The year is 3028, a time traveler, aggravated because there has been no good music since the '70s, goes back to 1967 and finds Brynna Dean, a soulful vocalist in Haight- Ashbury.
The year is 3028, a time traveler, aggravated because there has been no good music since the '70s, goes back to 1967 and finds Brynna Dean, a soulful vocalist in Haight-Ashbury.
The traveler continues back to the '50s where he finds Skylar Squglio teaching Dick Dale guitar in Santa Cruz. Next, the traveler arrives in the '20s at a vaudeville circus show where he discovers Cole Stitleman, clown and musical magician.
Finally, the time traveler goes back to the dawn of time when Melvin "Mystik Malik" Cobb invented the first drum.
Together Dean, Squglio, Stitleman and Cobb form Hundred Watt Mind, the ultimate band for the future.
Or so Stitleman would like to depict in a short animated film about how the band came together, which, for now, is still only an idea.
Actually, Dean, Squglio, Stitleman and Cobb all met at an open mic at Alex's, but each band member carries a touch of rock history. Described as "a jungle rock beat with a heavy blues and punk influence" by Dean, whose vocals range from sounding like Janis Joplin to Billie Holiday, the group was formerly known as Brynna Dean and the Strings.
Now they call themselves Hundred Watt Mind. Because the human brain runs on about 20 watts of power, Hundred Watt Mind means to blow your mind.
"We're even more than musicians, we want to just light a fire in a room of people so everybody else can catch on fire," said Squglio.
In Hundred Watt Mind's performance for the Tidings Café, Stitleman plays bass, Squglio is on guitar, Dean sings and Cobb plays the Djembe drums, a departure from the usual drum kit on their original song, "Precious Woman."
"That was the first time we've played like that," said Squglio, who plays a right-handed guitar upside down like Blues great Otis Rush.
Hundred Watt Mind seeks to psychically link everyone together through the music.
"There is a seamless continuity of rhythm. You can't fake rhythm, you can't fake how people perceive time," said Stitleman. "You have to be in it, hitting it."
Stitleman, a former student of clowning, pulls from that education when improvising on the bass. "There is this whole thing of thinking and feeling on the outside of your skin and moving at the speed of fun," said Stitleman. "I'm trying to surprise Skylar at all times, I'm trying to get a reaction out of him."
With Mystik Malik Cobb on the drums, and Squglio wailing away on the guitar, Hundred Watt Mind's original songs sound like a mix of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Santana plus a '50s flair from Squglio.
"In the '50s, sex was a no-no and it was okay to poke fun at it with rock 'n' roll," said Squglio. "Like Chuck Berry. That guy is a weirdo."
In May of 2010 the group collectively decided to quit their day jobs over margaritas and Mexican food and work at being musicians full time.
"That's when it really started to happen and we just really hit the town," said Dean.
Together they have one complete album, "No Makeup," with five songs and a second album, "Creatures," in the works.
This summer the group hopes to play a lot of festivals and get some exposure at bigger venues.
"We're not necessarily worried about being famous, we really just want to build a huge fan base and be known," said Dean. "Like an underground rock band that's awesome and people talk about."
Hundred Watt Mind is on Reverbnation.com, which helps fans stay updated on dates for shows.
Top on their wish list of venues is Britt and the Oregon Country Fair.
"Southern Oregon is so great. There is all this art and culture around here, and people respect it," said Stitleman.
April 2, Hundred Watt Mind will return to where it got its start and play a show at Alex's starting at 9:30 p.m.
"Alex's has the best vibe," said Squglio.
"That's how vibes are. You go back to the same place that has that same energy. If it's positive, it magnifies when you go back to it," said Cobb.
Mandy Valencia is a freelance writer and videographer living in Ashland. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.