Before his shift as a cashier at Fred Meyer begins on a Friday morning, Dan Pantenburg takes some time to chat about his main love, his band, The Autonomics, one of Bend's most promising rock acts and one that's found a bar following despite the fact that none of its members are of legal drinking age. This week band is releasing an EP entitled Good Luck and Medicine, an impressive five-track rock assault that was produced by Empty Space Orchestra's Shane Thomas, and are celebrating the debut with a string of three shows on three consecutive nights.
Good Luck and Medicine is indicative of a band that's broken away from its high-school roots and has created songs that are advanced in structure and lyrical content for any band of any age in this region. Pantenburg, who is joined in the band by fellow Summit High School graduates Evan and Vaughn Leikam, a pair of twins who play drums and bass, respectively, sings about the sort of things rock bands are supposed to sing about, but does it with a refreshing and insightful originality.
Although the guys had been friends in high school, the band didn't reach its current state until the guys had graduated from Summit and were looking at the next phase of their lives, which they wanted to include music.
"We never actually started the band until everyone went off to college and we didn't," says the 20-year-old Pantenburg with a laugh, "We were sitting in my bedroom and were like, 'We need to do something.'"
And now two years later, these guys have definitely "done something" - they've recorded an impressive EP that, as oddly as it may seem, might be the most original local indie rock record of the past couple of years. On the record's opener, "Beautiful Robot Daughters," the band is in a full-on jump-kick-to-the-face indie-rock attack, but then "Goodbye Caroline" showcases a catchiness that seems to have been built into Pantenburg's voice.
"We want to make a sound that's unique. As much as we love bands like Rush, or whatever, we don't want to sound like them, just like we don't want to start banging on a piano and pretending to be the Cold War Kids," says Pattenburg.
The Autonomics have plans for themselves, one of which includes relocation to Portland by the end of the summer, but they remain thankful for the opportunities they've had in Bend. Still, they think it might be time to make a run at making something out of this band.
8pm Thursday, July 1 Summit Saloon and Stage, 125 NW Oregon Ave.
9:30pm Friday, July 2 PoetHouse Art., 55 NW Minnesota Ave. Free, all ages.
9pm Saturday, July 3 JC's Bar and Grill, 642 NW Franklin Ave.