A lot of deals are made out on the golf course and sometimes even a band can get its start from a relationship starting on the links.
That is the case with North Shore, winner of Best New Band in Northern Michigan.
Drummer and percussionist Justin Perry and guitarist Eric Griffin were teammates on the Traverse City West High golf team and forged a lifelong friendship.
“Erik jammed through high school with the other guys in the band and after school we all headed off to school. I moved to Colorado and eventually Florida,” said Perry. “Well I started talking to Erik about playing music and moved back to the area. Some of the guys were in Kalamazoo finishing up college so the rest of us went there and we formed the band.”
The rest of includes Chris Baltrip on lead vocals, Earl Peitz on guitar, banjo, mandolin, vocals, along with bassist Michael Zimmerman and keyboardist Kellen Wressell.
Perry is quick to point out that despite their Kalamazoo connection they are a Northern Michigan band.
“We spend every possible second here in Northern Michigan and we will be full-time here once everyone is finished with school,” said Perry. “Our name reflects our location. Plus it is the name of a damn good sandwich from the Cheese Shanty in Fishtown.”
North Shore will perform two shows this weekend in Traverse City at the Loading Dock.
North Shore released a demo last fall shortly after they formed to help secure gigs and the group is currently in the studio recording.
“We are recording at Sonic Bloom right now in Traverse City,” said Perry. “We are fortunate to be working with Guy Hursh at Sonic Bloom on this project. The goal is to have the CD out early this summer and that should happen since we have recorded most of it. This CD is our number one goal, we want to get it in as many hands as possible.”
North Shore has a rock/reggae feel to them but Perry sees the group having a broader musical definition.
“All six of us have different musical backgrounds so as far as a specific musical genre in a set or CD that doesn’t exist,” said Perry. “We are all over the board from one song to the next. We try not to limit ourselves when it comes to defining who we are musically. In fact most of our songs switch up styles through the song.”
What Perry likes is how they create their music.
“Our music is the product of what all six of us are thinking at the moment,” said Perry. “All of us are involved in the songwriting and our songs start with an idea one of us has and then each of us spark off of that. Before we know it each of us has contributed to the song.”
If North Shore is started to sound like the alter ego or mirror image of Medicinal Groove (see article) it’s because they are musical cousins.
“We all know each other and a couple of our guys were in a band with a couple of their guys in the past,” said Perry.
“We all grew up together. We also are planning some musical projects together and possibly even touring together this summer. So we are real tight with those guys.”
North Shore, like Medicinal Groove, is focused on developing an audience and following in Michigan first before looking to tour the country.
“We have a strong network in Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Marquette,” said Perry. “What our goal is right now is just to play everywhere possible and often as possible and get the word out about our music. We are using our connections in other states to start stringing together a tour as well.”
Perry points out that the music business is no different than any other entrepreneurial opportunity it comes down to sales and networking.
“Being in a band today is just as much about the business end as it is about being on stage or in the studio making the music,” said Perry. “You have to be relentless in your marketing, you can’t be shy about it. You have to network with other musicians and the people putting on the shows. Plus the online and social media is now the new radio when it comes to exposing your music to the masses.”
North Shore will perform two shows this weekend, Friday and Saturday night at the Loading Dock in Traverse City.