This item originally appeared in the October 7, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By SARAH BROACH
The worlds of engineering and music mixed when the music group BackPorch played at the Frothy Monkey Thursday.
Dr. James Nelson, a professor of civil engineering, and Dr. Bill Elmore, a professor of chemical engineering, are two members of the group.
"We all play several instruments including bass guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, harmonica and accordion," Nelson said.
Nelson said he invented the term "mograss" to describe the group's sound. "Mograss is a mixture of bluegrass and Motown music," Nelson said.
Elmore said the group likes to change up familiar styles of music.
"We play old '60s tunes and then put our own spin on it," Elmore said. "We change the rhythm, tempo, instruments and things like that."
The other two members of BackPorch are John Elmore, a chemical engineering major, and Gene Thompson, Nelson's brother-in-law.
The group got its start about a year ago, but some of the members have played together for longer.
"On holidays, Gene and I would play music at family get-togethers," Nelson said.
Nelson and Dr. Elmore began playing together several years ago when they first discovered their mutual interest in music.
Dr. Elmore is the father of John Elmore, and the two began playing music together when John began playing guitar five years ago.
"My grandfather played fiddle and passed on his love for music to his 12 children, including my father," Dr. Elmore said. "My dad taught my brother and me to play, and now I'm passing it on to my four kids."
John Elmore said his family's love of music was a big influence in his life. "I love it, it's the most relaxing thing to me," he said.
Dr. Elmore and Nelson strive to get the word out about their group.
"We're available for weddings and bar mitzvahs," Elmore said.
Elmore said the music is for pleasure, though, not a paycheck.
"We love playing and want to promote the coffee crowd scene," Elmore said. "We really enjoy that culture."
"My engineering job supports my music habit," Elmore said.
Nelson agreed that the music gig is just for fun. "We're not going to quit our day jobs," Nelson said.
BackPorch played twice at the Frothy Monkey last year and plans to play there again in the future.
Dr. Nelson said the group is grateful for the opportunity to show its style, with each member having the chance to lead.
"We don't want to just be a cover band," Nelson said. "We do it so that the song is recognizable, but the style is different and new."