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Lemma's formula is little Quiz Bowl, all rock 'n' roll



Lemma is two full-time musicians, a doctoral student and an abstract geometry researcher. It's a mathematical formula " a puzzle worth solving.

Together, the band " Blake Lennon, Jeff Wesner, Aaron Newman and Luke Mullenix " is a foursome of academi-nerds who seem to be more than the average metro act, playing locally, but dreaming globally.

"I would say if you looked at us as musicians in terms of waiting for the break, we're not really that group,'' said drummer Wesner. "Lemma is what we enjoy, but it's not our only outlet.''

The group has a hybrid sound that's a patchwork of personality with an easygoing mantra.

"I guess you could say we're all just comfortable around each other,'' he said.

That comfort manifests itself in a music that doesn't feel edgy, but still is ripe with a, "hey, have you heard this stuff?'' kind of energy.

And that's because Lemma is more than just music.

Wesner is getting a doctorate in zoology, studies fish and bugs, and pictures himself as the kind of guy who would be reading science books in the back of a tour bus.

Mullenix is a bassist with a mind that studies math and engineering because, he said, "I know it's not very capitalistic to say it, but I just find it interesting.''

Newman and Lennon are the two full-time musicians, who will have played about 300 shows by the time the year is over. Lemma isn't a typical plug-in-the-amp-in-dad's-garage kind of band, and that's obvious from its name.

"I wish there was a better story behind it,'' Mullenix said. "Lemma is a mathematical proof. I was working on a math proof when Aaron called me. I had just written down the name Lemma as we were talking. It stuck. Everyone has a story being visionary. Ours just came from the fact I had just written a word down.''

Lemma has more than a half dozen shows scheduled in the upcoming months in the metro. In the meantime, it will continue to be a fusion of music and Mensa. If that mix works, well, that's great. If it doesn't, each of the four has different and fruitful pursuits.

"I definitely consider the music a full-time deal,'' Wesner said. "And I suppose the idea of taking off and getting signed to a record deal is alluring, but it's not as alluring as it once was. And this really hasn't been a conflict in the group. I've rarely had to choose between studying minnows and playing the drums.''

For now, the perfect balance has led to a seven-song album, "Long Way Home." Future plans are for a three-song demo and a video.

"I know this band can make it to the next level,'' Mullenix said. "I've studied math and engineering because I find them interesting, but I've studied because I wanted to know about it. But really, music is who I am. It's what I want to do and keep doing.''

Lemma performs at 10 p.m. Friday, TapWerks Ale House & Café, 121 E. Sheridan. "Andrew Gilman

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