Rich Howells

Scranton college band Eye on Attraction looking for progressive rock perfection – and fun

Scranton college band Eye on Attraction looking for progressive rock perfection – and fun
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Progressive rock band Eye on Attraction may be made up of three University of Scranton students and one Marywood University student, but a typical college band they are not.

“Frantically” wanting to form a band, enthusiastic drummer Andrew Merkle, a senior, met bassist Joe Joules Quincy, a junior, during Quincy’s first class. He was wearing a guitar shirt with a pick around his neck, while Merkle was wearing a drum shirt with a tuner around his. It was inevitable what would happen next.

Soon joined by guitarist and junior Mike Trischetta, the trio played their first show in June of 2010, quickly becoming known for their conceptual lyrics, lengthy guitar solos, and complex drumming. Singers, however, would consistently be an issue for the group, going through three vocalists until Marywood freshman Zack Graham broke up with his previous band the same day they did with their singer.

“For him, it’s always been, ‘You’re an incredible vocalist, but your band doesn’t take things seriously.’ For us, it was the exact opposite. Whenever we were looking for a vocalist, we always tossed around the idea of going to him, but he always had another band,” Merkle explained.

“Musicianship-wise, there’s no comparison. These guys are the best bunch of musicians I’ve been with in my whole career, and I’ve been doing it since I was like 13,” Graham noted.

Together, they pledged to take their music very seriously, practicing even with classes in the morning and papers due. Preparing to sleep in a van as they put together a summer tour, Eye on Attraction have kept their eyes on the prize by avoiding hard partying and rehearsing constantly, saving every bit of what they’ve earned and putting it back into equipment and other band-related expenses.

“It will be my career. That’s just how it will be. I’m very dedicated,” Merkle insisted.

“We definitely take it really seriously, even musically, compared to other bands. I know bands that have been around for half the time we have already coming out with their second album. We’re poring over like one song. We’re really perfectionists – it has to be perfect. That’s just how we are.”

With influences ranging from Rush and Coheed and Cambria to Blink 182 and Yellowcard, the band prides themselves on being progressive but catchy and accessibly “crazy,” crafting each song to be unique and difficult to label with any one genre.

The song “Type C,” for example, is “a huge change from the normal progressive rock lyricism. I made a specific effort to make it relative to myself, which I never do,” Merkle said.

“’Type C’ is kind of angry, but at the same time, energetic and fun,” Graham added.

“Every song is completely different, and that’s a huge thing with us. Someone will listen to one of our tunes and they’ll listen to another one and be like, ‘Is that the same band?’ That’s kind of who we are,” Merkle continued.

“To me, singing is like acting. When I first started, before we started writing together, I asked them when they wanted me to start doing their songs, ‘What is this song about?’ And then I literally had to become what that song was about. I had to think of each line,” Graham described.

But all this work on the music also leads to a lot of fun for the group, who enjoy putting on random acoustic shows around campus, including serenading onlookers beneath their windows and playing impromptu sets during fire drills.

“We’ll literally play anywhere,” Merkle began.

“We go into someone’s dorm, a random door. We knock on the door. As soon as they open it, we burst inside, ‘Thank you for coming to the show tonight!’ and start playing our songs,” Quincy continued.

“For the most part, everyone loved it. People are like, ‘Whoa, I can’t believe this!’ and we’d run away before they could really recognize what happened.”

“Probably the best part of the acoustic shows is we treat them like regular shows, so we still go crazy,” Trischetta added.

“We played in the freezing cold in coats with two acoustic guitars and bass, literally by ourselves, to absolutely no one!” Graham admitted. “We all mess with each other [too], but it’s definitely in a healthy way. It’s funny.”

In more comfortable settings, catch Eye on Attraction at Redwood Art Space in Wilkes-Barre on April 6, Penn State Main Campus on April 9, Phillip’s Emporium in Bloomsburg on April 14, and the University of Scranton/Keystone College Battle of the Bands on April 20.