Indoorfins aim to celebrate 30th with renewed success

LIMA —Lima’s own homegrown band is set on celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023.

And with that will hopefully come new shows and the potential for unreleased original material surfacing.

“We talked about bringing stuff back to Facebook and we wanted to start posting maybe a song every couple of weeks,” said guitarist Doug Druckemiller.

“And we realized if it wasn’t finished, it doesn’t have to be polished and we could just take a nice 20 seconds of it,” added keyboardist and singer Carl Smith.

“I’ve been archiving for a minute through the whole pandemic of all these different sources,” continued Druckemiller. “I built some songs from parts of each one of the sources. There’s quite a lot there.”

Formed from the pieces of earlier band Phase Nine, the Indoorfins were started originally by Carl Smith, Dave Robinson, Tony Reindel, Tony Newman and Rob Layton.

After a suggestion from Smith’s girlfriend at the time, the band changed their name to the Indoorfins, spelled uniquely.

“Tony (Reindel) was talking about going out to see his girlfriend later and he said he had his endorphins flowing,” said Smith. “We had been through like 200 different names and went through a whole process where we were pulling them from a hat.”

“People have always loved the name over the years,” said Druckemiller.

Although Newman, the guitarist, left the band briefly and was replaced by Doug Druckemiller, he was welcomed back into the band from time to time and the band has largely stayed together, performing sets at bars and festivals all over the area and recording at the studio they invested in off of Latham Avenue.

And through it all, there have been ups and downs.

“I don’t know if we’d be doing it this long,” said Druckemiller. “But I had been in bands and done everything. We were pretty serious. We knew we were in it for the long haul. We established a legal partnership and a business structure.”

“There are times where you’re just like, ‘How long can this go on?’” said Smith.

Even when the Indoorfins were denied their chance to sign with Atlantic Records, they always knew that they would keep going in spite of it.

“What I said when I got into the Fins was there is always that next thing,” continued Druckemiller. “There’s always something down the road. That never really stopped. There is always somebody calling there is always a show.”

But that changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was St. Patrick’s Day in 2020 and I remember talking with my wife (Sheila Smith) who is the bass player and she just started telling me how the NBA shut down and this and that is closing down,” said Smith. “And I said it’s probably not a good idea to pack into a place and dance and spit all over each other. So to have to cancel that St. Patrick’s Day show was just gut-wrenching and it didn’t sit well with any of us. Because that was always one of the best gigs that we had every year.”

Through it all, though, the Indoorfins have stayed true to their roots and held their bonds close, playing local shows and maintaining their strong fan base.

The band has faced numerous changes to its lineup due to personal and professional developments, but they have been able to soldier and maintain their connections.

“Last year I went to the mall and I was standing in line and I hear somebody call me a Lima Legend,” said Smith. “It sounds dumb, but just this little taste of celebrity where people recognize you is nice.”

“Everybody’s got an Indoorfins story,” said Druckemiller. “I get it all the time still. I might be in the elevator and somebody will ask me how the band is doing.”

They could have given up at any point, but their willingness to adapt has helped them persevere through all of these circumstances.

And now it might pay off just in time for their 30th anniversary.

“Sheila was the one who had gotten the Facebook going,” said Smith. “And recently we’ve been talking about just doing it for nostalgia’s sake. We don’t want to make big announcements or anything, but maybe share snippets of songs that we never released. We’ve been talking about that for a year.”

Druckemiller and Smith think that putting the Indoorfins back on the web, with undiscovered recordings, will be enough to get the gigs flowing yet again, especially now that pandemic restrictions are rapidly fading from memory and live music is coming back to the area.

But they know it will not be an easy task.

“Clubs around here, unfortunately, are struggling to get people,” said Smith. “You know, how is that going to look if we say we’re back and we can’t work miracles? They want us to bring a great crowd, but that doesn’t happen all the time.”

“In terms of an anniversary thing, I think people would respond well to that, though,” said Druckemiller. “Every time we’ve done an anniversary thing, it’s been a positive result. Looking at what Lima has done and how the year is looking, that’s why I think that’s going to work out. There’s a history there. The DORA, the pavilion and the things that they’re looking to do, that’s something that everybody loves.”

For anyone interested in checking out what the Indoorfins have already accomplished in their run, their music is currently collected on their bandcamp.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.