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July 11, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Luke Offield, lead vocalist and guitarist for Triple P, rocks out during Wingstock. Offield also plays guitar for metal band Geist Photograph by KELLY COLEMAN
Postmortem Pelvis Pulverizer, a recording project by Columbia musician Luke Offield, sparked the genesis of his rock band Triple P. But the band members soon realized the dark, sex-crazed death metal name didn’t represent their Electric Wizard-inspired sound. At each of their first few gigs, they dabbled with something different: the Pleasures of Pulled Pork at one. Poetry, Prose and Pterodactyls at another. And who could forget the night they were Popeye’s Pleasure Palace? With a finite amount of provocative “P” entries in the dictionary, the band eventually landed on Triple P.
WHERE: The Bridge
WHEN: Sat. July 13 at 8 p.m.
“We keep that sense of humor around because it allows us to play what we want but not take ourselves too seriously,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Offield.
Triple P started jamming together three years ago. However, Offield, bass player and vocalist Ben Drummond and drummer J. Mike Bonnot are veterans to the Columbia music scene. Now 35, Offield has been playing shows in town since he was 17. For 14 years, he played in a band called 3 Headed Moses and recorded his own full-length album in 2008.
Triple P started as another solo project, but when Bonnot and Drummond heard the three songs Offield recorded alone, they knew they wanted to form a band. “I’ve played predominantly metal music, and I wanted to put something more cut down and simplified,” Offield says. “I just wanted to rock.”
Metal and punk bands influenced the musicians as teenagers, and when they passed their 30-year milestones, they stayed true to the music they love. The band plays one to three gigs per week and has released two four-song EPs.
“We don’t have that huge ‘Let’s get ready to rock stage presence,’” Offield says as he throws up an ironic rock ’n’ roll fist. “Ben and I almost have a stand-up routine going between each other.”
The band members inject humor into almost every aspect of their music. In 2011, they released their first EP, The Year of the Cicada, a title referencing the year when the native cardinals and crickets of Columbia were muted by the noisy critters.
Offield says there’s a story behind each song, but he hopes the sound makes people want to put their fists in the air — that, and enjoy Ben’s outfits that he wears on stage. “I have a suspenders theme,” Drummond says. “I don’t know why.”
The musicians divide time between Drummond’s chef position at CC’s City Broiler, Bonnot’s family and job as a University Hospital distribution tech and Offield’s education in philosophy and religious studies at Columbia College. “It’s hard to do when everybody has other needs that need to be met,” Offield says.
Although these men have planted roots and careers in Columbia, they still plan to take their signature rock-with-splash-of-jazz-and-blues sound on tour once more. “I’m really very lucky that I have a supportive wife,” Bonnot says.
“I’m really very lucky that Mike has a supportive wife, too,” Drummond says as the rest of the band chuckles. He appreciates Bonnot’s ability to make it to band practice between juggling kids and work.
Years of experience means the three musicians have developed a seasoned, professional sound. Wil Reeves, the owner of Centro Cellar Studio, says the band’s collaboration during the writing process and the layering of Drummond’s and Offield’s voices adds a complexity to Triple P’s music. These qualities keep Triple P relevant in what the band describes as a dramatically changing music scene.
“People don’t really go out to see shows like they used to,” Bonnot says. “Unless you have a reputation or have sold a lot of records, people generally prefer the dance clubs over live music.”
Dave VanSickle, the owner of VanSickle Audio, works next-door to Offield at The Guitar Finder downtown. The hallways between the two shops are connected, and sometimes VanSickle will hear the jazz guitar and not realize that Offield is actually the one playing. He’s impressed with Offield’s versatility. “He really is a jack of all styles,” VanSickle says. Triple P manages to book a lot of shows even though the Columbia area is saturated with musicians, he says.
Still, it’s more difficult for metal bands to get gigs in Columbia than it was a decade ago, Offield says. “Clubs know they aren’t going to make a lot of money off of hard rock bands because it’s just not what sells.” Reeves, who also works with bands spanning several genres, says having fewer rock bands to pair up and play a show makes it harder to break into the scene.
Despite these changes, Offield says the crowds have been excited and engaged at the past few shows. Maybe the band’s aggressive, hard-rock guitar riffs, akin to the driving rhythms of Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of the Stone Age, inevitably pump up the crowd. Or perhaps it’s Drummond’s wardrobe choices — a jacket from his high school marching band or the “Even Jesus Hates Creed” T-shirt, which he attributes as the cause of the crowd’s rowdiness. “Ask (Jesus), and he’ll tell ya,” he says.