The Well Suited
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The Well Suited

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Video for The Well Suited's "I'll Be There." - YouTube


After two years of work and discarding untold amounts of ballet dancers and string sections—don't ask—Boise band The Well Suited dropped its debut EP, The Story of James Douglas, the weekend of Sept. 8 with a series of shows at The Record Exchange, Tom Grainey's and Flying M Coffeegarage in Nampa.

BW stopped by with a video camera to talk to the band about concept albums, robots and the perils of being in a band when you have three kids.

The result is the latest episode of Scenes From a Scene. - The Boise Weekly


A whole new style of music is going to hit Boise this Hallow’s Eve at the Bouquet.

The Well Suited, a local nine-member band composed of Boise State students and members of the Boise Philharmonic, will present “The Story of James Douglas.”

It’s a Rock Opera, written by the band members themselves. Tom Kershaw, local Boise State sophomore majoring in mass communication-journalism, and Brenton Viertel, a member of the Boise Philharmonic who specializes in upright bass and vocals, are the two frontmen for the band.

“If you like art rock like David Bowie or Radiohead, this is right down your alley,” Viertel said.

“The Story of James Douglas,” which will be opened by Junior Rocket Scientist, is composed of 14 parts, including seven narrative readings and seven songs. The readings, voiced by Kershaw, who plays the guitar and does vocals, come from a book of the same title, “The Story of James Douglas.” There will also be black-and-white photographs projected for audience members to see during each of the 14 segments, done by local photographer Dominique Svamberk. To add to the overall ambiance of the presentation, the band will also be dressed in their own unique fashion styles.

“It is the whole package,” said Svamberk, the contributing photographer. “With art, music and some written art as well.”

The story is about an ordinary Englishman whose girlfriend cheats on him. He gets drunk and disappears from reality for a few days. When he returns to the real world, he finds that everyone is gone. The world is being taken over by creatures and he is left with the responsibility of saving the world.

“It’s really ambitious,” Kershaw said. “I don’t think there is any band in town that does this kind of instrumentation. I think we are all fairly well-educated and experienced musicians. We take it seriously and I think it is just going to be a good show.” - The Arbiter



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While you decide between crowded lists of events this Halloween weekend, please give attention to The Bouquet on October 30, where The Well Suited will unveil their rock opera, The Story of James Douglas.

This multimedia production features Tom Kershew (guitars, vocals) reading a seven-part story from a giant book while the nine-member symphonic rock band plays seven songs for seven scenes, accompanied by photographer Dominique Svamberk’s projected images. Each part features a different theme—and a different song for each theme. Kershew and Brenton Viertel (upright bass, vocals) detail the premise about a regular guy who saves the planet:

“It’s about James Douglas. An average fella’ in London. He’s got a girlfriend, Ophelia, who plays for the orchestra. She’s on tour in Berlin and he comes home…She’s with somebody else. It’s a creature. And she’s kidnapped. But she says to him over the phone that she’s seeing someone else. James goes on this bender and he goes out to the bar. And everyone’s gone.”

So absorbed in personal struggles, James is oblivious that alien creatures have taken over earth and that each shadowy monster takes its own human. His ignorance saves him.

“James gets hammered, (thinking) his girlfriend is cheating on him.”

Lucky for James, the creatures believe the heartsick drunk was already taken and leave him alone. Then he wakes up from his miserable stupor.

“He isn’t sure he wants to save the world. But ultimately he does. He bands together the remaining humans. It’s the triumph of the average guy over adversity.”

The Well Suited has been playing together for just under a year. Classically trained Viertel and Kershew, who is rock-based, primarily front the band.

“It (The Well Suited) was going to be way pop,” Kershew says, “Super catchy. It turned into Not That. You get a string section behind you and you think, ‘What can I do with this?’”

Viertel adds, “And I’m on this kick of collecting as many synthesizers as I can. I used to not like electronic music at all…and now I see all the possibilities.”

The Well Suited also features Pete Thomas (keyboard), Chris Cullinan (drums, vocals), Molly McCallum (violin), Savannah Seaman (violin), Amy Tompkins (viola), Stephen Mathie (cello) and Jeffrey Barker (flute).

The Story of James Douglas will show at the Bouquet on Saturday, October 30 at 8 PM, followed by The Junior Rocket Scientists. The band will create a concept album from the rock opera to be released in the near future. See you there!
- The Examiner


In an age of easy access to digital recording and instant Internet distribution to a single-driven market, spending two years writing and recording six songs and releasing them as a hard-copy album seems old-fashioned. But that's what Boise band The Well Suited did for its debut EP, The Story of James Douglas.

But it isn't just the band's recording style that is wistfully retro. The EP's sound tosses out the simple verse-chorus structure to employ a more complex lyrical and auditory story that owes largely to '70s prog-rock. The album uses big rock riffs, layers of analog synthesizers, sprawling arrangements and fantastical lyrics to explore the concept of love in the time of a robot apocalypse.

The third track, "I'm Your Machine," is the closest thing the album has to a single, with a catchy singalong section and a driving beat.

The rest of the EP moves like a single rolling composition with elements of classic rock stalwarts like Rick Wakeman and Pink Floyd. And while it lacks some of the masterful recording fidelity of an album like Dark Side of the Moon, The Story of James Douglas is still well composed, complex, unpredictable, moody, poppy and occasionally frustrating.

The Story of James Douglas isn't the sort of thing you'll belt out while driving down the freeway, but there's a decent chance that if you hit play right as the lion roars in The Wizard of Oz, you might find it sheds a very different light on the Tin Man. - The Boise Weekly


Discography

The Story of James Douglas EP, played in its entirety on numerous occasions on Radio Boise 93.5 FM.

Faust (to be released Spring 2013)

Photos

Bio

Tom and Brenton were in a band. Brenton knew Pete. Tom knew Chris. One of the string players knew Annie.

Now wrote and recorded a rock opera about unfaithful women and robot-alien raptures.

Our influences are far-reaching and wide-ranging. Numerous past and present members are members of the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra, so a strong classical influence seeps in.

Others of us are prog-rock aficionados with a penchant for upside-down time signatures and modal keys.

Still more bring pop sensibilities, hooks and lyrics to the mix. It's like the America of bands--a mosaic, a melting pot if you will--exactly like every other of the 10,000 bands you're reading about.