The Flower City music scene has continued to blossom over the past few years, displaying its symphonic diversity as a focal point of Rochester’s cultural identity. New venues have taken root as the city continually evolves and locals are finding more ways to fall in love with this mid-sized but mighty Finger Lakes of NY destination. In the midst of this inspiring evolution, modern nostalgia weaves its own thread into this rich cultural tapestry in the form of three brothers heralding retro rock ‘n’ roll tinted with a punk rock kick.
Trevor (26), Austin (24) and Brendan Lake (19) grew up on a 30 acre farm in Hilton, NY where they forged a strong sense of camaraderie cultivated from a lack of proximity to other kids in the neighborhood. Their father, a jazz drummer, always kept drums in the house, though never pressured his sons into music. Nevertheless, playing music became a main hobby for the Lake brothers, and after years of marching band, jazz band and concert band throughout school, they’re taking their skills to the hipster bars and grungy basements of Rochester and making waves.
Between the three brothers, there are three bands in which they each lend their skill in varying combinations. The Televisionaries (TV’s), a largely instrumental surf/rockabilly trio features Trevor (guitar/vocals) and Austin (drums). Punk rock ‘n’ roll group, The Temptators, features Austin (guitar/vocals) and Brendan (bass/vocals) along with three other band mates. Finally, the ten-piece explosive, high energy rock ‘n’ roll drive in Aweful Kanawful & His Rubber Husband’s Band is manned with Austin (vocals) and Trevor (guitar). And yes, Austin plays in all three bands. I met up with them at Trevor’s apartment to learn more about their collective contributions to the Rochester music scene, how they got started and where they’re headed.
Ally Dean: I was in Rochester a couple weekends ago and saw Aweful Kanawful & His Rubber Husband’s Band at Skylark on Friday, then saw The Temptators at a basement show on Windsor Street Saturday. I thought it was really interesting that you’re all brothers, are all musically talented and collaborate together on your different projects.
Austin Lake: We probably could have ended up as mechanics together. Playing music just came after all your other extracurricular things in school. After building ramps and scaring the shit out of each other. We had a fake wrestling ring for a while. That could have tooken up. So music is just kinda the only thing that’s working right now. Later in life you could see the three bandits ready to go fight crime in the ring. It could happen.
AD: Do the three of you practice together or jam?
Brendan Lake: Probably been a year since we’ve done that.
AL: The world would probably end if we did that.
AL: We just don’t know what would happen.
Trevor Lake: The stars could align. We could make some serious music.
AD: Do you guys get along pretty well? Do you think it would be a good collaboration?
BL: Oh yeah. I think it would be too easy.
TL: We are all song writers. In each band we’re each the main songwriter except for The Temptators where Austin and Brendan each write some, in the TV’s I write all the songs and in Aweful Kanawful Austin writes all the songs. We’re each the head chef in the kitchen, so to have three head chefs in one kitchen, I dunno what would happen.
AL: Too many cooks! Although I don’t think any of us are too strict in our ideas that it wouldn’t work.
TL: We would need more time. We’d have to quit every other band.
AL: We could take a year, write a record. (half jokingly) Maybe that’s what we’ll do now.
TL: There’s a lot of music already. Brendan also plays drums in a group called Gun Trouble.
BL: I don’t write any of that music though.
TL: We each have our own solo projects. Austin has two tapes he’s recorded which turned into Aweful Kanawful & His Rubber Husband’s Band.
BL: I’ve been trying to put out a solo tape for three years and I’m finally at a point where I’ve got an album I’m happy with so I’ll probably put it out this winter. Just stuff I recorded in my room at my house.
TL: And I did a solo tape as well that was recently released.
AD: I have to ask: How did you come up with the name Aweful Kanawful & His Rubber Husband’s Band?
AL: Dude I don’t know, that’s a good one. I like that name. I think about changing it a lot too.
AL: Because he’s not my character, he’s an actual character. There’s tons of Aweful Kanawfuls out there. And the Rubber Husband’s part, you know what a rubber husband is right?
AD: Should I?
AL: Yeah! It’s probably not what you think it is.
AD: The first thing I picture is a blow up sex doll.
AL/TL: (pensive) Okay…
TL: It’s actually the most innocent thing you could imagine.
AL: They’re the little things that help you open jars. We’ve used em. They come in handy for anyone.
AD: You could write jingles for them!
AL: We might ruin the product forever!
AD: What are each of your musical influences? Name the first thing that comes to mind.
BL: Beach Boys.
TL: 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll, Sun Records, Elvis, Golden Age of rock ‘n’ roll, Phil Spector.
BL: I remember Modest Mouse being the first band I really loved in middle school.
AL: Four Tops, Motown. Motown should be number one, really. That was definitely the first thing I got into. And Buddy Holly, early rock ‘n’ roll, the goofballs of the 50’s. Pretty much everything. It’s hard to weed out anything. Tons of pop punk. That was definitely what got me into rock ‘n’ roll.
AD: So what do you guys do when you’re not playing music?
TL: Thinking about it. Obsessing over it.
