November 24, 2016
Sometimes it can take a while to find the exact combination needed to make a great band. Case in point: Void Reunion. Although singer/guitarist George Gardner and drummer Eric Frank first began thinking about working together years ago, Void Reunion didn’t have their first practice as a unit until last year and didn’t make their stage debut until November 19, 2015. But their patience has been rewarded with a lineup that has fulfilled their original vision.
“Eric and I were in other Fort Wayne bands,” says Gardner. “Bobby [Haddad] and Ben [Larson] knew each other through the Fort Wayne music scene. The only one we didn’t know was Bryce [Wiseman].”
“Actually, George and I were dating the same girl,” adds Frank. “We got to know each other through that connection, and we got into a conversation about what he was working on at that time.”
With such personal and professional connections, it may have been inevitable that Gardner and Frank put their talents together to form a band. And they both have a very similar perspective about the music that they play.
“Doing covers was never a consideration,” says Gardner. “That destroys what music is all about. We want to create something beautiful, something new. Eric and I talked about what we wanted to do, and we wanted the band to be an outlet to make music and release it.”
Having gained experience with bands like Wooden Satellites and Looking for Astronauts, both Gardner and Frank – as well as their three bandmates – had experience with touring and had found the business side of having a band less gratifying.
“I was in a band that just became a job,” says Frank. “It got to the point that if you were sick and you missed a practice, it was a big deal. I got to the point where I just sold all my drums and thought ‘That’s it, I’m done with this.’”
But the promise of something more fulfilling, something he and Gardner thought they could put together with the help of their fellow musicians, made it all much more tempting again. Void Reunion are happy to pursue opportunities to perform without relying on covers to make an impression.
“It can be easier to get shows for a cover band,” says Gardner, “but those aren’t the places we want to play anyway. And there are no shortage of places for us to play our originals. We’re just not interested in covers. We want to do something that’s meaningful.”
Their approach to writing those originals is somewhat fluid, with no particular system in place. It allows for each of the five band members to bring his own creativity to the process.
“Sometimes we’ll just start playing something at practice, maybe someone will start playing a riff, and we’ll build on the song from there,” says Gardner. “Sometimes I’ll bring something or Bobby will have something, a structure or a verse, and then everyone brings something to it. It’s definitely a group effort.”
“I definitely see George as the idea man, though,” adds Frank. “George will bring something and we’ll input it into the Void machine, and after it’s gone through all of our experiences, they all become part of the Void.”
They’re currently working on a new collection of songs which they hope to have ready for release in 2017. While they are very happy with their current lineup of five solid members, Frank says that the larger whole is more important than the individual members.
“George and I were just talking about this, that every member of the band is completely replaceable. We have this belief in what we’re doing that means that the energy of Void Reunion isn’t really about any one band member. And when I say that no one person is irreplaceable, I don’t mean that as a threat. I just mean that we’re striving to be the best as a unit so while each of us is equally replaceable, each of us is also equally important.”
Frank admits that if anyone might need to step aside at some point, it might have to be him. As the only family man in the group – with a young toddler and another on the way – he doesn’t want to be the one who holds back the band’s potential, since some of what they hope to do might mean travel to which he can’t readily commit.
“We want to try to push ourselves to be heard out of town,” says Gardner. “We’d like to maybe perform out of town, but we’d like to at least get our music heard, whether that means playing out of town or just getting our songs into the hands of radio stations.”
“It may end up being that I’ll have to be the one who’s replaced if I can’t be part of that,” says Frank. “But that’s all right. I want to be replaceable and would want to go if it allowed the band to succeed.”
But such decisions seem far off, since Gardner and Frank both agree that the members of Void Reunion have become a brotherhood, with all of the ups and downs that brothers can face when trying to merge into a cohesive unit.
Each has his own approach to the music, but they all agree that being able to bounce ideas off our other’s minds makes each of them better.
“When we’re together anything is possible,” says Frank. “There’s nothing that we can’t bring to the table and work on.”
In the coming months fans of Void Reunion can expect more new music and that new EP, but they can also look forward to a new beer brewed in their honor. With a debut at the Brass Rail on December 9, Bird Boy Brewing Company will release its new creation Void Communion. The brew will be available first at the December 9 show, but it will also be available around town after that date. Frank is designing a poster to accompany the event, and the band will also be performing at the Brass Rail that evening.
In the meantime, Void Reunion keep building on what they’ve already created, and they’re happy with what they have already accomplished.
“I do see these guys as my brothers,” says Gardner. “The way I feel about this band cannot be described. I really understand now what unity is, and this experience has been unparalleled for me.”