With sales of three million albums worldwide and a reputation for spectacular live performances, the genesis of The Verve Pipe can be traced back to the early 90s, when lead singer Brian Vander Ark and drummer Donny Brown, members of two rival Michigan bands, joined forces.
After the additions of lead guitarist AJ Dunning (later replaced) and keyboard/percussionist Doug Corella, The Verve Pipe released two independent albums, I've Suffered A Head Injury and Pop Smear.
The group quickly garnered a regional following for its textured rock songs distinguished by inventive arrangements, soul-searching lyrics and layered vocals.
(Above) Brian Vander Ark - Lead Singer of the Verve Pipe
Also featuring Avery Set at the evening rock concert.
It was in a cold attic in early 2003 when high school friends Chris Zehnder and Jake Bartlett decided to record the first EP for their new band The Avery Set. The EP, entitled 'Music For Girls and Boys', was a giant musical departure from the garage rock they had been accustomed to playing in their younger days. A softer sound, now resonating within the two boys, would manifest itself in a way they never would have imagined.
After the new EP was released, Chris Zehnder (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Jake Bartlett (drums) decided to form a touring act by recruiting a lead guitarist and pianist. Playing shows started by gradually making it farther and farther away from their hometown in a gutted bakery van. After a year or so of writing and playing regionally, the band again found themselves in a studio to record their first full-length effort entitled 'Wishful Thinking.' Recorded in White Room Studios in Detroit, Michigan 'Wishful Thinking' afforded the band some real local notoriety. The album was released to a sold out crowd in their hometown of Frankenmuth, MI.
The Avery Set continued to tour throughout their college years to promote 'Wishful Thinking,' hitting every metropolis in the state, time and again. However, mid-way through his college career Jake decided to move to Nashville for school and music. Having just graduated and wanting to keep the band together, Chris decided to follow suit and move to Nashville as well. Wiping the slate clean, the two original members began to start over again in Nashville, TN. After a few months of searching, they corralled a new guitar player Brandon Harris and bass player Jacob Johnson.
This new hybrid of The Avery Set would eventually begin to play regional shows and record their second full-length album entitled 'Returning to Steam.' The band traveled back to their hometown to release the new album to another sold out, hometown crowd. Since its release, 'Returning to Steam' has been received with open arms in the United States and the UK. The alternative country sound has the ability to transcend a specific genre of music, and isn't limited to a certain demographic of listener.
The Avery Set is currently playing shows around Middle America promoting 'Returning to Steam' with new bass player Shawn Supra. With the UK release of 'Returning to Steam' in February of 2011, The Avery Set is eager to break into the international music scene.