Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

12 And 2


Mark Hunter

Whatzup Features Writer

Published September 8, 2005

Heads Up! This article is 17 years old.

Robby Savoie lives on 16th Street in Bloomington

in a shining example of that town’’s housing

stock. Though not a student, the Twelve and Two

bass player and guitarist Kyle Gilpin moved there

to enjoy the college-town atmosphere and to set

up a southern base and practice space for the

band. It’s a good idea, given Twelve and Two’s

most likely audience, and it will probably work

out well – unless, of course, the house kills

them first.

“The floor in the living room bounces like it’s

going to collapse when we jump on it,” Savoie

says. “And none of the outlets is grounded. Your

lips get buzzed if you get too close to the

mics.”

Living on the edge – that’s what being young is

all about. The guys in Twelve and Two –

guitarists Hubie Ashcraft and Gilpin, drummer

Alex Kroh and Savoie – are definitely young. And

while living in a crappy rental in Bloomington

may not qualify as edge-dwelling, the way this

band plays certainly does.

Dispensing with trite appellations, one way to

describe Twelve and Two’s music, from a

listener’s perspective, is anticipatory – their

playing often leaves you wondering not only what

is going to boil to the surface next in this rock

soup but what it’s going to taste like when the

heat is finally turned off. Fortunately, these

guys know how to cook.

Gilpin, who, along with Ashcraft, writes the

bulk of the group’s songs, avoids putting labels

on the music Twelve and Two play. When asked to

define it, he demurs. “We play the good kind,” he

says.

“Twelve and Two (the name comes from the address

of a house where Gilpin’s older brother lived)

got its start when Gilpin was in elementary

school. “He’s been in the band since 5th grade,”

Savoie says. “The band changed slowly over time.

Whoever was around him and serious was in the

band.” As interests changed and learning curve

diverged Gilpin altered the makeup of the band.

“Three of the members would be improving at one

rate, one slacking behind,” Savoie says.

By the time all four band members were attending

Homestead High School, Ashcraft, Savoie and Kroh

were busy with a different band, Portrait. Savoie

says Portrait played a selection of songs that

fit in more with what Twelve and Two play now.

“Twelve and Two used to play more pop-type stuff,

while Portrait played more rock and improv-type

stuff,” he says. “Now we’re more like Portrait

used to be.”

The current lineup has been together for just

five months, Kroh (who lives in Bloomington as

well and is going to school at IU, while Ashcraft

is finishing school at IPFW and handling Fort

Wayne-area bookings) having joined as drummer in

late winter. Ashcraft, Gilpin and Savoie have

been together for four years, but the connections

go back much further. “Kyle and Alex and I were

in the Homestead jazz band in the rhythm

section,” Savoie says. “Alex and I learned to

play in his basement. We’d have a microphone set

up between us and just play, trying to figure out

how to play. When Alex came into the band I felt

more comfortable than ever. When he came in it

was a flawless transition. It was stupidly fast.

We sat down and there was no awkward stage trying

to read each other. We could already do the whole

thing of communicating without talking. Alex

picked up on the material faster than any of us

expected. The second time we all played together

we were almost up to par.”

Twelve and Two are based firmly in rock, with

one ear focused on 60’s icons such as The Band,

The Allman Brothers Band, The Beatles, The

Grateful Dead and the other on Phish, Smashing

Pumpkins, Umphrey’s McGee. Twelve and Two paid

homage to two of their early influences, The Band

and The Allman Brothers, during consecutive

Battle of the Band appearances. They covered The

Band’s “The Weight” and “Whipping Post” by the

Allmans. “Whipping Post,” in particular. is a

brave choice for any band to cover under the best

circumstances, but to launch into it during a

contest takes balls. Twelve and Two nailed it.

Playing music with other people requires

listening. It’s a conversation. Having been

friends for years, the musical conversation

Twelve and Two have on stage bubbles with

familiarity and fun. They know each other well

and trust that when someone goes out on a limb,

the rest of the band will be there to pull them

back in – or not. “As long as everyone pulls

their own weight it’s okay,” Savoie says. “All of

us can focus on our own part. Everyone has the

freedom to play whatever feels right. It’s neat –

somebody will be doing something a little

different and give a look to the rest of us. It

allows us to take the music where the music is

going rather than just push it somewhere.”

That communication is apparent, especially on a

song like “Whipping Post,” where the famous dual

guitar attack of the Allman Brothers becomes part

of the Twelve and Two show.

“It’s funny, the first time Hubie came to play

with us he was ripping “it up and Kyle was

nervous,” Savoie says. “Hubie’s been playing in a

band with his dad since he was 14, so he’s real

used to being on stage. Over the past two years,

Hubie and Kyle have become better friends. The

closer they become the better they play together

on stage. They’re getting to the point now where

they can just look at each other and know where

the other is going.”

The future looks good for Twelve and Two. Their

Battle of the Bands showing pried open the

Columbia Street West door, and the band is

scheduled for a show on September 15. More CSW

gigs are likely in the offing. Meanwhile in

Bloomington work is lining up as well. And with a

catalogue of more than 30 originals to work with,

a CD project is right around the corner.

“I’d like for this band to be my job for the

rest of my life,” Gilpin says. “That’s my

ultimate goal: to make a living doing this. Either way,

I’d like to play with them as long as

I can, if I have to have another job or not. It

would be really nice if we could just live off

the band.”

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