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Interview with Jon Sorber and Drew Fitzgerald of Syracuse based-band Oak and Bone

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Interview with Oak and Bone

By Elise Miklich

Oak and Bone“Take your dog, plug him into a guitar amplifier, throw a tennis ball, and then listen to that dog run until the chord pulls out.” This is how Jon Sorber, guitarist of Oak and Bone, first answered my question to describe the band’s sound. Although that description may not seem appealing to some ears, Oak and Bone’s unique stoner/hardcore sound is something that’s hard to turn off. The Syracuse-based four piece create strange, powerful riffs that will put you into another world. These guys are simple men making complex music, and their new self-titled album, released in July of 2011, is 11 songs of pure psychedelic fury.

The Free George:  You just released a new album last month, and you also released a 7” back in 2009 that created quite a buzz. How has your sound progressed from the last album?

Jon Sorber: It’s more straightforward. We cut out all the bullshit when Ted (bass) joined the band. We know what we’re doing now, more digestible, still abrasive, we’ve definitely found our sound.

TFG: How would you describe your sound?

Drew Fitgerald: Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, if they played punk hardcore.

TFG: Speaking of your new album, why did the band decide to only release on vinyl?

DF: Because nobody buys CDs anymore. Kids that are into our genre of music are really into that stuff; people will buy a record just to have it. It comes with a digital download card inside, but the artwork and look of a vinyl record comes across as more personal. It’s got that old school feel.

TFG: Oak and Bone works hand in hand with Hex records based in Syracuse, NY. How did your partnership with Hex come about? Has it been worthwhile?

JS: Our bass player played in a band with him a while back.

DF: Hex also booked out first show. I didn’t expect him to get turned onto us so fast, but after a few shows he offered to put out our first EP. He has been really involved with the band since we started.

Oak and Bone (2011)TFG: I bought one of your tee shirts at a show in Rochester that says “Masters of Riffality” on the back. Is it purely for the fun of playing off of a Black Sabbath album or is it to make a statement to others about what your bands sound is all about?

JS: It’s a funny question to be asked “what’s riffality?” It’s a state of mind. I’ll be sleeping and I’ll notice my breathing pattern tempo wise… I’ll put tones to it, and when I wake up I’ll try to write it out on guitar. You go into riffality when you watch Oak and Bone.

TFG: I love your band name and I think that it fits the sound of the music perfectly. How did the band come up with the name?

JS: We didn’t! Our friend thought of the name “The Staff of Oak and Bone.” Our singer Weston came into practice one day and shot out the idea of using Oak and Bone. It sounds heavy and dry, which is how I’d describe our sound.

TFG: Do you think the Syracuse scene has the resources Oak and Bone needs to keep a strong presence alive, or do you prefer touring other cities?

JS: I think we have a very good following in Syracuse and we’re starting to get recognized up the East Coast. The response has been very surprising; it’s been good. I love the freedom of touring, but shows on tour are hit or miss. The Syracuse scene is kept alive by places like Bandlands and other DIY venues, but there’s nothing that will keep us going more than touring will.

TFG: Any tours planned for the near future?

JS: We’d like to do a full US tour. We just put out this record; we worked really hard on it and spent a lot of time writing and perfecting our songs, we want people to hear it.

TFG: What’s the ideal setting/atmosphere for an Oak and Bone show?

DF: I believe that every human being has an animalist savage side of them, and if you want to get the full experience of seeing Oak and Bone play, you need to let it out…you need to let some of the emotion drain from your body. That’s what we do every time we play.

TFG: I see that one of your songs is named “Acid Coffin”…that’s pretty out there. How did you come up with it and do you have method of naming other songs?

DF: When the band Wolfmother played on Conan O’Brien, they said they wished they could start a band just to name it, and they would name it dog skull or acid coffin, so we loved the idea of using acid coffin for a song name.

JS: Our singer Weston does most of that. He’ll write the words to the song and then think of a metaphorical way to sum up the whole thing up.

TFG: What are your future goals for the band?

JS: I’d like to do another record. Being an active band for three years now, that’s an accomplishment. If I could pay bills by playing in Oak and Bone I’d do it. I love being able to express emotion through my hands. I want to inspire people with the music we make and it’s good to try to do that even if you’re not the best at it.

To hear samples of Oak and Bone’s music, visit or to purchase copies.

Elise Miklich is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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