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Relic: Modern touch, classic sound music on the menu

Sometimes, people go to great lengths to put a good band together. They take out ads out in music magazines, post bulletins on Web sites such as MySpace, and often go through an endless stream of auditions just looking for the right players. And at other times, the perfect bandmates walk right into your life.

Such was the case with Relic, a group based in Plymouth that formed earlier this year. The band — which consists of William Baron on guitar and vocals, John Ward on drums and percussion and Adrian Arnau on bass — came together quite easily. In fact, Baron didn’t have to look far at all when looking for a drummer to jam with.

“John lives next door,” says the guitarist with a chuckle. “It was convenient. Being a fellow musician, we can make all of the noise we want without bothering each other.”

Baron says that though finding a bassist was a bit tougher, that search also eventually ended without combing through the entire NEPA region. Arnau, who worked with Ward at a car dealership in Scranton, completed the trio.

“John kept bugging Adrian to come down and jam, just for fun,” says Baron. “We didn’t think of it as anything serious. But he didn’t want to. He had been in other bands before, and he got a sour taste for it. People got on ego trips and didn’t get along, and after going through that a couple of times, he had no desire to be in another band. But that changed once we started playing a little bit. We had a great time.”

Indeed. In fact, the three have such a great time they started booking gigs while putting together a set of both covers and original material. Self-described as a mixture of blues, rock and metal, the group names acts such as Alice Cooper, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Steel Pulse and Coheed and Cambria as its collective influences. Baron says that while he and Ward are pretty much classic rock guys, Arnau brings a much different musical background to the band.

“Adrian has a little bit of a different taste in music,” he says. “He’s Puerto Rican, and he was raised in a different area, so he had all kinds of different stuff going on when he was growing up. He’s never really done any classic rock or ever even heard of the bands that we play until he started playing with us. But he got into it a lot more. He likes it.”

Though Baron says that Relic eventually plans to shift to an almost all-original project, the band currently spices its sets with tunes by some of it influences, including AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Coheed and Cambria, as well as other acts such as The Beatles, Aerosmith, Chuck Berry, ZZ Top and B.B. King.

“Half of our set is original material, so there are not a huge variety of covers, but we’ve got a couple,” he says. “We just try to do songs that everybody likes and enjoys but not your typical stuff that everybody always does.”

As for originals, the band has recorded a five-song demo. Songs include “I’m Pretty Sure,” “The Sad One Weeps,” “Land Without Love,” “Catch Me” and “Crimson Pool.” It was recorded at Baron’s home studio. Songwriting is a collaborative effort, with Baron penning the lyrics.

“I like our songs to sound a little different from what you hear on the radio all of the time,” he says. “That’s why I started writing music in the first place. You hear the same stuff all the time, and you think ‘It’s time for something new.’ Everything that I put together, I try to put a modern edge on it so it grabs your attention, but I don’t want it to all be the same. There are so many songs out there where they sing one verse repeatedly. We’ve got 16 originals, and there’s a lot of variation. We have real slow bluesy stuff, we have real heavy stuff, we have rockin’ stuff that’s in between. There’s a vide variety, but it focuses on a classic rock style.”

As you’d expect from a band influenced by classic artists, the group is also a fan of showmen-like stage presentations. Baron says Relic tries to bring such flair to its own live shows.

“I like to move around when I play,” he says. “It try to, but it’s hard to do when you’re playing guitar and singing into the mic at the same time. But every chance I get, I step away from the microphone and make faces at people and stuff like that. My biggest inspiration as far as showmanship and performance is Alice Cooper. I grew up on it. The first tape I ever had was a pink 8-track of ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ that my dad gave me, and that is without a doubt my best memory of growing up. I loved that album to death. And what he’s all about live — there’s so much neat stuff going on, and at the same time, the music is awesome.

“That’s the kind of show I’d like to have someday.”

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Relic, Saturday, Dec. 26, 9 p.m. at Club Jam (53 S. Main St., Pittston). Info: 570.654.1789, myspace.com/bandrelic

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