Note: The following is written by Allen Etzler. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Jordan Miller is often asked how his band, Luna & The Lost Keys, originally got its name.
Usually, when he doesn’t feel like explaining the real story, he says it stems from a Tom Waits song, “Bad as Me.” There’s a line in the song that talks about “the key that got lost.”
But the real story is a bit deeper.
“It was kind of this thing when we think about losing your keys and you go and look for them, you almost never find them,” said Miller, the band’s drummer. “It’s when you stop looking for them that you end up finding the them.”
It’s a fitting story for the group, which came together out of nowhere at a time when they all played in bands that were having at least some level of success, and not really looking for another band in which they could play.
Now, the group will take the stage at Alive @ Five on Thursday at 5 p.m.
Miller and close friends Anthony Sloan and Stefan Sandman formed The Lost Keys in an effort to make themselves more marketable locally. Miller and Sandman also play in a band called Time Columns, which Miller defines as instrumental progressive rock. The band has released several albums and built an audience within the niche, but there’s not much opportunity for broad appeal.
Miller’s natural creative abilities don’t typically net marketable results. He’s a metal-head whose music often is a little left-leaning and strange, which is the kind of music he loves the most, he said.
“I’ve been in a lot of different bands since high school, and none of them would be considered marketable,” Miller said. “It was like punk and metal in high school. In college, it turned into experimental rock. Now it’s this progressive rock.”
When the trio formed Lost Keys with lead singer Trevor Davis in early 2015, the did so because all the members knew they had talent, but in their separate bands, they didn’t have as many opportunities to play shows at local bars and breweries.
“We felt like we just wanted to entertain Bushwaller’s all night, or play for four hours straight,” Miller said. “And we’re all into the classic rock, jazz, blues, and all the normal music. We’re not just into weirdo niche music. And we wanted to play those kinds of shows.”
The group released its first EP, “The Revival,” in late 2016, which ended up being at the worst possible time. Pretty much immediately after the album came out, the band went in a different direction, and Davis left the group, leaving the band without a lead singer, essentially kiboshing any marketing the group wanted to do for the album.
“At least we didn’t order like 5,000 copies,” Miller said. “We only ordered a couple hundred.”
After Davis’ departure, the band turned to another local artist to front the band — Raven Jackson, who performs under the name Luna. Jackson, an eccentric artist who plays her own music using instruments from a guitar to a banjo to a ukulele, was drawn to playing the style of music the group set out to perform.
“I’ve known these dudes for years, and we’re really close, so it was an easy decision to join,” Luna said. “We do this band because we all love to just be on stage and play music.”
The band kept a few songs from the original album that Luna sings, but for the most part, they focus on playing cover songs.
Unlike in her solo shows, Luna doesn’t have to play an instrument on stage, which she says adds an element of fun to the performance.
“It just allows me to go up there and dance, which I love, because dancing gives me life,” she said. “And anyone who comes to see us play knows they’re going to get that energy and those good vibes in our show.”