Edgewood is relatively new to the music scene, but they sure have been hustling to craft their sound and have it heard. I caught their fourth show last spring. Still a three-piece band at the time, they had a great sound and a feel-good vibe to match it. Now, with a new drummer and the addition of a second guitarist, they boast a fuller sound. I can attest to it via online videos of their most recent show. But more than that, I watched a band that has grown not only in number but in confidence. They also exemplified the camaraderie they spoke of in our interviews. It was as fun for me to watch them play as it was obviously fun for them to play together. They return to American Bar and Grill on Saturday, February 20, exactly fourteen months since their first show.
Thanks to Jon Hall (guitar, vocals), Chris Prince (guitar), Greg Hammaker (bass), and Korey Paul (drums) for talking with us about how the band came together and the making of their first EP, “The Switch.” Also, thanks to Matty Campbell for talking about the band and their forthcoming release on Tiger Hawk Records.
In their own words, this is the story of Edgewood.
Jon: I got my start jamming with a neighbor kid growing up and had a really cool experience playing with this band in high school called “Short Changed.” Some of those dudes are in pretty cool bands today, creating some awesome music. I had jammed with a bunch of other guys, but nothing ever really took off.
Greg: Prior to Edgewood, I played in a couple of bands. Marana-tha (Christian Punk), Dark Lit Skies (Alt Rock), Inconsistencies (Punk), played a couple of shows with them and disbanded. I’ve also helped some bands in the past from merch sales to roadie to jumping in and playing some songs. All have been pretty good experiences.
Jon: Edgewood has always been an idea in my mind for a pop punk band. About 2 years ago, I was getting the itch to start playing some music again after a long hiatus from just being in the military and not playing much. I was getting these little tunes stuck in my head and jotting some notes down, writing music and putting down the framework for some songs. To be honest, I really didn’t know anyone else in the area that was available to start a band with, so I reached out on Craigslist to see if I could jam with some dudes or find a band that was looking for a guitarist.
Greg: I was searching through and Jon’s post caught my eye. I decided to contact him and we got together and talked music. I knew from that meeting our music goals and sounds were very similar. My musical influences range from punk to classic rock and some country. I really try to listen to anything, but punk music really spoke to me. Some bands that really got me interested in playing are Blink 182, The Bouncing Souls, The Descendents, Rancid, and The Ramones.
Jon: My personal musical influences that I think contribute the most to our style are bands like Ramones, Teenage Bottlerocket, the Queers, NOFX, and especially the Copyrights. However, I love the Rolling Stones and like to think that some of the lyrical style comes from me listening to them since I was super young.
Greg: We held our first band practice at Jon’s house sometime mid-2013. It was just he and I at this point. We worked on some songs he had been writing. I believe “OCD” and “Rad to Me” came out of this first practice. We also jammed around on some covers we knew. We had a small break over the holiday season that year and when we got back to it we started looking for a drummer.
Jon: I became pretty good friends with Ben [Cohen] a few years ago (we work together) and it just so happened that he knew how to play. Music just came up in conversation at work one day and I wanted to try him out, and he wanted to try us out. Funny thing was with Ben, he hadn’t played at all in about 15 years! At the time, Greg and I were practicing in this studio at the Perfect 5th off of the Carlisle Pike. Greg knew some of the owners there and they allowed us to play in this cool studio/shed.
Greg: Our first full band practice with Ben was in April or May of 2014. By this time we had a couple of songs written so it was just getting Ben up to speed on them and tweaking them with having drums finally there. Using some resources through my buddy Eric, we were able to use a drum set to see what Ben could do. Throughout the night I could see the rust just falling off and Ben getting more comfortable behind the kit. Jon and I agreed we had found a drummer and that weekend Ben had a kit so we knew he was serious.
Jon: We gelled pretty well for our first practice, but needed a ton of work. I remember that we practiced “Rad to Me” and “Rockaway Beach” by the Ramones. Edgewood really started to come together after that.
