Sister Rock

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

The members of local rock band Third Eclipse are feeling justifiably proud right now.  What started out with three young sisters playing around with instruments in their Salinas living room has, almost ten years later, culminated in a professionally recorded CD with a Grammy-winning producer. On Thursday evening, Club Octane in Monterey plays host to the band’s launch party for the album “Guest Parking Only.”

The core of Third Eclipse is Beth, Christine and Faith Elderkin.  They grew up in a family that loved music and had their first exposure to singing at their local church.  The three soon began to show an interest in playing musical instruments; at age eight, Faith Elderkin started playing on an improvised drum set made from pots and pans.  Their parents bought them instruments for Christmas and thus the band was born.

The earliest incarnation of Third Eclipse was much different to the band’s driving rock sound of today.  “We started off as more of a vocal band with a softer, poppier sound,” said Beth, “but then we got more exposed to rock music.  Faith was addicted to Led Zeppelin for about a year.”  The band members also cite Aerosmith, Kiss and Pat Benatar among their influences.

The band played its first show at a talent contest at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, when Beth, Christine and Faith were 12, 14 and 9 years old respectively.  Since then, Third Eclipse has played numerous shows around Salinas and Monterey and has recently been venturing out to Santa Cruz and San Jose.

Having recorded a couple of demos in the family’s garage, the sisters decided about three and a half years ago to work on recording a real album.  Unfortunately, during the early stages of recording, drummer Faith began to suffer from a repetitive strain injury.  This led to the introduction of Colombian-born Miguel Ramirez to the band.  “I got a call from the producer saying that a girl in this band needed lessons to correct her technique,” said Ramirez.  After a couple of months, the lessons stopped, as Faith switched from drums to bass guitar, and Ramirez was invited to join the band as drummer.

With the trio now a quartet, Third Eclipse was ready to record its CD at Boomtown Studios in Sausalito.  “It has been a long process,” said Beth.  “Tracks one to four were originally recorded as a trio, and then redone with Miguel.  Also, problems with schedules made it difficult for everyone to get together.” “Also,” added Christine, “We’re kind of picky - [the sound] has to be just right.” 

The band’s hard work has paid off.  “Guest Parking Only” is a fine showcase of Third Eclipse’s talents.  The album’s ten tracks display tight musicianship and a good ear for hard rocking melodies with catchy hooks.  “Insecticide” and “Thinker” are two stand-out tracks, demonstrating the band’s ability for capturing, and switching, moods. Producer Jeffrey Cohen has done an admirable job of recreating the energy and intensity of the band’s live performances in the studio.

Third Eclipse will follow Thursday’s Monterey launch party with a Salinas show on Friday at the Cherry Bean Coffee House. 

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, March 30, 2006

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