BL: I wait tables at a vegan restaurant, The Red Fern, on Park Ave. Been working there three years and started waiting tables seven months ago. I like it, it’s easy and it’s a nice area.
AL: (proudly states) I just quit my job. I screen printed shirts with a good friend of mine for five years at Galaxy Graphics and now I’m goin’ to probably wash dishes somewhere at an undetermined place. Or rock ‘n’ roll for the rest of my life. Who knows!
TL: And I am a full time barber. It was my mom’s recommendation, but thinking back, my friends would come over and I’d give em hair cuts.
AL: Bowl cuts.
TL: A lot of bowl cuts. There’s an early picture of me, probably 12 years old cutting Brendan’s hair in the backyard and I saw that and thought it all makes sense. My mom one day said “Hey you’re not going to college, why don’t you go to hair school and be a barber. So I gave it a try and it worked out. Now I do that and make a living and I can buy a car somehow, which blows my mind.
AD: Is it the red one parked out front?
TL: Yeah it’s a ’65 Thunderbird. It’s ready to go away pretty soon. As soon as the snow hits. I can’t drive it in the winter time. The salt will destroy it.
AD: So what do you do without it? Do you have another car?
TL: Nope I bought the car at the beginning of the summer and up until then I didn’t have a car for about two years so I just walk.
BL: I was sixteen when I bought my motorcycle. It sounds bad ass but I dunno what I was thinking.
AL: I mean, you dropped out of school at sixteen years old, bought a motorcycle, moved to the city. And our parents were flipping out like “What have we done!”
BL: It wouldn’t have happened that way unless I was the third child. Trevor was definitely the guinea pig for our parents.
TL: I moved out pretty early.
BL: By the time it was me they were like “Just do what you’re gonna do,” so I had way more leniency than they did.
AD: Are your parents supportive of your musical endeavors?
TL: Totally. They love it.
BL: They come to shows every now and then.
AD: Do they dance?
BL: No. They seem like they genuinely like it though. Hopefully it gives them something.
AL: Yeah we’re gonna make em a ton of money someday. I’d like to have my mom see us on TV someday. Actually, Aweful Kanawful did have its first show ever on the news. We played Good Day Rochester. It might be gone now. It should be gone. It wasn’t very good but it was sweet. It was a lot of fun. Getting ten people up that early was a miracle.
AD: So what should we expect in the near future from your respective bands?
BL: Music that’s gonna blow your mind.
TL: Temptators just came out with a new 45. TV’s have half of a record out on CD and the other half will be recorded in a month and we’ll put it together and give it an official release.
AD: Nice. Any upcoming shows?
BL: The Temptators and Gun Trouble are playing in Brooklyn on December 11th so that should be really fun. As far as shows in Rochester I don’t think there’s anything planned yet.
AL: Two Kanawful tapes with about twenty songs are coming soon. Probably January.
BL: We’ve all got big plans, that’s for sure.
AD: So where do you guys see yourselves in five years?
BL: Hopefully living somewhere other than Rochester
AD: Where would be ideal for you?
BL: Since I was a little kid I always dreamed of moving to California and I think Austin has too.
AL: It’s not that we want to make a lot of money and bang a lot of chicks, we just want the opportunity to.
AD: Sometimes just having the option can put your mind at ease.
TL: That’s the spice of life, having the option. I have never really wanted to move. I like staying here for now. In the future hopefully we’ll be playing on the road more often.
AL: I think our music will probably do better overseas if it gets out there.
TL: They say older style rock ‘n’ roll does really well in Mexico and Spain. Everyone has always worshiped American rock ‘n’ roll.
AL: And now America doesn’t give a shit about rock ‘n’ roll.
BL: I think if your music is genuine enough then it will mean something to everybody.
AL: It would be nice to entertain the current generation but provide something that will last a while. It’s gone sort of back in time now where artists release a single and get it out there as fast as possible. It sort of exonerates the whole idea of putting out a record that will stand through time and not just be good right now. It’s hard because who doesn’t want to put stuff out now and be in on the action.
TL: Everyone can record music themselves now on their computer or cell phone. Puts everyone on the same level.
AD: It is a gift and a curse because it’s a very saturated market but it’s also easier for people to get their stuff out there so it’s a matter of being on top of it and reaching your audience. So how do you all branch out to widen your audience?
AL: I’m horrible at it.
TL: We’re trying to get better at it. For a while we didn’t do any social media because we were against it. But after a while you realize if you want to keep up with the Jones’ and book shows in NYC you have to have a social media presence. If people can’t find anything about you online they’re not gonna book you. So you have to play the game.
AD: Any final comments?
BL: As far as us being brothers goes, we’re always gonna stick together. We’ll always be making music and we’ll always be friends. We have a really strong connection. We were never bored as kids and when we’re together now it’s never boring. Gotta stick with your pack.
AD: One last but very important question: What’s your spirit animal?
AL: Keith Richards.
BL: A turtle.
TL: Mine is a lizard. It was given to me.
AL: Someone told me mine was Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh. He’s the leader of all the animals.
BL: It’s pronounced Christopher Walken. (does impression) “Don’t get on my back about crumbs.”
AL: My spirit animal is a bag of crumbs.