It's not really about a style," explains guitarist Bobby Koelble about his new project Junkie Rush. And considering the studied musician's extensive history in the Central Florida swirl of eclectic guitar-strung extremes, style would be the last thing to stand in the way of his progressions.
Koelble's resume is an impressive one, including diverse local gigging with soulsters Kow, jazz extremists Jazz X and folk hero Terri Binion, along with an abbreviated stint with locally launched and internationally lauded metal monsters Death.
Now there's Junkie Rush, with Chris Charles (sax and keys), Aaron O'Riley (bass), Marc Clermont (percussionist) and Matt Hughen (drummer) -- Koelble adds vocals -- which realizes the influences of all of the above, and then some. "A lot of the stuff we're doing in this band was stuff I've written over the past couple of years," says Koelble. "It funks at times, and it gets kind of heavy at times."
So heavy that the band has taken to assigning a numeric code -- "JR1" through "JR10" -- based on the severity of the particular rendition to be performed. By doing the math, the band can gauge its set to the temperament of the crowd.
It's not about the volume, either. Junkie Rush comes from a school of heavy thought, reminiscent of predecessors Kow, with winding, revelatory jazz underpinning Koelble's signature rock jangle.
Junkie Rush's current demo covers four sides of the same story, running from the celebratory bravado of "In the Morning" through the more obscured, minimalist "Erection." The promise is hard to miss. But Junkie Rush has no official release, possibly due to the fact that its members are so busy.
"We want to be as productive as possible," assures Koelble, who maintains a hectic itinerary, teaching music both at Rollins College and at Dr. Music in Altamonte Springs -- a career that theoretically keeps professional musicians better in touch with their craft, but can, in practice, drain the creative impulse.
"With Kow ... the goal was to support ourselves, just with the band, and make it different each night. Basically to party ... and get paid for it," Koelble says. Junkie Rush has the same goals. "Everybody's busy, everybody free-lances. Three out of four of us are just musicians for a living."
Koelble's illustrious history, starting with his studies at Berklee's famed music school, provides a fitting foundation for his varied endeavors. Like a lot of true musicians, he doesn't di-rectly talk about his music or motives, preferring to exercise them instead.
In the fledgling days of the downtown pseudo-beatnik scene, Koelble was involved with Jazz X. "It was acoustic jazz and free jazz, played by a bunch of stoners at the Yab Yum for 8 bucks," he recalls. Further extroversion came with the lead-guitarist slot in his globe-trotting with Death in 1995. "It was great experience. I was basically a side man. I got a chance to see the world." Then, among other things, came his tenure with now-dormant scenesters Kow. "I kind of parted company with them back in '98. I wanted to do something with a little more of an edge."
Which led to his latest adventure, Junkie Rush, and its easy attitude about style. Says Koelble, "We're broad enough that we can cover a lot of bases." So many bases, so little time.