The basement of Tammy and Michael Leaver's Lehighton house is awash in the vibrations of electric guitars, intense beating of the drums and soulful singing. It is practice time for the alternative/grunge/metal band, The Phoenix Bridge.
The leader of the band is Patrick Leaver, 21. Dressed in a yellow jacket, reminiscent of The Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band album cover, he is passionate about his art.
He loves music, becoming interested at a very young age. As a kid he'd sing along to tapes and the radio.
"I believe the first song I remember ever hearing when I was coherent enough to understand what I was hearing was 'Jack and Dianne' by John Mellencamp. I grew up in the 90s so I'm very much into grunge and alternative rock, although my first love, and still favorite band, is Queen, followed by Nirvana and Alice in Chains. I love classic rock as well."
He was 14 when he got a First Act guitar for Christmas and learned Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." It was the beginning of his own crazy little love affair with playing the guitar.
Patrick graduated from Western PA Cyber Charter School in 2009 and East Stroudsburg University in 2012 with a bachelor's of science degree in Media and Communications. He's a crew member for Channel 13, covering sporting events and films football and basketball games along with wrestling matches and various other events.
He started his own business, L-Square, with his younger brother, Matthew, 17. It is a multimedia production business specializing in sound production, videography (with video editing), photography, web design, DJing, and other services.
One of those "other services" would be marketing their own band, The Phoenix Bridge.
Patrick and Matt were playing guitar and bass for another band when they decided to form their own in 2009.
Their best friend since childhood, Hayden Lesko, had been playing guitar for a short period of time.
"We decided to try something out with the three of us. Matt had taken drum lessons but liked playing bass at the time so we searched for a drummer to find that our uncle Dan Leaver, could play drums. So we made him our drummer for the time being. We played a few shows the summer of 2009, until my uncle stepped aside in order for Matt to start playing drums, which left us without a bassist. Eventually, Hayden found playing bass more enjoyable, so he started playing bass. We went through a few guitarists until I met Rachel Holly over the Internet. We had been dating the past year and a half and we added her to the band a few months ago. She has fit in quite nicely as the final piece," says Patrick.
Patrick is the lead singer, primary songwriter and lead guitarist for the band. He play's guitar, piano and bass. He has written the majority of their two albums' original songs, instrumentally, and all of them lyrically. The other band members plan on collaborating more and more on future songs.
The name of the first album is called "From The Ashes" which was recorded in the Leavers' basement as a sort of test run.
"I knew less about mastering and sound mixing back then, which is one of the reasons I have considered going back to re-record it," says Patrick.
The name of the second album is "My Eyes Are Open." It was also recorded, produced, and mastered in the Leavers' basement by Patrick. He says it sounds really good because he has better sounding equipment now. The basement is also the band's practice space and studio, thanks to a very supportive mom and dad, Tammy and Michael Leaver of Lehighton.
Matt wrote "The Seven Veils" and "Ghost" off "My Eyes Are Open" and wrote the bass part for the title track. He wrote the drums for every song on both albums. Hayden wrote "Cocaine Superman" off "From The Ashes" and Rachel wrote "Concubine" off "My Eyes Are Open."
The band's name, The Phoenix Bridge, was the subject matter of a song Patrick's godfather wrote.
"I was fascinated with the idea. The name represents a physical or emotional construct that destroys itself then rebuilds itself. The Bridge represents the object and the Phoenix represents the action. It's a metaphor for all things that break then mend then break and so on and so forth. An infinite pattern. In fact, our logo is an unfinished infinity symbol," he says.
Patrick loves music.
"I love everything about music. I also love to travel and have my songs heard by the people I meet. The only thing that really makes me feel truly alive is being on stage and performing with my friends, which is what makes me do it. I am drawn to it every time I walk downstairs or into my room and notice a guitar hanging on the wall. It is my passion," says Patrick.
His dream is to take The Phoenix Bridge as far as it can go.
"I want to tour the world and play in front of hundreds of thousands of people. I want to be a relevant force in the music industry. I want to be a radio staple. I want us to be successful," he says.
In his personal life, he just wants to enjoy what he's doing.
"I am blessed to have the talent I have and I want to use it in the best way I can. I can't imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life," Patrick says.