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COURTESY OF ANGIE WINDHEIM/ANGIE WINDHEIM PHOTOGRAPHY - The Macks include, from left, Ben Windheim, Sam Fulwiler and Joe Windheim. The band just released its debut album, 'Nightcrawler.'Ever since he picked up the guitar at a young age, Sherwood High School senior Ben Windheim has been intrigued with music.


That enthusiasm eventually lead the Sherwood High School student to form a band, The Macks, a trio that includes himself, his 15-year-old brother Joe, along with friend Sam Fulwiler, who also is a Sherwood High School student.

“Me and Sam F. had always dreamt about being in a band, but we didn’t really see how our styles would mesh,” said Windheim, 18. “One night, we were hanging out, and I was playing a guitar riff, and he started singing along to it.”

That riff had a very unique sound, recalled Windheim, so unique that he and Fulwiler pursued it further.

“With some tweaking, it became “Nightcrawler,” and we recorded it the next week,” said Windheim. “We liked it and wanted to make more, until we had enough to make an album.”

That resulted in the band releasing “Nightcrawler,” The Macks’ first digital album containing their alternative blues/rock style of music.

“I’m very pleased with it,” said Windheim, who not only plays guitar on the record but also the bass, keyboards and harmonica. He even throws in a sound effect involving a bowl of water and an empty cup on one of the songs on the eight-song album.

The band’s name is a nod to Lee Shelton (also known as “Stack Lee”), a somewhat ruthless turn-of-the century criminal.

“The story is he shot a guy for stealing his hat,” said Windheim.

Shelton’s gang was known as The Macks and the exploits of Shelton are often described in old blues songs, he explained.

Fulwiler said he thinks the new album is a good start, promising there’s more to come.

“My favorite song on our album would have to be ‘My Daughter,’” said Fulwiler. “It’s the most fun for me to play live. There isn’t anything more freeing than screaming like a maniac, and it gets people’s attention.”

Fulwiler’s talent as a lyricist can be heard at the end of the album’s title song when he recites “World on Fire,” a poem he came up with while in class. He said it was Windheim’s idea to tack it on the end of the song.

“I have no real explanation as to where the idea came from,” said Fulwiler. “I guess my brain goes to some weird places sometimes.”

Creatively, both Windheim and Fulwiler worked so well together that they added Windheim’s brother Joe to The Macks, who rounds out the band with his unique style of drumming, said Windheim.

“Being in The Macks with Ben and Sam is great because I get to perform and record original songs,” said Joe.

COURTESY OF ANGIE WINDHEIM/ANGIE WINDHEIM PHOTOGRAPHY - The Macks would like to play local venues with dreams of achieving broader success. Shown here, Ben and Joe Windheim belt out a song during Mr. Bowman competition recently at Sherwood High School. Ben was named a runnerup in the annual event.Joe too has been into music for many years, having played in both his middle school and high school jazz bands. He recently picked up the ukulele, rapidly improving to the point where he can now belt out a solid rendition of Beck’s “Blue Moon” on the instrument. His musical tastes lean toward The Strokes and Cage the Elephant.

“I love the rawness of the new album,” he said about “Nightcrawler.” “It’s just guitar, drums and bass. No crazy electronic effects.”

Not wanting to leave anyone out of the group, The Macks added the youngest Windheim brother, 12-year-old Sam (not to be confused with band member Sam Fulwiler) to the album for one song. He plays drums on the 59-second interlude “Hummus.”

Windheim said his friends were impressed when he told them the drumming on the short song belonged to Sam, who attends Laurel Ridge Middle School.

For his part, Windheim readily admits both of his brothers are “fantastic drummers.”

The fact the Windheim boys have some creative genes flowing through their blood is no huge surprise. Mother Angie is a professional photographer (Angie Windheim Photography) and started her own food blog, (eatingwithangie.com) several years ago.

Their father Brian is a software architect who designed the family’s home and has the ability to pick up any instrument and play almost anything.

“He just has the ear,” said Angie Windheim.

Recently, The Macks hosted a concert during the two lunch periods at Sherwood High School.

“It was very fun, I feel like a lot of people were surprised to see us as a group, because nobody would have known that we were even considering making this a thing,” said Windheim. “A lot of them probably saw us as friends (or) baseball players, not musicians, so it was probably pretty strange to see us playing some complex and thought-out music.”

COURTESY OF ANGIE WINDHEIM/ANGIE WINDHEIM PHOTOGRAPHY - 'Nightcrawler' is an alternative blues/rock album recently released by The Macks, a trio of Sherwood High School students.Windheim said he believes the band’s music is pretty mature for its age group, contrasting what he’s seen from other high school-aged groups.

“Given all of this, I think the reaction was very positive, and it’s cool to be the ones to deliver that to our classmates,” said Windheim.

Among the other interesting titles on the album is a cuts titled “Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls.”

“This one was specifically designed to smooth the transition from a fast track like ‘Nightcrawler’ to slower, minor-key tunes like ‘Summertime’ and ‘Bad Habits,’” Windheim said. “The creepy, psychedelic harmonica sounds were consistent with the darker writing of the album, showing fear and confusion with a very cool and unique sound.”

Meanwhile, “Nightcrawler” also displays Ben Windheim’s technical knowledge and ability.

“I’ve gotten pretty close to a professional quality recording just with the equipment I have,” he noted.

Now he plans on expanding his talent by taking voice lessons.

For the future, Ben hopes to attend Oregon State University or the University of Oregon. If he chooses the former school, he’s interested in environmental engineering. Either way, he hopes to focus on music.

So what’s the band’s ultimate goal?

Windheim said he’d ideally like to open for other bands, although he admits, “We have a pretty loud sound.”

COURTESY OF ANGIE WINDHEIM/ANGIE WINDHEIM PHOTOGRAPHY - At 12, Sam Windheim is the youngest of the Windheim boys. He displays his skills as a drummer on the 59-second interlude 'Hummus.'


“I think the goal right now is to play around Portland,” he said.

Fulwiler simply says he wants to do what makes him happy, moving “onward and upward.”

“I want our band to be respectable, fun to watch, and confident in what we’re doing,” said Fulwiler. “I believe success will follow.”

To hear or purchase The Macks’ “Nightcrawler,” visit TheMacks.bandcamp.com.

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