I sat down with local firefighter Markus Bowden to talk about an up and coming rock band called Random Shuffle that he is the founder and member of. Random Shuffle is a four piece band made up of 2 Elk Grove firefighters, a Sacramento City firefighter and a 3rd grade school teacher.
Q. So how did the idea of starting a band come about?
A. “When I started working at the Elk Grove fire department I met Mark Wellendorf (a firefighter) who is well known in the local music scene. Mark has always been a one man band and he’s carved out a unique style that is very different than mine but we seem to compliment each other. I’ve always had a passion for music and I was in some bands when I was much younger but then life just took over man – marriage, kids, responsibilities and such and I just kind of fell off the train. I approached Mark and asked him what he thought of teaming up and he was all over the idea. I called a good friend of mine I used to work with at Sacramento Fire who plays guitar and asked him to join. So there we were, 3 dudes in need of a drummer. We didn’t know any firefighters who played the skins so we hit Craigslist and found a good match for us. The rest is history.”
Q. How long have you been playing together as a group?
A. “We’ve been together for only about 2 years as a group but you wouldn’t know it, people say we sound like we’ve been together a long time. We continue to get better as a team. We each have years of experience in other projects. We continue to get better every time we get together. It’s been a fun trip so far.”
Q. How did the name Random Shuffle come about?
A. “Ah, good question. Every band has a good story about their name we’re no exception. Let’s see, it was the very first gig we did we didn’t have a name so Mark and I quickly came up with “The Bogeys” since we both love golf as much as music, but we knew that name was temporary. We never came up with anything in the weeks ahead. So I had this cool idea that at our next gig, which by the way was in front of our peers at work, I would pass around a piece of paper and everybody had to write down what they thought would be a good name for the band. Of course I knew that 90% of the names would be stupid or vulgar but certainly we’d get a handful of serious ones, right? So one buddy asked me at a set break, “what kind of music do you consider your band to cover?” My reply to him was, “we do random stuff.” I remember the look on his face as he stepped back with his arms stretched out as if he was presenting something to me, “Random Shuffle Band” he said. There was no question, that was it. It really is fitting because we pride ourselves in being just that, random.”
Q. So, what’s in the immediate future for the band and where do you want this go?
A. “I mean here’s the deal with us, we all have great careers and other responsibilities and interests so gigging every weekend isn’t a priority, and quite frankly it never will be. We really like the idea of gigging once or maybe twice a month. We are selective with our venues because we’re just not much into that whole “bar band scene”, know what I mean? It would be great to be at a point where our demand is much higher than our supply that way we can be choosy about where we play, you know? I don’t want to come home at 2 a.m. and have to clean the whisky off my guitar – just not our thing. We really would like to find some classier venues and private parties, things like that you know? We just want to have fun and show people a great time. I mean the costumer is always first with us but we’re going to be picky with who our costumer is, that’s the beauty of having other great careers – we don’t need the money.”
Q. Where can people find your music?
A. “Ah yes, we are currently recording our demo at our practice studio. We are laying down a 12 song montage but we’re doing things a little different. Instead of presenting our costumer with a demo CD, we are presenting them with a demo DVD of us playing our songs. Let’s face it, the costumer doesn’t just want to hear what they’re getting they want to see it too, right? Plus it’s cool because there are absolutely no over dubs or multi track recording, it’s real “one take” stuff – what you see is what you get. In the meantime we have 4 or 5 songs on YouTube under “Random Shuffle Band” but we should have many more in the couple weeks ahead. We have our own website at www.Randomshuffle.net and we are on Facebook under Random Shuffle Band. We are available for hire and right now we’re pretty dang affordable in comparison to other bands of our quality. You can contact us through our website.”