When you think of Bull Street Garage, you probably think of the gargantuan parking structure on the University of South Carolina’s campus. But that might not be the case for long.
Bull Street Garage is also the name of a five-part rock band in Columbia, comprised of USC students Josh Blibaum, Parker Lubin, Joe DiGregorio, Doug Neubauer and Jack Barrett.
“I lived in East Quad, and I was kind of on that northern facing side, so looking out my window every day I saw Bull Street Garage right there. I had written it down months before I even got in contact with (the other bandmates) again, just thinking like, ‘That’d be a cool name for a band,’” said Blibaum, a fourth-year SPTE student who mixes and produces in addition to playing keys, guitar and vocals for the band. “Which it is.”
The band writes, records and produces all its own music, and the members spent the majority of last semester working on original songs. This culminated in the release of the band’s first, self-titled album, which was released earlier this year.
“We didn’t even plan on starting a band,” said DiGregorio, a fourth-year finance student and a guitarist and vocalist for the band. “We were just jamming for a good time, and all of a sudden, we got asked to play a Christmas party for his fraternity, and we’re like, 'Shit, dude. I think we’re a band now.’”
Most of the band’s songs came together naturally as well, they said. Individual members often come up with ideas, lyrics and/or chords, then it’s just a matter of getting together, “jamming out” and figuring out which ones to roll with, DiGregorio said.
The band had the opportunity to play live shows over the course of last semester, performing at various bars and functions in Columbia and even hitting the road to play at neighboring schools, including the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee.
“The cool thing about the fall shows was, that was kind of us working through the album, and we would play most of those songs at almost every show," said Lubin, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student who plays bass and vocals. "That’s where those songs took shape, and that’s where we worked things out."
Blibaum said playing live shows is one of the band’s favorite things to do, and listeners can hear this reflected in the album. The songs on the album were recorded live without the use of click tracks or stacking, which gives the songs a more raw and live feel to them, DiGregorio said.
The band said it hopes to play even more shows this semester and already has plans to travel again soon. Most of the member’s favorite moments in the band have come from playing live shows, they said.
Most of their other favorite moments have come from road trips, “jam sessions,” late night recording sessions and simply hanging out together as friends.
“At the end of the day, these are my best friends,” DiGregorio said.
The band’s album is available to stream now, and contains eight original songs, including "Twice," "In a Bind" and "Keeper."