The idea first came to Jeff Curtin and Adam Schatz the way so many awesome ideas do: in the form of a rock opera.
Last January, the Brooklyn-based musicians were considering crafting a sweeping, "Tommy"-style tribute to "Lost," their favorite TV show. But just before the ABC drama's fourth season, they had a thought. What if they wrote a new song after each broadcast that summarized the key events in the latest chapter of the stranded-on-an-island saga? What if they posted the tracks on their MySpace page? And what if they called themselves Previously on Lost, a homage to the plot summaries that precede each episode of "Lost"? Would people click and listen?
Since the concept involved quirky music, the Internet and "Lost," a series with a fat fan following in the 18-to-34 demographic, the answer to that question was a resounding "Dude, yes."
"I guess it was just something we tried for fun," says Curtin, 26, a Washington, D.C., native who, among other things, works as an engineer and sound designer for the indie rock Web site Pitchfork Media. "But it caught on and people started listening to the songs, so we were kind of bound by a contract with the fans to continue."
What began as an online experiment has morphed into an attention-getting career move for Curtin and Schatz. After building a following for the "Lost" musical recaps, the band's summer included appearing on National Public Radio, performing in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, meeting "Lost" producers (fans, naturally), and selling the complete 12-track opus, "The Tale of Season 4 and the Oceanic Six," on iTunes.
Suddenly, a band that draws its source material from smoke monsters and actor Matthew Fox's ability to flash a sly wink finds itself with blogosphere buzz, a smattering of live gigs, and a reputation as perhaps the best-known (though not the only) recap rock band in America.
"These guys really know music," says Alex Castex-Porter, who writes the Audibly Lost blog. "For each song they do, they manage to find a unique sound and a unique flavor. ... It's not just a parody, it is its own thing."
What does the music sound like? There have been few mainstream reviews, but Gawker.com calls the result "Rockapella guest-starring on the toddler show 'Yo Gabba Gabba.' "
"Lost" may have helped them find success, but they believe their musical careers could carry them beyond Oceanic Flight 815.
"We are a true recap rock band," insists Schatz, "not just a band that sings about 'Lost.'"