Story By Jimmy Wiggins, Photo by Scott Hobbs
It’s a well-known fact that TBay has no shortage of musicians. For a city so far removed from other major centres, we have plenty of talented bands/acts of nearly every genre. As a promoter who works with many of these bands, I’m always fascinated by the way they come together. One band will break up only to form two or three or four new bands. It happens a lot, and it’s what keeps the scene alive. So when I first heard about Phoebe the Feeb I was immediately interested in who the players were, and was surprised that this particular trio came together considering their very different musical backgrounds.
Phoebe the Feeb is made up of Aaron Gee (drums), Will Trembley (bass), and Nathan “Nabo” Bortolon (guitar vocals). Gee comes primarily from a metal/rock background, and was in local bands Twins of Leda, As I Fall, Point North, and Fragments of Four; Trembley comes from local bands Solartide, Point North, and Amelia (a band that dominated the music scene back in the days of Kilroy’s); and Bortolon played in Vaya and took on the role of lead guitar in the original line up of Jordana And The Bastard Hammers (with yours truly on drums).
Originally setting out to become a massive hip-hop live band with 10 members, Phoebe the Feeb ran into scheduling issues and soon became a prog-rock trio. “When Phoebe first started two and a half years ago, the hip hop intentions didn’t play out like we had hoped. So Nabo started bringing his original material to the table, and we pretty much wrote around his offerings at first,” explains Gee. “Now we are so in tune with how we each play that we just build off of a riff, drum beat, or anything that one of us knuckleheads will spit out, then Nabo adds vocals after.”
Musically, Phoebe the Feeb are all over the map with an eclectic mix of influences. They combine elements of everything from rock and metal to funk, reggae, and folk with a touch of dad jokes and a little Blue Dream to keep it interesting. The band name comes from the Ashley Banks character Phoebe “Feeb” Crenshaw in the 1987 horror comedy movie The Monster Squad. “I am obsessed with it,” explains Gee. “I used-car-salesmanned the other dudes into thinking it was a good band name.”
For a band that’s only been around for a couple years, Phoebe the Feeb have had some pretty big highlights in their musical career. In 2017 they released their debut EP, The Fire That Burns Against The Cold, and are currently in the studio recording the follow up EP, The Pink Album, the proceeds from which they plan to donate to several local charities. And in February of this year, Phoebe the Feeb were given the opportunity to perform as guests with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra for the sixth annual Brew & Beethoven event.
“The biggest accomplishment by far as a band was when we were given the OK to play with the TBSO,” explains Gee. “In order for them to play to our songs we had to meet a crazy deadline of writing 48 pieces of music in just over a month. We were composing five days of the week, while working full time jobs, and juggling family life. It was a crazy hectic few months, with an end game that us three dudes will remember forever.”
Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON
Genre: Progressive Rock
Recommended if you like: Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, Radiohead, Iron & Wine, Muse
Next Show: August 10 at The Foundry