Spoon, Can, Hole. Rock band names don't need to be complex, and inspiration can come from anywhere, even from the maintenance workers on your college campus.
That's how Sarasota funk rock band Physical Plant got its name. A decade ago, Josh Scheible, who sings and plays guitar, and Caegan Quimby, who sings and plays keyboard and guitar, were New College of Florida students searching for a name for their freshman year independent study project turned rock band. They joked that if their band was named after the phrase plastered on the campus' maintenance trucks, they'd benefit from the free advertising all the time.
"We bought merchandise with 'physical plant' for our first tour," says Scheible. "The name just kind of stuck."
At the time, Scheible was studying political science while Quimby was concentrating on music, but both knew forming a band was their destiny. Scheible played in cover bands throughout his teenage years and Quimby's father was a working musician. It helped that both had similar music tastes, bonding over their love of '60s and '70s artists like Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and, of course, The Beatles. Drummer and bassist Michael Murphy and bassist Dave Cornicelli joined later.
Physical Plant's sound is transient and ever-changing. The band's first two EPs and first album were recorded in their dorms rooms and home studios, with a more psychedelic sound. Their upcoming album—Hot Future—will be released in August and has a more progressive rock/funk sound. Although, Schieble and Quimby don't like to fit the band into a box.
"We have classic rhythms of bass, guitar and drums, but we also include lesser-used instruments like brass, marimba, mandolin, lap steel guitar and even '80s-style synthesizers," says Quimby. "Producing it all ourselves was complex and difficult—especially with our last two albums, which were recorded live. But I've always kind of been a nerd about producing, so I loved it."
Hot Future was recorded at Bradenton's Burnt Orange Studios, and the band is planning to release and perform it live at Oscura on Saturday, Aug. 13. When they got their start, however, bars like Growlers (now The Mable) and the Cock & Bull (now a Big Top Brewing Company bar) were the band's stomping grounds, alongside other homegrown indie rock bands.
"The indie rock scene was flourishing in Sarasota from around 2011 to 2015," says Scheible. "We played alongside Villanova Junction, Umbrella Cult and Buffalo Wizards, and places like Growlers would practically let us do whatever we wanted."
He recalls their first off-campus gigs at Growlers with a couple other acts. Bands played whatever they wanted onstage, attracting New College and Ringling College of Art and Design students and residents from the nearby Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores neighborhood to party. There was something for everyone, and Physical Plant developed a cult following.
"Fellow musicians were our biggest fans in the early days," says Quimby. "They've understood our vision from the beginning."
The band toured the Northeast in 2013, playing in venues large and small from Baltimore to Boston. The Covid-19 pandemic put a pause on band activities, but the group has written 30 original songs since 2020, some of which they're looking forward to performing live in the near future. They hope their funky sound and laid-back persona will resonate with audiences.
"We're planning shows across Florida, promoting our new album," says Scheible. "We are looking forward to recording more singles and live videos to catch up with all the music we wrote during the pandemic."
For more info, visit the band's website.