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Des Moines, Iowa, United States

Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Band Rock Jam


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


" Floodplane's Debut Soars! "

Music Notes
Floodplane has arrived
Des Moines jam band Floodplane has declared itself Ready for Takeoff - the title of its new and first full-length album.

Seeing as how this band prizes live improvisation, it's no shock that Ready for Takeoff is a concert recording, from Dec. 27, 2003, at People's Bar & Grill in Ames. The Floodplane foursome aimed to "capture the magic of our live shows."

Mission accomplished. The crisp fidelity does justice to the bass, doesn't overplay the crowd noise and showcases the vocal harmonies of all four band members.

Ten of the 11 songs were written by guitarist Bill Kearney, and Floodplane seems to be carving out more of an identity separate from the twin jam-band pillars of the Grateful Dead and Phish . Whereas the Dead had more of an Americana backbone and Phish was prone to flights of fancy in the vein of Frank Zappa , Floodplane, true to its name, puts the premium on soaring melodies and gently flowing arrangements.

Tastiest jams : "Backseat Driver," "She Goes Away."

Flight crew" : Bill Kearney (guitar); Todd Cumming (drums); Justin Karl (bass); and Gwen Page (keyboards).

Upcoming gigs : Floodplane throws a CD-release party Saturday night at A.K. O'Connor's, 3530 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines. Page also performs a solo show Sunday night at another A.K. O'Connor's location, 4050 Urbandale Ave. The entire band returns to People's in Ames on Feb. 19 for a CD-release party. - By KYLE MUNSON and DATEBOOK STAFF - Des Moines Register

"5 Questions - Gwen Page"

RedRagMag.com - 5 Questions
Printed 2004
Des Moines' scene 'zine

5 Questions - Gwen Page

Gwen Page of Floodplane

Gwen Page of Floodplane, when she was 10 years old (and not in Floodplane), became the youngest member of the Iowa Composers Guild for her duet piano piece, "The March of The Ants." Although she doesn't compose piano music today, she focuses on a different kind of composition, one that takes short stories of music and turns it into an original novel, where the ending changes every time. This month Floodplane (which includes Billy Kearney, Justin Karl, and Todd Cumming) plays at The Vaudeville Mews (5/2), Raccoon River Brewing Co. (5/3), Court Ave. Brewing Co. (5/9), People's in Ames (5/16) and Mulligans (5/22). You can also catch them online at www.floodplane.net.

1. What is a jam rock band?
It is an incorporation of all the different styles. I tried coming up with a clever way of describing of how it's a jelly or a jam how you put everything together. I was trained classically and got into jazz in middle school and college. Our bass player is kind of straight-forward rock. Our guitarist is bluegrass influenced, and our drummer is kind of funk.

It's a very unnatural mix. How did you all find each other?
The one love that we share [the band met at Iowa St.] is that we all love Phish (and) Grateful Dead. What brings musicians together is the love for the same kind of music, but then it always makes it more interesting to put all the different influences together. Makes the jams much more fun.

2. So when someone comes to see your band, what should they expect to hear?
We really play a wide variety. I think we have a lot that would please a number of different listeners. We have bluegrass tunes, funk tunes, straight rock & roll tunes. They'd come to see a lot of great jams. Not the kind of jams that last a little too long. What we guarantee the listener is a different experience every time.

3. With your band being together for five years, why has it taken you so long to really think about going outside of the state?
We wanted our sound to develop before taking it on the road. Once we could feel our sound developing more, we decided to get more serious and do some recording. We started to play more often around Central Iowa and because of the warm reaction we received locally, we felt we could be successful on the road.

As far as our dreams and aspirations, one thing I've always wanted to do is some traveling around. My parents used to take my older brother and I to Grateful Dead concerts and I remember one summer at Soldier Field [in Chicago], we were about the 20th row out and I just had that feeling inside of me that I wanted to be that person right up there on the stage. It's always a dream. I think it's a dream of every musician to do that.

Our first gigs on the road were due to gig swapping with bands in Kansas City and Milwaukee.

4. How do you go about getting a gig swap?
I think it's helpful for every band who is serious about taking it to the next step to get a Web site because it's an easy, cheap way for other people to check out your stuff. You can have your music on there, your pictures, everything. So that's how we actually came up with our (gigs); people were doing Web searches.

