Fifteen Minutes: Harvard Band on the Rise, Again

Pforzheimer House won the heroic dining hall battle against Adams. But the bragging rights don't stop there--PfoHo now has a band named after it.

"North House," the original name of PfoHo, inspired the denomination. Originally composed of Al Bennett '00 and Wellesley senior Becky Warren, the two have since expanded, picking up guitarist Altay M. Guvench '03 and the man on the keys, Jose L. Sandoval '00.

Bennett and Warren met through each other's roommates while they were dating a couple of years ago. The two blended their southern backgrounds and musical passion and, with the help of some local rhythmical talents, this self-proclaimed "Do It Yourself" band produced their first album, entitled "Two Stories." For their CD release celebration, North House held a couple gigs--one at Wellesley and one at Harvard. Attempting to spice up the already wild aura of Hanover, New Hampshire, the two also played local taverns at Dartmouth one summer.

Having attracted a modest intercollegiate fan base, the band has amplified and started to play some local clubs. North House enthusiasts heard the musicians' original tunes at T.T. the Bear's in Central Square and at the Loeb Ex last month. At a climactic moment, they stumbled upon a legitimate chance to play at L.A.'s famous Viper Room, owned by Johnny Depp--where River Phoenix met his untimely death.

But their fortune changed. The band sided with Harvard finals over this great opportunity. While the guys might have envisioned themselves narrating stories of this offer to their great-grandchildren, Warren describes the situation a little differently: "It was never really a real prospect to me. We didn't even submit a demo." Okay...but, the Viper Room? That's still a score, and in anybody's book, the "remote possibility" is as good as done.

Common among the band members is a sense of sharing and appreciation in each other and their music. The addition of two new players colorfully diversified their flavor and musical knowledge. Sandoval explains "Sometimes we hang out together. We go to parties. I hope to hang out more, but I don't want us to kill each other." Not immune to acts of God, North House overcame tragedies in recent history. "Jose's Finger Incident" occurred just "three to six days before a couple Harvard and Wellesley gigs," according to Sandoval. Having fractured a finger and ripped it open, "I couldn't use it for the gig" he continues. But through the powers that be, this keyboardist heroically played a nine-finger set.

Given that three of the group members will graduate in June, the band has some serious choices to make. Warren, Sandoval and Bennett all expressed a sincere desire to keep the band going in the Boston area. Warren says, "I hope to get a part time job in the area and continue playing." Similarly, Bennett plans on sticking around and jumping into the music industry by making it big, or more realistically, involving himself in the recording and sound production sides of music. While they're still around, catch 'em at The White Horse Tavern in Allston on April 5.

Check out their CD releases at www.northouse.com.

--J. G. FONG