The do-it-yourself Jeff Conley Band rocks the Student Union Theatre
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 23:10
Impressing students with homemade instruments, the Jeff Conley Band performed their own compositions as well as covers at the Student Union Theater on Tuesday night.
“Three years ago, two 1960s Gibson guitars were stolen out of my car after a show,” reads the short bio on the band’s page. “With a full schedule, I needed to continue playing, but could not afford to spend years looking for these vintage guitars again.”
Jeff Conley said that he “started making them out of anything I could find, pretty much – salad bowls, suitcases – and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Fascinated by classic Americana like old cars, motorcycles, and guitars, Conley searched and researched the two Gibsons. When he decided to build instead of buy, he kept adding to his collection of classic Americana with instruments made out of suitcases from the 50s and 60s.
On stage were three musicians including Conley. Conley himself was set up at a homemade suitcase drum (which he sometimes stores clothes in while traveling), a suitcase guitar, and a harmonica attached to a holder he created. With three other guitars he made at his side for easy access, Conley never used a store bought guitar throughout the performance. With a drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Conley played songs that were inspired by blues, folk and rock music.
Between each song, Conley shared little anecdotes with the crowd to explain how the songs came about. The first song the band played was dedicated to the two stolen guitars Conley lost. “It sounds like it’s about a girl,” said Conley before singing “she’s a ball and chain I can’t live without.” After, the band performed a song written by Conley while he was stuck in snow before a show one day. Called the pickle song, it’s lyrics include the line “I’m in a pickle, stuck in a little town.”
He pulled out a new guitar and explained how he picked up the parts for the guitar at a Swap Shop where anyone could swap anything. He chose a salad bowl that his mom’s friend had just left in the shop and created a guitar out of it. From this guitar came a song that was never meant to be recorded, with lyrics like “we’ve got a bowl, it’s got a hole.”
Conley played a medley of covers including Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” Death Cab for Cutie’s “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark,” and Carley Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.” He stated how each song was the same and easy to play in and out of. Before playing a few more songs that were written based on life experiences like graduating college and moving out of his childhood home, Conley ended the show.
He invited students up to the stage, asking them to pick up instruments and hang out on stage while he took pictures of them. He explained how each instrument was created and how they’d always be held. back hours by airport security because of their odd creations. Conley mentioned his website a few times and the free downloads available on it, encouraging students to check it out and add him on Facebook.