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Abandon Ship sails together.

Byline: LEWIS TAYLOR The Register-Guard

Abandon Ship is the Eugene indie rock trio composed of the Lester brothers - Damian (bass), Gabriel (guitar) and Nathen (drums) - but don't call it a band of brothers.

"We've never wanted to play up the fact that we were brothers," Nathen Lester said. "That is a total nightmare to us, being pigeonholed as a gimmick brother band,"

Abandon Ship will celebrate the release of its self-titled debut today at Sam Bond's. The show also is a release party for Portland's Ashleigh Flynn, whose new CD "Chokecherry" features several Eugene musicians, including Asher Fulero (keyboards) and Brian West (drums). Eugene poet Nathan Langston also will perform.

Despite Lester's aversion to the `family band' label and his observation that about 25 percent of bands feature siblings, there's a cohesiveness to Abandon Ship's playing that easily could be an outgrowth of three closely connected brothers making music together.

The group's bare-bones indie rock thrashing is tempered by vocal harmonies and softer grooves. Each member writes songs and trades off on lead vocals, which lends the album both variety and consistency.

"When you're in a family, there's no disappearing out of the situation," Lester said. "Also, we have similar communication skills. We know each other really well. There's not going to be a lot of surprises."

Originally from Joshua Tree, Calif., Lester and his brothers were living in different locales and playing in different bands before coming together in Eugene. Lester, who was living in Maui and struggling to keep a band together, was convinced his two brothers were his ideal bandmates.

"The best scenario for a band is, you get together with your high school buddies and you just stick it out," Lester said. "Once you lose that opportunity, once you move away, you have to pay people to be in a band with you. It's a very difficult situation.

`There's this period of a long time where you don't make any money. ... This has kind of been an opportunity for us to use that high school buddy scenario, because we're all really good friends."

Lester's two other brothers - one an aspiring fireman, the other an animator for "The Simpsons" - also are musical. The five boys grew up in a home where money was often scarce, but music was plentiful.

"We were listening to Beatles all the time; my parents were always singing," Lester said. `When I was 7 or 8, we had a family tradition of just getting around this chest we had in the living room that was our coffee table and just pounding rhythms on it. ...

`It was never like, `OK, now you're going to have piano lessons.' It was never handed down. It was just, `If you want to do this, hey look, it's fun.' '

Recorded at the family home in Joshua Tree, Abandon Ship's new album is even more of a family project than three brothers singing and playing together. The CD was tracked in the Lester family's home studio and mixed on a home computer.

Lester produced, engineered and mixed the record.

Abandon Ship plans to release a second record, a six-song EP called "Happy Endings," this summer. That CD will be recorded closer to home in Cottage Grove.

Until then, the group plans to continue playing local and regional shows.

ABANDON SHIP

WITH: Ashleigh Flynn, Nathan Langston

WHEN: 9 p.m. today

WHERE: Sam Bond's Garage, 407 Blair Blvd.

COVER: $3

ALSO: To hear music by Abandon Ship, call GuardLine at 485-2000 and select category 7664

CAPTION(S):

The Lester boys (from left): Nathen, Gabriel and Damian.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 31, 2003
Words:596
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