Over three days of the 35th Mill Valley Film Festival this week, 11 bands are performing at the Sweetwater Music Hall as part of the Mill Valley ASCAP Music Café, a three-day series of daytime music concerts from an array of bands that hope to connect with filmmakers for possible collaborations.
Only one of them is named after the Deuce.
The 2am Club, the band founded by a pair of Tam High grads and named after the venerable Miller Ave. bar, is a rock/pop/hip-hop hybrid group whose roots lie in Mill Valley. Singer Marc Griffin and guitarist Matt Reagan both went to Mill Valley Middle School and started playing music together while they were atTam High. When they graduated in 2004, they went to UC-Santa Cruz, where they connected with rapper Tyler Cordy.
The boys dropped out of school after two years and moved to Los Angeles to chase their musical dreams. They connected with drummer Ian O’Neill and keyboardist Dave Lucas in LA and formed the Transfer in 2007.
The band in the Bay Area recording demos at Sausalito Sound Studios with Mill Valley producer and former Talking Heads’ bassist Jerry Harrison as they learned they had to change their name because there was another band called the Transfer.
“We were writing thousands of names down all over the place, and at one point we were outside the 2am Club and it just dawned on us,” Griffin says.
The quintet signed with RCA Records in September 2008 and plans to release its as-yet-untitled sophomore album later this. The group is currently touring behind its latest single, “Mary,” an ode to marijuana, as well as its 2010 debut, What Did You Think Was Going to Happen?
In January, the band began working on its sophomore album. To do so, they moved back to LA in March, renting a Beachwood Canyon house owned by Soleil Moon Frye, the former child actor who is best known for playing Punky Brewster on the eponymous TV show.
They worked with a number of prominent producers on the album, including Da Internz (Justin Bieber, Big Sean, Rihanna) and Futuristics (Chris Brown, Pitbull, Ne-Yo). Despite the diverse cast of producers, Griffin says the 2am Club sound remains prominent throughout.
“People will be able to hear our voice through everything,” he says. “We wrote with everybody we worked with. It’s always a collaboration.”
Griffin’s family lives near downtown while Reagan grew up in Tam Valley. They get home “as much as possible,” Griffin says. “It’s so damn beautiful back home. We got to spend a few weeks there after we finished recording earlier this year. It was fantastic.”
As soon as they finish their ASCAP Café gig – they don’t arrive in town until Saturday morning – the band has a lot of local stops on its mind.
“Tamalpie Pizzeria – best pizza I’ve ever had in my life –,” Griffins says, just as someone else in their tour bus shouts out, “Avatar’s (Punjabi Burritos)!”
“And of course the 2am Club – got to pay homage,” Griffin adds.
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