Scroll down for a photo gallery of the band’s live shows.
This is the story of Anchors For Airplanes (AFA), a heavy modern hard rock band from Reno, Nev. In a business that’s hard to get anywhere, the band is trying to make a name for themselves by landing on a national tour. They could do it by touring alongside one of the many touring bands they’ve opened for at shows in Reno and the surrounding areas.
AFA was formed in the Biggest Little City in 2013 from members of longtime Reno bands Tempus, Takin Names and, most notably, When Echos Fail. The current lineup consists of Brandon Bianco (lead vocals), Cody Walker (guitar), Wade Tranberg (guitar), Travis Ambrose (bass) and John Wooten (drums).
During the early months Jes Phipps (Knightfall guitarist) was part of the band’s lineup. Together with Phipps they wrote their first six songs, which the band still plays to this day.
When Phipps left the band to form power rock band Weight Of The Tide a couple of months later, Cody Walker (guitar) came on board. Walker, Wooten, and Bianco had previously played for many years in When Echos Fail.
With a solid lineup, the band played every month, sometimes multiple times, over the next three years at venues including The Knitting Factory Concert House, PB&J’s, Harrah’s, Red Rock Bar, and The Rockbar Theater in Reno, and The Alley and Nugget in Sparks. AFA has shared the stage with bands such as Three Days Grace, Halestorm, Starset, Ill Nino, 36 Crazyfists, All Hail The Yeti, Highly Suspect, Saving Abel, and Motograter.
Their influences are Tool, Nonpoint, In Flames, Scorpions, 36 Crazyfists and Korn, just to name a few.
AFA has two albums to their credit, Relics (2015) and the just released AfterGlow (2016). Both albums are available on their website. Their biggest highlight was winning the 2015 Pick.Cool’s Northern Nevada’s Favorite Band at the Nugget Casino.
I asked the band a few questions in an online interview over the weekend, here’s what transpired:
thisisreno: Are there any plans on doing a tour (outside of the Reno area) with the new album?
AFA: We are planning a couple dates here and there in California and possibly Oregon / Washington if we can raise enough dough. Unfortunately touring is going to be difficult at this point in the game, unless LOTS of people start listening to us, haha. Then we might be able to afford something like that.
thisisreno: Who came up the band name “Anchors For Airplanes” and is there a meaning behind it?
AFA: Funny story. Actually we posted a Facebook Poll with a few name options and a good friend of ours and Reno producer at the Sound Saloon, Colin Christian came up with it. He suggested it and we posted it to the link and it won the most votes.
thisisreno: Who does the band’s videos, one in particular from two years ago, “After the Fall”? (Watch the video here.)
AFA: We are a self-sufficient band, or at least trying to be as everything costs so much. We do our own videos, our own design, our own merch printing, and our own recording and mixing and distribution. Maybe that’s why nobody outside of Reno has heard of us yet, hahaha. Brandon our singer has a video production company at www.dreampilotfims.com and we will help anyone out with any of this stuff.
I’ve been friends with the band for many years, since the first time I saw them play and photographed their show. I can tell you first-hand, these guys are very close to breaking out of the local scene and heading to the stars. Rockstars, all of them.
To see more on Anchors For Airplanes and where they are playing next, visit their website at http://www.anchorsforairplanes.com. You can also check out the band on Reverb Nation, Facebook, and YouTube.
And don’t forget to support your local bands and venues … Go To A Show!
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John Tuckness has been photographing rock concerts in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area and as far as Northern California since 2004. He tries to attend as many shows as he can. John knew he wanted to be a concert photographer when he went to his first concert, Kiss and Montrose way back in 1976. He saw three guys shooting the show and thought to himself, “that’s what I want to do.” After many years of undercover work (sneaking his camera into venues), he finally got noticed and started getting photo passes through PR people and the bands. John has had many of his photos published in newspapers, websites and band autobiographies.