Day Old Man's big break

Sludge metal duo gets a shot on the road

A year after playing its first house show, local sludge metal duo Day Old Man is about to embark on a Southeastern tour with internationally revered heavy rockers Torche. Such a quick ascent is due to more than just this one break. Derek Schulz (bass) and Bobby Theberge (drums) played music together for nearly a decade before forming their current project.

Schulz and Theberge first played together between 2005 and '08 as members of Victory Records signee Moros Eros — a suburban indie rock band taking nods from groups such as At the Drive In and Modest Mouse. They continued playing music together after Moros Eros split, including a stint with local indie rockers Cassandras.

By late 2014, the longtime friends joined forces to write lengthy jams inspired by their shared interest in '70s prog and krautrock and '90s noise and doom metal. "This is the first time we've written the music for ourselves," Theberge says. "Before this, we were the rhythm section. Now, we can do what we want to do."

After reaching out to numerous bands and venues to get booked, Day Old Man connected with promoter and fellow metal musician Amos Rifkin of A. Rippin' Production. The connection opened doors for other opportunities to play — something the duo rarely turns down. "We'll play dingy basements or 529 a billion times, or places in the area like the Highlander, because playing out is our favorite part," Theberge says.

Torche guitarist and Atlanta resident Andrew Elstner frequents 529 and occasionally works the door, so Day Old Man's lengthy metal compositions were hard for him to miss as the band became a regular fixture at the club. The three became fast friends, making Day Old Man a viable candidate when Torche needed regional tour support. "He was a big cheerleader for that because I think Torche wanted to take someone from Miami or someone who was already in the scene with them, but he pushed for us," Theberge says.

Initially, Day Old Man teased the idea of opening for Torche in Atlanta, not knowing it was positioning itself to play Torche's first 11 out-of-town shows. "Andrew was saying, 'At least one show in Atlanta,'" Theberge says. "Then all of a sudden there's a message in Derek's email with an itinerary for all the shows."

The band has not taken a holiday break, opting instead to begin the year having its debut album recorded by former JohnDenver DeathPlane bandmates Josh Lamar and Aaron Hendrickson. "Up until now, we've had only three songs we did ourselves on a tape recorder," Schulz says. "That's the biggest hurdle to getting shows so far. I like the recordings, but it doesn't capture how we sound now."

With a tour and new tunes on deck, Day Old Man has the makings for a big second year.