Profile: Strange Brew

Vibe 1004


Chad Dahlstrom (guitar), 28; Drew Lafrenz (vocals), 30; Ian Lamphere (drums), 27; Morgan Lamphere (percussion), 26; Brian Lorie (keyboards), 29; Adam Quinn (bass), 28


Burlington, Vermont

Claim to Fame: Ski bums and high school buddies, the Named By Strangers crew was actually named by an acquaintance: A friend's girlfriend bestowed the moniker in 2000, a year before the band's first paying gig at a party near Smugglers' Notch, Vermont. They've been firing up après-ski joints ever since with a raise-the-roof mix of folk and rock. Their second CD, Somethings, was self-released in '03, and though NBS now plays at swanky clubs in Boston and New York, they try to stick to their ski-boot roots. Why? "Lots of half-nudity, says Lafrenz. "There's that vacation mentality. They're not going to see anybody they know the next day.

Us, jam? Never: NBS is the official house band at Nectar's, the venerable Burlington bar best known as the launchpad for Phish. NBS is honored to carry the torch, but put off by the prospect of becoming the next in an endless succession of neo-hippie noodle bands. "I like Phish, but Vermont is now permanently associated with jam bands, which gets us tagged as a jam band, says Ian Lamphere. Lamphere insists that NBS "is more funky, with some reggae influence—and a rocked-out bluegrassy number we call a straight-up goat-roper. Uh…yeah.

The crowd gets looser in moose country: "One morning I woke up half-naked, under a zebra skin, in a stranger's house listening to Portuguese people speaking in broken English, says Lamphere. "I was promptly arrested and shackled to a chair—and then released to two girlfriends, who showed up in bikinis with coffee.

Common Sense: Is it any wonder that NBS's rowdy fan base is a bunch of winter-sport enthusiasts? Not at all, says Lamphere: "Some of the best skiers I know won't go skiing without getting solidly gooned-up first. —Sarah Tuff

October 2004