Can the Wood River Valley support a local music scene? Whether or not it's possible, there are musicians who believe the dream. Performing at The Mint in Hailey on Friday, April 20, Finn Riggins and The Maladies are local bands that are very proactive about creating music with the added label of "made in Sun Valley, Idaho."
Based in Hailey, Finn Riggins and The Maladies have planted roots in the Wood River Valley because they believe they can develop a local music renaissance.
"Our home base is Hailey," said Eric Gilbert of Finn Riggins. "We are resisting the urge to move to the city. Everyone we know moved to Portland.
"We moved here because we had a house to live in, and we wanted to uproot so we could focus."
The Finn Riggins trio, which includes Cameron Bouiss and Lisa Simpson, formed at the University of Idaho in Moscow. The band has been touring full time, playing Colorado, the San Francisco Bay area and up and down the West Coast. Bouiss, a Ketchum native, brought Simpson and Gilbert to Sun Valley this past August.
"We were in a variety of different bands. Lisa had been doing the solo thing and playing for 12 years," Gilbert said. "Cam and I have been playing since '99, but we had all played together. We still play up in Moscow."
Described as post-punk, indie rock, Finn Riggins has an experimental edge equated with bands such as The Talking Heads, Sonic Youth and The Clash.
"When we play on the road, the bands we play with want to come here," Gilbert said. "We are going to spend more time here, and want to be more of a local band this summer. We are putting our energy out there, and we have been collaborated with other artists.
"We have always been part of a music scene, and I like to go fishing."
Finn Riggins met Hailey's original band, The Maladies, when they first arrived in town. Having played with them once before at The Mint, the two bands share not only a common interest in building a local music opportunity, but they are very supportive of each other's effort.
"We can live where we want to, but it comes with its challenges," said Erik Gillberg, singer and guitarist for The Maladies. "We have been here since the band has been together for about four years."
The other members of The Maladies are Michael Parente on bass, Joe Spencer on drums and Patrick Adams on guitar.
"We have had the current line up for a year and a half, and we have completed an album ready to release in May. This is our first full-length album," Gillberg said. "Officially we have our own label, DarkJoy Records."
A cross between The Kinks and The Clash, The Maladies consider themselves an all-American band because the band members are from a variety of regions from all around the country.
"It's all-American in a good way and somehow the music feels like it's really alive," Gillberg said. "For everybody who feels like they are going to see a show that doesn't start till 10 p.m., take a nap and drink some coffee and then get ready to rock."
The Maladies can't quit their day jobs yet. They still tour, having just been to Missoula, Mont., and now lining up a Northwest tour for June.
However, The Maladies self-produced album at Morningstar Studios in Hailey marks a new era for recording studios in the valley. The previous studio closed after 20 years. "It is a Pro Tools project studio," Gillberg said. "We have a booth for drums and vocals, but we are a little limited. We will be doing commercials and voice-overs."
Gillberg hopes to find people who want to be involved with building the studio and the record label, to create a presence outside of Sun Valley. "It's great and challenging, but it would be nice to just concentrate on creating music," Gillberg said.
Although the studio is not officially open for business, people who have projects can contact The Maladies, who hope to have a grand opening some time this summer.
For more information, call 720-6418.