is a textbook example of the DIY ethos that is becoming more and more
common in todays music industry. From their humble beginnings as
a cover band in a small Idaho college town, three years of non-stop touring,
four self-released CDs, and a line-up change, they show no signs of letting
up. With the release of their new CD Everything That Matters,
Stranger Neighbor is pushing closer to the major break-through they deserve.
Compelling melodies and intricate harmonies are evidence of their ever-expanding
song craft. Committed to elevating their music to levels only reached
by performing live night after night, they have proved that hard work
and dedication does pay off.
Today, Stranger Neighbor consists of Doug Cameron (guitar, vocals), and
John Fricke (trumpet, guitar, vocals). Doug and John started Stranger
Neighbor in 1996 with fellow University
of Idaho students Ryan Gibler (bass), and Casey Miller (drums). They
quickly became the U of Is favorite weekend house band, continually
packing Moscow, Idahos infamous hovel, The Capricorn. Stranger Neighbor
built up a loyal following of fans that were surprisingly eager to soak
up the sounds of their infectious groove-driven songs. Standing above
the malaise of cover hits they obediently served up week after week, these
originals quickly drove their way into the subconscious of the Capricorn
regulars. On the eve of their relocation to Boulder, Colorado in May,
1998, Stranger Neighbor released their debut CD Memories of This.
At the heart of their live rig since the early days in 96 has been
a Mackie CR1604VLZ.
This mixers pristine sound reproduction, ultimate flexibility, and
durability is just a few of the reasons the CR1604VLZ hasnt left
Stranger Neighbors rack for over five years. They use it as their
main FOH mixer at every club that doesnt have a house system. We
still use it for over 70 percent of our live shows, says Cameron.
Its been a real workhorse for us. Considering Stranger
Neighbor has averaged over 200 shows a year for the last five years, their
little 1604VLZ has put in a lot of miles. We know regardless of
the kind of room were playing, the 1604VLZ gives us confidence that
well always get a great sound.
Listening to Stranger Neighbor for the first time, it may be easy to quickly
lump them in with all the other jam bands littering the tour
circuits of America. But closer examination reveals a commitment to song
craft often lacking from many of todays Phish/Greatful Dead acolytes.
Superb musicianship is served up with copious amounts of creativity and
striking individual style; this band is a must listen for fans of music
that extends beyond the usual pop fodder. Graceful two-part harmonies
floating atop stabbing slabs of syncopated rhythmic interplay have become
Stranger Neighbors modus operandi.
After the recent departures of Miller, and Gibler, Doug and John are keeping
Stranger Neighbor strictly a duo for now. Cameron seems undaunted by the
change and welcomes the challenge of maintaining the same energy as a
duo. Cameron adds, Once the band fell apart, it felt like I had
a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. Its gotten much better since
The future looks promising for this Colorado based band. Talks have begun
with an independent label in Chicago about inclusion in a compilation
CD that in the past included bands like Matchbox 20, Guster, and Vertical
Horizon. Their songs are currently being shopped for possible television
and movie spots. Given the tumultuous nature of this business, Stranger
Neighbor seems to have their feet firmly planted in the ground as they
focus on whatever challenges lie ahead. Were more into making
a living at it than looking for the big time at this point, says
Cameron. If it happens, thats great. If not, its all