The history of popular music is studded with brother combinations, from Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Dime and Vinnie from Pantera, the Gallagher brothers from Oasis, and more recently Los Lonely Boys. There is a unique and elusive quality about the music that brothers can create - a connection forged from years as teammates on sports teams, hours of jamming in childhood bedrooms, and just being there for every major event in each-other's lives - that bleeds through the songs. With their Austin-based band Full Service, brothers Hoag (drums and vocals) and Tim Kepner (guitar and MC) are the next big combo in this impressive line of artists.
Raised in suburban Philadelphia, Tim (26) and Hoag (24) began playing together in their older brother's bedroom when they were 12 and 10 years old, respectively. Through high-school, the brothers split time between sports (Hoag was an state ranked wrestler and lacrosse player and all-league runner; Tim was a four sport letter winner and all-area baseball player), academics, and knocking down the walls of the house with their band practices. Tim went on to graduate magna cum laude from Amherst College, where he was a three-year varsity baseball player. Following school, he taught and coached at a middle school in Hartford, CT while Hoag got his degree from Yale University. And the third brother? He graduate with a full-ride from Vanderbilt University and now serves as the Yankees baseball writing for the New York Times.
The boys had a different plan than one would expect from such an academic focused resume. Tim and Hoag left everyone they knew and every connection they had behind to start their band, Full Service, in Austin, TX. "Resisting the basic story, resisting the way," is how Hoag describes it in the song "Bonesaw." The first step: finding the crucial third and final member of the band. Eight months of constant searching brought the band Tighthead (born Samuel Marshall), a 20 year old music major at the University of Texas and the son of accomplished sound engineer Johnny Marshall of Dallas, TX. Tighthead once described playing together as "what it's like when you're on a rollercoaster next to your friend. Neither of you can say anything except stare mouth-open and eyes wide!" Pretty much sums up how the tryout went. . . and the jams continue to go.
Thirteen months later, the band has performed over fifty shows in the Central Texas area as regulars on the weekend downtown scene in Austin (Antone's, the Vibe, Flamingo Cantina, Bigsby's, Rockstar's, Maggie Mae's, etc.) and are members of the Austin Indie Alliance. Full Service is better known, perhaps, for their more unusual venues and promotion techniques. They have staged regular "takeovers" at area parks (sometimes the police care, sometimes they don't), music store parking lots (Music Maker's on S. Lamar), and atop the ramps at every Austin-area skatepark (Hugh Jazz, Skatepark of Austin, Ramp Ranch, Skateworld). Concert posters and flyers usually feature an original comic of the boys caught in some loony hijinx, which are handed out all over town at football games and on college campuses.
The music is positive and loud, heavy and reggae influenced. Hoag has described the songs as "celebrations," which fits the activist, optimistic tone of the music. On the record-store shelf, they would be categorized as rock, fitting perfectly in a collection that includes Sublime, 311, Guns N' Roses, and Public Enemy. At the live show, it's an explosive free-for all of sound waves and energy. Their website, www.fullservicemusic.com, is regularly updated with a blog, music, videos, pictures, comics, and more.
Full Service is currently touring in the Central Texas area promoting their debut studio album "3 Will Ride Forth." Produced by Johnny Marshall at Marshall Sound design, the album hit stores and the web in October 2004.