The short story:
FREE ROCK is a psychedelic rock band based in Boston, Massachusetts. The band's current members are:
Jacob Keplinger (guitar), James Siegel (bass), Jackson Keplinger (keys), and Elliott Eastman (drums).
The long story:
FREE ROCK was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in the fall of 2019 following founding members Jacob Keplinger and Justin Siegel's departure from their previous band NEW THREADS. Joined by James Siegel (Justin's cousin) on bass guitar, the trio gained their chops through relentless practice sessions in Justin's basement in Winchester, MA. It was here that they released their first music in the form of an eight-episode web series titled BOOTLEG SERIES, featuring the trio performing various cuts from the NEW THREADS discography. The primary difference between the original tracks and the new Bootleg editions was the notable inclusion of live jams; with each episode of the series, the trio found themselves exploring and improvising more, and this sound bled straight into their first two studio releases, the first of which simply titled FREE ROCK. The album was released on February 21, 2020, just two weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trio's live plans were instantly crushed; a second season of BOOTLEG SERIES was cut short as well. Isolated to their homes across the state of Massachusetts, the group found themselves at a crossroads. In this time, Jacob pulled out the band's first recordings as Free Rock and mixed them down into the album now known as BUFORD, which was released on April 10, 2020. Aching for more, the group began to plot their third studio album, planning to track it remotely. The album (then known as JETSKI, though that title would change) would open with the last track the band wrote together in person, "Schlitz." They recorded the song remotely and released it as a single on May 25, 2020. However, as Massachusetts' COVID caseload lightened in the summer of 2020, the band deemed it safe to get together and track additional new tunes. Over the next two months the group would record the entirety of their third album GONE WILD, which did not ultimately feature "Schlitz" upon its release on October 2, 2020. The band took a short hiatus following the release, hoping to wait out the final few months before vaccines became available and the world would begin to open up again. In that downtime, Jacob wrote and prepared the nine tracks that would make up the band's fourth release, NEW THREADS IS DEAD. Released on July 16, 2021 with hopes of isolating the group's new identity from their tight origins with NEW THREADS, it also managed to live up to the goal initially set for the group's third album by being recorded entirely remote from the band members' individual homes. Following the release of this album, the band began appearing live again, and entered into a new era of productivity. That fall, the group began work on their next studio album, one they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the trio's debut and focus on jammy, catchy songs. But unlike the dark, moody tones of FREE ROCK, this new record would be joyous and optimistic, with most of the tracks being written in major keys. However, on the final day of tracking the new album, the group recorded a 31-minute free jam that spawned into an album of its own, gaining the title MILK and being released to the public via unmarked CDs at the band's shows throughout March 2022, eventually gaining an official release on April 1, 2022. Shortly afterwards, the trio announced that their sixth studio album would be titled NORTHERN TERRACE and releasing on July 1, 2022, following each track's release as a single. This proved successful for the band, who gained a fresh new audience from the album's light and airy sound, pulling from jam-band and fusion influences. It was around this time that the trio brought in Jacob's brother Jackson Keplinger to play the keys, and he made his studio debut with the group's seventh album FREE ROCK NATIONAL PARK, which released on October 28, 2022. This album took the catchy and poppier writing style heard on NORTHERN TERRACE and streamlined it into tighter, shorter tracks. The band extensively promoted the two albums in tandem with live performances and music video releases. But all the while, they were busy plotting their next releases behind the scenes; in November 2022, the band released a single titled "Speed of Might" from their upcoming eighth album DIRTY DISCO. The track was followed by the double single "Perseverance" and "Eyelid" in January 2023, the former of which ended up appearing on DIRTY DISCO, which released on March 3, 2023. Six days later, on March 9, 2023, the band released their ninth studio album BUFORD'S REVENGE with no announcements or singles to precede it. Stylistically, the album's prog-rock intentions played in stark contrast to the dance fever of DISCO, but nothing would prepare audiences for the group's tenth studio album REAL LIFE, which released the next day on March 10, 2023. The album opened with the single "Eyelid" and was the first in the band's discography to feature lead vocal performances from both Justin ("That's the Way She Goes") and James ("Out of My Mind"). However, as the band's ambitions began to grow and creative visions began to clash, Jacob and Justin's relationship began to strain in the months following the triple release. This ultimately resulted in Justin's departure from the group in June of 2023. But how do you leave a group with whom you've made ten albums in just three years? Of course, the answer was to make one final record with this lineup; it is titled FREE ROCK II, and was released on August 18, 2023. Following the release, Elliott Eastman was announced as the new drummer and the group has at least two new studio albums in the works for 2024.