Despite their musical differences, eclectic jam band Zox will forever be nestled next to cult favorite Vancouver indie rockers Zumpano (Carl Newman's band prior to the New Pornographers) -- not just alphabetically, but for quirks of nomenclature: both bands are named after their drummer's surnames. In this case, drummer John Zox met singer and guitarist Eli Miller when both were undergrads at Brown University in Providence, RI, in 1999. Zox and Miller's dorm room jam sessions, marked by a shared love of vintage '80s college rock and sensitive singer/songwriters, were occasionally joined by Miller's roommate, a classically trained violinist. Enjoying the '70s prog vibe created by a lead violinist (an indie rock rarity last seen in Petra Haden and Anna Waronker's '90s band that dog.) but unable to convince Miller's roommate to join their nascent band, Miller and Zox located another, Spencer Swain, through a newspaper ad. Adding bassist Eli Batalion (replaced in 2004 by Dan Edinberg) and increasing their live profile through extensive touring throughout New England, Zox self-released their first album, Take Me Home, in 2003. Solid reviews and a greatly increased touring schedule for the now post-collegiate quartet saw the group sell over 10,000 copies of the debut outside of the usual distribution channels. Although the Mitch Easter-mixed follow-up, The Wait, was originally also released on the band's own label in 2005, the punk-oriented indie Side One Dummy signed the band later that year and reissued the album with new artwork in the spring of 2006. ~ Stewart Mason

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