Foreign Frontiers


Foreign Frontiers wants to keep fun in their music

By From page B1 | March 07, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Club gigs are a few years off for the five members of Foreign Frontiers. The oldest member is 19, the youngest 16.

“You’re going to have to wait a few years for me,” said Logan Cruz, the band’s 16-year-old drummer.

The group is one of three who will play at the Sunday Night Concert Series at Gordon’s Music and Sound.

Members Phinehas Spielman, Byron Mayhew and Jonathan Cirelli were home-schooled and shared their love of music at events for families of home-schooled children.

They debuted in an eighth-grade talent show, under the moniker Phinnie and The Eighth Graders. A series of names followed including The Hot-List, Bergen and Janks & The Gentlemen. The last one was often mispronounced as Chasing Gentleman.

A name change was in order, they said. Mayhew and Spielman picked up a dictionary one day, wrote down some words and decided to pair foreign and frontiers. It fit nicely with the fact the band’s musical mentors range from John Mayer to Sublime.

The newest member is Fairfield resident Morgan Lasater. Sunday’s show will be his second live performance with Foreign Frontiers.

As for an initiation into the band, Lasater said, in jest, they stripped him naked, put a bag over his head and made him find his way back.

He passed the real test, which was learning seven new songs in a week.

The band writes its own music. Mayhew and Spielman usually get the tune started and other members pitch in.

“They take it to the next level,” Spielman said of his bandmates.

Mayhew added, “We just sit back and let them go at it, sometimes.”

Spielman pens the majority of the lyrics ,which are inspired by life events. Cirelli also pitches in.

The group played the Bay Stage at last year’s Solano County Fair. They got a 45-minute time slot after another band dropped out. They packed on open mic night at a coffee shop with friends.

“The venues have changed. We’re not doing coffee shops anymore,” Cruz said.

Foreign Frontiers hooked up with Gordon’s music series when Mayhew purchased a new guitar there. Samantha Lee, who organizes the concerts, offered up rave reviews for Foreign Frontiers’ first show at the store.

“They were totally awesome,” she wrote in an email.

Band members said it’s hard to peg their sound, but label it alternative since it can be a catch-all category.

“They’re upbeat pop rock songs,” Lasater said.

Having fun is what it’s really about for the quintet. They recorded a demo, but weren’t real happy with the outcome. Spielman said they were over their heads and called it a learning experience.

Three of the band members are in college. Mayhew and Spielman attend Solano Community College while Cirelli goes to Diablo Valley College. Cruz is at Benicia High School.

Foreign Frontiers has a new set of music on tap for Sunday’s show. Audience members may even be personally introduced to their equipment, which the band has given proper names.

A guitar pedal is named Robot Cheese, Cirelli plays a Sweet Brown guitar and a mini electric drum set is Ollie.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Foreign Frontiers, Trevor the Fly, Echoes in Absence
7 p.m. Sunday
Gordon’s Music and Sound, 810 Texas St., Fairfield
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

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