Don’t call them the Osmonds.
The Fridays’ family band is far removed from the cutesy trappings that can come with making music with relatives.
“We’ve been called the Partridge Family or the Jackson 5,” said Darren Friday, who plays bass for the band led by his children, in an interview with the Capital City Weekly. “We don’t feel we’ve been taken as seriously as we could.”
Which is through no fault of the band.
Lead guitarist-vocalist David Friday, 22, drummer Caleb Friday, 16, and singer-rhythm guitarist Daizy Floyd (aka Keilani Friday), 19, and Darren Friday don’t play bubblegum pop, wear matching outfits or call themselves something cheesy like “Casual Fridays.”
The band’s moniker is a family name in a roundabout way.
It was the name for a band Darren Friday had with his brothers that now continues with a younger generation, and it comes from the Bible. It references Jesus’ internal torment in between the Last Supper and his arrest.
“It also means, to me, that we won’t candy coat the things we go through in life, what other people go through, it’s a beautiful name and an intense one for sure, and I think we will be able to help people and relate with them,” David Friday said.
The biblical allusion fits with the band’s history.
Members of Garden of Agony cut their teeth playing at the Salvation Army church, which also runs in the family.
“There were former generations before these guys that used to play in the former Salvation Army Brass Band,” Darren Friday said. “They couldn’t speak any English, but they could read that music. They were so good they even played for (Franklin) Roosevelt. Grandparents and uncles and stuff played in that group all the way back in the 1900s.”
“We kind of did it as a tradition type thing just to keep that tradition going,” he added.
Playing for the church wasn’t that much different from what the band does now, band members said, and it did provide experience playing live music.
“When we played in church, I was still doing what I do in the bars, just solo-ing,” David Friday said.
It also allowed Caleb Friday to find a sweet spot for his drumming’s volume, which has turned out to be handy for a metal band in a town full of folkies.
“It seems like the crowd reacts a lot better to being able to enjoy the music like that,” Darren Friday said. “It’s not that Caleb can’t open up. He can do a drum solo.”
There’s tangible proof of that.
During Caleb Friday’s first drum solo at the Viking, a drum stick went flying and became lodged near a deer head mounted on the wall. The stick is still there.
“It’s no longer my stick, it’s theirs,” Caleb Friday said. “It’s kind of cool. It’s proof of my first Viking show.”
While the Front Street bar is a home base for Garden of Agony, the band does play at other venues, including a set for people at Bridge Adult Day Program.
Darren Friday said they’re always eager to win over new audiences, too.
“We’re not afraid to play anywhere,” he said.
While the Fridays now make music together, that wasn’t always the case.
David Friday started playing guitar on his own at 11, and Floyd has been writing lyrics on her own for a while, and Darren Friday’s musical exploits predate his talented offspring by decades.
“I used to write alone all the time,” Floyd said. “The band didn’t go from playing covers to original stuff until the last year or maybe last two years.”
Still, they said they all work well together.
There isn’t much sibling rivalry or familial friction in the group’s dynamic despite a brother-sister tandem forming Garden of Agony’s core songwriting duo.
Instead, the Friday’s said having a rehearsal space in their living room leads to prolific collaboration. On one particularly, productive day, David Friday said he and Floyd wrote three songs from scratch.
“We can come up with a lot of ideas when we’re supposed to be focusing on one song,” Floyd said.
For example, David Friday might play a riff that catches Floyd’s attention and sends her in search of a notebook of lyrics. Then, Caleb Friday will drive home the composition with his drumming.
“From there it’s easy to just follow him for the rhythm,” Darren Friday said.
The original songs tend to be a blend of influences that include harder rock like Soundgarden, Slayer and Megadeth as well as less intense fare like Hippo Campus, Suede and Silver Chair.
Some experimentation also creeps into the mix.
During the extra terrestrial-inspired song, “Them Damn Aliens,” David Friday uses a violin bow and looping pedal to create some strange sonic textures.
“All things we try to do, I think we do it, so we can pull it off live, too,” Darren Friday said.
The end result of the blend of influences is guitar-driven music that would have sounded at home on most FM radio stations in 1997.
The Fridays said plans are in place to record their new tunes, and they’re hoping to have a single out by September and a to-be-titled album with seven songs should be released shortly afterward.
The band is recording locally through Second2NoneSound, a Juneau-based service that offers sound recording, mixing and mastering.
“I never thought I’d be able to make music,” David Friday said. “but here I am, and we’ve made a whole seven-song album and have about five more songs we play live.”
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.