“I have a rule with myself that when the inspiration strikes I’ll drop everything and follow it as long as it’ll come,” says Silas Durocher, guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter with The Get Right Band. The Asheville-based group has intensified touring behind a new 14-song release, Who’s In Charge?, a head-nodding blend of funk, dub, pop and rock-and-roll. “On the road I’ll work out an idea with my unplugged electric [guitar] in the hotel room, or write in the back seat of the van — trying to follow that muse when she’s willing to show up.”
The band’s mission is found in its name. “That’s the idea — wanting to use music as a place where people can come together, feel good, and get right,” says Durocher. “Sometimes expressing something serious or heavy is part of that, for a listener to know they’re not alone in their pain.
“We try our best to experience the world in a positive way, because it seems like that’s something that’s not that easy to do. It’s something that we need to actively work on, because there’s so much pain and suffering. We want to try to acknowledge that, but ultimately channel everything into a sort of positive and loving outlook on life.”
Durocher grew outside of Frederick, Maryland, in the same town as The Get Right Band bassist Jesse Gentry. He felt music and words calling him as a youngster. “I tried dabbling with a couple other instruments, and it wasn’t quite connecting, but I felt like I was moving in the right direction,” he explains. “One day I stumbled upon an old guitar in our basement that my parents had in college. And it was kind of instant, like, ‘This is the one.’ I strummed one chord and everything clicked.”
The desire to write songs motivated him to learn. “That was kind of my pull,” he says. “I’d already been writing poetry from a young age. Then it seemed like a natural step to start putting music to the poetry or vice-versa, so I was into that right away. My first bands were more in the punk realm, actually. Punk, and what you’d call pop punk, Green Day kind of stuff, and we covered some Weezer and bands like that. But also writing in that vein.”
His family saw to it that there was music being played in the house all the time. “I was raised on a lot of the classic stuff, and still love that. Beatles, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix — that came from my parents,” Durocher recalls. “And then from my sisters I got Phish, and Sublime, and Bob Marley. That was the stuff of my youth, and those are all still bands that I love.”
Durocher attended New College in Sarasota, Florida, earning a degree in music composition. He moved to Asheville to live and start his music career in 2007. “The music scene, the hiking, the waterfalls and just the quality of life in the town and the type of people it attracted — I’d been drawn for all the obvious reasons,” he says.
He soon began working with Laura Reed & Deep Pocket, then David Earl & The Plowshares. The Get Right Band grew out of the group Soulgrass Rebellion in 2011.
Durocher’s composition background has served him well. “Ultimately, that’s how I’m always looking at things, and how Jesse and JC [drummer JC Mears] are — everything is in service of the song,” he says. “So some songs will benefit from a two-minute guitar solo, and I’m happy to take a two-minute guitar solo, but some songs need a drum solo, some songs need a bass solo, some songs need an all-out jam where it’s not any one person in the front but like an intertwined thing.” And then again, “a lot of our songs have none of that,” he adds.
The group released an EP in 2013 and a full-length CD in 2014 before heading into Echo Mountain Studios this year to record Who’s In Charge?
“Motivation” spotlights the album’s seamless blending of rhythmic feels. “I’m a huge fan of Sublime,” Durocher emphasizes, “and they did such a great job of combining rock and reggae, and hip-hop and punk.” The Bob is nodded to on the dub feel of “Munition Man” and the great staccato guitar on the title track. “Reggae has been a huge influence on me, and that guitar style of palm muting with the right hand, everybody loves it, I totally pulled that from listening to old reggae, and it’s great for funk and a lot of different styles.”
Who’s In Charge? does feature several instrumental sections and interludes, but more than one might imagine, this album is also rich in something there’s sometimes a shortage of on the Asheville scene — solid pop rock. Hear the craftsmanship on the playful funk of “Beginner’s Love,” the sentimental refrains of “Write This Song” and “Treat You Like,” and the closer, “If I Forget,” which points to a major Beatles influence.
“We’ve played most of these songs hundreds of times live, and only once in the studio,” says Durocher. “We hardly ever listen to our own records, and more than that, they’re always evolving, before and during and after the making of the album. We never stop that process.”
The Get Right Band performs at 185 King (185 King St. in Brevard) on Saturday, October 8, at 8pm. Ticket prices vary for club members and nonmembers. See 185kingst.com and thegetrightband.com for more information.