To begin with, I must confess that today’s group is one that I was not familiar with until now. Unfortunately, they broke up a few years ago, so I missed the whole run of the foursome known as Soundbender. The unexpected good news is that they will reunite for a special show at Mainely Brews in Waterville that celebrates the WTOS show called “Homegrown.” The gig is set for Saturday, June 4, and also will feature the band Loki, which recently appeared in this column. To find out what I missed, I set up a phone interview with drummer and co-founder John Gladu. I called him at his Orrington home a few days ago and began by asking him to run through the other members of the group.

Gladu: There’s me on drums and my brother Drew, and he’s on guitar and vocals; Jesse Thulin is lead vocals and guitar, and then Jordan Gadoury is on bass and is also a vocalist.

Q: When exactly did you guys hang it up?

Gladu: Early spring of 2010, the same year I got married. Oh, and our last official show was with Loki at the time — it was at the Big Easy down in Portland — and Jordan moved to Florida the day after the show. We’d gone through a handful of line-up changes, the group was 10 years old and we were all itching to find different avenues to enjoy our time away from music. It felt like the right time to do it. It just felt good.

Q: What’s it like getting the band back together again?

Gladu: (Chuckle) It’s been challenging in that we’ve had to relearn muscle memory and bring back to life songs that we knew so easily in and out, but the chemistry feels better. There’s no pressure to it this time. It’s not as strenuous a schedule as it was before.


Q: Did you miss it?

Gladu: Yeah, there’s a part in all of us that felt like we wanted to do something more with music; we even had an opportunity with it, and by that point of the interests outside of the band, we were finding ourselves on the schedule we had made for ourselves. We created such a process of how we were doing things that it was just too much. We didn’t know how to slow down, so we had to stop. And with Jordan leaving, it was our best way to end, at the time. We ended on what we thought was a high note. Ten years in Maine is a pretty long hobby.

Q: That’s a long time for any band.

Gladu: Yeah, but we didn’t feel that way until we got done and realized what friends and colleagues around us had done with their personal lives, like families. It was always like the outside looking in, watching other people do things that were also fun and exciting; and at the same time, they’d bring it back to us that way: “I can’t believe you guys are going to New Hampshire with the band. That’s awesome!” Well, it’s nice just to go to camp and get away, too.

Q: Will this gig at Mainely Brews on June 4 be a one-shot deal for Soundbender?

Gladu: I think for Soundbender, yes — for the four of us, no. I think what we want to do is take a much more relaxed approach to making music in the future, where we all like to go in and record some stuff. I think Soundbender will have some things to come out after this is done. We had some songs that we always liked but never got a chance to record, and Jesse’s always been a recording engineer, so I think he’ll have some of that come out after the show. As to when, I don’t know exactly; but I think we’ll have a chance to do that.


Q: How many records did you have out?

Gladu: We had four, total. The first one came out after only four months together as a band. None of us really knew what we were doing. We kind of learned our instruments as we went along. And I think every one of (the records) was a natural progression, so to speak, of how we honed our sound and the chemistry with each other songwritingwise.

Q: Is there anything you didn’t do as Soundbender that you wish you had done?

Gladu: We always wanted to do “the road” — you know, when we were younger, single and in good relationships with girlfriends. I wish we could’ve gone out for a year on the road to tour and just live it like the rock ‘n’ roll dream. We’d had friends — even from Maine — who had grown into record label deals and cross-country tours, and they never came home happy. So I think a lot of times that it may have been the best thing that never happened to us — I think a lot about that sometimes, but at the same time we can still be friends and pick up the phone and catch up, go for months at a time but pick exactly up where we left off. That means more to me than going on the road, fighting, and never talking again.

Q: What can your fans expect from your set at this show coming up?

Gladu: We’re going to take and play our very last album almost entirely, which was “Surviving the Fall.” We’re also going to dive into some of the older stuff, too — maybe four or five songs that people would like to hear.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Gladu: Soundbender and any other band that’s had the chance to play in Maine are extremely grateful for any and all support that has always come out of the people that come to the shows. It’s one of the hardest areas to play in; and every time, without fail, it was always good so we really enjoyed seeing the people.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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