Were you surprised that you got asked to do a show because of the Web site? Surprised that they found you?
Yeah, I was a little bit surprised (about being contacted by a band in Milwaukee). As long as you have the Internet, there are always bands in other cities who are looking to do the same thing you're doing.

5. How many Phish shows have you been to?
I've been to 29 now.

How many days have you gone "with them" from city to city?
I went from Minneapolis to Alpine Valley to Chicago. I can't handle too much more than that. It's too much fun for me.

What makes you want to go on the road with them?
The reason why I do it is just the way they make me feel inside. They give me goose bumps. I can feel the blood rushing through my veins. They're very inspirational to me. You don't go to be around all the craziness or anything. Unfortunately, with the bigger bands, you run into the druggies, people who are going around for that. You go because you're going to get a different show every time.
- Red Rag Magazine

"Let the Full Moon Shine"

JamFest at Hotel Fort Des Moines brings together three bands for six hours of music in the style of Phish, Grateful Dead.

By KYLE MUNSON, Register Music Critic

Des Moines musician Gwen Page, her boyfriend and four of their college friends spent this past New Year's Eve together living it up the best way they knew how:

At the biggest jam band party held anywhere that night: the return of Phish, live at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Our gaggle of so-called Phishheads rented a room fewer than three blocks away from the arena, and at the concert sat in the fourth row behind the stage - close enough for Page to swear that, yes, it really was Tom Hanks who walked on for a cameo during the song "Wilson." (Makes sense if you've seen the Hanks flick "Cast Away.")

That was Page's 26th Phish concert, which by no means makes her extraordinary among legions of road-worn Phishheads who were severely bummed when, in October 2000, the quartet from Vermont discontinued touring for an indefinite hiatus.

What does make Page extraordinary, along with her fellow members of Floodplane and two other Des Moines bands, Hyde Park and Warp 10, is that this weekend she gives downtown Des Moines its own jam band bash, the Full Moon JamFest on Saturday at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. Page and her cohorts hope to establish it as an annual event.

For the sake of the uninitiated, we had better pause right here to put a finger on "jam band," because it could be considered the most nebulous label in contemporary music.

"You kind of mash everything together," explained Page, who in Floodplane combines her jazz background with drummer Todd Cumming's funk grooves, the bluegrass-tinged songwriting of guitarist Billy Kearney and the punk rock pedigree of bassist Justin Karl.

In her words, "jam band" simply means a "collaboration of all the different musical stylings."

Online jam band guide and fan forum JamBase.com covers "musical artists that focus on the live performance of improvisational music. The quintessential listening experience that we promote is attending an unpredictable live performance by these bands."

Improvisation and unpredictability can come in the form of bluegrass or electronica, can be the hallmark of Grateful Dead tribute band the Schwag as well as futuristic acid-jazz trio Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Used to be that the Grateful Dead, which sprang out of San Francisco's '60s hippie counterculture, was the official flagship band of the nascent jam scene, and the late Jerry Garcia's smiling, bearded mug became the face of the music for pop culture at large. His death in 1995, and with it the Dead's demise, opened the door for Phish to be crowned the new jam king.

Now the return of Phish (as well as the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, billed as the Other Ones) has set the stage for 2003 to be the biggest year of the jam yet.

In Des Moines, the groundwork for JamFest was laid last year.

It was the success of Floodplane and Interstellar Bus Stop's joint "Interstellar Flood Ball" last February at a smaller ballroom in the Kirkwood Civic Center Hotel (where 250 fans showed up) that convinced Page she was on to something.

"I hate having to split up all our friends and the crowds, going out to see the different bands on a given night," she said.

The jam scene is infused with team spirit, say its players, as well as a distaste for the narrow choices of mainstream music channels.

"Our crowd is really people that are kind of tired of music being forced on "em, in a way," said James Biehn, lead guitarist of Hyde Park who also gives guitar lessons to about 40 students in central Iowa.

Biehn eschews radio and MTV in favor of his favorite jam-oriented Web sites and old-fashioned word-of-mouth. A jam fan, he says, is anybody who's "willing to take that risk and look for something deeper in the music that they're either creating or listening to."

On Saturday, Biehn will be creating the music. Next month he'll be listening when he drives west to Denver to catch a Feb. 18 Phish concert, returns to Des Moines on Feb. 19, and then heads to Chicago for a Feb. 20 Phish concert.

