meeker, who also played guitar, but he was transferred because of his job with the BLM. His departure left a big void.
“We thought we were done,” Hodges said.
But in stepped Campbell and Beber.
“I had never played and sang at the same time in my life,” said Campbell, who took over the lead vocal duties, along with playing bass guitar. “And Larry went from a backup to a front guitar player.”
Hodges and Campbell have been in the band the longest. They met by chance. Campbell and his wife were out for a walk and heard somebody playing the drums. It was Hodges. Campbell, who was living in Rangely at the time, introduced himself.
“That was so cool,” Hodges said. “We kept in touch.”
Another turning point in the formation of the band occurred when Beber came along.
“We didn’t really become a band until Larry hit the scene with us,” Campbell said.
Beber met Clark at a music store in Rifle and invited him to jam with the band.
“It’s unusual in such a small area to find so many good musicians,” Campbell said.
Up until the recording of its CD, the band was known as Olde School. But, when it came time to print the CDs, band members discovered the group’s name was a popular choice.
“There was a ton (of other bands with the same name),” said Hodges, who produced the CD. “And every spelling you can imagine was taken.”
So, the decision was made to name the band after one of the songs on the CD.
“Well, we had to come up with a name,” Hodges said.
The CD of all original songs was recorded at a studio in Grand Junction. About 350 copies of the CD were printed.
“We’ve sold just about all of them,” Hodges said.
Recording its first CD was a big moment for the band.
“That was huge,” Hodges said.
“It’s something tangible; you can show people what you’ve done,” said Wright, who used to play in a Led Zeppelin tribute band in Oklahoma City, before moving to Meeker.
The band, which practices weekly, is hoping to record another CD in the spring. They are also looking to play more gigs and in front of bigger crowds.
“There are only so many times you can play the VFW, but we pack it,” Hodges said.
“We’ve done picnics and company parties, but we definitely want to expand our area,” Campbell said. “We want to win battle of the bands in Grand Junction.”
“The winner opens up for Rock Jam (a popular summer outdoor concert),” Hodges said.
The band still has a copy of the handwritten flier from its first gig at the Meeker VFW.
“We were like, hey, can we have this?” Hodges said. “We were pretty proud of that.”
Campbell, Beber, Wright and Clark are all in their early 40s. Hodges is the youngster in the group, he said. He’s 40.
“The 40-year-olds still rock it out,” Campbell said.
The band members enjoyed playing the Halloween Bash in Meeker before an enthusiastic crowd.
“This was the first time they asked us to play,” Hodges said. “It went well. Everybody had fun.”
“We were excited,” Campbell said.
About three years ago, the band played at Septemberfest in Rangely, which was also memorable, for different reasons.
“We got rained out before we got started and they moved us out to the Elks,” Hodges said.
The group would like to play Septemberfest again.
“We’ve gotta go back sometime,” Wright said.
The band will be back in Rangely on New Year’s Eve, playing at the Ace Hi Steakhouse and Lounge.
The band practices every Thursday in Hodges’ work shop in Meeker.
“I used to live in the apartments over there and I would hear you guys jamming,” said Joe Beck, a friend of the band.
“Neighbors have barbecues and sit on the deck and listen,” Campbell said.
“We even had a deer stick his head in the door one time,” Hodges said.
Chad Eklund, Campbell’s best friend from Nevada, was in town recently to go elk hunting and attended one of the band’s practice sessions.
“We started playing guitar together,” Eklund said of his buddy Campbell. “We had a band in high school. Then Brad moved away to here and kept rollin’ with it.”
Campbell and his band-mates plan to keep on rollin’, and see how far it will take them.
“We started out as a garage band,” Campbell said. “Now we want to take over this part of Colorado.”