You can buy an overpriced vintage perfume bottle on Craigslist or search for apartments in Bushwick disguised as East Williamsburg. Or, if you are Somer Bingham, you can find band members. That’s how the solo singer and guitarist met Dan LeMunyan, now the drummer in the Bingham-led band Clinical Trials. LeMunyan and Bingham met through Bingham’s online listing in the spring of 2009, and the inperson meeting that followed went better than either party could have anticipated. “We decided to get drunk, make music and be happy together,” LeMunyan says.
Bingham, a Florida native, toured around the country for a few years as a solo performer, armed with a guitar and a gruff and gutsy vocal style, reminiscent of Joan Jett, before looking to turn her solo work into a collaborative effort. In addition to LeMunyan, the band grew to include AJ Annunziata on bass. Both LeMunyan and Annunziata are ex-punk band players, and combining that hardcore background with Bingham’s female vocals “balances out the rage” in the group’s music, LeMunyan says. Clinical Trials also plans to add keyboard player Eric Olsen to the mix—a fairly new plan, as LeMunyan explains that the band and Olsen “just had drinks last night” to talk through the details. If Olsen’s addition to the band goes as intended, LeMunyan says that the band might look to add more “danceable, electro stuff” to its punk-edged mix.
The addition of new sounds not only serves to give the band some variety in its own sound, but also helps to differentiate between Bingham’s solo music and that of Clinical Trials. LeMunyan explains that while the band does still work with building upon some of Bingham’s originally solo songs, Clinical Trials is not just something to be looked at as Bingham’s side project. The band and Bingham as a solo performer are “two different things,” he says, with the songwriting process now extending to all members of the group writing tracks to bring to rehearsals for consideration. Despite intentions of self-releasing a debut EP this fall, as stated on the band’s MySpace page, Clinical Trials has no intention to record or release an album any time soon. “It’ll come out when it comes out,” LeMunyan says, estimating that a release has a better chance of appearing next year.
In lieu of an album release, Clinical Trials is focusing on developing its sound and perfecting its live show, an important task for a group that LeMunyan says considers itself “more of a live band right now.” The band has gained most of its following by playing at house and apartment parties, in addition to gay-friendly events, which LeMunyan credits to Bingham, a lesbian, who did the same as a solo artist. While improving the live show is at the top of the band’s agenda, getting signed to a label sits even further back on the group’s to-do list than recording the EP. “We’re anti-getting signed,” LeMunyan says. “We would just like to turn down record deals.”
Clinical Trials’ other goal is simply to make the experience of coming to see the band fun, something LeMunyan says is missing from a lot of live shows these days. So if you do catch Clinical Trials playing, be aware that the band members “just like to rock and fucking melt faces,” LeMunyan says. You have been warned. C
CLINICAL TRIALS Nov. 7, Loft 73, 73 Washington Ave. (betw. Park & Flushing Aves.), Brooklyn, no phone; 8, $TBA.
NOTE: After New York Press launched its New Music Contest this fall (in conjunction with Sonicbids), Clinical Trials was the band with the biggest fan base (or savviest web marketing skills) to take home the prize, earning them a profile in our Music Issue. Thanks to all of the excellent talent out there; we hope to hear more from you in the future.