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Volume CXXXIII, Number 5
October 10, 2003

Student band brings the funk

The funky sophomores of the Jim Weeks Philharmonic. Clockwise from left: Eric Davich, Phil Friedrich, Ely Delman, and Dan Wilson. (Grace Cho, Bowdoin Orient)
They love The Big Lebowski, Phish, and their first-year proctor.

No, we're not talking about your roommate, your best friend, or the girls across the hall. These are the guys of the Jim Weeks Philharmonic, a campus band looking to tackle Bowdoin with their funk, blues, and rock tunes.

The all-star jam funk band has made a name for itself since arriving on Bowdoin's campus just over a year ago. Jim Weeks Philharmonic is made up of guitarists Eric Davich '06 and Phil Friedrich '06, bassist Ely Delman '06, and drummer Dan Wilson '06. Together they have toured the campus, playing at campus wides, art shows, and participating in last spring's Battle of the Bands contest. The Philharmonic was the youngest band on campus last year and it accomplished more in performances and gained more popularity in one year than many other campus bands do in four.

But the story of Jim Weeks Philharmonic has its ups and downs. As is the cause with many famous bands, trying to figure out their sound and finding direction were two troubles they encountered. However, the common bond the four members share has helped them stick through the tough times and become one of the leading bands on campus.

The Jim Weeks Philharmonic came together in the fall of 2002. Dan Wilson was looking for a few guys to play a couple of jam sessions with. His search led him right across the first floor of Maine Hall to fellow first-year Phil Friedrich. "When I found out he played guitar, all I could say was, that's awesome," said Wilson of best friend and bandmate Friedrich.

After discovering that he and Friedrich had a definite musical chemistry, Wilson went hunting to find the other members. Like many other ambitious Bowdoin musicians, he advertised in the student digest, made posters, and spread the word that he wanted to start a band and needed a bassist and singer. Quick to respond was first-year Ely Delman. The three instantly saw that they shared a musical bond. The final member to join was Eric Davich '06 as another guitarist and vocalist.

Once the foursome gathered, they faced a very important question-one that would make or break the popularity of the group.

They needed to find a name.

Toying with several ideas, an idea dawned upon the group living in Maine Hall. "Jim Weeks, our proctor, is the freakin' s***, so we named the band after him," said Wilson. That proved to be the name that gave the proctor and band fame all around campus.

"I was honored that they named it after me," said Weeks. "So many people have come up to me, telling me how they are going to come see me play; if they only knew."

Weeks also recalled the story of when the guys came up with the name. "I remember they were hanging out on the Quad one day when I walked by and asked what was going on," recalled Weeks. "We started kicking around ideas and then Dan decided they were going to name it after me. I thought they were kidding until I saw the posters."

The band gained notice from the student body after opening for several campus bands, including Stoic. The members then decided to try a different entourage by adding a brass section. The horn added a sound that did not fit well and questioned the musical direction of the band. After many emails and discussions about where the band wanted to go, the horn section was dropped from the group, but with no hard feelings.

Many listeners feel as though the band covers a whole range of songs.

"They could be playing a funk song one minute, then playing some classic rock or jam band song the next," said band friend and fan Fariha Mahmud '06. "They seem to cover more than one genre. I think that is the reason why I like to listen to them, because they don't stick to one specific type of music and are willing to experiment."

Already, this year, they have played two successful gigs at Quinby's Funk Party and Helmreich's Coffee House, resulting in many new fans and the return of old ones. But if you have yet to hear the fantastic four, check them out when they play a few of their favorites such as their cover of U2's "Mysterious Ways" and "2001 Funk Odyssey" on Halloween at Quinby House.

Despite the struggles of forming a new band, the guys of Jim Weeks look forward to performing again this fall. Returning with a new attitude, fresh ideas, and a "scrumtulescent" sound, they're ready to get the party started.

since 11/01/02
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