"Making Music The Binge's Way"

by Geoff Wilbur

I caught up with these guys at the Barn in Grand Ledge. They delivered a hot, rocking show with some catchy, classic-style originals mixed in among the good old-fashioned rock and roll staples that make a bar crowd go wild. It's always refreshing when bands like The Binge look to the future without running away from the past, and they're likely to find a much wider range of fans with that approach, too.

The original band formed in 1995, featuring 3 of the 4 current members -- Ron St. Germain (vocals), Jeff Boyd (guitar), and Ron Stewart (drums). Earlier this year, the band placed an ad looking for a bass and found Larry Scott White, whose other talents include keyboard player, guitar teacher, and songwriter. Of his addition, St. Germain notes, "He's a cool guy, he's a writer, and he wants to do the original thing."

1997 has also seen a gradual name change for the band, as they ease from the Rock Binge to The Binge. The band believes the new name may leave to door open to a broader range of fans. "We just didn't want to be categorized," says St. Germain. "We didn't want a label put on us. Because somebody who might not like rock might like our music. People who like country might like our stuff. People who like blues might like our stuff. People who like a wide range of music might like our stuff. And the name Rock Binge might keep those people away."

As for the band's past, says St. Germain, "We've warmed up for some concerts. We just played Livestock, which is a 3-day music festival down near Three Rivers. We played at the Riverfest Beer Tent last year. We're just this month starting to break in to saying, 'Here we are, we're an original band.' We put a four song tape out. We have a CD on the way. We have four songs recorded right now and will soon be finishing five more." So watch for big things in the near future.

Musically, says St. Germain, "We're coming together. I started playing around with these guys about five years ago. We tried something for a while, but our musical preferences were so diverse, that only lasted two months. I think about a year later, we tried it again, and we came a little closer that time. We formed a band called Backtrack. That kind of fizzled out, so we went our separate ways again. Within the last year, though, we've taken our diverse musical styles, and we've come together.

"It was definitely my writing skills that got me in the band. They took a chance on me and took me in. I wasn't the caliber of musician these guys are, but I'm getting better. Really, it's just a matter of, when we started working together, we were headed in the same direction, just in different musical categories. But we've come together, and I think it was a trying experience for both of us. It's not easy. Jeff and I have been real hard on each other. We want to make sure our material is as good as can be, both lyrically and musically."

With an attitude like that, they have improved their chances tenfold.

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