They stood 6-5, with the afros 6-9, hated Tommy Lasorda and charged steak sandwiches to the Underhills’ tab. Okay, they didn’t really, but like the Chevy Chase flick with which they shared a name, popular local band Fletch are a thing of the past.
Well, almost. Fletch’s longtime lineup will play one more show together, September 5 at Jillian’s, but that will be more like a reunion than a farewell. The five members have already gone their separate ways—four launching a new pop-punk outfit called Phoenix Down and one focusing on what had been his side gig, local screamo band Eyes Like Diamonds.
“They came to me and said they weren’t feeling it anymore,” singer Diego Perez, the odd man out, says. “I feel like they took my having another band the wrong way. If I could have been in both bands, I would have, but the Fletch guys didn’t give me a choice. And I don’t want to try to convince them. It’s like trying to convince a girlfriend who tells you she doesn’t love you anymore. It’s not something I feel like I have to do.”
Tony Foresta, the keyboardist and co-singer for Fletch who will handle lead vocals for Phoenix Down, says Fletch’s dynamic changed after he, guitarist Ryan Brasher and drummer Nick Schulthies spent March backing teen-pop hopeful Sydnee Duran on a tour supporting the Jonas Brothers. After the trio returned home, Fletch traveled to Hollywood to record two songs and played a couple of hometown shows. But, Foresta says, the vibe wasn’t the same, so he, Brasher, Schulthies and bassist Jessie Joneson said so long to Fletch.
“It wasn’t a thing where [Diego] quit or we kicked him out,” Foresta, 20, says, checking in from Atlanta, where Phoenix Down is recording three tracks with the production duo of Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount (The Cartel, Mayday Parade). “It was more just that we’ve been a band for a long time, and things change. It was just starting to fall apart.”
Formed when most of its members were high-schoolers at Sierra Vista, Fletch quickly established itself as one of the best-liked acts on Las Vegas’ all-ages scene. Its young musicians helped run a pair of venues—teen hangout The Alley and the shorter-lived Mojo Bean coffeehouse—and toured extensively along the West Coast, through Texas and into the South. Fletch released its only official recording, a self-titled EP, in February 2007 through now-defunct local imprint Ifiymm Records (its seven songs are still available on iTunes).
“We were brothers,” the 19-year-old Perez says. “We all used to live together, eat at the same dinner table, tour together. It was a friend thing for a long time, but it turned into a business thing. I’ve always stressed to them how I don’t feel like everything has to be business, because in the end, we still got to do what we loved—play music.”
Though Foresta insists there’s “no bad blood” between the ex-bandmates, Perez concedes he’s apprehensive about Fletch’s final performance. “It’s gonna hurt,” he says. “I think that’s when the reality of it is gonna set in.”
Fletch with A Bird A Sparrow, Love It or Leave It, Love You Long Time, Hang em High, Nural. September 5, 6 p.m., $10. Jillian’s, 759-0450.