Feverbreakers cool down the jam

It was an atypically balmy winter night and The Feverbreakers were on their front steps, enjoying the Friday night lull in work and hungrily discussing their fast food options for later that night. Inside, the liquor was flowing and the sounds were aplenty. In a large living room made small by clutter: antique wine glasses, Led Zeppelin DVDs, Otis Redding records, amps, cords and other amalgam, the five UVM seniors took their time tuning up for a practice and amicably ridiculing each other.Then, the coarse garage rock began with a throaty lyric and distortion heavy guitars. Yet, just before getting comfortable, the once Southern influenced rock switched gears into a gypsy trot as the synthist switched allegiances to the tambourine. “Sounded like a fucking arcade, yo!” synthist Chris Madden said. These aren’t your typical barroom songs, even though cuts like raw, ’60s tinged “Waiting In Line” might persuade otherwise. While the ‘breakers are best suited for a raucous crowd, their repertoire varies widely from Middle Eastern waltz to 12 bar blues to power chord driven radio friendly grunge rock. Ask the band, though, and they won’t be so quick to characterize their blood, sweat and tears. “I don’t want to name you any band we’re influenced by,” lead guitarist Erick Fosse said. “We’re influenced by the way the sound engineer records an album, the hip-hop on Nike ads, all of media. We’re college kids, we’re influenced by everything,” lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ryan Headley said.Yet, they can all agree about one influence. The members of the band, molded together by close friendships, hang out on a regular basis. And what do they do when they aren’t playing music? Watch movies. “Spaghetti westerns – ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,’ bass guitarist Elliot Siegel said. “Clint Eastwood has helped our band,” Headley said. Their everyday-influenced rock is apparent in their songs. “One word is all I need to start a song. It’s like the class I met Fosse in ?- my teacher dropped the word ‘revenant’ [a ghost], and that’s all I needed,” Headley said. “Then, guitar lines are based on a vocal,” Fosse said. “We all have our own fragments from a sound past to bring to the table.” “I have a sound past?” Headley said, in disbelief. “We all have freedom. We do whatever we want to do,” Madden said.”All songs are a work in progress – even songs that we’ve been playing since the beginning,” Headley said. “We use jamming as a way of writing; we stay on a riff, keep to a skeleton.”But, percussionist Julian Douglas was quick to point out that there is limit to their experimentation. “We each have fun in changing things, but we’re not the Disco Biscuits,” he said. In a jam band dominated atmosphere, they make sure to keep their songs tight to convey a point. “We want songs to speak. If a song goes on for too long, we’ll say it. We get sick of playing the same things over again,” Fosse said.”We have a residency at Nectar’s next month. If we play the same things, our fans won’t come back,” Headley said. “We want to throw them off. If they want to hear the same things, we’ll record an album.” The name of the band, formed in 2007 because of a need for an opener at a Slade Hall show, is based off of Headley’s roommate’s parents’ age-old medicine. “My roommate used to be put to sleep with whiskey and tea; it broke his fever,” Headley said. While the Feverbreakers are far from sleep inducing, they do elicit a collegiate thirst for more.