Blogs > Indie Outing (the secret jambands roots of indie rockers)
Indie Outing: Bon Iver
Justin Vernon and Megafaun in their old school jammy band Mount Vernon
Indie-Jam Connection: Before he recorded music under the alias Bon Iver, Justin Vernon played in the self-described “post-Phish” band Mount Vernon in high school and college. The group’s members first jammed together in jazz camp in their teens and took a meaningful trip to the H.O.R.D.E. festival together in 1997. The complex music of Phish, the Grateful Dead and jazz were early influences, though the band sounded more like a mix between Bruce Hornsby and Counting Crows than moe. or String Cheese. As the musicians discovered roots rock, the band evolved into DeYarmond Edison from 2002-2006. The outfit’s early setlists were dotted with covers by the Grateful Dead and The Meters. After DeYarmond Edison’s breakup, Vernon started recording music as Bon Iver and the remaining members of the band formed the psych folk band Megafaun.
Notable Jam Moments: Though better known as singer songwriter, Vernon is actually an accomplished guitarist. He showed off his Crazy Horse-style guitar licks when he sat in with The National at the Dark Was the Night Benefit in 2009 as well as at a solo benefit for Haiti at Brooklyn, NY’s Music Hall of Williamsburg in 2010. In addition, Vernon continues to explore his avant-garde side in the side band Volcano Choir and perform with the members of Megafuan in the soul/funk/pop group GAYNGS. He even shared a bill with Steve Kimock at New York’s Merkin Hall in 2010. DeYarmond Edison reunited for a one off performance at SXSW last month where the group ran through three songs, including a jammed out version of its original “Set Me Free.” Bon Iver’s forthcoming self-titled album is even said to hint at Bruce Hornsby.
Lot Talk: “We had this really intense emotional connection from high school,” Vernon says of his friendship with the members of Megafaun . “But in Mount Vernon, we were still reacting to this post-Phish kind of thing, complex music. It felt really good to get back to being OK with being really rootsy.” -IndyWeek.com, 2006.
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