by Jaclyn Killins
The Disco Rockin Llamas were in the middle of practice recently when a police officer showed up at the door. He stood in reluctant defense, shaking his head to eager excuses. He wasn’t there to enjoy the sounds of the Island’s newest jam band; he was there to safeguard the sleep of a five-year-old neighbor. It was obvious the band had worn out their welcome in the neighborhood and so they had to bend with the wind, curve and jostle and find another place to practice their jovial jams. Good thing improvisation is their forte.
The groovy jam/rock band consists of Ashley Gorman on guitar and vocals, Laura Oakie on keys, sax and vocals, Scott Doyle on drums and Eric Coffin on bass guitar. With a band of four talented musicians it is all about balance. There is no leader, they respect each other and everyone has a say. “It’s a mixture of strong opinions and compromise,” Laura said.
Ashley and Eric were in Stride, Scott Doyle plays in The Mystery System and Laura, who has been playing piano since age five, has played and sung in many bands.
During ECMA weekend they got a chance to do what they do best, play to a packed bar. It was near the end of the night and the music drew everyone in. “We’ve had people say it’s the most fun they’ve had at a show,” Laura said. “I’ve never experienced that before, where there’s actual joy on peoples faces.” Ashley added.
The happiness the four share when they play is clear. Their eyes meet and their heads bob, they smile like proud parents watching their child dance and spin. Laura’s curly hair and earrings bounce as her fingers work the keys, her strong voice translating her soul to sound. Scott leans his head back as he casually yet expertly hits the drums. Eric really gets into the music, his hand crawls the groove across his strings, his lips poof to every note. Ashley’s eyes close as he rocks out with cool rifts and a buoyant voice.
There are open extended sections in their songs, keeping things free and fun, and allowing listeners to lose themselves in the music. The longer they keep people dancing the better, they say.
As for the name, people either love it or they hate it, Ashely said.
“We wanted something that would speak to our attitude behind the band,” Scott said. The attitude he speaks of is a fun loving, anything goes, rollicking glee that gets people dancing.
The Llamas recorded a demo with Allister MacDonald in April. Confining the inventive energy onto a track was a challenge as they are primarily a live band, but all were content with the results. www.myspace.com/discorockinllamas