"When you live in Des Moines you have to kind of travel" in pursuit of the perfect jam, Page said.

Not so much so if she and her allies make good on the promise of this weekend's JamFest.
- Des Moines Register

"Howlin' at the Moon"

Howlin' at the Moon

By Anne Mathey

The full moon actually occurs the day before the gig, but it's close enough for Warp 10, Hyde Park and Floodplane to name their show after it. The Full Moon Jam Fest brings together three Des Moines bands who are all friends and have talked about putting on a show together for what seems like forever.

The show will open with Warp 10, a quartet who played together in the late '70s and early '80s. After being apart for 15 years, the group has regrouped and returned to jamming. Greg Cloe, guitar and vocals; Greg Leeper, bass and vocals; Mark Owen, drums; and Bill Cosgrove, keyboards, guitar and vocals base their sound off bootlegs by bands such as the Grateful Dead and Sons of Champlin. Playing off these song structures, they then improvise into new territory (or "warp out" as they like to call it.)

Following Warp 10 will be alternating sets by Hyde Park and Floodplane. Hyde Park is James Biehn, guitar and vocals; Jason Kent, bass, vocals; Spencer McGinnis, percussion and vocals; and Nathan Peoples, woodwind, keyboard and vocals. All veterans of the Des Moines music scene, the group plays a diverse set of music that capitalizes on their disparate backgrounds. Hyde Park's groove is jazz influenced but stretches into new, uncharted areas.

Floodplane is a jam rock band heavy on vocal harmonies. The four-piece improvisational group consists of Billy Kearney, guitar and vocals; Todd Cummings, drums; Justin Karl, bass and vocals; and Gwen Page, keys and vocals. Floodplane plays mostly original music, but adds a cover tune every now and then.

The show will end with a super jam at midnight, with members of each group joining together on stage. The all-ages show will offer free beer while it lasts for those of legal age and advanced tickets can be purchased at Peeple's Music, Raccoon River Brewing Co. and Hotel Fort Des Moines.
- Des Moines Cityview

"Floodplane dons musical Costume"

"...Bands are donning musical disguises in live clubs too.

Des Moines band Floodplane took a page from Phish, its biggest influence, and started staging its own Halloween concerts in 1999. The quartet covered Pink Floyd's "The Wall" that year, chose Phish's "Hoist" in 2000 and skipped 2001 in the wake of guitarist Billy Kearney's wedding.

Floodplane returns Thursday to haunt an Ames nightclub in the guise of yet another of its favorite albums (Terrapin Station - Grateful Dead). Kearney's wife, Bridget, has even sewn costumes for the band members to wear.

Keyboardist Gwen Page and the rest of the band spends weeks beforehand digesting the album in question, song by song and chord by chord.

"I have one copy of the CD that I put into my car and listen to over and over, and another in my home," she said. "It gets pretty monotonous. At times you're getting pretty sick of the album." ..."

Des Moines Register
10/29/2002 - Des Moines Register

"Interview with Floodplane"

This is a podcast interview with Larry "Cotman" Cottlar.


Scroll down to listen. - Clearchannel


Floodplane Demo v1.2
Great Plains EP
Live at the Green Room
Ready for Takeoff (LP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Floodplane is a four- piece rock and roll band in the tradition of The Allman Brothers, Phish, and the Dead. Floodplane has been playing since the fall of 1996 and the current line up (Billy Kearney - guitar/vocals, Gwen Page - keyboards/vocals, Justin Karl - bass/vocals, Todd Cumming - drums) have been playing together since the fall of 1998. All four members were raised in the Midwest, and their musical influences might be described as "eclectic" - ranging from bebop, swing, traditional folk, jazz, blues, rock & roll (of course), roots reggae and hip hop; they even cite The Simpsons as inspiration.

Even with such a wide range of influences (or perhaps because of it), Floodplane delivers a show that is fun, non-offensive and appeals to rock concert fans of all ages. Floodplane has had the opportunity to have such national acts as Little Feat, Ziggy Marley, Merl Saunders, Umphrey's McGee, Robert Walters, Garaj Mahal, the Big Wu, and Tea Leaf Green close their shows. Floodplane has shown they are as comfortable in an intimate setting as they are in front of thousands of people. Floodplane has what it takes to rock your venue.