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Local co-ops offer counterculture music scene

When you walk into the Campbell Club or the Lorax Manner, there are certain things you can’t miss.

Besides the rickety furniture and vivid murals encompassing the walls, the sound of music is ubiquitous.

“It is like a biosphere of music,” said Chris Crux, a Campbell Club resident.@@found on [email protected]@

Some nights the front porch can be occupied by an assortment of people playing bluegrass. The living room will be emulating classical music, while the kitchen cranks up the stereo, and in the basement, people participate in a jam session with any instruments available.

It seems like a scene from the musical “Fame”, but these co-op residents aren’t famous. They are mostly strangers to one another, coming from a variety of backgrounds and upbringings, until they move into and become part of a community joined together by their love of music.

These residents are like Lauren Herr, who was homeless with her dog and boyfriend until she met a person living in the Campbell Club. The Campbell Club offered her work trade. In exchange for her work on the house, Herr would be given a place to stay.

Herr, along with another previous resident, helped organize open mic nights at the club featuring musicians with different skill levels. Other participants read slam poetry.

“You don’t need to be the best player, and it doesn’t need to be technical. You just need to play with heart,” said Campbell Club resident Nat Smith.

Campbell Club tenant Crux started playing guitar at age 12, and then he stopped. Seven years later, his college roommate handed him a bass and told him to just play. He became addicted. Now, every year, Crux makes it a personal goal to learn another instrument. And living in the cooperative gives Crux the atmosphere he thrives in.

Not all residents are expected to be musically inclined, but as Smith explained, “Many people (living in the co-ops) learned how to play an instrument here. They just pick it up.” If tenants of the co-ops do not play or sing, the passion of music still flows through them.

When the Lorax Manner or the Campbell Club schedule a concert, they expect a full house. Music blares from the basement as concert-goers dressed in obscure, loud outfits pack inside to see their favorite local artists.  The genres range from rap music, punk rock and bluegrass to groups playing the washboard and saw. The high energy emulates from the bands as the audience dances. The house and the crowd always anticipate a late night, especially on specific holidays like Halloween.

Tenants of the co-ops let the music run wild and free. People play alone or join in with others. The groups are not exclusive, and many bands with bizarre titles come and go. But the strong sense of music as a part of the community remains unchanged.

“People complicate music more than it needs to be,” Thomas Walker, University Junior and Lorax resident explained. “It is more important to just do it.”@@CQ’[email protected]@

With a prevalent counterculture in Eugene, the musical diversity of Eugene can be witnessed far beyond the co-ops’ half-block radius.

“We are a melting pot of awesome people who happen to be awesome musicians as well,” Campbell Club resident Carson Smith said.

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