Eugene & The 1914
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Eugene & The 1914

Band Rock Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Shake And Pop"

Historically, budding pop musicians are dealt their best hands when their families are equal parts music lovers and music makers. And for those who’d say you can’t have the latter without the former: Sure, Murry Wilson played music, but can you really call that love? Luckily for Eugene, fate dealt him these exact cards, making for a perfect storm of music mastery.

Born Brandon Owens—Eugene is his middle name; “When I started recording my first songs, I called it ‘Eugene’ because I didn’t want it to be a solo act,” he says—Eugene is younger brother to Aaron (formerly of Hepcat) and District keyboardist-in-residence Ikey (of Free Moral Agents and the Mars Volta), who would drive him to drum lessons with the Violent Femmes blasting on the car stereo. At home, young Eugene was raised on Sam Cooke, Isley Brothers and the Tom Petty tape he stole from Ikey’s bedroom: “I’m a huge Tom Petty fan, and it makes sense that he would steal it,” says Ikey. “He was all into my crap when we were kids!”

Refusing to just play inside the confines of his family garage, Eugene enrolled at Los Angeles High School for the Performing Arts and began performing to bigger crowds—huge crowds, actually. In 1990, as a 16-year-old, he played bass in front of thousands at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, accompanying none other than Stevie Wonder. “It was a huge concert. Being 16, you kind of get a little overwhelmed,” he says. “But I played it pretty cool. I did the best job a 16-year-old could do!”

After high school, Eugene’s virtuoso music education took him to New York City, where he studied writing, jazz performance and film scoring at the New School. He dropped out after about a year—but not due to poor performances. Rather, he was doing too well: “As soon as I moved there, I got all these gigs!” he says. “And wasn’t that what I was going to college for, anyway?”

So, he took session jobs around the city—Lauryn Hill even hired him as the musical director for her touring band—and in 2006, utilizing the dozens of newfound industry contacts he had made, he recorded Circles. A collection of six delicate and thoughtful pop songs, the EP is highlighted by the quiet and sparse “21 People,” which proudly flaunts Eugene’s whispery Arthur-Lee-on-Nick-Drake vocals, ornately supported by his own guitar and a lone cello. Nothing else.

Having since relocated back home, New York is now the farthest thing from Eugene’s mind: “Anytime between like 5 a.m. and whenever the Pike closes, I feel like I can’t walk down Fourth Street without seeing three or four people I know!” he says. And it’s no longer just “Eugene,” but “Eugene and the 1914”—a full five-piece including drummer J.P. Bendzinski, guitarist Michael J Salter, bassist Timmy Semorile and keyboardist/percussionist Alfred Hernandez. These days, the band is hard at work shopping a full-length, Troubles, which begins with “River,” arguably one of Eugene’s best songs to date. Although instantly unique in sound, “River” treads carefully at first, his breathy voice now less Nick Drake and more Nick Lowe, singing confidently but gently, soulfully and passionately until the song’s full-bodied, masterful conclusion.

Watching Eugene and the 1914 perform, it’s clear the band isn’t merely a vehicle for Eugene’s solo work. There’s a palpable synchronization/harmony among the band members that goes beyond simple professionalism: During practice, after a missed note on the cheerful bass line for the warm Replacements-hearkening “Should I Fall,” they pause briefly, exchange knowing glances and continue playing. It looks effortless, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. - The District Weekly


Circles EP, Black Velvet EP, Troubles LP (coming soon)



Front man Eugene is no newbie to the music industry. After graduating from the Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts (LACHSA), Eugene made his way to NYC and started working as a touring and recording bassist and even held the distinguished title of musical director for tours with Lauryn Hill and Terence Blanchard among others.

But it was after Eugene's older brother Ikey Owens, (Mars Volta, Free Moral Agents), gave him a 4-track recorder and guitar; that Eugene started doing what comes naturally…writing songs. Within a few months this prolific songwriter emerged with nearly 20 promising demos, a few of which began to circulate the New York music scene creating quite the buzz. This attracted the attention of New Line Records, which subsequently signed Eugene; and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins, A Perfect Circle, Tinted Windows) who later co-produced the Troubles CD, due out Fall 2009.

Early supporters include KCRW/Los Angeles’ Nic Harcourt, who has featured the 4-track demos on Morning Becomes Eclectic where Eugene has also performed live. Eugene’s music was also included in the television show Love Monkey, which aired on VH-1. Other placements include ABC's How I Met Your Mother, FOX’s Desire and the Dewars Whisky Campaign and more. The compelling track, River, was featured at Radio & Record’s Triple A Summit’s Rate-a-Record session and ranked No. 2 behind The Pretenders, garnering the curiosity of radio programmers across the country.

In 2008 Eugene left New York and upon returning to hometown Long Beach, California, Eugene formed “The 1914” with drummer JP Bendzinski, grandson of Grammy-award winning pianist, Bent Fabric, best known for his song, Alley Cat. Michael J. Salter on guitar followed shortly thereafter, along with Alfred Hernandez Jr. on keyboards and percussion and Tim Semorile on bass.

In a musical landscape that can often be riddled with sound a likes, Eugene & the 1914 is anything but that. The band’s influences range from Bob Dylan to Michael Jackson and while it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what they sound like, let’s just say Eugene & the 1914 is a refreshingly “new” sound that leaves you wanting more.