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Forget the Roses, a budding band with tracks that run out of Truckee, keeps on chugging

Forget the Roses’ roots run deep in its hometown. The two players in the rhythm section have been playing together since they were sixth-graders at Sierra Mountain Middle School.

Bassist Cody Brouwers and drummer Gabe Carlson are now 27. They each joined the band in 2011. Forget the Roses was started a year earlier by guitarists Morgan Hargrave and Todd Wees, both, coincidentally 42 after Hargrave’s birthday Sunday.

“We both like the same kind of sound, kind of like Johnny Cash getting on a train,” Wees said.

Hargrave calls the band’s sound Americana roots rock.

The name Forget the Roses comes from an amalgamation of two songs: Wilco’s “Forget the Flowers” and Ryan Adams’ “Cold Roses.”

Hargrave, an environmental scientist, chose the noun “amalgamation.” He also used the vernacular when noting the band has played most of its 200 shows close to home.

“We haven’t escaped the gravitational pull of the lake,” he said.

And about the band’s two young players: “It’s a locally grown organic rhythm section with lots of preservatives.”

Brouwers and Carlson each selected their respective instruments in ways that might be expected of an 11-year-old.

Brouwers chose electric bass because his father owned one. Carlson’s decision was more thought out. After Carlson filled out a questionnaire, band teacher Randy Humphreys suggested Carlson would best be suited for the flute.

“I thought that was pretty girly,” Brouwers said, “so I picked the instrument with the biggest word: percussion.”

He admitted that he didn’t know the definition of “percussion.”

Carlson’s naivete about music was long gone just a few years later when he presciently named his first rock band Chapter 13. A lot more musicians go bankrupt than become rock stars.

Brouwers was a quick study, too. He learned to read music and was a member of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

Hargrave, who started playing music on the saxophone, bought his first guitar the day he graduated from high school.

A music-store salesman asked if he wanted to try the guitar before purchasing it.

“I said, ‘I don’t know how to play it, you play something,’ ” Hargrave said.

The salesman busted out “More than Words” by Extreme and a deal was reached.

A fifth-generation Southern Californian, Hargrave first lived at Lake Tahoe during the late 1990s during the MTBE crisis. The gas additive seeped into the ground and a third of South Tahoe Public Utility District’s wells had to be retired.

When the job was finished, Hargrave had to move away, but he wanted to return.

“It took six or seven years but we scratched and clawed our way back up here,” he said.

Wees, a native of Canada, went to school at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He, too, said it took a while to make it to Truckee, where he wanted to settle down.

After Wees wrote a number of songs, which he played to his newborn child, he made a children’s album and performed around town. Playing for kids is a sweet gig, he said, because the shows start early and only last about an hour due to short attention spans.

At his wife’s urging, Wees began to play publically at open-mic shows. That’s where he met Hargrave. After recognizing commonalities, the two started Forget the Roses.

“We play a lot of 3½ to 4-minute songs,” Hargrave said. “We like pop songs with an edge to it.”

A typical performance will include about 32 songs, 16 of them originals.

For a while, the band include viola player Gia White, who now lives in Colorado.

Visit the Forget the Roses Facebook page to hear original tracks “California Freeway” and Castle Peak.”

Better yet, catch the band live Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline.

Tim Parsons
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