Somnia started out in the summer
We formed from the ashes of two previous bands – Spoondrift and Dreamt
By Another. Mike Lowder came from the former, Heeley and Aaron came from the
latter. It was just the three of us, and when we started, it was kind of an
experiment. We didn’t know what we would sound like. It turned out that the
old Somnia sounded a lot like the band +LIVE+.
Our first show was on October
21st, 1999 at a place (that is now closed) called Karma. Two people showed up
to see us. Heeley had a 104 degree fever and was sick as a dog. We had all
been in bands before and played good shows, and we knew this was definitely not
a good show. Our second show a few weeks later was another disaster. We were
out of tune, we were playing another bands gear. It was a definite low-point.
Before our third show, I think we were all having second thoughts about this
little experiment of ours. Another bad show and we might have just said “well,
that was fun but it didn’t work”, and that would have been that. The end. But
our third show was actually a good show. People were there. We played well.
We had fun. So we kept going and didn’t look back.
We played a few more shows
back then, in early 2000, and they went well too. We entered a battle of the
bands, sponsored by the old St. Louis radio station 104.1 Extreme Radio. We
came in second place and won $1000 store credit at a local music store. I think
we bought some floor monitors and microphone stands (and we still use that gear
to this day). We recorded our first album, entitled (not to scale). We thought
it was the best album ever, and it would be a matter of time until we were
signed. We now joke that it should have been called “not for sale”. It was
recorded well, but nobody wanted to hear it.
We played at a really cool STL
club that is no more, called the Firehouse. We played a block party in Chicago
and lost our Uhaul trailer while we were driving. We played Mississippi Nights
for the first time as a bunch of wide-eyed kids. We shot a music video for our
song “Brothers” with our pal Ken Calcaterra and released it at a sold out Hard
Rock cafe. We played lots of charity shows and donated all the money to good
Then we decided to strengthen our live shows and our songwriting, so we
added a guitar player, a fellow by the name of Max Eisenberg. He played rhythm
and sang the occasional backing vocal into a megaphone. That was cool. In
late 2001, Heeley organized a charity CD to benefit the victims of the 9/11
attacks and unite the St. Louis music scene. We played shows all over the St.
Louis area. We decided to record again, but this time make an E.P. We wanted a
different sound than our first album. We hired a producer named Darrell
McClanahan. He helped us get acheive the guitar pop rock sound we were looking
for. We were writing different songs, better songs. Max decided to leave and we
were sad. Luckily, he's still a great friend. We added another guitarist, this
time a guy named Jack Walker. Heeley bought a van. A really cool van with a
Super Nintendo and a VCR. Jack did his best to break every moving part in the
van, but he failed.
We started playing shows all over the Midwest. We started
buying merch. We started recording. We put all these expenses on our band
credit card. We wanted what every band wants: to be rich and famous, to be
successful musicians. Our debt could be paid off later. We released our second
CD – The Rock EP. We sold out the Hi Pointe. We were doing pretty well. Even
the Riverfront Times mentioned us, and they hate everything. Ken Williams from
101.1 The River was playing us on his local music show. He was also helping us
out tremendously. We got picked to open the River Of Toys show at a sold out
Pageant. We got our music on XM Satellite Radio. We got good reviews in
And we kept playing.
We promoted The Rock EP. We started
getting older. Girlfriends became fiancés became wives. Rent money for
apartments turned into house payments. Shitty part-time jobs turned into 9-to-5
professions. But we kept playing. We started writing more music. We decided
we needed to record again. After a year and a half of recording a bit at a
time, we were done with another EP, Love And Other Problems.
This disc also got
good reviews, and the people seemed to like it, but we never got the attention
of the bigwigs in the industry. The farthest we got with a label was them
saying “we liked what we heard, send us more songs.” So we did. We ended up
getting the dreaded response we had heard before: “sorry, but you’re just not
what we’re looking for.”
And all the while we kept playing.
Show after show
after show, town after town and then back to STL again. We kept plugging away
at it, because that what unsigned bands do – they plug away and keep fighting
until they get that one break. Some get that break, some don’t. It turns out that we
never got our break, but it didn’t stop us from trying. We’ve survived our best
friend bands breaking up, we’ve avoided Somnia breaking up a few times. We’ve
seen girls come and go. We’ve seen the good ones stay. We’ve written some
really good songs. We’ve written some really bad songs. We’ve written some
other songs that no one will ever get to hear.
But now, 6 years later, we’ve all decided it’s time to close the book on Somnia.
No one in the band quit, we didn’t have a knock-down drag-out brawl. We’re all
still great friends. The bottom line is we’ve had a lot of fun, but it’s time
to end this period of our lives.
We would like to thank each and every person who has supported us, loaned us
money, come to our shows, said we were great, said we sucked, told us to tune
our guitars, turned knobs in the studio, bought us drinks, given us kisses, sang
along, and had a good time with us.
We did it because we love music, but we mainly did it because of you.