Greg: The song writing process is pretty simple. Jon will get a melody going in his head and comes up with some lyrics.
Jon: I always record a vocal progression or rhythm on my phone so I can remember it later. I normally write the words and the structure of the song and when we practice, that’s when we really tear it apart and rebuild it to our style.
Greg: From there we all start putting our input in, from progressions, bridges, leads, and maybe changing lyrics if needed. It’s awesome to have everyone involved in the creative process.
Jon: It’s really a collaborative effort, I like having multiple perspectives in our writing process and perspectives on the band in whole. The collaboration makes the music come alive!
Greg: When we started the band, I had not known the guys previously or so I thought. So a week before our first show, I get a call from my mom asking all these questions about Jon. Turns out our moms worked together at a restaurant when we were three.
Jon: My mom and his mom used to work at this restaurant called Amnity Hall, and Greg and I hung out together as kids! Had no idea until recently.
Greg: We had our first show on December 20, 2014 at the American Bar and Grill in Lancaster. This was one amazing night. That night we shared the stage with the Lebowskis, Mid Rats and First in Space.
Jon: Ah, man, such a great memory! Our first show was a blast! We couldn’t have asked for a better lineup, venue, crowd, or first show. There was a ton of energy there that night and I just remember the excitement of everything coming together.
Greg: Going in I was a little nervous, hoping people would enjoy our music. I remember playing our set and looking through the crowd with people standing shoulder to shoulder with heads going to the music. That was one of those moments that I’ll never forget.
Jon: It went by so fast. After we kicked it off with our first song “OCD”, it only felt like seconds went by and we were done with our last song! We partied and had a good time just hanging with our friends.
Greg: I remember hanging with the other bands and chatting about the show. The camaraderie is super strong. It felt like we had been playing shows for years with these guys.
Jon: To be honest, that show was essentially my only goal for the band at the time. I wanted to get our music together and play a show…that’s it! I really didn’t look past that thought at the time. To think that was just one year ago is crazy – Time cruises by when you are having fun!
Greg: 2015 was a great first year for us. We played a bunch of shows throughout the Central PA area. We got to share the stage with some awesome bands and meet some really cool people. Crowd response has been amazing. I’ve gotten so many compliments about our songs. It’s humbling. Seeing people come back to see us is just amazing. I think one of the coolest comments I received this year was from a guy at our second show. He said watching us “was like being at a CBGB’s show.”
Jon: Really we have gotten a great response overall from everyone. It’s pop-punk, so it’s catchy; people can tap their foot to it or get as crazy as they want. It has really just depended on where we were playing and when. Playing a smaller venue on a Tuesday night doesn’t always yield the same results as playing at a more well-known place on a Saturday. But the point for us is to play, have fun, and share our tunes!
Greg: The drummer change came in May of 2015. Ben had been with the band about a year at this point.
Jon: He actually took a break from work and the band to do something he always wanted to do.
Greg: He always had aspirations of getting into farming. He was selected for a summer internship on a farm in Virginia and this was something he could not pass up. We talked to him about looking for another drummer so we could keep the momentum going for the band. There was no issue with it and the search for a new drummer was on.
Jon: It was completely drama free and cool. We are really good friends and still talk and hang.
Greg: We started our search for a drummer. We had a couple people in mind, but went back to the trusty Craigslist, and sure enough Jon found a post from a guy looking to join or start a band.
Korey: I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a few dudes to play in a band I had been working on over the past several years. Instead, I received an email in April of 2015 from Jon. He mentioned that they were losing their drummer and interested in finding a replacement. Jon and Greg met me for a few beers and discussed the potential of me joining the band. We hit it off quite well from the beginning and began practicing together shortly thereafter.
Jon: Korey came to us with a wealth of musical knowledge and expertise and was in a phenomenal band previously.
