A sense of ethos

Band mixes rock and classical influences in a wide variety of songs

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

For some classical musicians, the call of rock n roll is irresistible.

Scott Spring is a classically-trained musician who has taught classical guitar at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He and another UAF music department comrade, keyboardist Paul Krejci, joined forces a couple of years ago to form the rock band ethos. The band, now a five-piece, plays this weekend at the Hangar on the Wharf in Juneau.

Krejci has played piano since he was 5 years old. He has a masters degree in piano performance and is the staff accompanist for the UAF music department. By day he accompanies recitals and vocal students, and by night he plays rock n roll with ethos.

My professor would probably shoot me if he knew what I was doing now, he said.

All of us, added Spring. My first guitar teacher told me Jimi Hendrix was Satan incarnate.

ethos vocalist Rebecca Stephens is a classically-trained soprano. She grew up in Valdez singing in musical theater productions. She still sings classical material and keeps a foot in both musical worlds.

I still love it, she said. If I wasnt trained, I wouldnt be able to do what I do up there.

Drummer Neil Kinnebrew and bassist Tim Malloy round out the band. The group has written more than two dozen songs and original instrumental compositions, and all members collaborate on the writing. ethos recorded a CD, The Definition, and has written material for a second. They plan to begin recording when they return to Fairbanks later this month.

The members describe the groups music as jazzy blues-rock, and they draw on their classical influences as well as an interest in acoustic and folk music. They said they play almost every weekend at a variety of Fairbanks area venues.

If its a club, well play dance music. If its a coffeehouse, well play slower tunes and original instrumentals, Spring said.

The stuff I write is personable, Stephens said. If someones gone through what Ive gone through, theyre going to go on that journey with us.

The name ethos is inspired by that sentiment, taking the listeners on an emotional journey. Krejci said the term comes from the idea in ancient Greek philosophy that music has the power to shape mood and feelings.

The band takes the stage at the Hangar at 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The cover is $3.

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