Words and photos by Amiyah Golden
I sat down with local band Speed Weapon to explore their rise in the Jacksonville rock scene. This interview was extra sweet because bassist Andy Jones is actually my guitar teacher.
Andy Jones, Jay Rogers and Cameron Hrachovina have come together to create a nostalgic sound that pays tribute to ‘70s “groove” rock that hits hard with Hrachovina on drums, Jones on bass, and Rogers as lead singer and guitarist. Speed Weapon exudes an electrifying sound with inspirations from bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
With their individual and combined skill sets, you would think this trio has been playing for decades but the band just recently formed. Hrachovina and Rogers used to perform as a duo named Canned Whiskey which emerged from the constant exchange of music back and forth between the two via text messages and Snapchat. Hrachovina finally decided to buy a set of drums last year to accompany Rogers’ guitar playing.
“It started right in the living room of my mom’s house,” said Hrachovina, which eventually became the inspiration for their popular single “Living Room.” The two wanted to take their music further and discussed adding another member to the group.
The trio was destined to form after Hrachovina met Jones at his job — George’s Music.
“I was in Vero Beach for an arts festival and there was a bass with a sunshine painted on it and I bought it because it was pretty,” said Jones, “And the next day I’m showing it off to all of my coworkers, and it’s in my hand as Cameron walks into the door and he says, ‘Uh, my bass player just quit and we need a bass player … Do you play bass?’”
At first, Jones was hesitant but Hrachovina revealed the name of his band and a cool gig at Kona Clubhouse that weekend and Jones reconsidered the offer.
“It’s just one of those things you say yes to,” said Jones.
When I truly say, you would think these three have been best friends since birth, it was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the collective has only been together for less than a year. With the chemistry and organic banter the group exhibited throughout this interview, I couldn’t help but smile at the love they had for music and each other.
With all of the members being extremely talented in their own right, I picked their brains on their personal aspirations and goals.
Rogers pulls inspiration from genres such as death metal and stoner rock; Hrachovina finds inspiration in the tattoo/motorcycle culture and community; and Jones revels in the ambiguity of sound. Each of their unique experiences and individual interests allows the group to charter beyond the bounds of their “respective” genre.
With each member sourcing different styles to help create their sound —Rogers foreseeing an old-school punk sound, Hrachovina envisioning country and Jones wanting to incorporate some more slow blues into their future sets — it somehow works for the band because of the collective willingness to explore the heart of music. And with every respective response, encouragement was met by fellow bandmates.
Much support has come from all directions for Speed Weapon as the underground music scene has braced the newcomers. With endorsements from other bands and guidance from manager/promoter Chris Long, who was once a part of former rock duo Seals and Croft,
“It’s really funny what people will do for you when they believe in you,” said Jones, “all because they think you’re cool, and that’s a really cool thing.”
With fans comparing the group’s sound to bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Greta Van Fleet (which is one they don’t quite hear…), Speed Weapon has (re)introduced “stoner rock” to many in the Jacksonville community.
The band anticipates touring the world and headlining festivals but also playing in world-famous venues such as Whiskey a Go Go.
With their heavy-hitting sound, the Jacksonville locals are sure to surpass even their own expectations.
Keep up with Speed Weapon and upcoming shows on Instagram @speedweaponband and listen to them on Spotify.