Making the band: Autobahn style
.....It all began on a blustery September day back in 1999. Like a magnetic force, three musicians gravitated to each other with a sense of pre-destined musical chemistry. Drummer Ethan "P-Nutt" Bullard '03, guitarist/ubermusician Chris "Banjo" Bail '02, and guitarist Andy "I'm not Jewish, I'm Italian" Rossi first consummated in musical matrimony in a Gibson practice room. The power-trio then added stalwart session bassist/French-Canadian hockey dynamo Julien "this sucks" Breau to round out the maturing project. Inspired by a once-legendary German techno-pop experiment, the emerging Bullard, Bail, Rossi, and Breau quartet adopted the name "Autobahn." The 'Bahn, (as its known to the fans) explored (and exploited) many dimensions of the Bowdoin music scene. Struggling to find its niche in a confused world comprised of children of the 80s and followers of blues, rock, jazz, reggae, AND Raga, Autobahn was fueled by the inspirations of U2, Radiohead, the Beatles, the Police, the Bob's, and Tiny Tim.
Whether experiencing Autobahn in the opium dens of the Mothership, the raucous keg-fueled parties of social houses, or the immense Bear Aids festivals, BahnHeads followed the band for its diversity and deafening guitar solos from Chris Bail. While the fans enjoyed the Bahn's musical and ethnic diversity, the hodge-podge arrangements bothered co-founders Bail and Bullard. By the spring of 2000, as Autobahn crossed the threshold of a new century, it began refining its style to a more rock-oriented direction.
Due to undisclosed conflicts, Autobahn ousted bassist Breau
and adopted the hottest new bass sensation on the campus, Freshman Colin
"T-Bone" Thibadeau '03. Touring the rest of spring 2000, the
Bahn concluded with a memorable Bear Aids performance opening for Ween.
The band took a hiatus in the fall of 2000 after Rossi graduated and Bail
was extradited to Switzerland. When he returned in 2001, Autobahn finally
had the rejuvenated energy to seize the Bowdoin scene. Joining the line-up
this time were rhythm guitarist/smut-peddler Dan "iel" Buckley
'02 and vocalist "Sexy" Sarah Ramey '03. Ramey provided the
band with a sense of matured sexual expression in what had traditionally
been a band of four male jerk-offs.
Spring 2001 proved to be the Bahn's most successful and
rewarding season in the band's three year tenure. While crafting originals,
Autobahn also added new rock favorites to the live repertoire. Crowd pleasers
like Gun's and Roses "Sweet Child of Mine" Led Zep's "Good
Times Bad Times" and the bluegrass-inspired "Angel from Montgonmery"
by John Prine became the new classics in 'Bahn covers. In Spring 2001,
Autobahn also began experimenting with Communist rhetoric and regalia.
Heralded as "the People's Party" Autobahn unleashed its Red
Menace at Bowdoin's own House of Red, Helmriech. In April, Autobahn took
Marxism to Colby college in what is the most infamous of 'Bahn experiences.
Autobahn and its twenty closest superfans piled into a U-Haul for the
"Debauchery on Wheels" tour, bringing music and mayhem to our
neighbors in the north.
Bullard, Bail, Buckley, Thibadeau, and Ramey concluded spring
2001 as they had one year previous, with a gripping performance at Bear
Spanning two millennia, Autobahn has finally polished its
sound and found its distinguishing niche. Autobahn's strength comes not
only from the devotion of its members, but also the infrastructure provide
by seniors computer artist Ned Bair, video artist/roady Brendan Smith-Elion,
and security team leader, Mike Warner. Friday's show at Ladd house proved
that Autobahn exhibits a sense of musical maturity, deep, penetrating
self-expression, and yes...ear bleeding guitar solos from Chris Bail.
Stay tuned for more gigs this spring with a repeated tour-de-force of
Colby, Bates, and Vassar, plus an intimate CD release party at Jack McGee's