The Preservers Before Their Last Show, Red Barn Ice Cream
Patrick Kargl, Jeremy Kargl, Ryne Clarke, Corrina Wenger
The Preservers have been Lowell's most interesting young rock band since the group formed in 2013. They have played everywhere from the Lowell Showboat to a punk house in Marquette. Their second album, “Made With Soy,” came out this summer. The band is currently on hiatus while two of the four members, guitarist Jeremy Kargl and bass player Corrina Wenger, are away attending college in Dearborn, MI and Asheville, NC. The local members, singer, songwriter and guitarist Ryne Clarke and drummer Patrick Kargl, are keeping busy with a bunch of other musical projects.
“Patrick and I are still doing music, something similar, just not with the other two members, and calling it the “Ryne Experience' for now,” Ryne Clarke said during an interview at the band's headquarters, Kargl Studios, which is in the basement of a home in a subdivision on the outskirts of Lowell. “That just started, it's really fresh. We're also jamming with other people too, which might mesh into something, we're not sure. I have quite a few 'solo songs,' about 12 or 13.”
“We haven't really brought the Preservers songs to that too much, it's been pretty much all new stuff,” Patrick Kargl said. “It's a different feel.”
“The Preservers haven't really called it quits, we just haven't been active because two members have moved away,” Clarke said. “We played our last show as the Preservers at the end of August. We might possibly have a reunion show at the end of December, we're still working on the details for that. If an opportunity comes up like that one where everyone's home and we get offered to play a show, we'll do that because we like playing shows. I don't know how much further we'll go, though. We might record or do something else.”
The band started in July, 2013 when the members were in high school, around 14 or 15 years old.
“I was playing accordion because I was too late for band and orchestra sign ups and I still wanted to play something,” Clarke said. “My grandma and my great grandma both played when they were younger, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I ended up switching to the guitar when I got interested in rock music. Patrick played drums and I was friends with Jeremy from doing radio shows, so I roped him in. I knew Corrina from school.”
The Preservers early shows were mostly covers, which the band spent hours jamming on in their basement, for audiences around Lowell and eventually as far away as Marquette.
“We weren't very active until 2014,” Clarke said. “We started with covers. We did some pretty fun stuff, 'House of the Rising Sun,' 'Childhood's End' and 'Money' by Pink Floyd, that was a bit rough, we did a bunch of classic rock songs all together in a medley.”
“We did the Beatles and we tried to do the Who,” Kargl said.
“I really like the Velvet Underground,” Clarke said. “About a year back they released [“The Complete Matrix Tapes”]. Surprisingly they sounded really good for having been recorded on an old four-track cassette recorder. That made me appreciate the band even more because hearing them live was fantastic, they could really play live. In the studio they might not come off as the most talented musicians, but in the live shows, they shine.”
“We didn't have a singer at first, that was an issue,” Clarke said. “Once I started writing more stuff, somebody had to sing it. That's what it came down to. I feel like I've improved as a singer from then until now. I'm not quite as monotone as I used to be singing.”
Their first album "The Preservers" only came out last year, but they worked on it for a very long time.
Ryne Clarke and Patrick Kargl of The Preservers
“The first album is definitely a lot more 'classic rock' oriented simply because of our age group at that time,” Clarke said. “We were all in agreement and consensus that we liked that music, so it was easy to jam out on stuff similar to that.”
They credit Al Eckman for helping them in myriad ways during their career, including when he soundproofed Kargl Studios for free.
“Al has been helping us with band stuff from the very beginning because Jeremy and I were in the radio club for so long,” Clarke said. “Even before we had a bass player, he was helping us. Both of our CDs were made through him. He's definitely been a really big help for us in different ways.”
Clarke and Kargl said the songwriting process was more communal on the band's first album.
“For the song 'Ballad of a Short Man,' Jeremy gave me some chords and wanted me to do something with it,” Clarke said. “So I went home and wrote some lyrics and brought it back and we all pieced it together. A lot of the songs on the first album are like that, where we put it together in the studio. On the second album it was more individual between me and Jeremy shaping stuff out. Still doing it as a band, but putting it together more on our own. Also on the second album, definitely more modern influences have snuck in like Mac DeMarco, Father John Misty, Wilco. I don't want to say 'indie rock' but sort of that genre.”
“That's what we were going for, to branch out and try different things,” Kargl said.
The title of the second album is “Made With Soy,” and there are references to soy in the lyrics. Kargl and Clarke describe the references to soy as an inside joke that went too far.
“That wasn't originally what I wanted the album to be about,” Clarke said. “I had this whole 'Frackland' thing set in stone. Different parts of the songs focused on this weird town in a fantasy type way, not exactly like the town. I was jamming with Mitch, the drummer of the Alien Dogs, and he said 'Oy!' all the time. One day I heard him say 'coy,' then that turned into 'soy.' I would go around yelling that sometimes at school and whatnot. Then everybody started saying it and it turned the album into 'Made With Soy.'”
At first glance one might assume the song “Arctic Shelf” was about Lowell because of lyrics like “I live in a town where nobody goes and nobody is to be seen. You could drive straight a cross in a mile or so, at least that's what it seems.”
“It's actually about a different, similar town,” Kargl said.
“There's a town called Woodland out over the expressway,” Clarke said. “They heard about us somewhere and invited us to play, and it went really well. The second time, nobody really showed up but we got paid and had fun practicing. The third time they loved us. We had eight copies of our CD with us and they bought all eight. It was great, but the town itself was kind of weird. I dubbed that town 'Frackland' and wrote that song about it.”
Clarke and Kargl have recently started a media company called 'RyneShyne Enterprises,' which they said will be “a big content hotspot” for local artists and musicians.
“The idea is that anyone who wants exposure can get exposure,” Clarke said. “If somebody wants to sell some kind of artwork they can sell it through the shop, as long as it's not something too big or weird. Bands could do music sessions or they could sell their CDs. It's a big multimedia content blog and a shop.”
The first RyneShyne endeavor will be a series of radio shows on Lowell's radio station, WRWW. Local bands of various genres will play their music and submit to questioning. They mentioned Skyking, a prog rock band from Grand Haven, and the Alien Dogs and the Scants, punk bands from Grand Rapids as upcoming guests. A complete schedule is posted on their website, ryneshyne.club.
“The sessions are every Sunday in November and the first two in December,” Clarke said. “We'll have a live radio spotlight on the band. They'll bring in a disc with a couple songs. We'll play a song, ask some questions, play a song, do the show like that. The actual session will be done at Kargl Studios. It will be filmed, and we'll sync the audio to the video. When it's all done, the pictures, interview and music session will be uploaded as a podcast. The whole schedule is posted on my website. We don't know exactly how it will go because we haven't done one yet, but I'm definitely looking to do more sessions next year.”
You can order both Preservers CDs and other merchandise from the ryneshyne.club website. Kargl and Clarke currently have no live performances scheduled, but that could change. They will perform on the first episode of that radio show. Watch the website or follow them on Facebook to keep up to date.
“The Ryne Experience will be the first WRWW music session on Nov. 5,” Clarke said. “It'll be myself and Patrick with Jerry Wenger on bass and my friend Devin Falk on guitar.”