Korey: I had played in several bands in Indiana where I grew up. I spent several of my teenage years with a punk band called “All Torn Down”. We were pretty much an AFI rip-off band. I met the members of the next band that I would join towards the end of high school during my time with All Torn Down. I left All Torn Down to join the band In the Face of War, a punk-hardcore band from Kokomo, Indiana. After playing with In the Face of War for four years, I left my music career for college. Many years later, I finished college and took a job in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Jon: The guy can rock. He brought a much different dynamic to us musically and understands music composition, can pretty much play any instrument you throw at him, and is seriously one of the coolest dudes I have ever met in my life. Korey is a dreamer musically, but really keeps the direction of the band moving forward.
Greg: I remember our first practice with him. I had to keep reminding myself to keep playing because I was amazed how quickly Korey was getting the music down. I told Jon before I left we could have made it through a show the next day if need be. The chemistry in the band only got better when Korey joined with our three personalities being very similar. He gelled right in and musically his mind brought another element to the table.
Korey: Jon, Greg, and I got along very quickly and with relative ease. The transition from Ben to myself was fairly smooth. I think my experience in punk drumming and songwriting made for a simple passage to the current Edgewood sound and structure. With roughly three practices under my belt, we played our first show at Fat Daddy’s in York, PA with the recently disbanded From Dawn ‘til Death.
Jon: Korey, Greg and I looked at four songs, took a day and really got after it in our practice room at the house. We bought some recording software [Ableton Live] and just dug deep. We wanted to keep the spirit of the DIY mind frame so we just did it all ourselves! Korey was the mastermind on the recording as he has done this before and had used the same software before.
Korey: The recording process itself was not as difficult as managing the sound once we had it recorded onto my computer.
Jon: The bulk of it really only took about a week, the rest was Korey’s mixing. Korey and I took a couple of evenings to listen to what we did and see if we needed to change anything up or re-record anything.
Korey: We are happy with the EP as a demo to get our music out to the public, but certainly looking forward to spending time in a real studio to record a full-length album.
Greg: The first release off The Switch EP was “Rad to Me.” We couldn’t wait to get it out so we put it out on SoundCloud just to get people psyched about it.
Jon: One of my favorite songs to play! That was actually one of the first songs I wrote when this thing was coming together in the early Edgewood stages. I was listening to a ton of Teenage Bottlerocket at the time and I think that I wrote it within that spirit of catchiness (well, it’s really catchy to me to say the least). The song is about my wonderful wife, and how I think that she is the coolest, most down to earth, greatest human being I have ever met! The song has to do with her support in my life, and how she totally supports my musical endeavors.
Greg: It’s about his wife, but I think it relates to all of us in one way or another. It’s one of those songs that get stuck in your head.
Korey: “Rad to Me” is a fun song that we typically close shows with. After getting the EP songs together, we decided to send it over to Matty Campbell from Tiger Hawk Records. We thought getting connected with Tiger Hawk would be a great way to connect with the Lancaster area punk scene.
Matty: Even before I started playing drums in Lebowskis, those dudes brought Edgewood along for a show at the great ABG. I watched them and thought that they had a good vibe. They have a work ethic. They’ll play weird shows. They’ve got stage presence and aren’t fucking around. They seem innocent, but these dudes are fucking tinderboxes.
Jon: We played our first show with Matt, and around that time Tiger Hawk was up and coming.
Greg: We played another show with him and the Mid Rats and that’s when it was mentioned about maybe joining the label.
Greg: We love his vision and D.I.Y. mentality. We had no question that the Tiger Hawk family was for us. Matt said he wanted to do a release for The Switch EP. It was decided after the holidays was best.
Matty: I knew going into it that they were working hard to convey their sound. Punk rock shouldn’t be pristine and perfect. I love shit that takes me back to ’88 when I first heard Screeching Weasel. People will dig it. They’ve got earworms for days. The way bands like The Queers or Huntingtons stick their grubby talons into yer head.
Greg: In October 2015, we added a fourth member to the lineup. We hadn’t really considered a new member, until we met Chris.
