Furlough Fridays
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Furlough Fridays

Chico, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Chico, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative




"Furlough Fridays Balances Jobs, Families, Friendships and Music"

Earlier this fall, the Chico alt-grunge band Furlough Fridays released its second CD, Divided, to a packed audience at La Salles Bar in Chico. “We had one of our best shows yet at our album release party," says bassist Meagan Yates. "The sound was great, the other bands were great. People were moshing and the crowd was enthusiastic.” Never heard of Furlough Fridays? The band hopes to change that in the coming year.

“We seem to be better known in Chico. We have quite a following here, but would like to broaden that,” says Linda Bergmann, lead singer since the band’s inception in 2008. The four-piece group, self described as “gritty alt rock with crunch and female vocals,” consists of two husband-and-wife couples, with Bergmann’s husband, JP, on drums, and Meagan and Adams Yates on bass and guitar, respectively. The band mates, all between the ages of 30 and 33, met while students at Chico State University. JP and Meagan met on the cycling team there. Adam and JP both worked at Sears during college. Back in those days, Linda enjoyed singing karaoke and talked Meagan into doing it with her. Ten years and hundreds of performances later, the two couples have three children between them, and have both just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversaries. “It’s a big balancing act with all of us. We’ve gotten through college degrees, pregnancies, having kids. What we really value is having fun and enjoying life, and the band is part of that,” says Meagan.

JP is a biologist with Lundberg Farms and Linda runs a business doing photography, videography, media and design – skills that have proved valuable to the band in their promotions. Furlough Fridays has been together for more than eight years, with JP joining the lineup about a year ago after their previous drummer moved to Sweden. “We auditioned drummers, and finally realized that JP was the one who could really deliver the sound we wanted,” says Linda. JP had sung and played acoustic guitar in high school. In college, he got interested in composing and programming, and got more into electronics but never had time to be in a band.

Further complicating time together as a group is the fact that Adam and Meagan recently moved from Chico to Redding, ending a commute that Adam, a behavioral specialist, had been making to his job in Redding for nearly three years. Meagan, who holds a degree in kinesiology, has worked in Chico as a personal trainer and is an athlete who participates in downhill bicycling races and mountain bikes cross country. She even found the energy to run a half-marathon
in Chico the same weekend as their CD release party. “It’s an added challenge, being a musician and an athlete; there’s a real conflict in lifestyles there,” she acknowledges with a laugh.

Furlough Fridays is now moving into a new era, branching out geographically in its performances, expanding its fan base and raising awareness that the new album is available on CD Baby, iTunes and Spotify. “Recording the second album was a much easier and more rewarding process,” said Linda. “We were just talking about how much better our second album is. It’s just the natural progression of things, learning from your mistakes.”

Divided was recorded and mixed at a Chico nonprofit studio called Energy Plant, started in 2012 by a couple of new graduates from the recording arts program at Chico State. Blag Ivanov, an audio engineer and producer there, felt the band was an easy fit for him. “I personally have a deep love for grunge and alternative music, so working with them was a natural extension of my own tastes,” he says.

Communication was easy between the band and Ivanov. “This has come together in a way that has allowed all of us to produce some of our best work and to develop a strong sense of what we want to do going into the next album. It was a great collaborative effort because of how everyone valued each others’ opinions and helped to make the best decisions,” he says. Says Linda: “We didn’t expect all of this to go very far, but it’s really taken off. We love it. There’s a lot of quirky things about us. What we’d like to stress is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously; we keep things light and fun. And because we’re married couples, we deal with conflict and relationships differently than other band mates might.”

And, she says, “Expect to see more of us.” - Sue Ralston, Enjoy Magazine

"Furlough Fridays brings edge and intensity to the stage"

CHICO >>Linda Bergmann waits patiently outside for her son to finish his kung fu class at the Chico Area Recreation and Park District. Come Friday night, the married mother will transform into her on stage persona Minnie Mental as she fronts the band Furlough Fridays for its album release show.

"Linda is Oscar's mom," she said. "When I'm on the stage, I'm not me. I'm Minnie Mental and I get to let out all my frustrations and my rock side out."

The show, which is slated to begin at 9 p.m. at La Salles, 229 Broadway in Chico, will celebrate the band's second album, Divided.

The band has been around for about eight years, but has been playing shows for five years. The members were in college at the time their band name was decided.

"We were all college students and that was a time where we had furlough days," she said. "We liked the concept of a forced three-day weekend for us to play. We tried to turn the negative idea of a furlough day into a positive way to support music."

Bergmann, however, has always been a part of art and performance. As a child, she took part in ballet and tap dance classes and spent many days watching The Sound of Music. However, it wasn't until she started singing karaoke that sparked her interest to become a singer.

"I never sought out singing," Bergmann said. "I got so serious about karaoke I even went out and got my own karaoke machine. There is just nothing more fun than getting together with your friends and making a fool out of yourself."

Bergmann said her go-to karaoke songs were Crocodile Rock by Elton John and the Power of Love by Huey Lewis and the News.

For the band's second album, Divided, they wanted to capture the energy and essence of their live performances.

"Our last album was good, but I don't know if it represents how we are when we play live," she said. "A lot of people had told us that we have so much energy when we play live, but when they listen to the album, they don't feel that same energy."

Listeners can expect an album that represents their style and their character. The album was recorded at Energy Plant Arts by Blag Ivanov. However, the recording process hit a bit of snag when Ivanov's work visa expired, delaying the process into more of a marathon.

