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The best kept secret in music


"Nuvo's "Bar Fly" comic"

Here are image files of the strips where Bolth has been featured:

The author had this to say: "a little raw but in all the right places...and heart, man if the more experienced bands in town played with as much heart and energy as these kids shit they'd be bands gettin signed outta INDY left and right." - Wayne Bertsch - Wayne Bertsch

"Purdue University's "The Exponent""


Perspiration hung in the air in the hot, crowded basement.

More than 75 people stood shoulder to shoulder and stacked up the stairs last weekend in a small underground room of a house in Lafayette.

It?s not a conventional concert venue, but they don?t care. They just came to hear some rock music on a Saturday night.

Bolth, a three-man punk band including two Purdue students, was there to deliver it.

When the band took the stage, the energy from its fast, hard-hitting songs quickly spilled into the crowd as people started to dance wildly, thrashing into one another and shouting out lyrics.

"That was a great show. We played really well, but the crowd did half the work," said John Saxen, a senior in the School of Interdisciplinary Engineering and the band?s guitarist/singer.

"It?s the best when you see people you don?t know showing up at all your shows and strangers are buying your CDs."

Saxen, along with bass player Matt Foster, a senior in the College of Technology and drummer James Lyter, a freshman at Ball State, got together as a band in the summer of 2003.

Saxen and Foster have been in bands together for years. When their last band wasn?t working out, they found some new direction and a new drummer, Lyter, which then turned into a new band called Bolth. Its name is a reflection of the friends? quirky sense of humor. It was an old inside joke they had about making fun of the way people pronounce the word "both."

Bolth began writing and practicing together and then playing some lives shows around Indianapolis and any other gigs they could find in Indiana. Last summer, the band recorded its first album, "Ten Shakes of a Lamb?s Tail," in Saxen?s parents? basement in Carmel, Ind.

Saxen ? whose first priority before school or work is his band ? writes the bands? songs, books its shows and maintains its Web site and various Web pages. An acoustical engineering major at Purdue, he also produced, recorded and mastered the band?s first album, which involved living in his parents? basement day and night for more than two weeks.

When the album wasn?t finished when school began last semester, Saxen skipped four days of the first week of class to finish it before the manufacturing date.

"I can blow off school, but I just paranoid myself into getting things done for the band," he said.

Foster, who is also roommates with Saxen, can testify to his friend?s dedication.

"I?ll wake up in the morning, and he?s like ?I work while you sleep!? and he?ll tell me about all this stuff he got done for the band that night," said Foster.

Saxen?s hard work has been paying off so far. In June 2004, Nuvo, an Indianapolis magazine, published a comic strip about Bolth created by Wayne Bertsch of Barfly Comix. In the comic, Bertsch said, "So the other night I went to see The Malcontents. I?d never seen their opener, Bolth, but those kids kicked ass! Write their name down?Bolth is gonna make some waves around the local music scene. They sound like a punked up Sublime! Punked way up!"

In December, Bertsch also called Bolth the best new local band of the Indianapolis area for 2004.

Saxen?s mom, Adrienne Saxen, is one of the band?s biggest fans even though she has to listen to all of the band?s practices and recording sessions resonating up from her basement.

"One thing I like about their music is that each of their songs is different and has a unique sound. We stay at their shows and listen to other bands a lot and it seems like the music is a bit redundant. Some of the bands, you can?t tell when one song has stopped and gone to the next."

In addition to the sound of Bolth?s songs, the lyrics are also varied.

"The songs are just pretty much about whatever was on John?s mind at the time," said Foster.

An example of this is one of the band?s songs called "F*** the Monon Trail." The song is about a walking/jogging trail in Carmel, which sometimes blocks traffic.

Other songs on their album are titled, "Sweatshirt," "Alcoholic" and "Full Tank of Gas."

For Saxen and Foster, playing music is just something they love to do, and they plan to make the band even more of a priority after graduation.

"It?s the only thing I can see myself doing. I hope it works out," Saxen said. "?Cause I?m not a very good engineer." - Julie Glaser


Appetizer EP (2004)
Ten Shakes Of A Lamb's Tail (2005)
Free Promo EP (2006)

We had an hour long show about our band on a local high school radio station, and our track, "American Idoless," is played on another local high school station.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Bolth's music is celebration & mobilization of the progressive underdog. This band is a testament to the DIY ethic. It's as simple as that, and it's played in the key of hardcore punk (with an occasional reggae chaser).


Bolth formed in December of 2003, playing fast punk with reggae breaks. We wanted to play music that contradicted the metalcore-saturated local scene. We named ourselves “Bolth” as a parody of how people pronounce "both." We didn't put much time into the band name, but the hell with it.


We began playing shows on January 31st, just over a month after we completed our lineup. In March, we started giving away our homemade two-song "appetizer" CD. This demo helped us make friends in the local scene, and we spent the next eight months performing all over Indiana. Our live show got the attention of Wayne Bertsch who works at the local publication, Nuvo. He featured Bolth in his comic strip, Barfly, and later named us the “Best New Local Band” in his 2004 Barfly Awards.

In November, we released our first full-length, "ten shakes of a lamb's tail." The title is a play on the phrase "two shakes of a lamb's tail" implying that the CD progresses quickly with its ten punk-sized songs. The recording and the artwork was created entirely by the band.


With the CD out, we took the opportunity to reinvent our sound. The lyrics became more confrontional, the punk rock became more hardcore, and the reggae became more integrated and occasional.

In January, Purdue University’s newspaper, The Exponent, ran a story about a Bolth show. This helped us get us a showcase in the 2005 Midwest Music Summit.

We went out on a short summer tour, circling the midwest. When we got home, we began playing lots of bar shows since our audience had primarily been younger. We also began writing more songs, personalizing our style.


By now, our audience had grown, and our hometown all-ages shows were drawing over a hundred people. We played with bands such as Peelander-Z, and Gito Gito Hustler. In late May, we'll be playing with Sloppy Seconds, and our new ful-length will be out in July. Then we're headed out for another summer tour.


Flying cars!