“It’s my life,” says the 33-year-old guitarist. “I live for live music. It’s my outlet, whether I’m playing or watching a show.
The high-energy jam band was born in College Park when Schon and singer Greg Ormont met in their freshman dorm. “We instantly connected through our love of music and had a blast,” says Schon, who interned with DC promoter IMP while in college. A Psychology 101 textbook entry on BF Skinner’s successful experiment for train pigeons to play table tennis inspired band name; they found their first drummer through a rock class story; and their bassist joined because he lived in the house where they practiced.
Now, the Baltimore band — an improv mix of the jam bands Schon would see in college, mixed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and classic rock touchpoints — hosts its own annual camping festival, Domefest in London. ‘Ohio, and on April 8 will release his latest album “Perspective”, which was recorded at Wright Way Studios in Charm City. (Keeping things local, they filmed a video for the single “Elephant” at the Enchanted Forest site in Ellicott City.)
“The whole album is a big perspective on who we are as a band,” Schon says. “It gives a global vision in a way. We want people to listen to the album and think about all the positive aspects of life. That’s our goal as a band: to make people see the bright side and draw people into the moment.
During the pandemic, Schon constantly looked on the bright side: Pigeons were one of the first bands to stream live shows without crowds in 2020, and they quickly turned to drive-in and social-distance gigs. Schon also married with a scaled-down celebration in August 2020; and he and his wife, Kathleen, had a baby girl named Lily a year later.
For his Baltimore-centric dream day, Schon and his wife will do some of their favorite activities: hiking, exploring museums, eating sushi and visiting some of his college gig venues.
I would start the day with a homemade breakfast and a RUNA energy tea. I have been addicted to their teas for years. My wife, the whole band, it’s our pre-show ritual. That’s how you survive the sixth day in a row on tour. We prepare a bowl of grits from cheese with sausages or bacon. It sounds good.
It’s a beautiful late spring day, not too hot, but a warm morning. If it rains, it will be a nice mist. We will head to Harper’s Ferry and hit it Maryland Heights Trail for a great hike with my wife and dog, Bowie. The grandparents look at the baby. There would be no one on the trail, we would have the whole place to ourselves. It’s a tough hike, but it won’t wear you out for the day. It’s a good workout and there are some nice views at the top. You get a great view of the river at the end. The key is to immerse yourself in nature. I love running in wildlife on the trails. Hiking helps me center myself. Bowie has endless energy. He’s my hiking buddy. He has gained hundreds of miles during the pandemic. After that, we’ll relax kayaking at Harpers Ferry on the Shenandoah and Potomac.
We will return to Baltimore and go to Clavel mezcaleria. It’s one of our favorite places. I don’t even know if they are open for lunch, but on a dream day they are open. I would take tacos for sure: cochinita, eightlacoche and barbacoa. These are the best tacos. I would probably have a Topo Chico to drink.
Then we will go to American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. This is one of my favorite museums because it’s full of super quirky modern art. The important thing, however, is that we absolutely have to stop by the gift shop, as it is one of the funniest gift shops around. I have so many goofy and weird things that end up becoming stage props. My wife loves museums, so we definitely go to museums when we travel.
We will do happy hour at Union Craft Brewery in Baltimore. I’ve played there a few times with other bands. I would drink a blackwing black beer. This is my favorite beer and one of my favorite beers in general. It’s light and it’s low in alcohol but huge in flavor. It doesn’t taste too smoky to be a black beer. Union is a great local brewery. They love live music, they have indoor and outdoor shows, and good people working there. My wife and I go there a lot.
For dinner we would go to Chiyo Sushi. It’s right next to my home in Mount Washington, and I’m obsessed. They have the best specialty rolls. I would take the Orioles roll, fancy roll, tunasabi, seaweed salad and miso soup. They make very good fish tempura and everything is extremely fresh. This is our place for special occasions.
After dinner we will obviously see live music – no doubt. My two favorite places in the region are the 8×10 in Baltimore and 9:30 a.m. in DC We go to a first show at 8×10 to see the bridge. It’s a bit like the Baltimore family band. It’s basically their meeting place. When I went to shows all the time, I went to see the Bridge at 8×10 – I’ve seen them over 100 times since high school. All of our favorite people and friends would be there. I would jump for a song; I played a lot with the Bridge. Every time I’m at a concert, I always want to play a little.
My dream show at the 9:30 Club would have to be Phish. When I got into Phish, it brought me into the world of jam bands. I’ve always loved jazz, but Phish has been one of my favorite bands since high school. 9:30 Club has such an intimate vibe. It was a dream to play there with my band for the first time in 2013. Then we hit the headlines in 2014 for an album release show, and it was surreal. I never even thought it would be possible for a band I was in to headline 9:30.