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Experimental Band Shakes up the Western NY Music Scene

Experimental Band Shakes up the Western NY Music Scene.

They call themselves Pegacide: the newest, and perhaps the most original, experimental/improv band to hit the western New York music scene. With their use of sound boards, hardwired keys and an enormous amount of distortion, Pegacide is a window into the experimental music era of the late 1960’s and early 70’s.

I was privileged enough to catch one of their extremely rare shows at a coffeehouse in downtown Rochester , NY, a few weeks back. I walked into the place and there, on either side of the door, the band members sprawled out at their various stations. They were hard at work creating a collage of sound.

The group has four unique members. Tom Lake holds the rhythm with his drum work while Phil Herford creates a unique pseudo-melodic quality using violins, looping, and lots and lots of distortion. His brother Brandon Herford spends most of his time on the floor with gadgets like old boom boxes, various pieces of electrical equipment and even an old black-and-white television set, complete with rabbit ears. Joel Dow, the fourth man of the group, produces unique multi-layered sound using a hard-wired keyboard, some old record players and several switchboards linked to his elaborate system of controls. These four young men take random, indistinct sounds and turn them into twisted, chaotic and beautiful pieces of art that last for an average of 20 minutes. A Pegacide show is an auditory experience one will not soon forget.

Each one of the members of Pegacide learned at a young age how to play music. Violinist Phil Herford was classically trained at the prestigious Hochstein School of Music for ten years prior to playing in any band.

Their future is unclear at this point. Pegacide has yet to make any plans to record and scheduling shows for them seems to be a sporadic occurrence. But that of course goes right along with their music.

“We’re just chaos set to a beat.” says Phil Herford.

I may just speak for all open minded music enthusiasts when I say that I hope the chaos grows.

– Stephen C. O’Riley