Eleven Fingered Charlie was originally conceived in 2001 in San Marcos, TX when bassist, Chad Manes and guitarist/vocalist, Travis Damron met in college. Both had a desire to create and perform the music they were so passionate about at that time, which was heavily influenced by the appeal of reggae. Travis’ smooth yet aggressive vocals and Chad’s steady pounding bass lines set the foundation for their future.
With the addition of Travis’ old friend Adan Salazar on drums, the acoustic duo turned 3 piece found a niche and began playing small local shows. In 2003, as musical interests shifted and Adan parted from the band, EFC incorporated a new drummer, Dustin Hall to revamp the rhythm section. A technical, metal-influenced drummer, Dustin brought a new style to the mix that added up to EFC’s burgeoning raw energy. As the project continued to build it’s fan base, local shows soon drew large music-hungry crowds prompting EFC to create their premier self titled album. Recorded at ITG Studios with Dustin’s friend and engineer, Wade Parker, the album captured the essence of their energy, youth and care free nature and has since sold thousands of copies. The release also provided a fulcrum for the band to travel regionally and perform in front of new and eager fans.
One year later, EFC soon realized that in order to bring the full sound they’ve wanted into fruition, an additional member was necessary. Enter Rodney Howell on tenor sax and, later, keys. The inception of Rodney’s jazz background allowed EFC to gain some musical maturity and dynamics. Thus, the second full length album Never the Same was created. Recorded with friend and engineer, Craig Lawrence, the sophomore album came surprisingly quickly and with a new refreshing sound. Essentially, the second album proved to be an experiment between the band’s older aggressive nature and a newer more subtle overtone.
Now, EFC has come into a new era of sound and creativity. Having toured a large part of the US, playing high profile shows such as the Barak Obama political rally and having the opportunity to completely settle in as a dynamic 4 piece, EFC is ready to take their musical prowess to the next level. Currently working on their 3rd full length album at Pirate Studios (again, with Craig Lawrence), Eleven Fingered Charlie has declared this upcoming album a pinnacle of their creative abilities and the first true album to be written by all four members equally. It will be available early 2010.
Travis Damron- Vocals/Guitar/Ukulele/Blues Harp
Chad Manes- Bass/Back-Up Vocals
Rodney Howell- Tenor Sax/Keys/Back-Up Vocals
Dustin Hall- Drums/Percussion
Eleven Fingered Charlie- 2004
Never the Same- 2007
Eleven Fingered Charlie: It's Music....Hooray Music!
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In 2001 a series of events took place that would drastically change the music scene in San Marcos, a...In 2001 a series of events took place that would drastically change the music scene in San Marcos, adding the Reggae vibe among all the local Texas Country.Texas State’s own, Travis Damron and Chad Manes, met on campus through a mutual friend.At first the two didn’t even like each other, but soon realized that they had one thing in common, music.
Travis had played the drums since he was nine but began playing the guitar in high school when he was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and forced to quit participating in sports.He played in a cover band in high school in front of friends for fun (and to pick up chicks) but left it all behind to come to College and get a degree in Nutrition.
Chad also started playing the guitar in high school in Garland, TX. After a year long stint at UTEP,Chad arrived in San Marcos to pursue his degree in Poly Sci and History. Fortunately for him (and us) he and Travis became friends and began playing together regularly.
It all started as a hobby without any intention of making it a career. That all changed when they played “College Night” at Nephew’s for $50 and a bar tab.They had no intentions of playing any future shows and didn’t even have a name for their group. Well, the crowd loved them and they were asked to come back the following week.When the Nephew’s manager asked the name of their group they didn’t even know what to say. It was at that time that Travis remembered a homeless guitar player that everyone in town knew as Eleven Fingered Charlie. He mentioned the name and the next week “11 Fingered Charlie” was lit up out front of Nephews.The name stuck and five years later the band is recording their second album and touring all over the country.
In those five years Eleven Fingered Charlie has gone through many stages and changes. They began as an acoustic duo, with Travis on vocals. It didn’t take long for Chad to pick up a bass guitar and make the transformation.They played together for a couple years, doing small gigs around town and self promoting with the help of their friend and graphic designer Rob Fitzpatrick.After experimenting with a drummer that didn’t work, Travis was introduced to Dustin Hall, in 2004.Dustin earned his Mass Comm. degree at TSU and he teaches Brazilian Ju-Jitsu at Just Results in town.He got his first set of drums when he was fifteen and was immediately hooked.He spent the next 4 years playing as much as eight hours a day, teaching himself how to play the drums. Dustin was a great fit to Eleven Fingered Charlie. Having played the drums religiously for years, it was obvious that Dustin had the talent.So obvious that he joined Travis and Chad to play a pool party after only one practice together.Dustin has added a new flavor of technicality and precision to the already upbeat shows,but all three members wanted more dynamics to add rhythm to the sound.
Chad met Saxophone player Rodney Howell while they were both living at the Exchange. Rodney began playing the sax in middle school and has been attending Texas State for Jazz Studies.The band tried for months to get Rodney out to play with them. Finally, after giving him a CD, he came out to a pool party jammed with the band without ever practicing together.Rodney officially joined the band in 2005, giving Eleven Fingered Charlie the rhythm and sound you hear today.
