Louisiana Music Archive

The Society Within

1992-1994

The Society Within formed in Lake Charles in March, 1992 under odd circumstances. Guitarist Troy Dering posted a flyer at a local music store, stating that he was "looking for a band interested in improv, along the lines of Cream". Rob (last name unfortunately forgotten), a rhythm guitarist interested in forming a band, answered the ad, and the two got together at Rob's house. Rob wanted to play more college-oriented/ alternative of the day; music such as Toad The Wet Sprocket, Indigo Girls, REM, etc. Troy shared an interest in REM and early Dire Straits, and went along for the ride.

Rob knew a drummer, Mickey Hartzog, who knew a singer, Dave Bright. Mickey was a Drum Major at McNeese State University, and recruited a fellow Drum Major, Bryden Atwater, to play bass guitar. Initially practicing at Rob's house, the group found resentment from neighbors and law enforcement. In a daring move, the band began sneaking into an unlocked auditorium at McNeese late at night to practice.

Dave named the band after the many cultural differences that made up the band. Despite varying personal musical tastes, race differences (Mickey was black, and had a white wife), financial statuses (Rob owned his own business), the band got along well.

Rob moved to Atlanta, GA approximately one year later to pursue better business interests.

The band focused mainly on playing the local college haunts around Lake Charles (OB's, The Caddyshack, etc.), but ventured to Murphy's bar in Baton Rouge, and even played a gig at a venue (name now forgotten) in Vicksburg, Mississippi (Bryden's hometown). A major highlight was playing at McNeese State University as part of Bryden's graduation percussion concert, participants of which included the upper-brass/ professors of MSU's Music Department.

The four songs included on the EP were recorded on April 6-7, 1994 at EMF Productions in Lake Charles, and engineered by Mr. Ed Fruge, owner of the studio. Though the tapes have suffered some natural degradation, it is still a good document of a moment in time. Mr. Fruge was very generous to the band, as the band had a very small budget ($200), allowing them numerous overdubs, and even some added sound-effects. As part of his payment, he recruited guitarist Troy to play after-hours on a TV jingle he had been hired to write by the Red Rooster Buffet restaurant in Beaumont, TX.

The band broke up shortly after this EP was recorded, as Mickey moved to Dallas to become a drum instructor. Dave went to college, Troy became a Paramedic, and Bryden began teaching music at a local middle school.

The Society Within was:

Rob- rhythm guitar (not on EP)
Dave Bright- Vocals
Mickey Hartzog- drums
Bryden Atwater- bass
Troy Dering- lead guitar

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