Stars & boulevards

Adam Griffiths

Augustana on its way to House of Blues


Credit: Jason Hall

As the still-under-the-radar debut album of Augustana’s All The Stars and Boulevards gains popularity, the band’s first single “Boston” is getting more airtime and they’ve recently set out on their second major jaunt across the country, this new pop group is garnering more attention.

Bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Jared Palomar shared some insight into what’s behind this Coldplay-esque infant of an emerging force while killing time before a show in Salt Lake City Friday.

Augustana started when Dan Layus, who does vocals, piano and guitar for the band, and Josiah Rosen, lead guitar and vocals, met at Greenville College in Illinois.

“Our first show was actually at college,” Palomar said. “There was this cool venue on campus, and I actually wasn’t technically in the band yet, but they asked me to play with them. Then I just kept doing shows with them.”

Layus and Rosen dropped out of school and moved to San Diego to pursue a music career. Palomar followed suit and joined his friends to start recording what would become their first album.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things,” Palomar said. “It’s experience from moving around and never being in the same place for very long. A few (songs) were written in college. Some in L.A., some in Chicago. Just wherever we were at the time.”


Playing with Vega4

Where? House of Blues Cleveland

When? Monday, Jan. 29, 8 p.m.

How much? $14-16

Their signature take on loneliness has paid off. This past summer, the band toured with the Goo Goo Dolls. Presently, the band is touring with Vega4, but will reunite with the Goo Goo Dolls next month.

“Dan was actually at Whole Foods in L.A. and saw John (Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls),” he said. “(Dan) was like, ‘We should totally work with you guys again.’ Then later that night, they called us, and it was done.”

Palomar said the tour has run smoothly so far.

“All the shows have been really cool,” he said. “It’s been great to play some larger venues. And those guys (Vega4) are great. It’s been cool doing this with them.”

The number one rule on the Augustana bus, Palomar said, is not to have a number two rule.

“Everyone’s pretty respectful and gets along well,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no fun involved.

“There was this one time when we were in New York,” he said. “We were at the top floor of this huge hotel in this nice suite. Me and this girl ended up outside on the roof. There were some rocks out there, and we ended up tossing them off. We ended up breaking this window on this hotel next door that cost $12,000, but what are you gonna do, right?”

The tour will wind down at the end of March, Palomar said. Everyone is eager to record and put out another album.

“We are all pretty stoked about the new songs we’ve been writing on the road,” he said, “and we just want to get into a studio and get them recorded.”

With “Boston” moving up the charts, the band is looking to release another single off its debut album.

“I don’t know. It’s probably going to be either ‘Wasteland’ or ‘Stars and Boulevards’,” he said. “Everyone seems to like ‘Stars and Boulevards,’ so it’ll probably be that one.”

But from listing his influences as anything from Tom Petty and Counting Crows to Oasis and Ryan Adams, Palomar proves that Augustana is a well-rounded trio of friends who are doing nothing but having a good time and loving every minute of it.

What would he be doing otherwise?

“Aerospace engineering,” he laughed. “And I know that’s really, really random. But this is amazing. These guys are great, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Contact ALL correspondent Adam Griffiths at [email protected].