Allen Epley was born in Louisville KY long long ago and was raised by two classical professors of music and their record collection. That is how all this madness began. School years were spent excelling in choir, musicals and sports but not in the classroom.
College meant a bachelors degree in music from William Jewell College outside Kanas City where his dad was head of vocal faculty and the choral director. Upon graduating the move down to KC was made and his college band The Industry ruled the cover band scene before moving into originals.
Although that band died a natural death, Allen and the drummer Clayton Brown started fresh with bassist Shawn Sherrill to start Orchid, but not before hiring drummer Tim Dow after 3 shows and forever becoming Shiner.
Over several lineup changes which included Paul Malinowski on bass, Jason Gerken on drums, Josh Newton on guitar becoming a 4 piece, Shiner released 4 full length albums, toured the world and beyond from 1992-2002 and also built a fiercely loyal but small following before finally pulling the plug to the dismay of their fans. but not before packing the Madrid Theater in KC for one last victory lap in front of a couple thousand grateful Shiner fans.
The years after Shiner found Allen joyfully starting a family with his wife and deep in writing mode with KC drummer Mike Myers and over 6 months they demo’d over 40 songs, many of which found their way onto several albums of his new venture, The Life and Times.
From 2004 to the current day The Life and Times has released 5 full length records, 2 EP’s and toured the universe and beyond while also building a small but fiercely loyal following (sounds familiar) with Eric Abert on bass and Chris Metcalf on the drum kit. The music made by these three differed from Shiner in ways big and small. Shiner was often dense and busy, mathy and crushingly heavy but always working towards a powerful well written song with a strong chorus.
TLAT was less math-rock oriented and more focused on mood and textures with big beats and soothing vocals, with bands like Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd informing and shaping their song-writing ethos. Currently TLAT are working on a 6th full length and expanding their sonic palette.
As the seed songwriter for these bands, Allen often enjoys collaborations with many other bands in and out of his normal chosen genre, adding vocals and lyrics to songs from bands like Pelican, Spotlights, Molly McGuire, The Jade Shader, Open Hand, Castor and more over the years. Since 2018 Allen has teamed with drummer Ian Prince (Houston, Porcupine, Soul Asylum) to form an instrumental 2-piece band called BirdHands that will see its first full length released in spring 2020.
In addition, the commencement of his newest venture, a podcast called Third Gear Scratch, has Allen talking with creative types and artists of all stripe and exploring exactly why and how these artists continue to create and exist, what has their individual journey been like and what jobs have they had along the way and often still have in order to pay bills when sometimes their art does not.
Since 2011, Allen has been a member of the Chicago BlueManGroup based out of the Briar Street Theater playing Chapman Stick, bass guitar, talking drum and other percussion in the band along with many amazing musicians and has also spent much of that time as a bartender and cocktail creator at Longman and Eagle in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.
With his studio partner and L&T band member Eric Abert, Allen is also one half of the recording team called Electronical and keeps a modest but robust studio in Des Plaines IL and over the years has helped many bands make their best mark on this desperate world.