Cut to September 2005: The deal that seemed so certain had fallen through, and Delegate decided to call it quits, weary of the pressures that accompanied its long label courtship. "Delegate was a little too concerned with trying to get signed, and it really hurt us in the long run," Bailey says. "We couldn't ever agree on what to do."
Delegate founder Daron Hollowell moved to Brooklyn and started the band White Bear; everyone else went separate ways, with just a nifty four-song EP to show for their brief run. They've all remained friends (Hollowell still works with Bailey in the commercial music production company Black Iris), and there were no hard feelings. Still, there was massive disappointment.
After Delegate's breakup, Bailey reconnected with Detroit guitarist Arun Bali, an old friend who helped book shows in Michigan for Bailey's earlier punk band Submerge, to kick around ideas for a new band. Eventually Delegate drummer Ash Bruce earlier of Richmond punk bands Four Hundred Years and Bats & Mice joined them, and Eons was born.
For Bailey, it's a chance to start over, to "take it as it comes" and experience the fun of playing music without the early stress. On the evidence of some new songs Eons has demoed, which can be heard on their MySpace page, the band's off to a great start. Eons is a bit rawer and driving than the more ethereal Delegate, with a power-pop focus and punchy hooks. Particularly compelling is "Getchya Guitar On," which has a primal glam-rock beat underpinning a five-point program ("Step one: Get your guitar on") for curing your show-going malaise. "It's pretty much a party song don't worry about looking stupid if you want to dance, that kind of thing," Bailey says.
Drummer Bruce, who confesses a taste for the new Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake albums, thinks that the band's affinity for catchy melodies and hooks will give Richmond something it's not used to, and he expects some resistance. "Someone has got to take a risk," he says, "to not being afraid to be a little bit poppy. Being pop doesn't mean not being cool."
After its live debut Thursday at Alley Katz, Eons has a gig in Virginia Beach, and then up to Michigan for some shows. Who knows where it will lead? Eons is having fun, Bailey says, "taking the music seriously but not ourselves."
And this time no one is putting the cart before the horse. "It definitely plays into our psychology now, what went down before," Bruce says.
Bailey adds: "We have the attitude this time that if we do what we want to do and try hard, something good will happen." S
Eons plays an all-ages show at Alley Katz Thursday, Sept. 21, with Loretta and the Larkspurs. 6-9 p.m., $6. 643-2816./i>