The stylings of Bend’s Oregon Fryer pulling energy from blues, country, rock ‘n roll and Americana, creating a sound that will have you transported to a bubbling speakeasy one moment and a ground-stomping barn party the next. The five-piece has been bringing joy to Central Oregonians since coming together in 2016, and this Friday night it will put on a rocking party with the Fair Trade Boogie Band at the Volcanic Theater Pub. This will be Oregon Fryer’s first show back at VTP since the pandemic began.
“We’re super excited. We’ve got to play with them [Fair Trade Boogie Band] one time before, but they lay down some serious good music,” says Billy Burks, acoustic guitar player of Oregon Fryer. “And we’re happy to be back at Volcanic. It’s our first time playing there again in years.”
The makeup of Oregon Fryer is what makes the music so fun. Every person in the band sings and writes. There’s Burks, Lucas James on keyboard, Mai Hyman on electric guitar, Greg Weber on bass and Greg Copley on drums. Each band member will bring songs to the table, and from there they just kind of let it happen. Generally the first recording ends up being better than the next five, but that’s part of this flowing process. Or as Burks says, “Throw it in the fryer and see what happens.”
“It started out more like this idea of this Western kind of music. And then all of a sudden when we got together, it started making its own sound and all those influences started coming up. It just ended up there,” he says.
Drummer Greg Copley echoes that sentiment about Oregon Fryer’s creativity, chemistry and overall esteem for each other as musicians.
“There’s a lot of trust from everyone in the band to bring in something new that’s baked, or not baked, to some degree. And then to just trust everyone in the band to make it something,” says Copley, who finds it hard to pick just one favorite Oregon Fryer song. “It can change night to night. I find myself surprised. There are songs we’ve played for years where one night it will be the best take we’ve ever done of it. It’s just a blast to play with these guys.”
With only one project out so far, dubbed the “Greatest Hits” album, Oregon Fryer’s members say they have plans to work on some new recordings in the future. Still, naming the first album “Greatest Hits” was a good call in retrospect. For starters, it’s very funny. I’m not sure if my suggestion of “Greatest Hits Vol. II” for their follow up will happen, but naming your band’s first project “Greatest Hits” is awesome.
“Those were just the simplest songs we knew how to play then. We figured, we didn’t know how many chances we’d get to record stuff. We wanted to make sure we got those ones out of the way,” laughs Copley . “We have the opposite problem of most bands. We have too many songs.”
Copley says the band is currently mixing some live recordings from a McMenamins set in February and will probably share some of those songs later this year. There’s also talk of a new album coming. Until then, Oregon Fryer is looking forward to a more normal Central Oregon summer of live music. Even during the downtime of the pandemic, Oregon Fryer worked at improving their already strong performing skills.
“The people that come out, they really stoke the energy. The shows really feel like a place we get to together,” says Burks. “We made a big leap over those two years when no one was watching.”
Oregon Fryer w/The Fair
Trade Boogie Band
Fri., April 15, 9-11:30pm
Volcanic Theater Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend