Two years ago, Chico lost music buff Zeke “The Bonecrusher” Rogers to the cold blue north mecca of Portland. Luckily, this week his latest band, Usnea, is headed for the California sun with a stop in Chico.

What do you think is the main difference between Portland and Chico?

Obviously the weather’s really different. That’s probably one of the biggest things people notice, especially being from California.

As far as music and arts, there’s definitely way more going on here. Portland is a pretty vibrant city in that way, and the music scene is pretty incredible. There’s just a lot going on for sure.

Are there any ways that the two are similar?

There is definitely a smaller-town feel here [in Portland] as well. The city is broken up into neighborhoods. You go to similar shows and bars’ events and you see the same people around. It feels a lot smaller. As far as friendliness goes, people are super friendly here, which they are in Chico as well. People are pretty easygoing and it’s fairly laid back.

Tell me about Usnea.

Probably about six months after moving here, I started a band with a buddy of mine. His old band had just broken up and they were thinking about keeping it going with a different name so we started getting together. At the time, we were both playing guitar. We had no luck finding a drummer, so I moved to drums and we found a second guitarist. We knew we wanted something heavy and down-tuned, and probably after two practices we realized it was going to be a pretty dismal, brutal, doom sort of band.

I listened to one of the tracks and it seemed really heavy. What else can you say about the sound of the band? 

It’s hard putting it in one genre. It’s definitely in the realm of doom music, but what sets us apart from other bands is the variation. We don’t just stick to one style. Our songs are varied and have a lot of changes. It’s varied, but overall there’s kind of a cohesiveness to it.

Come check out Usnea with Amarok, Venkman, and Jedi Scum this Friday, May 17th at Monstro’s Pizza and pick up Usnea’s debut, self-titled album while you’re there.

Tommy Diestel can't remember life without music and writing. He began writing for the Synthesis at the ripe age of 19, and aspires to be a life-long writer.