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Benton Oliver

The 1608 is a self-described blues-rock/jam/funk band made upentirely of Tulane seniors. Bandmates include Dan Miller on vocalsand acoustic guitar, Mark Strella on lead guitar, Mike McCulloch ondrums and David Cisneros on bass. Half the band – Mike and Dave -sat down with The Tulane Hullabaloo for what turned out to be achaotic interview, in which the band reminisced on its beginnings,recalled memories and discussed plans for the future.

According to McCulloch, the band began to take shape when themembers were “sneaky little freshmen living in Monroe.” McCullochmet Strella because they were playing in the same jazz combothrough the music school, but the two didn’t jam until secondsemester. During the session, Strella mentioned his roommate,Miller, was a singer with a similar musical style. The band stillneeded a bassist, however, so the boys created a help wantedsign.

“Didn’t it say ‘in the style of Dave Matthews?'” laughedCisneros, who joined when McCulloch, who lived in the next roomover, walked by one day while he was playing with the dooropen.

With a full lineup,the band began practicing, waiting untilafter midnight for the band hall in Dixon Hall to clear out. Theirsophomore year the band moved spaces to the basement of theirfriends’ house at 1608 Broadway Street. “There was definitely somesort of weed operation going on in that basement within the last 10years,” said Mike. While cleaning out the basement, the band foundrows of rusty hooks on the ceiling and boxes full of grow lamps andhollowed-out books. When asked for a name at their first gig theychose “The 1608” based on their new practice space.

The band then began to play shows. McCulloch and Cisneros agreedthat their fondest gig memory was their first show at The Boot, anevent they were featured at called Boot Out Breast Cancer. Therewas a $5 cover and free drinks all night, and whether the music orthe booze attracted the crowd is unclear, but 1,004 people paid toenter The Boot that night.

“It was impossible to get amps out after the show without peoplebeing like, ‘Yo, you’re knockin’ over my drink, bro'” saidCisneros. They played two one-hour sets with a 30 minute break inbetween, and according to McCulloch, they all “brought their A gameand clicked musically, which is just a really weird, greatthing.”

The band plans to get into the studio to record a demo thissemester, because even though The 1608 has been together for fouryears, the boys don’t have much recorded material at this point.Now that the summer is finished, the band also plans to promoteaggressively and get back into booking gigs.

“Being enrolled in the business school gives you 1000 freeprints, so we destroy the campus with flyers,” said McCulloch. “Beon the lookout. Support us. Support the music scene. We’ll bethere.”