Jon: We were comfortable with the trio format of our band. I always personally liked the sound of two guitars in any band. It sounds much fuller live, you know? Anyway, Chris is a friend of Korey’s and Korey asked him to jam with us. Am I glad he did!
Chris: I met Korey shortly after moving to Carlisle about two and a half years ago. My wife and I met him playing trivia on Tuesday nights at Alibi’s. It started as good-natured trash talking between his team of 10-15 and our team of two. Korey and I became pretty quick friends over our mutual love of hardcore and punk. When Korey joined Edgewood, my wife and I went to see them in Harrisburg, and I really liked what I heard.
Greg: Chris really dug the sound and Korey invited him to a practice, and by the next one he was jamming with us and we asked him to join the band. Chris brings a lot of experience to our band.
Chris: The first band I played in was the Hudson Falcons. This was back in the winter of 99-00. I filled in on bass for them while they were in between bass players. We toured most of the Midwest and East coast that winter. A leg of our shows on the East coast was with the Dropkick Murphys, which was incredibly cool. After that, I was in and out of very short-lived bands. Edgewood is that first band I’ve played a significant role in since 2000.
Chris: Korey sent me a link to “Rad to Me” which they had posted on SoundCloud. I noodled around and wrote a re-imagined bass line to it. Korey then invited me to a practice, where I watched them play the entire set. Then, I just picked up a guitar and ripped through “Rad to Me.” That pretty much did it. I think since joining, the sound of the two guitars has added a depth to the sound- we sound more full, I guess. Johnny and I write really well together. He typically comes up with an idea, and then we both just add to it through improv. Korey and I are essentially the same way. It’s been really nice writing with like-minded dudes.
Jon: Right now, we are sharing both rhythm and lead roles, but he is definitely the “LEAD” guitarist in our band. Chris has provided us with the opportunity to take our original songs and refine them. Trust me, if you come out and listen to us now, it will sound miles different to you from when we first started.
Korey: We are having an EP release show on the 20th of February at the American Bar and Grill.
Greg: This is going to be a crazy night. We are stoked to be playing our release show here. Everyone at the bar is extremely cool and supports the local music scene 110%. It only made sense to do it here.
Jon: The release is going to be a party! It’s kind of surreal that we have the opportunity to release our EP at the same place that Edgewood got its start.
Korey: We will have our first copies of our EP, The Switch, available at that show. The CD release show is really the first time that we will be truly connecting with the Lancaster punk scene. We are playing the EP release show with Mid Rats, Hate To Say It, and fellow label mates Metalwülf.
Chris: I’ve never seen Mid Rats, so I am super exited to see them. My first show with Edgewood was at Reverb in Reading. It was also my first time seeing Metalwülf, and I was totally blown away by them. They’re undoubtedly my favorite local band right now. Those dudes shred.
Jon: We are super fortunate to have these guys, ABG and the community support us as much as they are. We can’t thank everyone enough.
Greg: Next up for Edgewood, we are looking to play as many shows as we can. We had blast playing last year and that’s what we started the band for – to go out and have fun playing music.
Korey: We certainly look forward to recording a full length album at some point, but there are no immediate plans. Our major goal is to get our music out to the people who enjoy our brand of punk rock and playing lots of shows. As people know who have played in bands, playing shows is possibly the most enjoyable thing in the world. It’s roughly 10 times better when people know and enjoy your music. Hopefully, having our EP out in the world will jam a few catchy tunes in people’s heads and get them to come out and enjoy our shows with us.
Chris: I think Edgewood is looking to do a little touring during the summer. Korey’s goal is to get a spot on The Warped Tour. I really just want to write and play out more aside from recording. I have a lot of faith in our sound and our commitment, and I think recording a successful full length album is not entirely out of the question.
Jon: Our options are limitless; we are just having a blast doing this thing and taking it one note at a time!
Thanks again to Jon, Greg, Korey, and Chris for talking with us about the beginnings of Edgewood. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and ReverbNation. Also, stay up-to-date with Matty and Tiger Hawk Records on Facebook.