An unheard Elsinore, the band is back

Seven days before recording its most recent album, “PUSH/PULL,” local band Elsinore lost half of its members. Studio time was already reserved and a producer was scheduled to be flown out from Portland, but the band’s dynamic wasn’t working, making the previous members opt out last minute. Frontman Ryan Groff and keyboardist Mark Woolwine were left to produce an album without a drummer or a bass player.

A decision had to be made and quick — decisions that would change the band forever. That’s when drummer James Treichler and bass player Brad Threlkeld stepped up to the plate. Not only did Groff and Treichler have a preestablished relationship at the time, but Treichler was already a well-established drummer from his other project, The Dirty Feathers. From his performance style to personality, Groff knew that the addition of Treichler would be a perfect match both stylistically and intellectually.

When Threlkeld was extended an offer to join the band, it seemed as though fate had taken its course, Groff said. Threlkeld’s previous band had just broken up back in Lafayette, Indiana, and he called Groff to see how things were going with the new members search. That’s when Groff and Woolwine knew that they couldn’t pass up the opportunity. They knew how Threlkeld played, and they meshed on a personal and stylistic level.

In a week’s time, the foursome produced an album. The material was influenced by the previous two members, but the record had a stylistic twist making it known that Elsinore was now Treichler and Threlkeld’s band too.

“We’re all dedicated, and we’re all on the same page, which is the most important part. If you’re in a band and one person doesn’t really want to do it, it brings the whole band down,” Threlkeld said.

Groff said “PUSH/PULL” was a record that spoke to the situation that was happening at that time: a perfect representation of four people coming together to pick up the pieces and create an outcome that exceeded expectations.

After national tours and playing over 100 shows in the past two years, the band went into hibernation for the last six months to focus on the band’s new record. This hibernation will take a hiatus for one show this Friday at Cowboy Monkey. 

The show will include the material for which Champaign-Urbana knows the band best. This performance is bringing a new kind of Elsinore, with songs from their upcoming album, which represent everything that the band is right now: bombastic, bold and creative, with new qualities that will surprise listeners, Groff said. It will also showcase a different songwriting process, Threlkeld said, in addition to debuting their newest and fifth member of the band: Eric Enger.

“It is the magic equation for what we’re doing. It’s one of the only ways that too many cooks in the kitchen can be a good thing,” Groff said. “If one of us gets stumped, someone is going to have an idea because it’s five people who are very different and very invested equally in this (record), and we’re all coming from a slightly different angle.”

Elsinore is excited to see what a creative change will bring in terms of attention. Landing songs on a Kohl’s commercial, episodes on NBC and FOX and a song featured in the film Nate & Margaret, all from the band’s 2010 record, “Yes Yes Yes,” Elsinore put Champaign-Urbana back on the musical map. This national attention, however, occurred in a way that was different than what C-U bands had received in the past.

Alternative ‘90s bands, such as American Football, Hum and Braid made Champaign-Urbana a powerhouse for rock bands, drawing national attention with commercials, tours and sold-out shows. Yet Elsinore has done just that but with a sound that is completely unique to the area.

“I think I’ve always felt that pressure to live up to that name that Champaign-Urbana has had, especially since the ‘90s, when it was the other Seattle,” Groff said.

Comparing themselves to Death Cab For Cutie and Phoenix, Elsinore has dedicated their lives to making a sound that not only they can be proud of but the city of Champaign-Urbana can be recognized for.

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