Bionic Sloth, an alternative/indie band, was created in 2014 by M-A AP Environmental Science teacher Lance Powell. The band has six members: Lance Powell (lyricist and guitarist), Scott Greiner (lead guitarist), Roland Strick (rhythm guitarist), Brian Blietz (bass), Romero Miraflor (keyboard), and Bob Riney (drums).
Riney said, “We didn’t mean to start a band, it was an accident! Lance, his brother-in-law Romey, and I just started jamming and more people joined in!” Although the band’s origin was accidental, they have clearly managed to become the best teacher-founded band at M-A.
The band has two albums out so far: “On the Way Around the Sun,” released in 2016, and “Up and Coming,” released in 2020. They are currently working on their third album, “From The Other Side,” inspired by “people that love each other, are disagreeing with each other, and coming to terms with it,” according to Powell.
Powell’s 50th Birthday Bash on December 4th, 2021, was their first big performance in two years due to COVID. Powell said, “We felt like big shots. We had a sound guy, a roadie, and a big stage. It was really a blast.” Riney said, “I thought it was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time!’’ Overall, this experience was just fun for the band to get together to play for an audience after being in quarantine for so long.
Last month, the band performed again at the Redwood City Club to raise funds for science education at local elementary schools. Powell said, “It didn’t sell out, but we had a great crowd.”
When creating the band name, Powell said, “I thought it was hard naming my children, but coming up with a band name was even harder.” There is no real meaning behind the name; according to Powell, it’s hard to get five guys to cooperate on a name.
Most of the band members knew each other even before they formed Bionic Sloth. Riney has known Powell for 20 years, and Miraflor is Powell’s brother-in-law. Greiner, their lead guitarist, was living in France but he and Riney knew each other in high school when they were in a punk rock band together. When Greiner moved to California, they reunited. Strick, the rhythm guitarist, quickly fell into place in the band.
When asked about the band’s dynamic, Riney said, “We are all friends with a mutual agreement to not take it too seriously.” The band members all have families and jobs, so coming up with band practice has always been hard. Miraflor, for example, is a chef and has long hours.
“At the end of the day, this is how I decompress, it’s therapeutic for me,” Powell said. The band is a fun place for the members to get away for a while, do something they enjoy, and connect with the community.
Powell added, “For anybody who is considering whether they want to play an instrument or not, do it. It’s been a super positive aspect of my life for years. I think when you stick with something over time and you get better, it makes you feel better. So if you’re ever thinking about trying anything new, try it–you might love it.”
Riney said, “I encourage anyone that would like to play music to find some friends and get a jam going! You can do it!”