Arts and Entertainment

Bremerton's Ruxton Towers returns after split

Chris Matthews Jr. (right) and John Boyce of Ruxton Towers. - Courtesy Photo/Ruxton Towers
Chris Matthews Jr. (right) and John Boyce of Ruxton Towers.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo/Ruxton Towers

It almost doesn’t seem like they’d ever broken up.

Ruxton Towers, back on stage together at Winterland last Friday night after months-long hiatus, cranking out the old, spacey, uncomfortably indie rock with a newfound higher octane energy and attitude. More riffs, more chops, more determined vocals, same old Ruxton Towers.

It all sounded a bit stubborn. But it seems that’s somewhat characteristic of the Towers themselves.

The band formed more than five years ago with John Boyce of the locally famed former pop punk four-piece Magnetic North up front, Chris Matthews Jr. and Brian Matthews on guitar and drums, Jaymes Dunlap on bass. They played their first show at the Roxy in Bremerton.

In a few short years, many shows later, they’d risen to the ranks of opening for MxPx at the Admiral Theatre, finding their faces in the local media and playing live on Seattle’s 107.7 the End.

Soon thereafter, they actually took it to the city with members relocating to Capitol Hill, but that proved to be the beginning of the end.

The band splintered and its members returned to Bremerton disheveled.

Adding insult to injury, Chris Jr. said, “I came back and my house was four feet deep in water.”

The Dec. 2007 storms had wreaked havov on his pad, which was also where the Ruxton merch was being kept at the time. They lost almost all of it — more than a thousand copies of their debut CD “After All is Said and Done,” along with some gear and some of Chris Jr.’s prized possessions.

Thus began the break up.

But none of the members quit playing. Like most musicians, they couldn’t really imagine their lives without music.

“It’s the only thing I’ve ever done,” Boyce noted as Ruxton sat down with What’s Up on the afternoon before the reunion show.

“It’s the only thing we’re good at,” Dunlap added.

In the absence of the band, Chris Jr. went on writing and recording songs on rum, while Dunlap annoyed his roommate Boyce with constant unplugged electric bass slapping and Boyce, himself, wrote and recorded songs of his own in a dilapidated room with a leaky roof.

All that individual practice upped the band’s collective chops, they said. And judging from the two new songs thrown out Friday at Winterland, absence has made the heart grow fiercer.

The first few songs were drenched with energy as Ruxton Towers took the stage following Seattle’s Neon Nights and the indelible Rocky Point All Stars. Tough acts to follow, but the new Ruxton sound, replete with more riffage, more vigor, more straight ahead classic rock-ness, held its own.

However, later in the set when they’d reverted back to older songs and pulled out a slightly sub-par classic rock cover, one disgruntled show-goer walked out to light up a cigarette and said, “they lost me at Neil Young.”

Look for more from Ruxton Towers with Jupiter Mining Corp.., Red Means Go and Austin Lee at 7 p.m. June 28 at Jackson Hall, 9161 Washington Ave. in Silverdale. All ages, $7.


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