I Sat in on a Local Reno Band’s Recording Session– Here’s What I Learned
Chloe Cross reports on her experience with the Will Shamberger Band, four musicians from Fallon, Nevada now in the Biggest Little City, combining their passion, originality, drive and work ethic.
Individuals in a Unique Collective
Will Shamberger, Jesse Morrow, Charlie Gomes, and Stone Suess. On paper, they are just four names, but in person, they are the creative minds that make up one of the most unique bands in the Reno area.
Huddled around my phone recording them on the first floor of the UNR library, the four members of The Will Shamberger Band opened up to me about the difficulties and passions of the group, along with what they all bring as both individual musicians and collectively.
Each of them convey their own senses of determination and positive attitudes, demonstrating the importance of not only producing kick-ass music, but also of finding a sense of genuine enjoyment in every step within the process.
Small Town Band, Big Dreams
All four band members have ties to Fallon, Nevada- a small, rural town about an hour outside of the Reno-Sparks area. As someone who is from a similarly small and rural Nevada town, I can attest how difficult it can be at first to “get out” of the town you spent most of your life in, but that’s exactly what this band says they are doing.
“We’re from Fallon… we’ve been playing in Reno a lot because that’s where we want to play more and we’ve had a lot more demand recently,” Will said. “Also it’s like, what the hell is going on in Fallon? …Nothing, that’s why we’re here.”
Will Shamberger, the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and namesake of The Will Shamberger Band, established the band in late 2019.
Unknowing of the trials and tribulations of what was to come in early 2020, The Will Shamberger Band had one mission and one mission only: to show Reno how they rock.
The Will Shamberger Band Prevails
“We let it be what it is, we let it exist as what it is,” Will said when I asked about the band’s sound, “and usually it sounds pretty sick.”
And to me, it does. But regardless of your personal taste in music, anyone can admit that the right amount of quality and passion- which are arguably the foundations of a band’s success- are undeniably there.
Plus, I’m not the only one who thinks so. The band was scheduled to go on tour, starting in April of 2020– the opportunity of a lifetime. But in mid-March of that very year, their hopes were dashed as the world swiftly shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everything got canceled and it was…” Charlie, lead guitarist said, shaking his head in disbelief.
“It was over,” Will finished for him.
The five of us took a pause, digesting what this actually meant for them.
Despite being worried about the uncertainty and instability of these pandemic times, this band is nothing if not determined. They managed to find a silver lining, and used that period as an opportunity to practice and better themselves, even if not in front of an audience.
“A lot of bands usually, they kind of have to cut their teeth right away with doing a lot of the shows — which is what we would have been doing and which is what we started doing,” Charlie said, “…but we had time to kind of work on things and focus out of the public eye.”
Making Big Strides
Since then, things have gotten better, and the band has surpassed many milestones that most local bands never even come close to achieving.
Today, over two years since that tour was canceled, The Will Shamberger Band prevails.
“Now mainly the only difference has been we’ve had to show vaccine cards and wear masks at shows,” Jesse, the band’s bassist said, smiling “…we get to play though.”
To name just a few accomplishments, they recorded their first EP during the first wave of the pandemic, got some radio play of that very EP, opened for Sponge, started their first album named “Mondegreens’ (which is almost finished!), and played all over the northern Nevada and California region.
It is also worth mentioning that parts of the current The Will Shamberger Band opened for the Area 51 Raid festival in late 2019. Jesse’s family gets the credit for building the very stage they played on.
Reno’s Band Scene
The band scene in Reno is not the most well-known for being kind to local musicians, but The Will Shamberger Band is a deserving exception.
“I think the music scene has been exceptionally friendly in my experience,” said Stone, who is the drummer for the band. “Well we rip too, so it helps,” Will laughed.
After the interview, I followed the four as they packed into Stone’s car and drove to Dogwater Studios, where they have been recording ‘Mondegreens’ in sessions throughout the year.
Dogwater Studios is home to the one and only Worst Little Podcast, partly hosted by Rick Spagnola, aka Dogwater Dick.
A Creative Studio Space
The studio is located in a bedroom, which is filled to the brim with recording equipment and instruments. Vines of various houseplants grow across the walls and hang from the ceiling in a plant lover’s form of controlled chaos. Wherever there is a vacant spot on the wall, there is art or stickers or newspaper clippings. Stepping into the studio, the people I had been talking to for the past hour melted in with the setting, and I understood that this was a place where they belonged.
In case you are like me and have little-to-no experience with recording an album, it’s extremely time consuming and difficult. The process can take months of spending hours at a time recording, and re-recording, and editing, and listening, and re-recording again. And while I only got to sit in for a few hours of that long and strenuous experience, I could tell that this album was a product of hard work and passion.
Busy Months Ahead
Along with the work that has been dedicated toward their album, The Will Shamberger Band is booked out for live shows until August of 2022, as the music-lovers of the Reno community- myself included- have already caught wind of one simple fact– Reno has got something good, and it’s called The Will Shamberger Band.