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ARTS MONDAY: Chester French Will Play “For the Girls”

By Mary CATHERINE Brouder, Crimson Staff Writer

Over black coffee, the tall, thin, boyishly charming lead singer of the Harvard-based band Chester French nonchalantly mulled over the reasons he and his bandmates will be performing at Sanders Theatre this Friday. “Despite the attention we get during shows, we have a hard time getting girls,” laments DA Wallach ’07. “That is really why I am doing this.”

Max Drummey ’07, the quiet, equally handsome brunette guitar player chimes in, “And he speaks for all of us when he says that, so please quote him on that.” The members of Chester French—a rock band composed of Harvard College students Justin Hurwitz ’07 (keyboards), Fuj Judge ’07 (bass guitar), Damien Chazelle ’07 (drums), Wallach and Drummey— promise that their live show this Friday, following the performance of the a capella group, the Harvard Din & Tonics, “will be bananas.”

Wallach explains, “You can pop in a CD if you just want to hear people play music.” Thus, the band always aims to pack something extra into their live performances. They assure that, as with all of their performances, Friday’s event will be chockful of improvisational antics, including some “crazy instrumental stuff that is not on the record.”

According to Wallach, the group was asked to perform with the seeminglydissimilar Harvard musical group, the Din & Tonics, because watching two successive a capella group performances can become tiring. “We were invited to perform after the Din & Tonics in order to mix things up a bit,” he offers.

If the popularity of the band is any indicator of Chester French’s cachet, the group’s recent fan group, designed on the popular collegiate social network, www.thefacebook.com paints a promising picture. At press time, the membership for the band’s fan base on the website tops eight hundred students. The buzz about the band has been so great since their last album that the group already has a follow-up album in the works. The boys hope to have the full album recorded and released within the next two months.

The band’s new disc will feature their Beach Boys-style harmonizing set against a backdrop of music influenced by the likes of Marilyn Manson, the Ronettes, Shuggie Otis, George Martin, David Bowie, and many more. Just getting their second serious CD heard has been the band’s main focus of late. Wallach goes so far as to claim, “We want everyone to have a copy, whether they pay for it or not.”

The band’s first album, released prior to this semester, will be available for sale at the Friday night performance. Wallach promises a good time.

“We’ll have people up and shaking their [bodies],” Wallach assures, confident in his band’s ability to entertain. After all, the group spends a reported six hours per day— roughly the same amount of time consumed by other Harvard students on varsity sports—practicing for their upcoming gigs and working on any new material that they can find the time to record.

While Chester French is enjoying its rising campus stardom, Wallach confesses, the band members’ social lives have deteriorated due to the long hours required for the nurturing of their band’s development. With eyes betraying a ragged tiredness, guitarist Drummey says, “We spend all of out time working on our music, [and lately] trying to get this album together.”

But Wallach quickly adds, in a convincingly non-defensive tone, “I’d rather be dancing on stage [than in a club] anyway.”

Despite performing professional gigs in Boston nightclubs for crowds in excess of 400 people and enjoying stronger name recognition than most campus acts, the five guys who make up this very talented, very good-looking, very Ivy League-educated rock band are single—make that very single.

When asked if the band had a specific message for would-be fans, Wallach eagerly interjects, “Here’s what they need to know: We have a hard time getting girls, and that it what is most important.”

“We are looking for strong, beautiful assertive, self-directed girls,” continues Wallach. Drummey continues the plea: “We want them in our lives...Tell them to come to our show, to be beautiful, and to give us love.”

—Reviewer Mary Catherine Brouder can be reached at mbrouder@fas.harvard.edu.

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