Were he alive, T.S. Eliot, author of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," might not recognize the newest lineage of the Prufrock name, but he might respect the band's individualism and spirit.
This real-deal rock 'n' roll band, composed of Montana State University students, won the BandSlam contest this summer in Billings as part of the Magic City Blues festival, with about 1,500 more online votes than the second-place band Innerlock. The grand prize was $1,000 and some extra recognition.
The contest confirmed some important things for the four students who make up Alfred Prufrock. First, they've got stage presence.
"J.R. definitely has it, but we all like being in front of people," said bassist Dane Bahr, 22, a sophomore English major from Maple Grove, Minn. "We come into our own. We're all kind of ego-maniacs and we love being on stage."
And they've confirmed that they write and practice and play because they enjoy being musicians.
"In the end, it's just fun, and the fact that we've got the potential to do something great is very exciting and satisfying," J.R. Logan, lead vocals and electric guitar, wrote in an e-mail from Spain where he's studying this semester. Logan, 21, from Durango, Colo., is a senior majoring in philosophy.
The other two members of the band are drummer Jason Archer, 19, a freshman in university studies from Amarillo, Texas, and Andrew Hedrick, a 22-year-old electric guitarist and background vocalist from Boise, Idaho. Hedrick is a senior majoring in physics.
Bahr can't decide who is the official spokesman for Alfred Prufrock.
"I guess J.R.'s a good talker, but it's not the J.R. Logan band," Bahr said in a tone that affirms that these guys really are good friends outside of making rock 'n' roll together.
Bozeman and MSU are home to a number of budding musicians, some who are members of self-proclaimed garage bands that play all varieties of music.
"We're actually more of a 'basement' band," Bahr said. "You could call ours garage-rock-revival. I'd guess there are less than a dozen organized garage bands in Bozeman, but that's just my guess."
The band takes leads from life for their lyrics. Song titles and themes include sex, letdowns from life, a little profanity and even the façade of glamour that is Las Vegas. With Bahr, the English major, and Logan, the philosophy major, writing "an absurd amount of material," the band gets to test their sound with plenty of lyrics.
When they're all in Bozeman, band members practice almost every day and find time to shop for clothes that fit their sound. If the sound is pure rock, what do those clothes look like?
"We actually shop in the girls section for clothes," Bahr explained. "We buy size 4 straight legs and anything that looks like, well, maybe a little small, or borderline homeless. Let's be clear that it's not just for a stage image, it's part of who we are."
Making time to play doesn't seem tough for these students.
"We do it like everyone else at school," wrote Logan. "People are into all sorts of things while taking classes, but manage to maintain their grades at the same time. I'm more impressed by someone who takes a full load of credits and works a full time job than I am by the four of us getting together and playing music in our spare time."
Even with a "minimalist attitude towards promotion," according to Logan, the band has recorded an album that's on its way to Los Angeles.
"Ours is a good live sound," Bahr said, "so we're hoping it might get into a movie or commercial."
These rockers from four different states haven't decided what to call their first work of art, but are considering "Michelangelo's A Go Go," because they like the sound of it. When Logan returns from Spain in June, the group anticipates making more music. To hear some of their sounds before then, listen at the band's Web site.
Contact: Sara Deutscher, 994-4602