Jam band The Werks.
MANDI RAY Enlarge
Many bands have a story behind how they got their name, and The Werks is no different.
In this one, the group came across its name at a restaurant when ordering a dish with “the works.” But as it turns out, there’s a little bit more meaning in the band’s moniker.
“We all come from different musical backgrounds, and I think it’s because of that melting pot of eclectic musical tastes that we were able to find our sound, which is a little bit of everything,” said drummer Rob Chafin.
The Werks formed in Dayton in 2007. The group began to make a name for itself touring Ohio and later expanding to other parts of the Midwest and in the South.
It became associated with the jam band scene because of its constant touring, skilled musicianship and the improvisation that’s become a staple of The Werks’ repertoire, but while band members are huge admirers of such jam band godfathers as The Grateful Dead and Phish, The Werks’ music goes well beyond the realm of psychedelic rock.
In its live shows and three studio albums — 2007’s Dig It, 2009’s Synapse and the band’s self-titled release in 2012 — the music tends to make slight detours into funk or sharp turns into electronica, dance music, and bluegrass.
“There’s people that say, ‘I don’t like jam bands, but I like you guys.’ We get that a lot,” Chafin said. “We really do have it all, I feel like — something for most musical tastes. We try to make it so we’re well-rounded.”
Said Dan Shaw, The Werks’ new keyboard player: “There’s no limits on music. Any type of music you can speak, we’ll try our damnedest to speak it.”
The band has always been at home on the road, but it’s increasingly become a staple of the summer festival circuit. This year, it is headlining such regional music festivals as Paradise Music and Arts Festival in Hustonville, Ky., the Dark Star Jubilee in Thornville, Ohio, and the Mad Tea Party Jam 3 in Hedgesville, W.Va. Band members also have found themselves in some pretty serious company as part of the lineups at Wakarusa in Arkansas and the Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois.
The band’s current lineup consists of Chafin, Shaw, bassist Dino Dimitrouleas and guitarist Chris Houser. They take the usual creative liberties on older material while also playing songs from the album they plan to release this summer.