The Boys in the Band

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THE BOYS: Practicing their next concert | Photo by Rusty Strait

 They call themselves Three Minutes of Playtime, shortened to 3MOP.    Unlike many of today’s musical groups their title has a genesis. That’s refreshing.  However, they are refreshing in so many other ways.

 Let’s begin from the beginning.  Esai Rodriguez is 17 and is heard on guitar, drums and back-up vocals.  Esia is probably the self-proclaimed leader and no one doubts that because stands out with humor and originality as the speaker for the group.  Esia is a San Jacinto original and graduated from Tahquitz High where he multi-tasked in the school’s jazz, symphonic and marching bands. 

 Ethan Case is 18, a Hemet native, beats it out on base.  He attended Tahquitz with Esai where he played lead trombone with the jazz band.  With music in his heart and soul, he welcomed the opportunely to be part of the beat and be part of the MOPS.

 Patrick Payne, aged 22, the old man of the group is lead vocalist.  Born and raised in Hemet he graduated several years ahead of the others was bit part of any school band but had previously been with an earlier band and when MOPS needed a singer he came on board and as he said, “here I am now,” and is he here – in ever since of the word. I’ve listened to a lot of young rock bands in my day but his voice is more than rock.  He has what we used to call a “black voice,” which means that he leans toward a blues and jazz style.  As some may have called it in the old days, gut-bucket raw blues quality.

 Carson Ramos, at 15 the baby in the band was born in Westchester and moved to San Jacinto where he is a student. “I’ve played jazz guitar in the jazz band and clarinet in the symphonic band.

 Last, but far from least, Giovanni Jouregui, 16, stands out on both drums and guitar.  Also born in Westminister at the same hospital has Carson although they moved here at separate times and were not acquainted until his family moved to the San Jacinto Valley, also a TAHQUITZ student. “Carson and I alternate on drums. And we are close friends as all of us are. We’re a tight-knit group.”

 They all have loose senses of humor and seem to play off each other in a goofy way as brothers might, but when it comes to their music these guys are dead serious.  Instead of the name they have chosen for their band they might easily be named “2 MAJORS and 3 MINORS.”

 What do they call their style?

 They’re in agreement on that. “Alternative, Indy Jazz Rock. We’re inspired from an alternative rock sound but we are heavily influenced and inspired by jazz.” 

 Elia explains, “The chords are jazz, the sound rock and the alternative is kind of indy-produced sound.”

 Carson adds, “We blend different kinds of music together.”

 I observed that they clearly put forth a sort of melodious, soft jazzy rock and it comes out with a sound I’ve never quite heard before.  Their rock is not harsh, except in a couple of vocals, but they are working on that. 

 You would be surprised at who their primary influences are: Duke Ellington, Pat Matheny, Count Basie Maynard Ferguson and believe it or not, husky-voiced singer and trombonist from the 1930’s Jack Teagarden.  Trust me, this group is not age restrictive and for me, most importantly, I understood every word of their lyrics.  How many times have your ears been unable to pick out the lyrics of a shout it out rock singer?  Huh?

 Oh yes they made it clear they’re open for engagements and low and behold I just received a press lease about an hour ago.  They will be playing their first professional gig at The Derby Bar and Grill at 2860 West Florida Avenue in Hemet on Friday, August 2nd at 7:30 PM which, Lo and Behold is our date of publication.  If you love rock, you will like 3MOP and if you’ve avoided it, maybe this might be your initiation.  Just sayin’.

rustystrait@gmail.com

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