If there's one thing that Wayne Everett is tired of, it's being asked whether or not his old band The Prayer Chain is ever going to get back together. "No," he says. "I don't want to be rude or anything, but you can't keep living in the past. At some point you need to just move on and take the next step."
And that next step for Wayne Everett is a group known as The Lassie Foundation. Everett says, "We really are an international sensation. Really. It's like when the substitute teacher comes into theroom and he knows that he's the boss, but the kids don't know it yet. That substitute teacher has to tell them that he's the boss, or they won't behave as if he has any authority. Our band knows that we are really an international sensation, but right now we've got to make sure that everyone else realizes it."
But why the name Lassie Foundation? "That's the other question I'm always being asked," says Everett. "I can tell you it's not about a dog with his own television show. The name is just a reference to the girls, the lassies, that we write our songs about."
This revelation may come as a shock to someone who sees The Lassie Foundation as a Christian band. "We are not a Christian band," counters Everett. "Not that I have anything against Christian bands--most of my friends play in Christian bands--but Lassie Foundation is not in any way interested in being a Christian band or playing Christian venues." Perhaps that's why this dream pop-and-roll band plays nearly every other weekend at any club or bar in Orange County that will have them. It's also why some veterans of other Christian rock bands have found a sort of musical freedom of expression in joining the band and cutting loose on the club circuit. Frank Lenz of Fold Zandura regularly plays drums with Lassie Foundation while Jeff Schroeder, formerly of Violet Burning fame, lends a snarling electric guitar sound to the Beach Boys meets the Verve vibe. The band is rounded out by Everett's Prayer Chain bandmate Eric Campuzano on guitars and Jason 71 on bass guitar.
Wayne Everett himself took the change in bands as an opportunity to switch from drums to vocals. "Every time I get on stage I am terrified," says Everett. "I got so used to being protected from the eyes of the crowd when I played drums. I mean, I had my kit and then I had the rest of the band and then I had the stage itself, and then the people were just out there somewhere in the darkness. But now, when I get up there and grasp onto that microphone stand, it's just me and them. I'm still not totally used to it."
But if you've seen the band
play live, you'd never notice a shred of uncertainty in Everett's performance.
Few lead vocalists exude a more relaxed and comfortable air of confidence
than Wayne Everett, who's usually joking with audience members between
songs about how he knows that they all realize what a megastar he is.
"I just try to have fun with it all," he says. "Every other band
I hear today is so concerned about being this radio-ready, ultra-polished
commodity. It makes me sick. I really think that people are
tired of every band sounding alike. When you listen to those old
Beatles albums and you hear all the stray notes and the substandard recording
quality, you don't care because those songs are just so real. It
has value, like a person; whether or not they're perfect isn't the issue.
That's what Lassie Foundation is about. We're having such a blast experimenting
with our 8-track recorder and trying to get the songs onto tape within
the expected limitations of an 8-track. It's very much like what the Beatles
were doing. You have to be pretty committed early on to what you
want the final song to sound like because once you set the level on that
tambourine, you can't go back and change it. But I think that's part of
the beauty of those old songs. All the uncertainty and experimentation
is what Lassie Foundation is trying to capture."