Getting the ball rolling

La Cañada Flintridge might be more Tree City USA than Detroit Rock City, but that hasn’t stopped local teens Sam Blasucci, Clay Finch and Emmet Hayes from jamming the summer away with a series of free Friday night performances at the Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse.

Performing under the name Melvin Doo, Blasucci, Finch and Hayes entertained an audience of around 50 friends, family members and passersby with a mix of original songs and covers at last Friday’s show, their final performance of the summer.

The trio, with Blasucci and Finch on guitar and Hayes playing bass, displayed dexterous guitar leads and smooth vocal harmonies in service of folk- and country-inflected rock, and ably handled songs like Neil Young’s “Old Man,” and “The Weight” by the Band.

Flintridge Bookstore Marketing/Event Director Sandy Willardson, who booked Melvin Doo’s shows, said that the band has met with a “really terrific response, even besides their parents and their friends; the people in the store come in and sit down and listen to them.”

“I think this is something they’re going to pursue,” said Willardson.

Finch, 17, said that the band members met in an independent projects program at La Cañada High School, where all three had chosen a music emphasis, and naturally started jamming together.

Finch said that starting a band in La Cañada Flintridge was a challenging, but worthwhile, endeavor.

“To be honest, the music scene is sort of dead, like we’re kind of really the only band, which I guess has its advantages,” said Finch. “But it’s been fun and we have a lot of really supportive friends and family.”

Blasucci, 16, said he picked up guitar from his father, David Blasucci, who sings and plays guitar in the band Pacific Coast Highway, before starting to take it seriously around two and a half years ago.

Willardson said she knows Sam Blasucci through his father and their church, and that Sam Blasucci had performed at Flintridge Bookstore with his other band, the Roads, so it made sense for Melvin Doo to fill the space as well.

Sam Blasucci said finding a venue was one of the challenges the band encountered.

“There’s not that many places, like there’s really no venues or anything [in La Cañada Flintridge], but we got a good amount of gigs going, so it was fun,” he said.

Melvin Doo’s run has come to a close, with Finch having left Saturday to attend college at Chico State, but he said the best part of the experience was seeing the trio come together.

“It really start out really loose, just bluegrass songs and taking a long time,” said Finch. “Watching us come to what we have now, it’s kind of a drag that we have to leave because we just got the ball rolling a little bit.”

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