Forget the Roses’ roots run deep in its hometown. The two players in the rhythm section have been playing together since they were sixth-graders at Sierra Mountain Middle School.
Bassist Cody Brouwers and drummer Gabe Carlson are now 27. They each joined the band in 2011. Forget the Roses was started a year earlier by guitarists Morgan Hargrave and Todd Wees, both, coincidentally 42 after Hargrave’s birthday Sunday.
“We both like the same kind of sound, kind of like Johnny Cash getting on a train,” Wees said.
Hargrave calls the band’s sound Americana roots rock.
Forget The Roses also will play at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at the Made In Tahoe Festival at the Village at Squaw Valley.
The band recently added keyboardist and backing singer Steve Kershiznik, who also plays with Groove Foundry.
“We huddled down in the fall 2016 and wrote seven new songs, each of of which will be debuted at The Saint,” Hargrave said. “We are currently at work on our first album.”
The name Forget the Roses comes from an amalgamation of two songs: Wilco’s “Forget the Flowers” and Ryan Adams’ “Cold Roses.”
Hargrave, an environmental scientist, chose the noun “amalgamation.” He also used the vernacular when noting the band has played most of its 200 shows close to home.
“We haven’t escaped the gravitational pull of the lake,” he said.
And about the band’s two young players: “It’s a locally grown organic rhythm section with lots of preservatives.”
Brouwers and Carlson each selected their respective instruments in ways that might be expected of an 11-year-old.
Brouwers chose electric bass because his father owned one. Carlson’s decision was more thought out. After Carlson filled out a questionnaire, band teacher Randy Humphreys suggested Carlson would best be suited for the flute.
“I thought that was pretty girly,” Brouwers said, “so I picked the instrument with the biggest word: percussion.”
He admitted that he didn’t know the definition of “percussion.”
Carlson’s naivete about music was long gone just a few years later when he presciently named his first rock band Chapter 13. A lot more musicians go bankrupt than become rock stars.
Brouwers was a quick study, too. He learned to read music and was a member of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
Hargrave, who started playing music on the saxophone, bought his first guitar the day he graduated from high school.
A music-store salesman asked if he wanted to try the guitar before purchasing it.
“I said, ‘I don’t know how to play it, you play something,’ ” Hargrave said.
The salesman busted out “More than Words” by Extreme and a deal was reached.
A fifth-generation Southern Californian, Hargrave first lived at Lake Tahoe during the late 1990s during the MTBE crisis. The gas additive seeped into the ground and a third of South Tahoe Public Utility District’s wells had to be retired.
When the job was finished, Hargrave had to move away, but he wanted to return.
“It took six or seven years but we scratched and clawed our way back up here,” he said.
Hargrave also plays guitar in an “old-school country band,” Everyday Outlay
Wees, a native of Canada, went to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He, too, said it took a while to make it to Truckee, where he wanted to settle down.
After Wees wrote a number of songs, which he played to his newborn child, he made a children’s album and performed around town. Playing for kids is a sweet gig, he said, because the shows start early and only last about an hour due to short attention spans.
At his wife’s urging, Wees began to play publically at open-mic shows. That’s where he met Hargrave. After recognizing commonalities, the two started Forget the Roses.
“We play a lot of 3½ to 4-minute songs,” Hargrave said. “We like pop songs with an edge to it.”
A typical performance will include about 32 songs, 16 of them originals.
For a while, the band include viola player Gia White, who now lives in Colorado.
Visit the Forget the Roses Facebook page to hear original tracks “California Freeway” and Castle Peak.”
ABOUT Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.
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