That sound you hear is EFC’s own style of Reggae. It’s hard to compare Eleven Fingered Charlie to any other music.They hate being compared to Sublime, but because most people don’t know what they sound like it happens often.Each musician has their own influences but to list a few; Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, G Love, Jack Johnson, Peter Tosh, Don Caballero, Dillenger Escape Plan, Finley Quaye, The band is very collective, giving each band member an influence and input on the music they play.It works because everyone in EFC wants the same thing, to make good music.
What People are Saying
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What People are Saying… "On Stage and off, EFC reeks of hand-rolled independence. Whatever aesthe...What People are Saying…
"On Stage and off, EFC reeks of hand-rolled independence. Whatever aesthetic they've crafted in their eight year history has been completely their own making..."
-- GO! Magazine Lubbock - Jan.2, 2009
“I listen to nothing but reggae/rock bands from Cali to Nebraska (Vibenhai!) to Colorado to Maine (and Texas of course) and it's the most common thing for a modern reggae band to fuse styles. But these guys are the DEFINITION of seamless. The Expendables did Reggae/Metal, Dirty Heads have Reggae/Hip Hop and EFC is something else Reggae/Jazz? I've been listening to EFC since I found them on Sublime Archive and they have evolved.”
-- Matt Cooley – CD Baby review
“…That sound you hear is EFC’s own style of reggae. It’s hard to compare Eleven Fingered Charlie to any other music.”
-- Study Breaks Magazine
“…These guys are way better musicians than some of the big names who are playing reggae/dub/rock mixes ... and these are humble guys too. I talked to the bassist…after a show in Austin and he was so friendly, no ego from these dudes, definitely support them!”
-- Johnny Taylor – CD Baby review
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Pepper Passafire Badfish The Expendables The English Beat State Radio Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey ...Pepper
The English Beat
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
Stanton Moore Trio
Barack Obama Rally/Speech
...the list will grow.
Eleven Fingered Charile - Patterns - CD Review
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One thing I love about Eleven Fingered Charlie’s new album Patterns is that it holds a consistent vi...One thing I love about Eleven Fingered Charlie’s new album Patterns is that it holds a consistent vibe throughout the album, yet has variety; there’s faster, up-tempo songs and laid-back, mellow jams, songs about girls and songs about making a change in this world, and even a song about a bud dealer. Each song flows into the next smoothly, and for the most part all the instruments meld together in a full bodied sound that creates strong backing for Travis Damon’s vocals, but there are also plenty of times when individual instruments get their chances to shine.
I especially like the creamy, warm sounds of the sax on songs like Tonight, Reap What You Sow, and River Runs Strong, and the ukulele and harmonica in the last (and my personal favorite) track on the album, This Old World.
The album has a good balance between feel-good songs and meaningful music – great songs for dancing, and songs that make me think, as well. It begins and ends gracefully, almost like morning and twilight, starting with the fast, eye-opening Early Morning Rises and ending with the melancholy This Old World, which made me feel as if I was watching the sun set. There are also witty metaphors – there’s a line in Entrepreneur, the song about a bud dealer, which goes “This game of cat and mouse is so easy, people squeak and come to buy his cheese.”
The songs relate to each other sometimes; in Tonight Travis sings “I’m coming right back to you tonight,” and the next track, Common Patterns, has the chorus “Then it all comes back to me, and it’s the same as it was before.” Overall, the effect of this album was a bit like a trip down a river; smooth-flowing, relaxing, and covering lots of territory while still staying with the same flow, the same Patterns.
Eleven Fingered Charlie - PATTERNS review
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Eleven Fingered Charlie is a band that is starting to have a powerful presence in the reggae-rock sc...Eleven Fingered Charlie is a band that is starting to have a powerful presence in the reggae-rock scene. Influenced by bands such as the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, UB40, Sublime, The Police, Barrington Levy, The Clash amongst others, “Eleven Fingered Charlie began in 2001 with the intentions of creating solid reggae/rock grooves that seamlessly crossed into other genres.” With band members Travis Damron (lead vocals, guitar, ukulele), Justin Fletcher (Bass), Rodney Howell (Tenor Sax, Keys and vocals) and Dustin Hall (Drums & Percussion), Eleven Fingered Charlie has recently released their newest album, Patterns that portrays exactly the kind of talent this band possesses.
The album starts with the song called “Early Morning Rises"; this track is a great way to start your day. Suitably popping on Early Morning Rises as you wake up in a great mood ready to conquer the day’s adventures. The songs upbeat reggae tempo, and very catchy guitar riff immediately puts you in a peaceful state of mind, enticing you to listen to where this album will take you. The next song, “Tonight” follows the theme and taking the listener through the story of a day in the life of EFC. “Tonight” is a personal favorite bringing you into the song with a very melodic horn introduction. The lyrics of the song are both inspirational and intriguing, transporting the listener through an uplifting love story.
Most of their songs on the new album follow their theme, stated in their biographies: “Above all else, EFC stresses a love for all things positive, like good music, good friends and good times with an understanding that life has it’s moments of disparity. Patterns embodies this outlook on life by bringing listeners a positive message supported with harmonious horn sections, reggae-rhythm guitar riffs and base lines as well as catchy drum beats to keep your feet tapping throughout the whole album. This is definitely a classic album to add to your collection. Eleven Fingered Charlie did an excellent job allowing their talent to shine through the album from start to finish and this is certainly an album you can listen to all the way through giving all listeners a more profound appreciation for this genre of music.
With 38 originals, we can easily play up to 3-4 hours with a couple short breaks. The occasional but rare cover may include UB40, Bob Marley, or a few other artists. The set is almost entirely original material.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.