The Euclid Motel • The 'Best Rock Band' of 2023

Fueling Fresh Punches with the Wisdom & Experience of Old Souls

    icon May 18, 2023
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It would be an error for music fans to look at groups like this year’s winner of Best Rock Band, The Euclid Motel, and mistake their relative youth for inexperience.  By the time any of these bands take the stage they have labored through thousands of hours of practice.  They really aren’t “new” at this at all.

When you sit down with The Motel, whose lineup consists of vocalist / bassist / guitarist Connor Windiate, drummer / vocalist Nathan Seifferly, guitarist Darrian Loehne and saxophonist Jeff Grassl, you quickly realize that you are also dealing with a group of old souls.

Loehne, who also picked up the trophy for Best Rock Guitarist recounts his own musical origin story, which began as a grade schooler, learning the basics from his Grandfather.  “The guys in the band will remember I was insanely short in middle school.  My Grandpa had these big farmer hands, but I could barely get my hand around the neck of a banjo.  It just started with single notes, no chords.”

His first song was House of The Rising Sun, following that up by learning -  largely by ear - and listening to rock classics, picking them out by “trial and error” until he had them down.  And he does have them down now.  Anyone listening to Loehne play from the Classic Rock canon has to be impressed how cleanly he apes the styles of guitar slingers who’s heyday was well before his first birth date.

Drummer Seifferly, who also had a double-fisted night picking up the award for Best Rock Drummer, has a similar story.    As he recounts, “I spent seven years in the basement playing this stuff by myself before I got out there with other people.”

Seifferly comes from a musical family, as his father Jeff was a saxophonist of the multi-time REVIEW  Award winning act The Night Society Orchestra in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Though his Dad spent years on jazz influenced acts, Seifferly came into music from a “proggy” direction.  “King’s X.  Double kick drum all the time.” His current influences include Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason for his auxiliary work and The Band’s Levon Helm “for general lifestyle.”

It’s interesting to note, much like Loehne, they are drawing largely from acts that had largely ended their chart-topping runs decades ago.  Blame those old souls and their parents’ record collections.

The Euclid Motel originally started in 2018 as a duo, with Windiate joining original guitarist / bassist Ryan Seifferly (Nathan’s cousin) in an act that started with fairly humble open mic beginnings.

As told by Windiate, “it was always the plan to focus on originals.”

Like many bands, the pandemic got in the way of their gigging calendar, but it did not stall the band’s progress.  The unit used the time to try out different lineups and instrumentation, at times performing with hand percussion or keyboards.

The group also used this time to record their first album, Meet The Motel, at Wonder Studios in Chesaning.  This coincided with the band taking up an informal residency at the Monday Open Mics at Bemo’s Bar.

As Windiate indicated, “It was a great place for us to get practice.”

This is also the environment that allowed them to add Loehne, who the other members had known since grade school.  Windiate elaborated by noting,  “Darrian really motivated us to get better and to work at it.”

The Motel also gave Loehne and the others a chance to flesh out their originals and, with them, their own voices on their instruments.

When asked about the difference between playing covers and conjuring up parts for original music, Loehne added. “I just try to mash potato everything I know up and hope no one has listened to Zeppelin’s 1972 bootlegs.  Ok, please don’t use that!”

Sorry, Darrian, that line was too good.  It explains things perfectly when making that transition.

This Spring the group “remodeled” the line up as founding member Ryan Seifferly left the band as he preps to change careers.  (Darn those day jobs.)

The new unit includes Jeff Grassl on sax, with Windiate sliding over to bass for most tracks.  Grassl is well known to area music fans from his work with the Voortex Blues Band, Kalysta and others. Grassl’s introduction to the REVIEW Awards was in 2022, when he was invited along by Rhett Yocom, a multi-time winner in the Blues Category.

“I honestly thought it was a Rhett Yocom gig.  I had no idea it was more than that.”

He knows now, as his current band will be listed in the Hall Of Fame in future Awards Programs as the Best Rock Band of 2023.

Grassl shares that another ethic with the musicians of the Motel is they are old school jammers.  “Have sax, will travel.”  All the members have started to infiltrate other acts, branching out from the Motel to play with others, a critical step in the durability of a music scene.  Loehne and Seifferly also play with Kalysta (as well as my band Matt de Heus & The Juice).  Loehne will join Grassl with the Voortex Band.  You might catch Windiate and Grassl in support roles with The Shroud. 

Even as these opportunities begin to emerge, it is clear that the Euclid Motel continues to be their home base. As Windiate explained “I’m excited to play with these guys twice a week.  It energizes me.”

It was Seifferly who summed up the goal of this – and honestly many – bands.

“I just want to have people enjoy listening to the music as much as I do playing it.”

You can catch The Euclid Motel next at White’s Bar for their annual Mega Bowl on May 20thShow starts at 9

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