"We got off to a slow start," she said. "Then we realized that he is connected to the network and so we would Skype with him and he could mix from where he was and bounce the files back to us, so we started mixing the album like that."

The band also underwent a lineup change when drummer Sam Casale left to study abroad. Casale, however, is the drummer featured on the album. Though, a printing mistake left Casale's first name off the album credits.

When Casale departed to study abroad, that left Bergmann's husband, J.P., to slide into his role and take over drum duties.

"We basically convinced my husband, who's a natural musician, to consider joining us," she said.

Now, Furlough Fridays is made up of two married couples with Adam and Meagan Yates who play the guitar and bass.

"We're two married couples who are also married to this band," Bergmann said. "This band has become such a major part of our lives."

With the completion of its second album, Furlough Fridays is already looking ahead to be back in the studio and to head out on tour.

"I'm looking forward to the most is to finally being able to look forward to what we can do next," she said. "We've got awesome new stuff coming and that's what we're really excited about." - Sharon Martin, Chico Enterprise Record

"Riffs and energy- Local alt-rockers Furlough Fridays push forward with new album and new lineup"

Before becoming the drummer for local alt-rockers Furlough Fridays, JP Bergmann was the band’s most dedicated follower. As the husband of lead singer Linda Bergmann, he has, with rare exceptions, attended every show since the band formed in 2008.

And there have been hundreds of shows. Through a handful of lineup rearrangements—the four-piece is rounded out by another married couple, bassist Meagan Yates and guitarist Adam Yates—Furlough Fridays has been as active as any local rock band going. Linda estimated they played more than 100 shows in one year alone; for a long stretch, they played in Chico at least once a week.

In other words, JP knows the band’s sound—heavy rock made sticky-sweet with pop hooks—better than anyone. So when former drummer Sam Casale left town to study abroad and the group began auditioning for a new drummer, JP was highly critical.

“I was listening through the wall, just like, ‘No, no, no, no!’ They decided on one drummer and he didn’t have the right feel; didn’t have the right vibe for the band,” he said. “So I was like, fuck it. I’ll just learn the drums.”

The multi-instrumentalist and electronic-music programmer took to the task quickly—really quickly. The only practice JP was granted was running through the set list twice on the day of their first show with the new lineup. As he didn’t yet own a drum kit, he had to borrow one for the gig.

So, how’d it go?

“Oh, I don’t know,” he said. “It wasn’t the worst Furlough Fridays show ever.”

During an interview following a recent show at Shenanigan’s Bar & Grill (Sept. 20), the band members couldn’t agree on what was the worst Furlough Fridays show ever. Perhaps the time a mountain biker crashed into Meagan’s bass at a house party? Or when a stray dog walked across the stage—in a bar? Or a show in Santa Cruz, when they couldn’t hear each other and winged it entirely?

Of course, the band has had its share of triumphs: playing to thousands of spectators from the back of a moving truck during the Parade of Lights in downtown Chico, winning Z-Rock’s Money Shot Rock Fight at LaSalles last spring, winning Best Rock Act in the 2013 CAMMIES, and competing in the North State’s Hard Rock Café’s Battle of the Bands in 2012.

Now, Furlough Fridays is transitioning. Former lead guitarist Brian Larson moved on around the same time Casale left the band, and as married couples with kids, full-time jobs, and commutes—Adam and Meagan recently moved to Redding—the band has entered a distinctly different phase.

The forthcoming album, Divided, the band’s second full-length studio effort, was recorded at Energy Plant Arts in Chico more than a year ago, before Casale and Larson left the band. But they haven’t abandoned that material. For the last year or so, the band has been performing the Divided songs with their new lineup, settling into a stripped-down sound that has carried over into their creative process.

“We have written a lot of new music that is just formatted differently,” Linda said. “We don’t base our songs around a super-licky lead. We’re based more around songwriting, the riffs and the energy.”

Meagan said Furlough Fridays has always been, first and foremost, a live band. To that end, they opted to record Divided without a metronome. And while they recorded drums and vocals in separate rooms, they set it up so everyone could make eye contact and feed off the group’s energy. It worked. Compared with 2012’s Sliver, their first album, Divided sounds fluid and effortless. It’s also crunchy as hell.

One of the album’s standout tracks is “Still Water.” It starts with pretty chord arpeggiations, subtle amplifier feedback and crystal-clear vocals. In true Furlough Fridays fashion, that gives way to palm-muted power chords right out of the 1990s, with galloping drums building before the whole band comes together behind one huge riff and a wide open, ear-worm chorus.

“We’re not looking for moments to shred,” Adam explained. “We’re looking to unite and make something musical, harmonious and sweet.” - Howard Hardee, Chico News & Review


Still working on that hot first release.



Tucked beneath a blanket of wild oak trees in the valley of Northern California, Furlough Fridays resonates as one of the hardest working,  longest standing, and well known rockers of the surrounding area. Formed in 2007 in Chico CA, with several local awards* and top honors, Furlough Fridays continues to set forth the standard of high-energy rock for Chico and beyond.  Their rock songs are memorable and though fully delivered with abundant power they still pull you in with well-developed lyrics. The band has opened for several national acts passing through Northern California including Unwritten Law, Floater, Buckcherry, and Halestorm. Furlough Fridays recently released Divided, a full length album recorded with Energy Plant Arts in 2014. They plan to return to the studio early 2015 and do another tour in the Summer.

Band Members